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TN: Tennessee Democrats want new police-related legislation after killing of Tyre Nichols
The Tennessee House Democratic Caucus plans to introduce new legislation following the death of Tyre Nichols. State Reps. Joe Towns, G.A. Hardaway and John Ray Clemmons said in a news conference they are focused on mental health care and evaluations for officers. Hardaway also spoke about a possible bill that would focus on law enforcement officers switching from de-escalation techniques to non-escalation ones.
MT: As states seek to restrict abortion access, Montana wants to redefine what is medically necessary
Montana’s conservative leaders seek to tighten the state’s Medicaid rules to make it more difficult for women earning low incomes to receive abortions. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is proposing to define when an abortion is medically necessary, limit who can perform such services and require pre-authorization for most cases.
AR: Arkansas looking into content of AP course on African American studies
Arkansas has asked the national College Board organization about the content of an Advanced Placement course on African American studies that is being piloted in 60 schools nationwide, including two in the state. The queries about the course are prompted by recent executive orders — including one “to prohibit indoctrination and critical race theory in schools” — issued by Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on her first day in office.
CA: California has more than 100 gun laws. Why don’t they stop more mass shootings?
More than 100 gun laws — the most of any state — are on the books in California. They have saved lives, policymakers say: Californians have among the lowest rates of gun death in the United States. Yet this month, those laws failed to stop the massacres of at least 19 people in back-to-back mass shootings.
TX: Federal judge again threatens contempt-of-court fines for Texas’ slow progress on foster care
A judge warned Texas that it could be held in contempt of court for not following through with three mandates: making children aware of their rights, adequately responding to abuse allegations and reducing the number of children without placement.
MA: Free community college plan gets approval of U. Massachusetts president
A plan by new Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healy, a Democrat, to provide free community college to some residents has a powerful supporter in the president of the UMass system. “I’m a big supporter of community college, we take a lot of the transfer students, I like the governor’s proposal,” UMass President Marty Meehan said.
WA: Inside the movement to revitalize tribal languages in Washington schools
There is a growing movement across Washington state to revitalize tribal languages. With 29 sovereign nations within Washington’s borders, efforts across the state vary as tribal elders put nearly lost languages to paper, and schools, state officials and tribal leaders partner to offer classes in their communities.
KY: County jails sue state of Kentucky over cost of housing state inmates
The Kentucky Department of Corrections soaks local taxpayers for tens of millions of dollars a year by ordering thousands of state inmates to be held in county jails without reimbursing county governments for the expense, according to a new lawsuit.
MI: Michigan governor plans to keep more young people in the state
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, knows it will take more than the perks of living near family to convince those who grew up in Michigan that they’re better off staying. She laid out her vision to see more people call Michigan home: Build Michigan’s reputation as an inclusive place, poach talent from states that fail to protect LGBTQ residents and abortion access and reduce the cost of raising a family.
MD: Maryland official details problems with 529 college-savings program
Some families saving for college under a Maryland program saw inflated balances, causing many to think they could send their children to private and more expensive schools before the glitch was corrected.
MN: Minnesota Senate votes to guarantee abortion rights, sends bill to governor
A measure guaranteeing the right to an abortion — and other reproductive health care — is on its way to Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s desk for a signature after the state Senate voted 34-33 along party lines to pass it. The measure would cement in state law the right to access reproductive health care options, including abortion, birth control, family planning help and sterilization.
OK: Families wait years for Oklahoma to fund services they need
Thousands of Oklahomans with developmental disabilities have been on a waiting list for help, sometimes for a decade or more. Only during budget negotiations last year did the Oklahoma legislature find .5 million for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to finally cross every name off that list.
CT: Connecticut governor building coalition for gun control as shootings nationally continue
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont is building a coalition to pass a comprehensive gun control package in the coming months. The core is the solid Democratic majorities in both the state House and Senate, which each grew by one member this year as Democrats turned back an expected Republican red wave that never materialized.
WY: Mental health bills abound at Wyoming legislature
It’s a banner year for mental health bills in the Wyoming legislature. There are around 20 measures that at least touch on the topic, according to Andi Summerville, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers. The raft of legislation comes amid growing concerns about a mental health crisis in the state.
IL: Illinois poised to lift restrictions on felons who want to legally change their names
Legislation now on Illinois Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk would loosen restrictions for people with past felony convictions who want to legally change their names. The bill would remove a lifetime ban on name changes for people who have been convicted of identity theft, as well as for those on state registriesfor convictions on offenses including murder, arson and various sex crimes.
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