Top State Stories 3/30
TN: Tennessee lawmakers delay gun bills after Nashville shooting as advocates demand action
Tennessee lawmakers chose to delay hearing a number of proposed bills related to firearms, a decision some gun safety advocates criticized as inaction in the wake of the deadliest school shooting in state history. Prior to Monday’s shooting at The Covenant School, Tennessee Republicans, who hold a supermajority in the General Assembly, had been moving to expand gun access.
KY: Kentucky’s GOP legislature overturns veto; youth transgender health bill becomes law
Kentucky’s legislature has overridden the veto of a controversial bill related to transgender youths. The new law bans gender-affirming care to minors, blocks teachers from using a student’s preferred pronouns and requires school districts to form bathroom policies based on biological sex and limits discussion about LGBTQ issues in sexual education classes.
OH: Animal sedative xylazine made a controlled drug in Ohio
An animal sedative that has been increasingly found in fentanyl, causing an added danger to people who use drugs, is now a controlled substance in Ohio. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order directing the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to immediately classify xylazine as a Schedule III controlled substance, making Ohio one of the first states in the nation to schedule xylazine as a controlled substance drug.
WI: Unanimous support on Wisconsin Senate committee for a year of postpartum health coverage
A broad group of Democrats, Republicans, medical experts, insurance representatives, the Catholic church and anti-abortion advocates voiced their support for a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum women in Wisconsin from 60 days to one year.
NV: Nevada bill targets ‘hate symbols’; some raise free speech concerns
Nevada state legislators weighed in during a hearing on a proposed bill to make it a crime to draw, paint, etch or display a “hate symbol” in a public place. The bill lists a hangman’s noose and the Nazi swastika as examples of hate symbols.
TX: Texas Senate scales back proposed restrictions on puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender kids
The Texas bill previously would have banned several gender-affirming treatments outright. But the Senate amended the legislation to allow children who are currently receiving puberty blockers and hormone therapies to continue such treatments if the bill is signed into law.
MO: Missouri House votes to ban diversity spending in government
Under the proposed restrictions, Missouri state spending would be banned from going to initiatives that promote “collective guilt,” “the concept that disparities are necessarily tied to oppression” and “intersectional or divisive identity activism,” among other concepts.
FL: Florida targeting of environmental and social investing could come with costs
Florida taxpayers could pay more for municipal bonds and see lower returns on government pension funds under a bill moving through the legislature that attempts to penalize U.S. companies that consider social and environmental issues when making investment decisions.
CA: Democratic lawmaker proposes ending California’s travel ban to anti-LGBTQ states
A powerful California lawmaker has proposed ending the state’s ban on taxpayer-funded travel to states that have passed anti-LGBTQ laws, arguing that the ban — while good-intentioned — has resulted in unintended consequences.
AZ: Arizona governor’s spokesperson resigns following controversial tweet invoking gun violence
Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ spokesperson Josselyn Berry has resigned amid controversy over a social media post invoking gun violence posted hours after the deadly shooting at a Nashville school.
GA: Ban on outside election money passes Georgia General Assembly
A party-line vote in the Georgia Senate gave final approval to a bill that would make it a felony for county election offices to receive money from nonprofit organizations following Republican complaints that donations disproportionately benefited Democratic areas.
UT: Utah authorities investigate false threats, unfounded shooting calls made to at least 5 schools
At least five schools throughout Utah received unfounded threats and false shooting calls, prompting police responses and leaving teachers, students and parents “traumatized,” one official said.
NY: New York may boost cap for state workers’ retirement income
Under a provision tucked in the New York Senate’s budget proposal, retired government workers who choose to return to work for the state could earn up to an additional $15,000 a year without losing any of their pension income. Backers hope it will help solve the state’s workforce staffing problem.
DE: After record-tying year for traffic deaths, Delaware leaders propose a package of safety laws
Several hours after another traffic fatality in Delaware, state leaders held a news conference to introduce six proposed laws designed to improve safety on the roads. Traffic fatalities in the state have increased from 117 in 2020 to 139 in 2021 to a record-tying 165 last year.
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