Top State Stories 2/22

By: - February 22, 2023 12:00 am

US: Democratic governors form alliance on abortion rights

Democratic governors in 20 states are launching a network intended to strengthen abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Organizers, led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, described the Reproductive Freedom Alliance as a way for governors and their staffs to share best practices and affirm abortion rights.

MI: Michigan State University students oppose returning to classes, push for gun control at the Capitol

A sea of green and white covered the Michigan Capitol lawn as students shared stories, music and poetry, demanding change from politicians and protesting Michigan State University’s return to classes a week after a mass shooting that killed three students and wounded five more. Democrats in the Michigan Senate have introduced 11 bills aimed at reducing gun violence.

SD: South Dakota lawmakers kill bill to restrict foreign agriculture land buys

South Dakota legislators killed the bill on a 11-23 vote, which means the state will have to rely on the current statute that’s in place to restrict overseas agriculture land purchases in South Dakota. There was near-unanimous disproval from the state’s major agricultural groups.

MS: Mississippi governor vows to sign limit on youth transgender care

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves confirmed that he plans to sign a bill to ban gender-affirming care in the state for anyone younger than 18. The bill won final approval in the Republican-controlled Mississippi Senate, and it will be sent in the coming days to Reeves, who is running for reelection.

FLFlorida elections officials ask lawmakers not to make voting changes before 2024

Florida’s elections supervisors are asking state lawmakers not to implement changes to vote-by-mail ballots before the 2024 presidential election, warning that it will confuse voters and slow down vote counting.

KS: Kansas GOP officials split on drop boxes

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach and Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, both Republicans, have taken opposing sides on a proposal to effectively end the widespread use of ballot drop boxes, illustrating the sharp divide among the state’s Republicans over elections.

ID: Idaho Republican introduces bill to ban ranked choice voting

A lawmaker on the House State Affairs Committee introduced a bill to prohibit the use of ranked choice voting and instant runoff voting in Idaho. Its Republican sponsor said its purpose is to preserve a fair and transparent electoral process.  

MN: Minnesota tribes would get exclusive sports gambling rights under Democratic bill

Key Minnesota Democrats released their plan to give sports gambling licenses exclusively to the state’s American Indian tribes, allowing betting at their casinos and on mobile devices, but not at the state’s two racetracks, an exclusion criticized by Republicans.

OH: Gambling helpline calls double in first month of legal sports betting in Ohio

Calls to the statewide Problem Gambling Hotline during the first month of legalized sports betting in Ohio more than doubled over what had been the norm ahead of the Jan. 1 launch of sports wagering. There was an average of about 48 calls per day in January, up from 20 a day in December and more than triple the 15 calls a day in January 2022.

GA: Bill that would crack down on antisemitism advances in Georgia House

A Georgia House committee approved a bill that targets crimes against Jewish people and antisemitic imagery such as swastikas. The measure defines antisemitism so that it would be included under Georgia’s hate crimes law, and it would prohibit using swastikas with the intent to terrorize another person.

ME: Maine secretary of state approves ‘right to repair’ ballot initiative

The Maine Secretary of State’s Office ruled that a “right to repair” petition has enough valid signatures to send the initiative to the legislature, which can either vote to pass the law or place it on a statewide referendum ballot in November.

AR: Arkansas education bill calls for K starting salary for teachers, voucher program

Arkansas lawmakers unveiled an education overhaul that includes a $14,000 increase in the starting salary for teachers and vouchers for every student eligible to enroll in a public school. The 144-page bill also would repeal a state law to make it easier to fire teachers, expand job-training programs in high schools and set more stringent literacy standards for elementary students.

MO: Missouri Senate approves bill extending Medicaid for postpartum women

An extension for health care services provided through Medicaid for postpartum women was approved by the Missouri Senate. A Republican sponsored the bill to extend MO HealthNet coverage for women to one year postpartum. Current law limits the benefits to 60 days after childbirth.

AZ: Arizona House approves bill requiring students to recite Pledge of Allegiance

Arizona House lawmakers voted to require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day, courting a likely lawsuit. A final roll-call vote would send the measure to the Senate.

CT: Connecticut AG wants more authority in complaints over bank mergers

The bill would give Democratic Attorney General William Tong’s office the power to investigate and enforce federal consumer financial protection laws involving banks, including those which are chartered in states outside of Connecticut.

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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.