Top State Stories 2/24
TX: Texas House Speaker endorses Medicaid expansion for new mothers, repeal of “tampon tax”
Texas Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan unveiled four of his priority bills for the legislative session, which included Democratic goals like the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to one year for new mothers and the exemption of feminine hygiene products and diapers from sales taxes, in a nod to the bipartisan tone he has set for the chamber.
FL: Florida bill would end diversity programs, ban majors, shift power at universities
The Florida bill would make changes endorsed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, including leaving all faculty hiring to boards of trustees, allowing a faculty member’s tenure to be reviewed “at any time,” and removing majors or minors in subjects such as critical race theory and gender studies. It also would prohibit spending on activities that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
GA: New wave of Georgia election bills target ‘Zuckerbucks’ and bar codes
Republican Georgia senators rolled out a package of bills that continue to focus on perceived flaws in the 2020 presidential election, attempting to restrict outside money, eliminate votes scanned from bar codes and ban foreigners from being hired as election workers.
UT: Utah bill that would grant some offenders access to guns after 3 years advances
A Utah bill that would automatically reinstate nonviolent offenders’ access to firearms three years after the end of their sentence passed favorably out of a House committee.
CA: California business groups file lawsuit seeking to block new campaign finance law
California business groups and two local elected officials have filed a lawsuit to block a new state law that seeks to reduce “pay to play” scenarios in local politics.
OK: Oklahoma AG withdraws opinion supporting religious charter schools
Oklahoma Republican Attorney General John O’Connor said he is withdrawing a legal opinion that gained national attention for its support of creating religious charter schools, dealing a blow to local efforts to start a church-run public school in the state.
TN: Tennessee legislature passes ban on transgender health care for minors
Tennessee House Republicans overwhelmingly approved a ban on gender-affirming health care for minors, sending the measure to GOP Gov. Bill Lee, who has indicated he will sign it. The bill prohibits children from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapies or surgical procedures, and allows those who received the treatments as minors to sue parents and physicians for authorizing the care.
KS: Kansas lawmakers pass bills aimed at transgender rights
After three years of falling short, the Kansas House approved the transgender athletes ban with a path to a veto-proof majority, with two GOP members opposing the bill and one Democrat supporting it. The Kansas Senate also passed bills limiting gender affirming care for minors and a so-called women’s bill of rights that restricts state agencies from recognizing a person as anything other than their biological gender.
IA: Iowa to consider ban on gender-affirming health care for minors
As Iowa lawmakers considered several restrictions on transgender youth in Iowa schools, GOP House Speaker Pat Grassley said legislation banning gender-affirming health care for minors may also come up this legislative session.
IN: Indiana move advances to drop funding for sexuality studies
The Indiana House voted to prohibit state dollars from going to the Kinsey Institute, a research body housed at Indiana University devoted to the study of human sexuality.
NV: Nevada bill would require DMV to designate on license if driver is on autism spectrum
A Nevada bill would require the state Department of Motor Vehicles to designate on a person’s driver’s license if they are on the autism spectrum. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada lauded the bill, saying it would “make police traffic stops safer for people who are differently abled.”
WY: Wyoming abortion bill stripped of trigger amendment, rape and incest exemptions added
The “Life is a Human Right Act” sailed through the Wyoming Senate Agriculture Committee in a unanimous vote after stalling for two weeks in the upper chamber, bringing the state closer to a new attempt to ban abortion in a post-Roe landscape. Lawmakers inserted rape and incest exemptions.
CO: Colorado bill would ban “facility fees” from certain medical bills
A proposal in the Colorado legislature would ban “facility fees” from certain medical bills, a move the legislation’s sponsors say will save patients from unexpected costs while hospitals argue it would threaten access to health care. Hospitals say it could end their outpatient care.
ID: Idaho bill seeks to protect renters from extraordinary late rent fees
Some Idaho landlords are evicting renters who can’t afford fees applied to late rental payments, which can amount to a $500 flat fee or $100 daily rate until rent is paid, said state Sen. Ali Rabe, a Democrat. Rabe is sponsoring a bill that would require rental fees to be “reasonable” and clearly stated in lease agreements.
NY: New York finalizes 40-hour work week rules for farms
New York state officials finalized the process for farm laborers to be entitled to be paid overtime for work over 40 hours per week, which is to be phased in over the next decade and buoyed by a state subsidy to farm owners.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.