Top State Stories 2/1
FL: Florida governor proposes sweeping higher education measures aimed at ‘indoctrination’
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a package of major changes to the state’s higher education system, including tighter controls on faculty tenure, the establishment of “civics institutes” at three universities and prohibitions on diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
AR: Arkansas Senate panel recommends ending state affirmative action
The Arkansas bill would prohibit state agencies, cities, counties, public schools and universities from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, an individual or group based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in matters of state employment, public education or state procurement.
MN: Minnesota governor signs law strengthening abortion rights
Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation adding a “fundamental right” to abortion in state law, the first proposal in an expansive agenda moving at the Capitol to solidify the state’s status as a safe haven for the procedure.
UT: Utah tribal leaders push for bill to protect Native kids from White adoptions
Tribal leaders and members from some of Utah’s eight sovereign nations came to the statehouse to share their stories and push for lawmakers to pass a bill to protect American Indian children in adoptions and foster placements. Native children, they said, should only be placed with Native parents who will help them stay in touch with their identities.
CO: Tired of fighting robots for concert tickets? This Colorado bill aims to help.
As written, the Colorado bill expands the definition of deceptive trade practices to include the use of automation to buy tickets or circumvent limits, selling tickets without being upfront about all the fees, and increasing ticket prices once they have been selected.
WI: Key Wisconsin GOP lawmaker pledges action on toxic ‘forever chemicals’
Wisconsin legislators promised action on toxic “forever chemicals,” marking a potential shift in priority for Republicans as a growing number of state communities deal with water contamination from the chemicals.
NM: New Mexico high schoolers pitch bill to provide free pads, tampons in schools
Three New Mexico high schoolers put some 500 hours into researching, lobbying and helping to draft the bill — sending hundreds of emails back and forth with lawmakers. They say it is often the students struggling with poverty who can’t get tampons, meaning in some cases that they don’t show up for class.
WY: Wyoming hate crimes bill goes before lawmakers, again
In the latest attempt to give Wyoming clearer hate crimes protections, a new bill would establish penalties for acts of violence and vandalism motivated by prejudice toward another person’s race, color, sex, creed or national origin. While lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Wyoming have supported the idea of hate crimes law, hard-line conservatives tend to oppose it.
TX: EPA investigates complaint that Texas environmental regulators fail to do their job
The Environmental Protection Agency is looking into a slew of allegations that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality allows developers to skirt environmental rules, cuts the public out of permitting processes and more. The inquiry comes after dozens of environmental groups have filed two separate petitions asking the agency to step in and take over permitting in the state.
NJ: Whale deaths along New Jersey coast prompt mayors to call for wind farm moratorium
A group of New Jersey mayors are calling for an “immediate moratorium” on offshore wind energy development until federal and state scientists can assure the public that ocean noise related to underwater seabed mapping, soil borings and other turbine construction activities poses no threat to whales.
MO: Move to restrict minors with guns gains traction in Missouri House
The gun-friendly Missouri House appears to be settling on one new firearm limit: restricting minors from possessing guns in public without adult supervision. The limit was included in wide-ranging crime legislation by a Republican state lawmaker.
TN: 4 of 5 officers indicted in Tyre Nichols death had previous reprimands, suspensions
Four of the five former Memphis Police officers indicted for their role in the death of Tyre Nichols were suspended or received a written reprimand during their tenure with the department. The officers were cited for failing to report when they used physicality, failing to report alleged domestic violence and damaging their police cruisers, according to personnel files obtained by The Commercial Appeal.
MT: Montana bill seeks to preemptively prevent bans on energy sources
Republican lawmakers in Montana want to preemptively stop any local governments from banning various energy sources amid a national conversation about gas stove bans, even though no local governments are considering such a prohibition.
IA: Iowa House panel advances liability protection for trucking companies
A year after a similar bill died on the floor of the Iowa House, Republican lawmakers are again advancing legislation to expand liability protection for trucking companies whose employees cause injury, death or other damages while on the job.
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