Top State Stories 1/27
CA: California to provide more water to residents following recent heavy rains
The recent deluge of rain in California will mean increased water deliveries to cities and agricultural regions after years of cutbacks caused by the long-running drought. The California Department of Water Resources said it expects to deliver at least 30% of the water supplies requested by agencies that serve 27 million people and nearly a million acres of farmland.
TX: Texas governor presses lawmakers to ban vaccine mandates, strengthen border
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said that his pandemic-era public health disaster declaration, which has given him unprecedented powers for the past 1,049 days, would stay in place until state legislators pass laws banning COVID-19-related restrictions on Texans and strengthening the state’s power at the border.
FL: Florida Senate housing bill would ban rent control, give developers tax breaks
A ban on local governments imposing rent control, limits on local zoning laws and more tax breaks for developers are the top features of an million affordable housing bill introduced by Florida’s Senate president.
LA: Almost half of Louisiana sheriffs are violating public record laws
Nearly half of Louisiana sheriffs are in violation of a state law regulating the preservation and destruction of public records, according to documents provided by state officials.
MN: Minnesota legislature passes CROWN Act prohibiting hair discrimination
The Minnesota legislature passed the CROWN Act, which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” It would prohibit discrimination based on hair texture and type, and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign it soon.
CT: Connecticut tax cuts are likely, but fierce debate expected over who benefits
When it comes to taxes, the question Connecticut officials are trying to answer this year isn’t whether to cut them. For Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly, the larger issues are how deep to cut — and who should benefit.
WY: Solar tax advances in Wyoming legislature
Wyoming lawmakers advanced a proposal that would tax utility-scale solar power at the same rate as wind, after several members of the House Appropriations Committee argued that it would be unfair for the state to impose a production tax on some sources but not others. Wind farms in Wyoming have been subject to a -per-megawatt-hour generation tax since 2011.
MO: GOP lawmakers fast-track bills to make it harder for voters to amend the Missouri Constitution
Over the objections of Democrats and a formidable lobbying group, a House committee endorsed the latest attempt by Republicans to make it harder for voters to change the Missouri Constitution. Lawmakers voted along partisan lines on four related bills to raise the bar for both the number of signatures needed to place a proposed amendment on the ballot, as well as the threshold it needs to win approval.
WV: West Virginia legislature modifies bill to give corrections officers K raise
Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates amended a bill to include a ,000 pay increase to help combat a corrections officer shortage they say has reached critical levels.
WI: New Wisconsin effort to bring together police, victim advocates to fight human trafficking
A new statewide effort to fight human trafficking in Wisconsin will bring together law enforcement agencies, victim advocates and federal investigators in the hope of reaching those who are coerced into sex work or labor.
DE: Delaware governor’s budget offers some tax relief, spending boosts for education, housing
Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney outlined his proposal for a nearly .5 billion operating budget for next fiscal year, debuting new plans for tax relief and investments in housing and early childhood education. Carney’s budget proposal marks a 7.4% increase over the current budget — nearly twice the normal rate of increase.
WA: Washington ferries to get millions of dollars
The federal government has awarded Washington State Ferries .9 million to help build an electric-ferry charging station for the busy Mukilteo-Clinton line, and million for dock improvements to improve transit and pedestrian connections at Southworth. Those grants, along with .7 million for WSF to buy modern ferry-payment software and systems that make credit-card transactions quicker, were announced by the Federal Transit Administration.
OR: Oregon graduation rates rise slightly
Just over 81% of Oregon’s class of 2022 earned diplomas in four years, a slight uptick from 2021 and the second highest on-time graduation rate ever reported. State education officials, principals and teachers hailed the data as a hopeful sign that, after several wrenching years disrupted by the pandemic, students and schools have begun to bounce back.
MI: Michigan sees highest Obamacare enrollment since 2016
Enticed by expanded federal subsidies, Michiganders keep enrolling in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.gov marketplace at levels not seen since well before the COVID-19 pandemic.
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