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CA: Fighting to avoid massive water cuts, California offers proposal on Colorado River crisis
California has given the federal government its own counterproposal for apportioning reductions of Colorado River water, saying a plan offered by six other states would disproportionately burden farms and cities in Southern California.
MN: Minnesota lawmakers consider police changes after Tyre Nichols’ death
Minnesota lawmakers are resuming painful yet familiar policing overhaul discussions in the aftermath of the killing of Tyre Nichols. This year, Democrats control state government and will have full say in how to respond following Nichols’ fatal beating in Memphis, Tennessee. A state licensing board’s potential rule changes could further alter policing in Minnesota.
SD: South Dakota Senate approves bill holding fathers responsible for pregnancy expenses
A South Dakota bill that would require fathers to pay for the pregnancy-related costs of their child unanimously passed out of the Senate and will now head to the House.
WI: Survey: University of Wisconsin students afraid to express views in class
Most students who responded to a survey about free speech on University of Wisconsin campuses said they’re afraid to express their views on controversial topics in class because they fear other students won’t agree or it could hurt their grades. A third of respondents, meanwhile, said they’ve felt pressure from an instructor to agree with a certain viewpoint.
MA: Massachusetts bill would let inmates donate organs for reduced sentences
As thousands of patients sit on an organ donor waiting list, some Massachusetts legislators are proposing to offer state prison inmates a chance to shave months, maybe a year, off their sentence in exchange for donating an organ or bone marrow. But critics say it’s perverse and exploitative.
OK: How a southwest Oklahoma town lost its hospital and is scrambling to get it back
Clinton Regional Hospital serviced an Oklahoma town of 8,612 people until the private company managing it pulled out Dec. 31, citing a lack of profitability. Five urgent care clinics closed with it. Clinton’s plans to reopen the hospital hinge in part on the outcome of a March 7 special election.
DE: Delaware to distribute 44K canisters of baby formula at no cost to families
Delaware families with infants up to 12 months old are eligible for a free can of infant formula. The state purchased 44,000 canisters of infant formula through a partnership with Donate Delaware and, they are distributing through 22 different locations.
HI: State lawmakers may pull the plug of the Hawaii Tourism Authority
Citing public concerns over a botched attempt to award Hawaii’s most important tourism marketing contract and ever-increasing numbers of visitors crowding beaches, streets and hiking trails, lawmakers are moving to dramatically reshape the agency in charge of marketing the state as a tourist destination.
OH: Ohio constitutional amendment proposal on abortion misses key deadline
It’s official: Ohio Republican lawmakers will miss their first chance to preempt a planned abortion rights ballot measure by asking voters to set a higher threshold to amend the Ohio Constitution. A legal deadline passed for state lawmakers to propose constitutional amendments to voters for approval during the May election.
NJ: Judge blocks New Jersey law allowing state to sue gun industry
A federal judge has temporarily blocked a New Jersey law that allowed the state to sue gun manufacturers for creating a “public nuisance” with their sale and marketing of firearms.
IL: Illinois accuses 3M, DuPont, others of contaminating state with toxic ‘forever chemicals’
Manufacturers should be held accountable for contaminating Illinois’s drinking water and land with toxic “forever chemicals,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a lawsuit. Pioneers 3M and DuPont, as well as more than a dozen other companies, are accused of conspiring to hide the dangers of chemicals, violating 10 Illinois laws and the state’s constitutional guarantee of a clean environment.
KS: Kansas moves prisoner from men’s to women’s prison
A convicted killer who has long sought gender-affirming surgery was moved from a men’s prison to an all-women’s prison in Topeka, Kansas last week, at a time when prison inmates in the U.S. are increasingly being granted that procedure.
NY: New York faces state government workforce crisis; governor’s budget proposes incentives
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget includes more than million for programs intended to boost the state government’s lagging workforce, as key agencies face a looming shortage of more than 12,500 workers. Those plans include automatic increases to the minimum wage by indexing wages to inflation and giving state employees 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave.
MI: Michigan governor signs bill to move presidential primary sooner
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, signed a bill to move Michigan’s presidential primary forward to February following a proposal from President Joe Biden to make Michigan among the early primary states. But the change might not take effect in time for 2024.
CO: Colorado’s public workers would get new labor protections under bill introduced this week
The proposed change would give public-sector workers in Colorado the rights to discuss workplace issues, participate in the political process while off-duty and out of uniform, and organize, form or join an employee organization. But it wouldn’t require public employers to negotiate with workers.
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