Top State Stories 11/1
MO: Missouri Republicans likely to block any push for ‘red flag’ gun laws
Republicans who control state government in Missouri say they see no need to enact public safety laws that might have taken away the gun used by a school shooter in St. Louis last week. From Republican Gov. Mike Parson down to rank-and-file lawmakers in the House and Senate, red flag laws are a non-starter for the GOP.
LA: Louisiana has struggled to get electric grid aid, but that could soon change
After a series of devastating hurricanes wreaked havoc on Louisiana’s electric grid in 2020 and 2021, utilities and regulators tried in vain to get federal help to offset the costs of rebuilding and hardening the system. But in the coming months and years, the state and its for-profit utilities could finally tap into significant federal largesse.
WA: Washington’s COVID state of emergency lifts
After more than two years, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is declaring an end to Washington state’s COVID-19 state of emergency. Inslee made the announcement at a news conference at the state Capitol, lifting the emergency order he imposed Feb. 29, 2020, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
HI: Hawaii’s public offices are not so public
Visiting state government offices can be hard these days in Hawaii, where security guards, discouraging signs, locked doors and cordoned-off public parking are impeding access to services and information.
TX: Texas’ plan to provide water for a growing population virtually ignores climate change
Texas’ biggest single solution to providing enough water for its soaring population in the coming decades is using more surface water, including about two dozen new reservoirs. But climate change has made damming rivers a riskier bet.
MI: Proposal 2 would change voting and elections in Michigan
Supporters of Michigan’s Proposal 2, or Promote the Vote (PTV), believe the very nature of being able to cast a ballot is at stake on Nov. 8. Proposal 2 would amend Article II of the Michigan Constitution to expand voting rights.
ME: Maine group that wants to oust private utilities submits petitions
Advocates of replacing Maine’s privately owned electric utilities with a consumer-owned Pine Tree Power Company are submitting signatures to force a statewide vote, officials said. If certified, the petitions would put the proposal to oust Central Maine Power and Versant Power on the referendum ballot next year.
AK: The Alaska commission that investigates discrimination has been sued for alleged discrimination
The former executive director of the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, which investigates complaints of discrimination, says she herself was fired after less than a month on the job as the result of discrimination. That’s according to Marilyn Stewart’s lawsuit against the commission.
NY: Environmental spending referendum question on New York ballot
Voters will decide Nov. 8 if New York state should borrow $4.2 billion to reduce the impact of climate change and protect the environment. The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Act of 2022 promises bondable funding for a variety of projects and initiatives aimed at replacing aging urban and suburban infrastructure across the state, preserving family farms in rural communities and mitigating the effects of climate change.
MA: Massachusetts bans disposal of mattresses, textiles, shoes
As of Nov. 1, Massachusetts residents will no longer be able to throw out mattresses, textiles or shoes, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. As part of a statewide waste reduction plan, residents are required to recycle or donate such items rather than dispose of them.
DC: District of Columbia considers rewrite of criminal code
The District of Columbia Council is considering a bill that would eliminate most mandatory minimum sentences, allow for jury trials in almost all misdemeanor cases and reduce the maximum penalties for offenses such as burglaries, carjackings and robberies.Critics, including Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, say some provisions would burden the court system and reduce law enforcement’s ability to punish offenders for serious crimes.
MT: In Montana, election skepticism and a search for the smoking gun
County election offices in Montana have fielded more than 250 public records requests in the past year, many seeking documents tied to national election denial narratives.
MS: Mississippi governor to call special legislative session on largest economic development plan
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, will call a special session later this week regarding a $2.5 billion economic development project, the largest in Mississippi history. Multiple House members confirmed to WLBT that GOP House Speaker Philip Gunn sent a message preparing them for the special session. The project, according to Reeves, will bring 1,000 new jobs with a $93,000 average salary.
OR: Oregon officials worry state is ‘too late’ to cash in on federal chips funding
Oregon civic and business leaders are rushing to prepare new incentives for the semiconductor industry, hoping to lure billion-dollar factories with more land, incentives and workers – and fewer regulatory hurdles. Some economic development officials say it’s already too late, though, lamenting that Oregon was ill-prepared to capitalize on $52 billion in federal funds Congress authorized last summer.
NV: In remote Nevada valley, race for more lithium comes down to water
Behind the scenes is a contentious and ongoing administrative battle over water rights and the laws that govern mining in Nevada. At issue is which company has the legal right to extract the lithium concentrated within the valley’s salty waters — and on what terms mining takes place.
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