In a memo obtained by The Texas Tribune, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s chief of staff, Gardner Pate, told agency leaders that using diversity, equity and inclusion policies in hiring violates federal and state employment laws, and hiring cannot be based on factors “other than merit.”
One of Tennessee’s most influential Republican lawmakers says the state should stop accepting the nearly $1.8 billion of federal K-12 education dollars that help provide support for students with low incomes, English learners and students with disabilities. House Speaker Cameron Sexton told The Associated Press that he has introduced a bill to reject the money, thereby freeing Tennessee from “federal government interference.”
The Mississippi House voted after an intense, four-plus hour debate to create a separate court system and an expanded police force within the capital city of Jackson — the Blackest city in America — that would be appointed completely by White state officials. Mississippi’s capital city is 80% Black and home to a higher percentage of Black residents than any major American city, while White Republicans dominate the legislature.
A broad education bill also known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” passed the Missouri Senate on a voice vote. While some in the opposition expressed appreciation for changes that had been made to the bill, a pair of Black Democratic senators criticized the proposed legislation — saying it would limit teachers’ ability to educate on racial inequality.
While Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s clemency power allows him to unilaterally free Californians he deems worthy, most of the time he doesn’t use it that way. Instead, he sends prisoners to the parole board, allowing its commissioners — who include attorneys, former wardens and correctional officers — to decide their fate.
An Iowa bill capping noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits is headed for GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk after passing both chambers of the Iowa legislature.
Minnesota is the first U.S. state to universally test newborns for cytomegalovirus, an easily transmissible virus and a leading cause of infant hearing loss and congenital birth defects. The announcement follows a year of work to create a state protocol for testing at birth for the virus, known as CMV, and two decades of research at the University of Minnesota on ways to identify, prevent and treat the infection.
An Oklahoma Senate committee moved forward two bills aimed at restricting transgender transition, one of them requested by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt. One bill would allow the state to immediately revoke the license of medical workers who offered gender transition services to minors under age 18. The other bill would block public funds to any hospital, entity or individual that provides transgender health care, regardless of the patient’s age.
Wisconsin’s bar association said a lack of experienced prosecutors, coupled with a shortage of public defenders, is so bad it’s approaching a constitutional crisis. Starting pay for Wisconsin’s assistant DAs amounts to less than $57,000 a year.
Most people applying to become clinical psychologists in Washington state are facing delays and wait months or years to get licensed, new state Department of Health data suggests. Insufficient staffing at the state’s credentialing department, inefficiencies in the review process, and technical malfunctions are mucking up the path of hundreds of Washingtonians who aim to enter the mental health workforce each year.
Oregon is a hotspot for domestic terrorism and paramilitary activity. Armed militia groups have taken over public land and terrorists have targeted the electric grid. State lawmakers are responding to such threats with two bills that would address an individual act of domestic terrorism and coordinated paramilitary activity.
All Michigan retirement income would be taxed in the same way private pensions were taxed prior to 2012, under a plan proposed by Michigan Democrats. The plan also appears designed to avoid what was an expected 0.2 percentage point cut in the state’s 4.25% income tax rate, by diverting about $800 million in 2022 revenue from the state’s general fund to issue $180 rebate checks to Michigan tax filers.
Wyoming state representatives advanced a bill that would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for mothers with low incomes, with just a few hours left in the day before it would have died. The proposal has been a topic of speculation since the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee approved it nearly two weeks ago.
A decade after then-Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, now a Democratic U.S. senator, led a push to ensure Nevada law outlawed sex trafficking, at least four lawmakers plan to continue the fight against illegal sex work during the upcoming legislative session.
Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders unveiled an education plan that includes raising the state’s minimum teacher salary from $36,000 to $50,000 a year and a voucher program for students to attend private or home schools. The voucher program will be phased in over three years, the governor said.
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