Top State Stories 1/12
MI: New Democratic majority in Michigan kicks off session with bills axing Right to Work, 1931 abortion ban
Now wielding power in the Michigan House and Senate for the first time in decades, Democrats used the first day of the 102nd Legislature to announce a flurry of bills to advance labor, LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights. The new Democratic-led legislature is expected to have a far more productive relationship with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
IA: Iowa GOP introduces bills on gender identity, school curriculum
One bill would prohibit Iowa school districts from providing any accommodations intended to affirm a student’s change in gender identity without written consent from the child’s parent or guardian. Other House bills specifically target how certain subjects, like gender identity and the history of communism, are taught in Iowa classrooms.
NE: State senators announce new attempt to increase abortion restrictions in Nebraska
The latest attempt to increase Nebraska’s abortion restrictions is on its way to the legislature. It would prohibit doctors from performing an abortion if an ultrasound detects cardiac activity, typically six weeks past fertilization.
MT: How Montana took a hard right turn toward Christian nationalism
Montana has a tradition of ticket-splitting and has long been one of the most politically independent states in the union, resisting the kind of single-party rule that has flourished in the neighboring states of Idaho and Wyoming. But in recent years, Republicans have managed to secure an ironclad grasp over state government, and the religious right is ascendant.
SD: Teacher shortage worsens in South Dakota
K-12 teacher shortages have worsened across South Dakota, a trend driven by below-average salaries and dissatisfaction in the teaching ranks.
MN: Right to vote for people on parole, probation clears first hurdle in Minnesota House
Minnesota legislators took their first step to restoring voting rights for anyone convicted of a felony offense and still on probation or parole, as the House Elections Committee approved the legislation.
FL: 800 Florida manatees died in 2022 as starvation lingers
At least 800 manatees died statewide in 2022 after hundreds succumbed to starvation and malnutrition on Florida’s Atlantic coast last winter, according to preliminary data released this week by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
MO: Dress code for women legislators debated in Missouri House
Democrats slammed a Republican-backed change to the Missouri House dress code for women legislators. A GOP state representative proposed explicitly requiring women legislators to wear jackets on the House floor, saying “it is essential to always maintain a formal and professional atmosphere.”
NC: ‘Attendance matters.’ How a change in North Carolina House rules may make it easier to bypass the governor
This legislative session, what becomes law in North Carolina and what doesn’t is all about who shows up. Like the “Hamilton” musical, it really is about being in the room where it happens.
IN: Indiana governor proposes .5M rail trail
The 62.3-mile Monon South Trail would be the longest in Indiana, spanning five counties, following the path of a rail line abandoned in 2018.
WI: Wisconsin speaker says there’s no ‘pathway’ to legalizing recreational marijuana
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, said legislative leaders have just begun talking about what kind of medical marijuana proposal they could support and suggested Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ plans to introduce a state budget that would legalize marijuana for recreational use could deter Republican support.
CT: Connecticut governor says he’ll push state income tax cut
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said he wants to cut the state income tax for middle-class families who have been hurt by the highest inflation rate in 40 years and volatile price increases for items like home heating oil. The cuts could reach families earning as much as ,000 per year and could be phased in over two years.
NY: New York Republicans returning campaign money from apparent fraudster US Rep. Santos
At least three New York Republicans who received political contributions from embattled U.S. Republican Rep. George Santos are returning the cash, with a fourth donating the money, but one New York congressman was mum on what he would do with the contribution his campaign received.
MS: Mississippi governor bans TikTok from state devices
Mississippi will soon ban TikTok from all state-issued devices and any devices connected to state-run networks, following a directive issued by Republican Gov. Tate Reeves. Reeves joins a bipartisan group of governors who have restricted access to the massively popular Chinese-owned video sharing app over security concerns.
KS: Kansas lawmakers consider reining in state courts
Republican lawmakers have said they again wish to pursue a constitutional amendment to move Kansas from its current merit selection system for judges to one that would require appointees be confirmed by the Kansas Senate. The state Supreme Court has become a touchpoint for political debate in recent years.
ID: Idaho bill would withhold tax money from cities that don’t enforce abortion ban
The bill would direct the Idaho State Tax Commission to withhold sales and use taxes owed to a city or county government if local officials declare that they won’t enforce Idaho’s criminal abortion statutes. Last year, the Boise City Council passed a resolution declaring that city law enforcement would not “prioritize” or provide “additional resources” to investigations for the purpose of prosecuting abortion providers.
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.