By: - March 22, 2023 12:00 am

CA: Amid soaking storms, California turns to farmland to funnel water into depleted aquifers

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order suspending permit requirements for groundwater recharge in many areas in California. The order, which lasts until June 1, will make it easier for local water districts and farms to route river flows to fields and other sites where the water can boost depleted aquifers.

OK: Oklahoma Supreme Court finds ‘limited right’ to abortion in state constitution

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution includes “an inherent right of a pregnant woman to terminate a pregnancy when necessary to save her life.” The court struck down one law passed by the legislature to criminalize abortions but left another in place and took no position on the broader question of whether there is a right to elective abortions, effectively upholding strict anti-abortion measures in place since last year.

OH: Ohio governor ‘adamantly’ opposes Senate proposal to raise highway speed limits

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he “adamantly” opposes raising speed limits in Ohio. Last week, state senators added language to the state’s two-year transportation budget bill that would raise speed limits on highways with a 55-mph limit to 60 mph. In addition, cities or townships would be able to ask the Ohio Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit to 65 mph for state routes with a current speed limit of 60 mph.

IA: Bill to establish midwife licensing advances through Iowa House

Iowa is one of 15 states that does not have a licensing process for professional midwives. The bill would create a regulatory board to certify midwifes and ensure they’ve completed an educational course, with exemptions for those practicing in Native American, Mennonite and Amish communities or other religious communities with traditional midwifery practices.

SC: Venus fly trap fans ask South Carolina to honor carnivorous plant

Conservationists are pushing for the Venus fly trap to be South Carolina’s official carnivorous plant. The interesting species is native only in this spot on the globe: the upper part of the South Carolina coast and a small sliver of southeast North Carolina.

UT: Utah has a new state flag — for now

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed the bill authorizing a new state flag for Utah. It took five years for the flag redesign to get to this point, but a looming public referendum threatens to derail the change.

GA: Georgia Senate leaders pass .4B budget with K raises for law enforcement

Georgia Senate budget writers passed a spending plan for the upcoming year that would give troopers, state investigators and game wardens $6,000 raises, while teachers and other state employees would receive a $2,000 salary boost.

WY: Pharmacists angry after Wyoming governor uses line-item veto to strip bill

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, used his veto power to gut a bill aimed at aiding independent community pharmacies and consumers by tightening regulations on pharmacy middlemen. As originally written, it would have allowed Wyoming residents to freely choose the pharmacies they use. But the version that Gordon signed into law last week looks little like the bill that lawmakers approved.

SD: South Dakota governor signs sales tax cut

Despite the threat of veto, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has signed a bill temporarily reducing the overall sales tax rate in South Dakota. The bill reduces the rate from 4.5% to 4.2% for four years.

TN: Tennessee Senate panel approves narrow exceptions to abortion ban

Under Tennessee’s current abortion ban, doctors who perform the procedure to save the life of a patient can offer an “affirmative defense,” but health professionals have said the criminal and professional risk endangers ethical medical practice and care. The bill would strip the affirmative defense portion from state law and add explicit exceptions for ectopic and molar pregnancies.

NJ: New Jersey governor signs bill to help small business

Small businesses in New Jersey will get some tips to navigate red tape and improve customer service, as well as more time to resolve some violations, under a trio of laws Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed.

FL: Florida legislature considers alimony overhaul bill

As in previous versions of the Florida bill, the main source of contention this year is a proposal that would do away with what is known as “permanent” alimony. The measure would set up a process for ex-spouses who make alimony payments to seek modifications to alimony agreements when they want to retire.

OR: Oregon lawmakers take up contentious data center clean energy bill

A legislative committee held its first hearing on a bill that would require new Oregon data centers and cryptocurrency miners to meet clean energy targets. Proponents say the bill would compel big tech companies to comply with Oregon’s clean energy targets. But government leaders in rural cities and counties say it could stifle construction of new data centers in eastern and central Oregon.

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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.