Top State Stories 12/13
OK: Biden administration blocks Oklahoma execution
Oklahoma will not carry out a scheduled execution because convicted murderer John Fitzgerald Hanson remains in a federal prison in Louisiana. Oklahoma is now suing in federal court in Texas for his return.
GA, NV: Trump probe subpoena served on Georgia, Nevada election officials
Nevada’s most populous county and Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have received subpoenas related to special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of former President Donald Trump, who focused on the states as he sought to overturn his 2020 election loss.
OH: Ohio unveils new training standards for educators to carry guns at school
Ohio’s new training standards for educators to carry concealed firearms at school include instruction in de-escalation techniques, “neutralization” of potential active shooters, and trauma and first-aid care, among other things.
CT: A decade after Sandy Hook, grief remains but hope grows in Connecticut
The children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, would have been 16 or 17 now. The shooting gave new energy to the gun violence prevention movement, with numerous groups forming to demand action.
CA: US Supreme Court upholds California ban on sale of flavored tobacco products
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute plea from the tobacco industry and cleared the way for California to enforce a statewide ban on the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
TX: Texas governor calls for five-year mandatory sentence for immigrant smugglers
“I’m getting damn tired of Texas residents smuggling people into our country illegally,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted. Under current Texas law, human smuggling is a third-degree felony punishable by imprisonment of no fewer than two years but not more than 10 years.
IA: Judge refuses to reinstate Iowa’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law
A district judge declined to lift the nearly four-year-old injunction that has kept a restrictive abortion law in Iowa from taking effect. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, has been seeking to end the injunction since the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in June that there is no fundamental right to abortion in the state constitution.
MD: Maryland extension of rights for child abuse victims gains support
Maryland legislation that would give childhood victims of sexual abuse a chance to sue their abusers, regardless of when it happened, gained the support of a key lawmaker.
CO: Colorado to explore rules for controlling oil and gas drilling impacts
Colorado oil and gas regulators voted to create a working group — likely to include representatives from industry, environmental and community groups and state agencies — as a prelude to new rules to manage the impacts of oil and gas drilling.
AK: Alaska lawmaker can’t block public from social accounts based on their views, judge rules
An Alaska state legislator can’t block members of the public whom they disagree with from commenting on a social media account the lawmaker maintains in connection with her elective office, a judge has ruled.
MA: Massachusetts lawmakers revive proposal to require autopsies in deaths of young children
Months after the measure stalled, the Massachusetts House passed a proposal that would require the state’s chief medical examiner to personally review and approve all autopsies of children younger than 2.
PA: Latino vote dropped in Pennsylvania in recent elections
Pennsylvania election data shows steep turnout declines in Latino and Hispanic areas. The larger the Latino population in a precinct, the sharper the turnout decline from 2020 to 2022.
NY: New York schools and districts with Native American names OK, but not mascots, nicknames, regents rules
The New York Board of Regents stuck with a proposed ban of mascots and nicknames that refer to Indigenous people but agreed school district names could remain.
FL: Frequent commuters could see big discount in toll charges under new Florida proposal
Florida lawmakers advanced a proposal to create a $500 million program that would provide a 50% discount on toll charges to drivers who go through at least 35 toll stations each month.
KS: Survey: Kansas underpays most state workers
A salary survey of various state government jobs indicates that it’s time for Kansas lawmakers to give more raises. The state is underpaying for most jobs, even after $225 million in raises approved for this fiscal year.
MN: Minnesota schools tried to recruit dozens of teachers of color. They hired 6.
Minnesota lawmakers last year earmarked $400,000 to help several school districts attract more educators of color from other states. But so far, schools have hired only six, and nine of the 11 participating districts didn’t hire any.
DE: Delaware botched its lead testing program in schools, then denied it
When it came to exposure to lead-tainted water, interviews with experts, state health and education department emails, and public records all revealed that Delaware failed to act, putting scores of school children and staff at risk.
NM: New Mexico projects more than .6B in ‘new money’
With the oil and gas industry booming at unprecedented levels, New Mexico’s projected revenue for the 2024 fiscal year is close to $12 billion, a 42.3% increase from the current budget.
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