Top State Stories 3/23

By: - March 23, 2023 12:00 am

CA: California lawmakers want to investigate wage theft. But labor unions seek a different path

On this, labor unions and lawmakers agree: Wage theft is rampant in California, and the state system set up to help robbed workers is broken. But a lawmaker’s call for an independent state investigation into what’s gone wrong has brought opposition from, of all places, California’s powerful labor unions.

GA: Antisemitism bill blocked in Georgia as Jewish people seek protections

A bill to combat antisemitism faltered in the Georgia Senate as Jewish people have recently been targeted by flyers thrown onto metro Atlanta driveways and by shootings elsewhere in the country.

DE: New affordable housing in Delaware is rented out well before the ribbon is cut

Despite developers cutting ribbons on new affordable housing complexes, Delaware’s affordable options have shrunk. Units are rented before the ribbon is cut, and the latest National Low Income Coalition housing report found the shortage in affordable units grew 17% in the past year.

NE: Nebraska lawmaker discloses news of transgender son during health care debate

During the debate on a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors in Nebraska, Democratic state Sen. Megan Hunt, in a raw speech to a hushed legislative chamber, told lawmakers the bill would directly affect her 12-year-old son, Ash, who came out as trans more than a year ago. “This is my life, and this is my reality,” she said.

MA: Massachusetts to pharmacies: Stock all abortion pills

Massachusetts officials issued guidance to pharmacies in the state stating they must stock all reproductive health medications including mifepristone, a drug that can safely end a pregnancy in its early stages and that’s currently the subject of dueling lawsuits seeking to expand or restrict access to the pill.

NV: Nevada bill would require equal pay for intellectually disabled

A Nevada bill would require providers of jobs and day training services to pay at least the state minimum wage to those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

IA: Iowa Senate votes to restrict school books with sex, LGBTQ identities

The Iowa Senate passed a bill that would restrict books and instruction related to LGBTQ identities in Iowa classrooms and libraries. An amendment added requirements that school libraries not include materials that depict, visually or textually, any sex act.

TN: New Tennessee law prevents local bans on natural gas stoves

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee has signed legislation barring local governments from banning gas stoves, even though no city in Tennessee is currently pursuing such actions. Under the new law, local governments cannot regulate the “type of source of energy” delivered to customers for utility service connection or appliances.

MS: Mississippi governor vetoes bills aimed at addressing inequalities in insurance

One bill would have given Mississippi’s insurance commissioner the authority to study and address inequalities in insurance reimbursement rates, which GOP Gov. Tate Reeves said was a “bad idea.”

MT: Montana Senate committee tables bill to ban cannabis ads

One day after a hearing that drew pointed opposition from representatives of the cannabis and media industries, the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee voted down — and then tabled — a bill to ban most marijuana advertising in Montana.

FL: Florida governor moves to restrict instruction on sexual orientation through high school

Florida middle school and high school teachers would be further restricted from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity under a proposed rule backed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

WI: Wisconsin legislature allows conversion therapy for patients

The Wisconsin legislature took the final step needed to stop Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration from enacting a ban on the discredited practice known as conversion therapy. Republicans who control the state Senate voted over the objections of Democrats to effectively allow therapists and others to attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

IL: Illinois House OKs measure to allow the state to deny grants to libraries that ban books

The Illinois House approved a measure that would allow the Illinois secretary of state’s office to deny grant funding to public and school libraries if they ban books or fail to devise policies against removing titles from their stacks.

SC: South Carolina’s Grand Strand area worried about House bill on drag shows

The bill, known as the Defense of Children’s Innocence Act, would require any South Carolina business that hosts a drag-related event to be deemed a sexually oriented business. That could be troubling for local businesses on Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand that support the LGBTQ community and Pride events, activists say.

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.

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.