Top State Stories 12/19
AK: Alaska, source of carbon-emitting fossil fuels, aims to raise money by storing carbon
Alaska’s state government raises hundreds of millions of dollars each year through the sale of oil, that when burned, contributes to climate change. Now the state is looking to also make money by preventing some of these gases from entering the atmosphere, under a planned bill from Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
NY: New York police union tells members to ‘not cooperate’ with AG on fatal encounters
The union representing thousands of New York state troopers recently issued a directive instructing its members to “not cooperate” with a special unit in the attorney general’s office that was empowered last year to investigate fatal encounters in New York involving police officers.
MN: Extended probation for young Minnesotans can become a ‘backdoor to prison’
Minnesota’s extended jurisdiction juvenile was once heralded as an innovative alternative to incarceration for adolescents who commit violent crimes. Instead, an alarming percentage of them end up serving prison sentences — the very outcome the program was created to prevent.
MO: More than 16K weigh in on proposal targeting Missouri libraries
In what could be a record number for a proposed change in state rules, more than 16,000 comments have been submitted on a Republican plan designed to block public funding for public libraries in Missouri if they offer books that might appeal to the sexual interests of minors.
TX: Texas legislature to consider more incentives for crypto players
The high-profile collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX might have tainted cryptocurrency trading platforms, but it isn’t slowing advocates’ plans to make Texas a leader in the still-growing industry. The Texas Work Group on Blockchain Matters recently released a plan to establish the state as a leader in an industry that’s valued at about billion globally.
WY: Wyoming attempts at a state hate crimes law have failed. So cities are stepping up.
Wyoming is one of just two states considered by the U.S. Department of Justice to have no hate crimes statutes whatsoever. Four Wyoming communities — Casper, Cheyenne, Jackson and Laramie and Cheyenne — have passed their own anti-discrimination ordinances.
FL: Florida leaders vow to crack down on sex trafficking
Florida officials vowed to implement new measures to fight sex trafficking in hotels, protect victims who cooperate with law enforcement and increase penalties for traffickers after a South Florida Sun Sentinel investigation exposed a broken system that enables the illegal trade to flourish in the state.
MI: Michigan could be a climate haven in a warming world
Michigan will be spared from some of the worst effects of climate change, including extreme drought, intensifying hurricanes and wildfires. Early research estimates that tens of thousands of people will be fleeing rising ocean waters and landing in Michigan. A more extensive analysis, yet to be published, finds this a vast underestimate.
TN: New Tennessee bill would require rape kit testing within 30 days
The bill is the first piece of legislation filed to address a systemic evidence kit backlog in Tennessee. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation drew sharp scrutiny earlier this year after the suspect in a high-profile kidnapping and murder was linked to a 2021 rape case via a sexual assault kit that sat untested for nearly a year.
NE: Low pay for Nebraska lawmakers has a high cost
Boosting pay could diversify the Nebraska legislature and result in state lawmakers more politically like the people they represent, say experts and studies of statehouses across the country. But in Nebraska, that would require a popular vote to change the state constitution.
MA: Massachusetts lawmakers pledge more oversight of gun dealers
Top Massachusetts lawmakers and police chiefs vowed to increase oversight of gun dealers in response to a Boston Globe investigation that found hundreds of dealers hadn’t received a single state inspection in nearly six years, and others had only been subjected to cursory walk-throughs by local police.
NM: Government initiatives will put money into New Mexico’s underserved communities
A lot more investment capital could soon flow into nascent businesses in New Mexico’s underserved communities, thanks to new government funding to strengthen and diversify the state’s startup ecosystem. That includes million in federal funding plus million in state money for new venture investment programs.
AR: Arkansas bars workers from using TikTok app on state-owned devices and computers
Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted out a memo issued by the state’s chief technology officer, informing state employees that TikTok is prohibited on state devices and cannot be used on any devices connected to the state network unless it’s for an authorized law enforcement or security purpose.
WI: Lawmakers to look at how Wisconsin National Guard handles sexual misconduct
State lawmakers next year will consider a series of major bipartisan changes in how the Wisconsin National Guard addresses sexual misconduct, including requiring more reporting and a tracking system. The changes, housed in three draft bills, are the product of a legislative study committee.
SD: Experts say affordable housing is biggest need in South Dakota market
More affordable housing is needed if young South Dakota residents are going to realize their dreams of owning a home. Home prices rose 54% in the last four years while incomes rose by only 17%.
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.