Top State Stories 3/29
US: Republicans face setbacks in push to tighten voting laws on campuses
Alarmed over young people increasingly proving to be a force for Democrats at the ballot box, Republican lawmakers in a number of states have been trying to enact new obstacles to voting for college students. But so far this year, a new Idaho law is one of few successes for Republicans targeting young voters.
CO: 1 in 4 Colorado teens say they can get a loaded gun within 24 hours, new study finds
One in 4 Colorado teens reported they could get access to a loaded gun within 24 hours, according to survey results. Nearly half of those teens said it would take them less than 10 minutes.
TX: Texas Senate approves bill restricting which college sports teams transgender athletes can join
The Republican-controlled Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that would require college athletes in the state to join the sports teams that align with their sex assigned at birth, regardless of their gender identity. The legislation also would prevent out-of-state transgender college athletes from participating in competitions that are hosted in the state.
HI: Hawaii lawmakers grappling with sea level rise say it’s ‘not the right time’ for managed retreat
Several bills were introduced this legislative session in Hawaii that would have taken big steps toward implementing managed retreat strategies — moving development away from vulnerable coastlines, potentially at the cost of leaving behind family homes and businesses to be swallowed by the sea. But by now, all have lost momentum.
WA: Washington state to burn thousands of acres of forest ahead of fire season
The Washington Department of Natural Resources is planning to torch more than 2,100 acres this spring in an aim to prevent more severe wildfires this summer. After evaluating weather and wind patterns, fire risk and ecological benefits, officials zeroed in on seven sites in Klickitat, Kittitas, Okanogan and Spokane counties.
OR: Oregon governor backs early literacy proposal
After weeks of furious, behind-the-scenes negotiations, Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek has thrown her weight — and a proposal to spend upwards of $100 million – behind a bill that aims to overhaul how Oregon’s youngest students are taught to read. The effort, dubbed the Early Literacy Success Initiative, is up for a pivotal hearing this week.
NE: Nebraska lawmakers vote to limit filibusters as delay continues
With floor action proceeding at a snail’s pace, the Nebraska legislature spent roughly five hours locked in a debate that ultimately took away one of the tools lawmakers have been using to eat up time.
IN: Indiana advances bill to restrict prison transgender health treatment
The Indiana Senate advanced a bill to restrict gender-affirming surgery for inmates in Indiana prisons. It would prohibit the use of state funds to pay for hormone therapy or such surgery.
NC: North Carolina Senate overrides governor’s veto of pistol-permitting bill
The North Carolina Senate voted 30-19 to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that repealed gun laws that governed some pistol permits and allowed weapons on school grounds for certain events. The House will now consider an override; both chambers are controlled by Republicans.
KS: Kansas may dump presidential caucuses for primaries
The GOP-controlled Kansas legislature is fast-tracking a bill to provide the state Republican and Democratic parties the option to have state-run presidential primary elections next year instead of the current party-run caucuses. Hundreds of thousands of voters would participate in even a low-turnout primary, compared with about 73,000 Republicans and 39,000 Democrats in caucuses.
NJ: New Jersey highways will soon have EV charging stations
Drivers of electric vehicles that need a charge on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway could soon have access to charging stations at all service areas under an agreement being negotiated with the operator of those facilities.
NV: Nevada lawmakers add thousands of higher ed workers back to state worker bonus bill
The Nevada state Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to again amend a bill distributing the first round of bonuses for state workers this year, reversing a decision by the Assembly to exclude Nevada System of Higher Education professional employees under concerns that the bill was “significantly underfunded” in its original form.
DE: Delaware Senate passes marijuana legalization bills
Delaware’s Senate voted to legalize possession of small quantities of marijuana and establish a regulatory structure for cultivation and sale of the drug. Both bills now go to Gov. John Carney, who has remained opposed to marijuana legalization — one of the last holdouts among Democratic governors.
OK: After a decade of waiting, Oklahomans with disabilities still aren’t receiving care they need
In May, Oklahoma lawmakers approved $32.5 million to clear a 13-year waiting list composed of more than 5,000 Oklahomans with disabilities seeking help. Since then, fewer than 10% have been approved for a Medicaid waiver to fund a range of services for low-income people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many of them are still without care due to the lack of providers.
AR: Arkansas sues parent companies of Facebook and Instagram, TikTok
Arkansas has filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, and two lawsuits against TikTok Inc., and its parent company ByteDance, alleging violations of Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The lawsuit against Meta Platforms alleges that the defendants are liable for the “manipulative and addicting features they deploy to hook young users and keep them on the platform.”
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