Top State Stories 2/17

By: - February 17, 2023 12:00 am

FL: Florida lawmakers move to give governor control over school athletics board

A week after Florida’s high school sports association decided against requiring students to report their menstrual cycles, state lawmakers moved to give Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis control over the board. The private nonprofit organization oversees sports for grades six through 12 in public schools and other schools that choose to participate.

OK: ‘Relentless pace’ of Oklahoma executions traumatized corrections staff, former directors say

Oklahoma’s “nonstop executions” traumatized corrections staff, leaving them vulnerable to mental health distress and botched procedures, nine former Department of Corrections officials warned last month. State Attorney General Gentner Drummond, a Republican, has since won approval for seven impending executions to each be delayed by 60 days.

ID: Idaho budget writers OK money for school dyslexia training

Idaho’s legislative budget writers approved .5 million to fund training through the end of the school year, supporting a new dyslexia screening and training program that lawmakers approved unanimously in 2022. The program is designed to help educators identify and help children with dyslexia, a reading disorder affecting about 1 in 5 Idaho students.

CA: California governor wants to waive environmental rules in the delta amid drought worries

As January’s drenching storms have given way to an unseasonably dry February, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, is seeking to waive environmental rules in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in an effort to store more water in reservoirs — a move that is drawing heated criticism from environmental advocates who say the action will imperil struggling fish populations.

WA: Right turns on red would be limited in Washington state under bill

When Washington made it legal to turn right on a red light in 1959, concerns about pedestrian safety quickly followed. Sixty-four years later, with limited hard data on harm to pedestrians but plenty of intuition about driver behavior, that worry remains, and state lawmakers are considering rolling back what to many drivers has come to feel like a right.

SD: Lawmakers defeat South Dakota governor’s family leave proposal

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s landmark paid family leave program that would have extended leave benefits for state employees, and would have been available for private businesses, died in a unanimous committee vote in the state House of Representatives.

NC: North Carolina Senate passes repeal of pistol permit rules

North Carolina’s pistol permit rules are a racist relic of the Jim Crow era and don’t help public safety in modern times, Republican lawmakers say. Democrats say a bill repealing the permits would put guns in the wrong hands.

OH: Ohio governor requests federal health agencies’ help after train derailment

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine requested federal support to address the health needs of residents in East Palestine, two weeks after a train derailed in their village. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will assist with health care needs; residents have complained about headaches, skin rashes and other ailments.

KS: Kansas bill meant to block China from buying state farms could also block immigrants from buying homes

Kansas Republican Attorney General Kris Kobach wants to block foreign interests from buying up farmland in the state. But legislation he’s pushing on this issue may also block immigrants from purchasing homes in the state if they are not yet naturalized as U.S. citizens.

PA: Pennsylvania governor calls for end to death penalty

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro called on the state legislature to end the death penalty in Pennsylvania, marking the first time a governor has formally asked the General Assembly to abolish the controversial practice. “The Commonwealth shouldn’t be in the business of putting people to death, period,” Shapiro said.

OR: Amid spate of pot recalls, Oregon pushes idea of state testing lab to protect consumers

Oregon cannabis regulators have issued nearly as many mandatory product recalls for contamination in recent months as they have in the nine years since Oregon legalized recreational marijuana. Officials hope the legislature this year will pay for a state lab that would allow regulators to set testing standards for the private labs.

CO: Latino, Black poverty rates in Colorado are near historic lows

The drop in Black and Latino poverty rates in Colorado is, on its face, encouraging. But a real economic struggle exists in the space between official poverty and self-sufficiency.

UT: Pilot program providing mental disability benefits for Utah’s public employees gets a second chance

The Utah House resurrected and then passed a bill that would allow public employees with mental disabilities to receive the same disability benefits as those with physical impairments.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes blow to ‘dark store’ tax theory

The Wisconsin Supreme Court sided with the city of Delavan, deciding that its property tax assessments of a Lowe’s Home Improvement store were correct. The decision strikes a blow to the use of “dark store” tax theory that has become common across the country. The method involves comparing the value of an operating big box retail store to long vacant, or “dark,” stores nearby.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.