Top State Stories 2/6
VT: Vermont Senate bill would expand aid-in-dying to those living outside the state
The Vermont bill would strike the residency requirements from the state’s 2013 aid-in-dying law, which protects licensed health care providers from being prosecuted for writing a lethal prescription for a patient. In August, a Connecticut woman sued Vermont for the right to end her life through Vermont’s law.
FL: Florida justices strip ‘fairness and diversity’ from judicial education programs
Florida judges no longer will need to learn how to at least try to ensure “fairness and diversity” while applying the law under a rule change that the Florida Supreme Court adopted by a nearly unanimous vote.
MS: Mississippi Senate approves bill to make hospital collaborations, mergers easier
The Mississippi Senate unanimously supported a bill that would allow hospitals to merge or collaborate without seeking explicit state permission. The bill is an attempt to help struggling hospitals survive, as Mississippi faces the grim possibility of more than half of its rural hospitals closing in the near future.
AK: Alaska governor proposes expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, has proposed extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 60 days to 360 days. He introduced a bill that would fulfill a pledge he made during last month’s State of the State address.
MN: Lawmakers aim to redesign ‘outdated’ Minnesota flag
Legislators have long contemplated an overhaul of the Minnesota flag to bring it in line with the simple, bold designs of other states and to remove a painful reminder for many Indigenous residents. Now lawmakers have created a committee to come up with a new emblem.
OH: Officials urge evacuation near Ohio train derailment, fearing explosion
Officials monitoring the smoldering, tangled wreckage of a train derailment in northeastern Ohio urgently warned hundreds of nearby residents who had declined to evacuate to do so, saying a rail car was at risk of a potential explosion that could launch deadly shrapnel as far as a mile.
PA: Pennsylvania voter feedback: less legislative gridlock, please
A statewide Pennsylvania listening tour organized by embattled state House Speaker Mark Rozzi, a Democrat, revealed widespread frustration with the lower chamber, which has been unable to move forward with official business amid a partisan stalemate.
NC: Advocates of ranked choice voting will discuss how it could work in North Carolina
Winning a primary election in North Carolina requires candidates to win only more than 30% of the vote. Supporters of ranked choice voting, an alternative voting method that has grown increasingly popular across the country in recent years, argue that is wrong.
AR:‘Gutted’ Arkansas bill no longer targets drag performers or LGBTQ community, activists say
Arkansas legislators amended a bill that would have restricted where drag performances can be held but now does not mention the word “drag” at all. Activists who have opposed the bill say the amended version, which restricts performances featuring overtly sexual content and nudity, no longer targets LGBTQ Arkansans because drag performances generally include neither.
ME: Maine considers steeper penalties for distracted driving
Since Maine’s hands-free driving law took effect in 2019, more than 3,000 drivers have received tickets each year. A legislative bill would increase penalties from to for a first offense and from to ,000 for a second offense.
CA: California lawmakers try again to cap insulin costs
As many diabetics across the Golden State struggle with insulin costs, California’s efforts to make the medication more affordable have yet to yield results. This year, lawmakers will revisit legislation that would address at least one piece of the affordability puzzle.
GA: Georgia senator files bill to restrict TikTok, other social media
A little more than a month after GOP Gov. Brian Kemp instructed Georgia employees not to use social media such as TikTok or WeChat on state equipment, Republican senators have filed a bill that would extend that restriction to public schools and all branches of government.
AZ: Republican lawmakers advance bill to restrict drag shows in Arizona
Arizona lawmakers spent two hours debating a bill that Republican sponsors claimed aims to fix the “evil” of sexually charged dancing by male drag performers, drawing passionate opposition from LGBTQ community members. A Senate committee approved the bill on a party-line vote.
MO: More than 5,200 marijuana convictions expunged in Missouri
Expungements for 5,205 marijuana cases in Missouri have been granted since Dec. 8, when it became legal for adults 21 and older in Missouri to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana.
WA: Older adults get behind Washington bill to keep the state from taxing their meals
Currently, meals served to Washington residents receiving medical care are not subject to sales tax. Meals served to older adults in independent living facilities, on the other hand, are.
WY: Wyoming bill aims to close ‘consent loophole’ for officers who have sex with people in custody
Wyoming law enforcement officers who have sex with people in their custody could face second-degree sexual assault charges without exception if new legislation passes.
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