Top State Stories 1/17
MT: Montana Republicans table red flag bill
Republicans on the Montana House Judiciary Committee voted to table a measure that would allow a person’s partner or family member, or a law enforcement officer or agency, to seek an extreme risk protection order from a district court. Several proponents testified in favor of the bill. No opponents testified.
NJ: Birth control no longer needs prescription in New Jersey under new law
Birth control will soon be more accessible to all after New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation to let people obtain various forms of birth control at pharmacies without a prescription.
MO: Missouri Democrats say House dress code debate a distraction
Women who serve in the Missouri House will face a tougher dress code when they return to the floor this week after a debate that Democrats panned as a pointless distraction from the issues facing the state. The new rules require female legislators and staff members to wear a jacket such as a cardigan or blazer.
PA: Pennsylvania now has limits on ‘forever’ chemicals
Pennsylvania has enacted a limit on two PFAS chemicals in drinking water, marking the first time that the state has set its own limits instead of adopting a federal standard.
WA: Sea lions, seals might be hampering Washington’s salmon recovery
While seal and sea lion populations in Washington state are at the highest since counts began, salmon populations that help feed the mammals are down to 6 to 7% of their historical abundance. State officials are now exploring whether to kill sea lions and seals in the Salish Sea and outer coast in a desperate effort to save salmon species from extinction.
ID: Idaho Senate committee advances bill to change legal definition of abortion
The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee voted to introduce one of two abortion-related bills sponsored by a GOP senator that would change Idaho’s legal definition of abortion from the intentional termination of a pregnancy to the “intentional killing of a living human embryo or fetus in utero.”
CA: California judge dismisses gun owners’ lawsuit, allows sharing of gun information with researchers
A San Diego federal judge upheld a California state law that lets the state disclose some personal information of registered gun owners to research institutions, dismissing a lawsuit from gun owners who said the law violated their gun-owning rights and violates their privacy.
TN: Tennessee foster kids experience highest levels of instability in US
A new report by the Tennessee Commission on Children & Youth found Tennessee has since 2016 recorded the highest rates of foster care instability in the country, with instability defined as three or more home placements for a foster youth within their first year in the system. Nearly 34% of foster cases meet that definition in Tennessee, according to the report, more than double the overall U.S. national average of 14.9%.
OH: Hearings begin on bill that would weaken Ohio State Board of Education
Committee hearings are expected to begin on an Ohio Senate bill — introduced for a third time — that would remove most control over education policy from the State Board of Education and instead give it to the governor.
CO: Stealing any car in Colorado — even cheap ones — should be a felony, lawmakers say
All car thefts — regardless of the vehicle’s value — could soon be a felony under proposals being floated by Colorado policymakers. The state recently rocketed to the top of some lists of the most per-capita car thefts, sending policymakers looking for ways to stymie the crime.
NY: New York’s first year of mobile sports betting exceeds revenue expectations
It’s been a year since New York first allowed mobile sports betting, and the results have exceeded expectations. Bettors put up more than billion since the practice was first authorized Jan. 8, 2022, resulting in more than .2 million in taxes, exceeding estimates that mobile sports betting would bring in about million.
AK: Alaska House is again without a coalition in the legislature
The state legislative session begins this week, and the Alaska House is still not organized. That means representatives have not yet formed a majority coalition or assigned leadership roles. Without being organized, the House can’t move ahead with its legislative business when the session begins.
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