Top State Stories 11/11
MI: Michigan Democrats look ahead to policy changes as party in power
The dust has hardly settled after Tuesday’s midterm elections, but Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and allied lawmakers are ready to start pushing forward on policy agreements and logistical changes available for the Democratic-controlled state legislature. Whitmer pledged to boost manufacturing, repeal the retirement tax, protect the Great Lakes and improve access to education.
KS: GOP maintain supermajority in Kansas legislature
Republicans preserved a two-thirds supermajority in the Kansas House to mirror the GOP-dominated Kansas Senate and keep in place this substantial legislative barrier in a second term for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
TX: 5 Texas cities vote to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana
Voters in five Texas cities — Denton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen and San Marcos — overwhelmingly supported local ballot propositions to decriminalize low-level possession of marijuana. These moves followed Austin voters’ similar decision in May.
MT: Montana anti-abortion referendum fails
A lawmaker-proposed measure known as the “Born Alive” Act that would have purportedly required Montana doctors to save any infant born alive after a late-term abortion failed to garner enough support to become law. The referendum drew widespread criticism from the state’s medical community and inspired some voters to head to the polls just to oppose it.
TN: Tennessee bill could criminalize some drag show performances
The bill aims to block “adult cabaret performances” on public property or in a place where they could be viewed by a child in Tennessee. It defines adult cabaret to include performers such as exotic dancers and “strippers,” but it also includes “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient,” or inappropriately sexualized, interest.
OR, ID: Two more Oregon counties join Greater Idaho movement
Two more eastern Oregon counties, Morrow and Wheeler, appeared to join the growing, long-shot campaign to extend Idaho’s western border to add their region to the state, initial midterm election returns indicated. They each voted to support the so-called Greater Idaho movement, which proposes exiting Oregon to enter the boundaries of its eastern neighbor.
WA: Feds again considering bringing grizzlies back to Washington national park
Federal agencies are yet again considering plans to bring grizzly bears home to the deep forested valleys of Washington state’s North Cascades where they once thrived. Grizzly bears roamed across the North Cascades for thousands of years before humans hunted them to near extinction.
MS: Mississippi House speaker won’t run for reelection, sparking speculation on next move
Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, a Republican, announced that he will not be seeking reelection next year, fueling speculation that he may run for another office. Gunn is the third longest-serving speaker in the history of the Mississippi House of Representatives.
LA: Head of Louisiana’s child welfare department resigns after multiple children died on the agency’s watch
The secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services resigned, ending a more than six-year tenure that took a tumultuous turn recently when multiple neglected children died on the agency’s watch.
IA: Iowa is losing M in child care assistance funds
Iowa is losing $30 million in federal money that would have helped families access basic child care services. The governor’s office says the loss is a deliberate decision to avoid having to commit $3 million in matching state funds. But a Democratic state lawmaker says it’s her understanding that Iowa’s application for the $30 million in federal grants fell victim to the state’s inability to review the paperwork and submit it on time.
NY: Construction worker unemployment falls in New York state
Unemployment in the construction industry in New York fell to 4.3% from 6% a year ago in September, according to the Empire State Associated Builders and Contractors. This was the 11th largest percentage decrease in the U.S., putting New York ahead of the national average for falling unemployment in the industry over last year.
PA: Pennsylvania Democrats kept suburbs, gained rural voters
Pennsylvania Democrats ran up the score in leftward-shifting suburbs in Tuesday’s elections and cut losses in rural and exurban stretches where former President Donald Trump is popular. Democrats on the ballot in the presidential battleground state won all three toss-up races for Congress and eroded GOP majorities in the state legislature.
AK: Alaska election results point toward a closely divided legislature
Preliminary first-choice results from Tuesday’s general election are trending toward the Alaska legislature being closely divided between Republicans on one side and Democrats and independents on the other.
ID: Idaho COVID fraud task force goes after white-collar criminals
As with all white-collar crime, COVID-19 fraud in Idaho is a tricky knot to untie. Investigators must trace a paper trail that winds through various government offices and private institutions — a trail of bank account records, tax returns, business filings, application forms, database entries and human interactions — that, together, allow them to build a case against a defendant.
SD: 40% of South Dakota voters sat out midterms
Less than 60% of the state’s active voters participated in the midterm election, down from 65% in 2018. Although the state had more registered and active voters in 2022 than in 2018, there were only about 13,000 more people who voted this year.
MD: Series of ‘firsts’ in Maryland elections
Aside from governor-elect Democrat Wes Moore, who will be the state’s first and the nation’s third Black governor, Maryland will see a series of other historic firsts. They are the state’s first immigrant and Asian American lieutenant governor, the first Black attorney general, and the first female comptroller and first woman directly elected to statewide office.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.