Top State Stories 2/16
CA: California’s population dropped by 500K in 2 years as exodus continues
The California exodus has shown no sign of slowing down as the state’s population dropped by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by nearly 700,000. California has been seeing a decline in population for years, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing even more people to move to other parts of the country, experts say.
WA: Washington state lawmakers could look, again, at automatic retirement savings plan
AARP data says about 1.2 million Washingtonians aren’t covered by a retirement plan through their workplace. Rep. Kristine Reeves, a Democrat, is sponsoring a bill that would require the state Department of Commerce to study how prepared Washingtonians are for retirement and whether setting up a state-sponsored retirement program is feasible.
IN: Indiana anti-critical race theory bill withdrawn after opposition
Another attempt at passing so-called anti-CRT legislation in Indiana has failed. A bill to prohibit schools from teaching certain concepts about race, religion, gender identity and other characteristics was pulled from a legislative committee agenda after protests.
OK: Oklahoma legislature takes aim at transgender procedures for minors and adults
Oklahoma could soon ban gender transition procedures for minors and also make transgender adults seeking treatment pay medical bills out of their own pocket with no insurance coverage. The heavily Republican state Senate approved legislation to ban gender-affirming surgery and hormone therapy for minors, while the House advanced out of committee a bill prohibiting insurance coverage.
NJ: New Jersey plans to require all new cars be zero-emission by 2035
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, outlined broad climate goals including creation of a rule adopted by a handful of other states to require all new cars and light-duty trucks sold to be zero-emission by 2035.
KS: Kansas push to define sex decried as erasing transgender people
In measures like Kansas’ bill, LGBTQ-rights advocates see a new, sweeping effort to erase trans people’s legal existence and deny recognition to nonbinary or gender-fluid people.
MN: Minnesota Supreme Court rules state can bar felons from voting until probation ends
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a state law requiring felons to wait until the end of their probationary period to have voting rights restored does not violate the state constitution. But the Minnesota legislature is poised to change state law to allow offenders to vote as soon as they are released from custody.
AK: Alaska abortion rights appear entrenched while governor aims for a ‘pro-life state’
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, spent the last five minutes of his recent State of State address talking about becoming “the most pro-life state in the country.” He and many other Alaska politicians have been trying to chip away at Alaska’s constitutionally protected right to access an abortion. Despite this, abortion in Alaska remains legal, and there are efforts currently underway that could mean even greater access to reproductive health care.
IA: Iowa House panel expands bill that would ban teaching on gender identity
The Iowa legislation states “any program, curriculum, material, test, survey, questionnaire, activity, announcement, promotion, or instruction of any kind” relating to gender identity or material could not be used in schools with K-6 students. It previously would have ended the ban after third grade.
OH: Ohio House Republicans’ priority bills include tax cuts, transgender sports ban
Ohio House Republicans’ priority bills this session include lowering taxes, creating near-universal school vouchers, banning transgender athletes from playing women’s sports and making it harder to pass state constitutional amendments, lawmakers announced. It’s unclear how many of the 52 bills introduced will end up passing.
WI: Wisconsin governor’s budget would create family leave plan, cut taxes and boost school funding
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal includes a .2 billion tax cut, a .6 billion investment in schools and million investment in a new paid family and medical leave program for private and public workers. It also would set aside hundreds of millions of dollars for everything from roads to lead pipe replacement to the Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium.
UT: Utah lawmakers push to end school grading
Utah lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would do away with assigning a single letter grade to each of the state’s public schools — with several calling the practice outdated and unable to “show the whole picture” of performance.
ID: Idaho House passes nonbinding measure calling for formal ‘Greater Idaho’ talks
With a wink and a smirk, the Idaho House passed a nonbinding memorial calling for formal talks between the Idaho and Oregon legislatures to discuss moving some rural Oregon counties out of their state and into Idaho. The proposal is rooted in the so-called Greater Idaho movement, which seeks to include about 11 counties, or 63% of Oregon’s landmass, within Idaho’s borders.
AR: Arkansas seeks federal OK to require some Medicaid participants to work, volunteer or enroll in classes
The Arkansas Department of Human Services is seeking federal approval to require participants in a Medicaid program to work, volunteer or enroll in classes. The new requirement would apply to the roughly 300,000 able-bodied adults enrolled in the state’s ARHOME program, an initiative that uses Medicaid dollars to buy private health insurance for participants.
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