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CA: Biden issues emergency declaration for California following storms
President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for California to help people and local officials coping with the storms that have battered the state, an action that will speed federal help.
CO: Colorado now second state to have a majority of women in the statehouse as session begins
When Colorado lawmakers returned to the Capitol, they did so in historic fashion. A record number of women now fill state House and Senate seats — a majority, making Colorado the second state in the country to hit that mark. The legislature also has a large number of LGBTQ+ members and women of color. And for the first time in the state’s history, the House’s top three leadership positions are all be held by women.
WA: Washington bill would create cold case unit for missing and murdered Indigenous people
Proposed legislation would create a cold case investigations unit in the Washington Attorney General’s Office focused on solving cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and people. The new unit was recommended by a state task force focused on missing and murdered Indigenous women and people.
OR: Oregon’s new governor declares a housing state of emergency
Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek, a Democrat, is declaring a housing state of emergency as one of her first acts in office. In her inaugural address, she said that on her first day in office, she’ll declare the state of emergency and sign an executive order calling on state government to create 36,000 new homes a year — an 80% increase over current production.
OH: New photo ID requirement for Ohio elections faces legal challenge
A coalition of left-leaning groups, backed by a major national Democratic law firm, has sued Ohio over the elections bill Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed that makes it mandatory for voters to show a photo ID when casting an in-person ballot.
OK: New school superintendent vows to ‘get all indoctrination out of’ Oklahoma education department
Oklahoma schools Superintendent Ryan Walters said purging the state’s education agency of “liberal indoctrination” will be a top priority during his first weeks in office, which could include changes to some of the nearly 400 people who work at the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
MO: Child care woes are rare subject of agreement in Missouri Capitol
Amid partisan wrangling on a host of other issues, Missouri policymakers appear on track to pump more resources into child care programs this year. Leaders on both sides of the aisle signaled they support efforts to boost the industry via higher pay for child care workers and other incentives.
KS: New Kansas AG floats action against federal environmental policy
Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, a Republican, said he would begin his time in office by targeting national environmental policies on rivers and endangered species.
WI: Some Wisconsinites pay the price for pollution they didn’t cause
From manure-tainted groundwater to PFAS in drinking water, individual property owners in Wisconsin can be left on their own to mitigate environmental hazards without enough state funding to cover cleanups. Under state law, property owners are sometimes even forced to clean up previous contamination.
MN: Minnesota Democrats roll out plan to protect election workers
Minnesota could see new protections for the tens of thousands of people who manage state elections — and penalties for those who target them. Democrats, now in control of all statewide offices and the legislature, are pushing a package of legislation that aims to crack down on rising harassment faced by election judges and administrators.
DE: Delaware lawmakers to reconsider Digital Right to Repair Act
Delaware lawmakers will consider a “right to repair” bill for a second time during this year’s General Assembly — part of a growing national push to give consumers and independent repair shops more freedom to fix technology like cell phones, farm equipment or medical devices rather than relying on manufacturers’ in-house technicians.
MT: Medicaid, abortion access top health agenda for Montana lawmakers
Montana lawmakers said lowering costs and expanding patient access will be their top health care goals for the new legislative session. But they also will have to contend with making changes to Medicaid, a management crisis at the Montana State Hospital and proposals to regulate abortion. Republicans, who hold a veto-proof majority, said they will focus on three areas of health care: transparency, costs and patient options.
ID: Idaho governor pledges continued support for education
Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, says his agenda includes proposals to boost teacher pay, increase discretionary funds for school districts and create a new scholarship fund for high school graduates.
AK: FEMA sent ‘unintelligible’ disaster relief application information to Alaska Natives impacted by Typhoon Merbok
After Typhoon Merbok slammed into Alaska’s west coast in September 2022, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hired a California-based company to translate information into two Alaska Native languages about how to apply for disaster recovery assistance. A translator said that the Yugtun translations were incorrect. Other Indigenous language speakers also didn’t understand the translated documents.
NJ: New Jersey bans TikTok from state government devices, governor announces
New Jersey is now the latest state to ban the popular social media video platform TikTok from state government devices because of cybersecurity concerns, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced.
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