Top State Stories 3/24

By: - March 24, 2023 12:00 am

OK: Oklahoma school board unanimously passes rules targeting library content

Without discussion or debate, the Oklahoma State Board of Education unanimously approved a pair of rules that would downgrade schools’ or districts’ accreditation if they are found to have library materials deemed to be pornographic or excessively sexualized. Both rules are subject to approval by the Oklahoma legislature.

TX: Environmental group says Texas fails to hold repeat polluters accountable

A new report found that companies in Texas have had 21,000 unexpected pollution releases that emitted 400,000 tons of air pollution over six years, but only 1% of them prompted action by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

GA: Georgia governor signs bill restricting gender-affirming health care for minors

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that bans health care providers from providing certain hormones or surgical treatment to children that align with their gender identity.

IL: Illinois Senate passes measure requiring AC at state-funded affordable housing

Following the heat-exposure deaths of three older adults in their apartments on Chicago’s Far North Side last year, the Illinois Senate passed a measure that would require all state-funded affordable housing to have air-conditioning installed and controlled by residents.

CA: Are Skittles dangerous? California bill would ban chemicals in candy

Lawmakers in California want to ban chemicals in popular rainbow candies and processed foods — including Skittles, Nerds, Hot Tamales, cake icing and Strawberry Nesquik. A proposed bill would halt the manufacture, sale or distribution of any food product containing red dye No. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil or propylparaben, arguing that those chemicals are already banned in the European Union.

MN: Minnesota Senate panel approves trio of gun safety bills

A trio of bills aimed at curbing gun violence received the endorsement of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee, a giant victory for supporters of gun safety measures who have seen similar proposals languish for years under Republican control of the Senate.

DC: Joining national trend, District of Columbia to cancel M in residents’ medical debt

The District of Columbia will use ,000 in year-end surplus funds to purchase debt, for pennies on the dollar, on behalf of about 90,000 D.C. residents earning up to four times the federal poverty level or whose medical debt is at least 5% of their income, according to city officials.

OH: Ohio governor launches statewide audit on how schools teach reading

The audit is part of a comprehensive push by the GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration to improve Ohio’s literacy rates by focusing on what he believes to be the best way to teach children to read: phonics.

VT: Vermont’s 2022 opioid deaths set a record for the 3rd straight year

Vermont officials recently flagged the presence of an anti-seizure medication in some opioid deaths in 2022, a year when a record-breaking 237 Vermonters died from accidental opioid overdoses.

NE: Nebraska advances ban on gender-affirming care for minors

Supporters of a bill that would ban most gender-affirming care for Nebraskans under the age of 19 voted to end a filibuster and advance the proposal after three days of emotional and often personal debate.

KS: Abuse survivors hope Kansas compromise will bring justice

After years of urging the Kansas legislature to act, survivors of child sex abuse hope a new compromise will finally allow law enforcement to charge their abusers and let victims sue them for compensation.

NY: New York legislature voices some support for ‘overdose prevention centers’

A New York state Assembly bill would authorize  “overdose prevention centers,” also known as “safe injection sites.” The bill was passed by the state Assembly’s health committee, giving supporters of the legislation hope that the measure may gain more momentum with lawmakers than in prior years.

PA: Pennsylvania moms plead with legislature for gun restrictions

Hundreds of Pennsylvanians whose lives have been affected by gun violence descended on the Capitol to call on state officials to pass stronger gun laws, with new hope that the new Democratic majority in the state House could finally achieve it.

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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.