By: - January 25, 2023 12:00 am

OR: Oregon finalizes M plan to ease public defender crisis

Oregon’s public defender crisis has left hundreds of people languishing in jails or in the community awaiting legal representation. The approved million plan includes increasing the hourly fees paid to public defenders, paying ,000 to retain public defenders that currently contract with the state and adopting a program to pay lawyers to represent people charged with misdemeanors.

SC: South Carolina legislators advance bill banning teaching of racial concepts in K-12 classrooms

Legislation that bans the teaching of racist concepts in K-12 schools while requiring fact-based discussions on history is advancing in the South Carolina House of Representatives, amid concerns it’s creating fear among teachers that will further deplete their ranks.

NJ: New Jersey Supreme Court rules against releasing victims’ mental health records in rape cases

The mental health records of rape victims should be off-limits at criminal trials except in rare cases in which there is evidence the victim’s mental health may have affected the ability to testify truthfully, New Jersey’s highest court ruled.

TX: Texas leads multi-state lawsuit against Biden administration’s new immigration policy

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, led a 20-state lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming a new immigration program the president announced last month that would allow 360,000 people a year from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter the country is illegal.

MO: Business groups signal opposition to ban on foreign ownership of Missouri farmland 

A push to ban foreign companies from owning farmland in Missouri is facing pushback from major industry groups. In the first of what could be multiple legislative hearings, the Missouri Association of Realtors and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry signaled they oppose the Republican-sponsored plans.

CT: Connecticut has a trash problem. Here’s how the governor wants to solve it. 

The administration of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont took its first steps towards articulating a policy for disposing of the 860,000 tons of trash Connecticut must annually ship out of state since the closure in July of a major trash-to-energy plant in Hartford.

NE: Nebraska’s small egg farmers busy during shortage

Because of high egg prices and reduced breeding stock due to the avian flu, some Nebraska customers want eggs to raise their own flocks. Local egg suppliers are working long hours and turning away new customers.

MA: Massachusetts ‘millionaire’s tax’ could generate .4B next fiscal year, officials project

Massachusetts revenue officials said they could collect at least .4 billion — and perhaps as much as .7 billion — next fiscal year from the state’s newly enshrined tax on its wealthiest earners, kick-starting months of debate over how to steer the new injection of tax money. The new law increases the state’s 5% income tax rate to 9% on annual income exceeding million.

WA: Washington state could ban use of cancer-causing chemicals in makeup, hair care

A bill in Olympia to ban the use of chemicals in cosmetics died last year, but with a new Department of Ecology report in hand, Washington state lawmakers are making another run at it. The bill would make the Evergreen State among the first in the nation to create sweeping protections for consumers related to cosmetics, and it could have a broader impact on the products sold across the country.

TN: Tennessee governor broaches paid family medical leave — again

Three years after shelving a family medical leave plan, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee appears ready to dust off the proposal to recruit and keep state employees. In January 2020, Lee pushed a family leave policy for state employees permitting up to 12 weeks of annual medical leave time, but the idea received a cool reception from Republican lawmakers.

VA: Virginia Democrats seek constitutional amendment for abortion access protections

Democratic legislators are kick-starting an effort to get a state constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion access in Virginia’s state code.

WI: Wisconsin universities restrict use of TikTok on school-owned devices

The University of Wisconsin System is banning use of the popular social media app TikTok on UW-owned devices. The decision comes about 10 days after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order banning the TikTok app on most state-issued devices.

SC: South Carolina legislators advance bill requiring fact-based history lessons in K-12 classroom

Legislation that bans the teaching of racist concepts in K-12 schools while requiring fact-based discussions on history is advancing in the South Carolina House of Representatives, amid concerns it’s creating fear among teachers that will further deplete their ranks.

AR: Arkansas Senate approves bill to reclassify drag performances as adult entertainment

The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would classify drag performances as adult-oriented businesses, amid disagreements about whether the bill is designed to target certain groups of people. Critics of the bill contended that it could infringe on the rights of transgender people and bar certain theatrical performances.

AK: A proposed giant gold mine generates debate among Alaska Natives

In Southwest Alaska’s Kuskokwim River basin is a massive deposit of gold that poses some profound questions. Donlin Gold mine supporters say the project is especially exciting because it’s located in a predominantly Native region long plagued by economic woes and public service deficits. But Indigenous opponents say the costs of the mine to damaged wildlife habitat and long-term pollution, outweigh any potential dollar gains.

CO: Colorado legislation would remove a state-level ban on rent control

Nearly half of Colorado’s House Democrats have signed on to a bill that would allow local governments to enact rent control, repealing a decades-old prohibition and setting up a potential showdown with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

FL: Florida governor claims executive privilege to keep records secret 

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is using a legal concept historically wielded by the president of the United States as a justification to keep some information secret, sparking concerns from open-government advocates that the state’s public records laws could be undermined. 

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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.