Top State Stories12/5
CA: High gas prices prompt California lawmakers to consider penalties on oil profits
A new class of California lawmakers will be sworn in and thrust into the middle of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political fight with oil companies, testing the clout of an industry that spends heavily to influence the legislature and potentially affecting gas prices for Californians.
IN: Indiana abortion ban temporarily blocked again
An Indiana judge issued a preliminary injunction against the state’s near-total abortion ban, this time as part of a lawsuit that claims the ban violates religious freedom protections.
TX: Texas governor says he supports decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he supports decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips, reversing his previous opposition to the idea as he tries to fight an increase in opioid overdoses in the state, which he has made a point of emphasis heading into January’s legislative session.
WA: How a billion-dollar corporation exploits Washington’s special education system
Universal Health Services, the corporate owner of Northwest SOIL, Washington state’s largest publicly funded private school for children with disabilities, has skimped on staffing and basic resources for years while pressuring managers to enroll more students than the staff could handle.
NC: Gun attack could leave North Carolina county without power for days
Widespread power outages caused by vandalism of electrical substations in Moore County, North Carolina, saw electricity shut off to nearly all residences and businesses, and estimates for restoration of power stretching possibly into Thursday, officials say. The outages are the result of intentional damage by firearms to two substations in the county.
UT: Qatar government paid for Utah AG’s trip to see World Cup match
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Qatar, after the Middle Eastern country’s government paid for his airfare, lodging and tickets to see the United States and England play at the World Cup.
FL: Florida defied public records law on child’s death. Taxpayers’ tab: K
Florida child welfare authorities’ refusal, for well over a year, to hand over documents detailing the state’s failed efforts to protect a Miami toddler will cost Florida taxpayers ,665 — money that otherwise could have been spent on services for at-risk children.
CO: Colorado Democrats eye new gun safety measures
A host of changes to Colorado’s gun laws, from a ban on assault weapons to tweaks to the existing “red flag” law, are already being considered by Democrats at the state Capitol in response to the shooting last month at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.
OR: Oregon sheriffs tell judge their agencies are ‘unprepared’ to support gun permit program
The heads of the Oregon police chiefs and sheriffs associations have submitted statements to a federal judge, saying their agencies are unprepared and not staffed or funded to support a permitting program for prospective gun buyers as required under a voter-approved measure that is supposed to take effect this week.
CT: Connecticut police: Updated ‘red flag’ law used largely for suicide threats
A recent change in Connecticut’s “red flag” law has led to a sharp increase in the number of warrants issued, and documents show police are now using it more often to deal with threats of suicide. But some police chiefs say their departments dealt with these cases more efficiently before the change and that the new law is placing extra burdens on their investigations.
AK: US Interior Department puts M toward relocation efforts for Alaska tribes
The U.S. Department of the Interior is putting million toward community relocation efforts for three U.S. tribes struggling with the consequences of a changing climate, including two in Alaska.
PA: Pennsylvania announces money to get diesel trucks out of communities
Pennsylvania’s new .7 million grant program will give businesses, local governments and nonprofits money to replace their dirty diesel trucks with electric vehicles. The grants will contribute to or cover the cost of the electric vehicles themselves, as well as the infrastructure needed to charge them.
OK: New Oklahoma law increases public school choice but some districts already bursting
While the new change in Oklahoma law allowing students to request a transfer to any district at any time within the school year opened up new channels for students and raised public awareness about this means of public school choice, the early outcome for some schools has been less than ideal, officials say.
NM: Confusion lingers over New Mexico’s new paid sick leave law
Some advocacy groups that pushed for New Mexico’s paid sick leave mandate say issues exist with how the law is being implemented. The law, which went into effect this year, mandates all private businesses — large or small — provide paid sick leave for all employees, whether part-time, full-time or seasonal employees.
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