MA: Massachusetts lawmakers plan biggest gun control push in years with Democratic governor
Massachusetts legislators say they will file at least two dozen gun safety bills amid rising concern about gun violence and loopholes in existing state laws, setting the stage for what could be the biggest push for sweeping gun reform that the state has seen in decades.
WI: Wisconsin Republican lawmakers vote to allow LGBTQ ‘conversion therapy’
Wisconsin counselors may again tell gay patients to change their sexual orientation, a discredited practice known as conversion therapy, after a panel of lawmakers voted to suspend a state rule that has banned the practice for licensed therapists.
TX: Texas bills would give state AG more power to prosecute election crimes
Two bills filed in the Texas House of Representatives seek to expand the Texas attorney general’s power to prosecute election crimes. One would allow the office to appoint special prosecutors to such cases, while the other would empower the office to penalize local prosecutors who “limit election law enforcement.”
FL: Florida commission urges sweeping mental health changes
A state commission is urging Florida to enact sweeping changes to its patchwork system of mental health care. The recommendations come from the Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which was created in 2021 after the grand jury in the Parkland massacre called Florida’s mental health system “a mess.”
CA: Nearly all of California exits the worst drought categories in U.S. Drought Monitor
The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor showed an extraordinary sight: Deep splotches of dark red and purple signifying the worst levels of drought have been erased from California’s map almost completely.
SC: South Carolina GOP senators advance private school choice bill, their first priority for 2023
Legislation providing parents $6,000 toward private K-12 tuition is the first priority in the GOP-dominated South Carolina Senate, as Republicans who have fought for private school choice for two decades intend to get a voucher program across the finish line this year.
MO: Missouri lawmakers look to expand tax-credit voucher program mostly serving religious schools
Private religious schools across Missouri have received nearly all $9.3 million in state tax credits diverted through a new education voucher program. Now some state lawmakers are looking to expand eligibility and funding for the program.
VT: Democratic bill would guarantee 12 weeks paid family and medical leave to all Vermont workers
Democrats in the Vermont House of Representatives are hoping the third time will be the charm.
After twice — in 2018 and 2020 — failing to override Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s vetoes on paid family and medical leave bills, Democrats, fortified by a historic supermajority in the House, are preparing to try again.
GA: Elections might move faster with new Georgia registration system
An upgraded Georgia voter registration system is finally ready to launch, an improvement that officials say will speed up elections, make it easier for voters to change their addresses and ultimately reduce lines.
NJ: New Jersey probing whether offshore wind is to blame for dead whales washing ashore
New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said it’s “tragic” that six dead whales have washed up on the New York-New Jersey coastline over the past five weeks and said officials are examining whether offshore wind development has played a role.
MN: Minnesota cuts taxes on pandemic business aid, student borrowers
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed a fast-tracked proposal to cut more than $100 million in taxes for Minnesota restaurants and other businesses that got federal aid at the height of the pandemic. The new law also would wipe away state taxes on student loan debt that could be forgiven under a plan unveiled last year by the Biden administration.
NV: Nevada governor orders freeze on new state regulations, cuts to professional licensing rules
Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo signed an executive order requiring all Nevada executive branch entities to review existing state regulations and recommend at least 10 to be removed by May 1.
MD: Outgoing Maryland governor changes vehicle inspection system
Despite opposition from Democratic state lawmakers and legislative analysts, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan approved changes to Maryland’s vehicle emissions inspection program on his way out of office. Among the changes: New cars would wait six years for inspection instead of three.
MT: Montanans at hearing: Changes to Medicaid abortion law would be harmful
Under proposed new rules in Montana, Medicaid patients who want an abortion would need to provide personal medical information, such as their last menstrual period, number of times pregnant, behavioral health issues and other information.
ID: An Idaho faith healing exemption remains unchanged
For decades, Idaho has allowed an exemption in its Child Protective Act and child injury and abandonment laws for faith healing, letting parents choose to withhold potentially lifesaving treatment without fear of legal repercussions. Coroners’ reports, death certificates and headstones at a small cemetery near Marsing, Idaho, show dozens of child deaths and stillbirths.
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.