By: - January 6, 2023 12:00 am

SC: South Carolina Supreme Court tosses out 6-week abortion ban, leaving it legal through 22 weeks

The state Supreme Court has thrown out South Carolina’s law banning abortion at roughly six weeks into pregnancy, stunning GOP leaders just days ahead of the 2023 legislative session. While the legislature has the authority to set limitations on “that utmost personal and private” decision in order to protect “unborn life,” Justice Kaye Hearn wrote in the lead opinion, women must be allowed sufficient time to know they’re pregnant and decide whether to end it.

UT: Great Salt Lake set to vanish in 5 years, experts warn Utah lawmakers

Days before Utah lawmakers are set to convene, dozens of researchers are calling on them to take bold action to save the Great Salt Lake before it withers away. The lake has already hit record-low elevations for two years in a row, exposing 60% of its lakebed, which continues to dry into a toxic source of dust pollution.

OH: Surprise leadership change could boost effort to enshrine abortion rights in Ohio Constitution

The surprising development this week that saw minority Democrats in the Ohio House voting with a bloc of Republicans to elect a GOP House speaker could mean that those who want to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution, raise the state minimum wage and change the way Ohio draws legislative maps have an opening at least this year topursue amendments under the existing rules.

OR: Oregon education department releases updated guidance, resources to support LGBTQ+ students

The Oregon Department of Education has issued a new document expanding its guidance from transgender students specifically to serving all gender expansive students. “Gender expansive” is a term used in the document to describe a range of gender identities, including transgender, nonbinary, intersex, genderqueer and Two Spirit.

ID: Idaho Supreme Court upholds all anti-abortion laws challenged by Planned Parenthood

The Idaho Supreme Court rejected Planned Parenthood’s petitions to block three state laws regarding abortions. The first petition challenged an Idaho law that would let certain family members of a fetus sue health care professionals who perform abortions. The second challenged a state law that bans nearly all abortions. The third would make it a felony for medical professionals to perform an abortion after electrical activity is detected.

WI: Wisconsin Senate GOP ‘close’ to supporting medical marijuana, leader says

Republican lawmakers in the Wisconsin Senate are “close” to supporting the legalization of marijuana for medical use, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said. LeMahieu until now has opposed the idea.

MN: Minnesota Democrats move quickly to codify abortion access in state law

A fast-tracked proposal to enshrine access to abortion into Minnesota law cleared its first legislative hurdle, signaling newfound urgency on an issue that has been static for years under divided government. The proposal passed the House Human Services Finance Committee on a party-line vote.

IL: Illinois House approves bills banning certain semi-automatic weapons, expanding abortion protections

The Illinois House approved a sweeping ban on high-powered firearms about two hours after voting to shore up the state’s already expansive protections for abortion rights. The prospects for both measures remain uncertain in the Senate, where Democrats have been working on their own proposal on abortion rights.

MA: With a M infusion, Massachusetts shifts transition to EVs into drive

In a move hailed as a major step in the state’s climate battle, Massachusetts has approved a $400 million plan to install tens of thousands of electric vehicle chargers as part of an effort to encourage larger numbers of drivers to switch from gas cars to electric. Anorder from the state’s Department of Public Utilities allows electric utilities to put a surcharge on ratepayers’ electricity bills support the build-out of needed infrastructure.

ME: Diocese challenges Maine law allowing older sex abuse claims

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is challenging a Maine law that eliminated the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, allowing a wave of new lawsuits. A motion in the first of the new civil lawsuits suggests the 2021 law is unconstitutional through retroactive changes that violate due process and vested rights.

CA: Report says California plan to reach ambitious emissions reduction goals lacks ‘clear strategy’

The Legislative Analyst’s Office criticized a recently adopted state plan outlining how California will meet ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saying it lacked “a clear strategy” and “specificity.”

MT: Montana governor wants tax cuts passed quickly

Montana GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte said the expansion of the business equipment tax exemption would remove 5,000 small businesses, farms and ranches from that tax roll. He also wants to expand the earned-income tax credit from 3% to 10%.

OK: Oklahoma lawmaker wants to ban surgery for some trans adults

A top Republican in the Oklahoma Senate wants to ban all gender reassignment surgeries for people under 26 years old. State Sen. David Bullard said he didn’t speak with any transgender individuals while crafting his legislation.

IN: Indiana politics complicate efforts to recruit tech workers

Since Indiana passed a near-total ban on abortion, many tech workers are leaving just as the state unveils plans to lure more of them. For many, it’s not just the abortion ban, but what it signals for the future for other social issues, such as LGBTQ rights.

MD: Maryland judiciary seeks ban on public access to court case audio

Less than a month after a federal judge found Maryland’s ban on broadcasting legally obtained recordings of court proceedings unconstitutional, the state judiciary is considering a rule that would prevent the public from obtaining audio recordings of criminal court cases altogether.

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.

Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.