Top State Stories 3/27
FL: Florida House passes permitless carry bill
The Florida House approved legislation along party lines that would allow people to carry guns without being required to obtain a concealed-weapons license, which includes undergoing a training and safety course as well as an additional background check. The measure still needs to clear the state Senate before going to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
MN: Minnesota House passes interstate transgender refuge bill
The Minnesota House voted 68-62 to pass a bill that would welcome transgender people from other states seeking gender-affirming health care. The bill, which has yet to be considered in the Senate, would protect transgender people, their families and medical practitioners from extradition orders and legal repercussions for traveling to Minnesota to receive gender-affirming care.
OK: Oklahoma fight against pro-environmental policies may be hurting business recruitment
Oklahoma’s Republican lawmakers are pushing back on environmentally conscious investment programs, a political effort they say protects the state’s oil and gas economy. Yet many of those pro-environmental policies are embraced by the same multinational corporations the state is aggressively trying to recruit with millions in tax incentives.
MO: Diversity initiatives in Missouri agencies run up against GOP talking points
Not only do the inclusion programs help workers from underrepresented groups feel welcomed, one Missouri union leader said, but the programs also give them visibility for promotions — something she said minority employees statewide have long struggled to land. Republican pushback is leading agencies to cut diversity and inclusion efforts.
NJ: New Jersey could require state documents in 15 languages
New Jersey, one of the nation’s most diverse states, is getting closer to requiring state documents and services be provided in a growing array of languages.
SD: South Dakota businesses can buy opioid overdose medication
A bill that takes effect July 1 will allow employers in South Dakota to purchase opioid antagonists and make them available for employees or members of the public to use in an emergency. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed the bill into law.
MS: Mayor of Mississippi town destroyed by tornado doubles as funeral director
In Mississippi, Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker is a well-known figure in his community, not only because of his political ties, but because he is the town’s funeral director. It’s a business he’s been around most of his life, he said, and that gives him a unique perspective as he tries to offer comfort to the people of his city, the hardest hit town from a tornado that killed 25.
OH: Ohio has been cutting income taxes for almost 20 years. Are Ohioans better off?
It has been almost 20 years since Ohio lawmakers began cutting income taxes, something state Republicans hope to continue this year. But both right- and left-leaning groups said the impact of Ohio’s income tax cuts on the state economy overall throughout those two decades has been minimal.
ID: Idaho governor signs firing squad executions into law
The new law signed by GOP Gov. Brad Little would give the director of the Idaho Department of Correction up to five days after the issuance of a death warrant to determine if lethal injection is available. If the director does not indicate that lethal injection is available, then the department must execute someone by firing squad.
IL: Conservatives are targeting suburban Chicago school boards
In the Chicago suburbs, tens of thousands of dollars are pouring into several ostensibly nonpartisan races ahead of the April 4 balloting as what have historically been low-interest elections are roiled by debates where Republican talking points such as “parental rights,” “gender ideology” and “critical race theory” are taking center stage. It’s a national playbook, written primarily by conservatives and the GOP, aimed at gaining a political foothold in what are traditionally among the easiest and least expensive offices to win.
NE: Nebraska gender bill filibuster continues to roil legislature
The battle over a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors continued to roil the Nebraska legislature. Some bill opponents voiced frustration with a renewed filibuster and a supporter proposed a rule change to limit filibusters.
TX: El Paso charter debate tests whether a Texas city will move away from fossil fuels
Residents of El Paso, in West Texas, will decide in a special election this spring whether to approve an amendment to the city charter that would set aggressive renewable energy goals and overhaul city policy to make controlling carbon emissions a cornerstone of major city decisions.
VT: Vermont House passes bill that would legalize online sports betting
The Vermont House passed a widely anticipated bill that would legalize online sports betting in the state — and set aside some of the revenue to mitigate the sharp rise in problem gambling that officials expect would follow.
MI: Michigan governor signs bills repealing right-to-work and reinstating prevailing wages
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, signed into law bills to repeal the state’s right-to-work law, which currently allows workers in the state to not pay union dues or fees. She also reinstated a prevailing wage law that requires union-level wages and benefits for state-funded construction projects.
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