Top State Stories 1/18

By: - January 18, 2023 12:00 am

NM: Lawmakers worry New Mexico gun attacks will cool desire to run for office

The shocking arrest this week of Solomon Pena, an unsuccessful Republican state House candidate accused of orchestrating drive-by shootings at politicians’ New Mexico homes, clouded the first day of the legislative session and prompted some lawmakers to question whether the violence will deter people from running for office.

US: Billionaires in blue states face coordinated wealth-tax bills

In lieu of a federal wealth tax, state lawmakers want to tax billionaires where they live, in states such as California, New York and Washington. A group of legislators in statehouses across the country has coordinated to introduce bills simultaneously in seven states later this week, with the same goal of raising taxes on the rich.

ME: Maine governor to introduce legislation to expand access to abortion until late in pregnancy

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, abortion rights activists and legislative leaders announced a series of legislative measures to expand abortion access in Maine, including a bill that Mills is introducing that would make abortion legally accessible at any time during pregnancy with the approval of a qualified medical professional.

MO: US Supreme Court won’t hear Missouri lawsuit over COVID aid for tax cuts

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has lost its bid to block a federal law that prevents states from using COVID-19 aid for tax cuts, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the state’s appeal.

DC: District of Columbia council overrides mayor’s veto of new criminal code

The new District of Columbia code eliminates most mandatory minimum sentences, allows for jury trials in almost all misdemeanor cases and reduces the maximum penalties for offenses such as burglaries, carjackings and robberies.

OH: Lobbying, ‘dark money’ were behind Ohio law rebranding natural gas as ‘green energy,’ records show

A dark money nonprofit linked to the natural gas industry pushed for Ohio legislation redefining methane-based fuel as “green energy” months before it was introduced and passed in a 36-hour legislative sprint, records show.

MD: Maryland sued over psych drugs for children

Civil rights organizations are challenging Maryland’s oversight of medical records for foster children receiving psychotropic drugs. One in 3 Maryland foster children are being given psychotropic medications, often without a documented psychiatric diagnosis, according to a lawsuit.

WI: Wisconsin GOP blocks push to put abortion on ballot, moves ahead on bail measure

In the first floor meeting of a new legislative session, the Wisconsin Senate advanced a constitutional amendment proposal that would expand judges’ discretion when making bail decisions and rejected a proposal to put on the spring ballot an advisory referendum asking voters whether abortion access should be restored in the state.

VT: To tackle the housing crisis, Vermont lawmakers consider ending single-family zoning

In hopes of alleviating Vermont’s housing crisis, a tripartisan group of state lawmakers has endorsed a slate of zoning reforms that would remove barriers to denser development, particularly in town centers and areas served by municipal water and sewer systems.

HI: Hawaii governor tweaks climate plan, still proposes M

Democratic Gov. Josh Green has signed a “pledge” to commit million in Hawaii state general funds to address climate change through a new “Climate Impact Fund.”

MT: Montana’s first abortion bill of 2023 gets a hearing

If adopted, the Senate bill would create an act explicitly stating that the Montana Constitution’s right to individual privacy does not guarantee access to abortion or “government funding of abortion.” Despite being less than one page long, debate on the bill lasted more than an hour, including arguments about whether it wrongly infringes on the purview of the judicial branch to interpret the state constitution.

GA: Georgia legislator fined for campaigning when he gave water to voters

The Georgia State Election Board has levied a fine against Democratic state Rep. Roger Bruce for handing out water to voters while wearing a shirt with his name on it during the 2020 election.

IA: Conservative group sides with midwives in lawsuit over Iowa certificate of need law

A conservative organization is suing Iowa over a requirement that birthing centers demonstrate the necessity of such facilities before they’re allowed to open, a process known as acquiring a “certificate of need.” The intent of the law is to discourage the costly and unnecessary duplication of health care services. 

DE: Delaware governor proposes raising teacher salaries by 9%

Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney announced plans to dedicate millions of dollars to raising public educators’ salaries — part of a strategy to help school districts recover from persistent staffing shortages by competing with the salaries offered to teachers in neighboring states.

WY: Sweeping Wyoming sales tax plan meets stiff resistance

Wyomingites probably won’t see a big change in sales taxes this year after lawmakers tabled a sweeping bill that would have nixed most exemptions while decreasing the overall sales tax rate. The bill was intended to simplify and update Wyoming’s “outdated” tax structure while accommodating the state’s shift toward a service-based economy.

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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.