Top State Stories 4/4
FL: Florida governor signs permitless carry gun bill into law
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that lets people carry guns without a permit and without any training. People who are otherwise prohibited from carrying a gun under state and federal law — such as people with felony records and certain disqualifying misdemeanors — would still be barred under the legislation.
NJ: New Jersey governor signs campaign money law after election watchdogs resign in protest
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed a controversial bill into law that critics warn will upend a decades-old campaign finance watchdog agency in charge of making sure money is legally raised and spent in New Jersey elections. Sponsors of the measure said it would improve transparency — despite opposition from those who called it a power grab meant to take the teeth out of the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
TN: Tennessee House Republicans file resolutions to expel 3 Democrats who led gun safety chants
Tennessee House Republicans filed resolutions to expel three Democrats for “disorderly behavior” after the trio led protest chants for new gun restrictions on the floor of the chamber last week. The official expulsion resolutions state the trio “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions.”
DE: Judge certifies class-action COVID shutdown lawsuit against University of Delaware
A class action lawsuit against the University of Delaware over its COVID-19 campus and in-person classes shutdown has been given the go-ahead by a federal judge. The lawsuit is on behalf of thousands of students who paid tuition in spring of 2020 and are seeking partial refunds.
SD: South Dakota skips out on M for emission reductions
South Dakota is leaving millions of federal dollars on the table that could be spent on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of four states that won’t access that money funded by the Inflation Reduction Act.
KS: Kansas House kills plan for taxpayer-funded presidential primary
The Kansas House rejected a plan to give Republicans and Democrats the option of holding a presidential primary next year at taxpayer expense amid bipartisan opposition. State senators had fast-tracked the plan.
AZ: Arizona governor vetoes 4 more Republican bills
Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs notched another four vetoes. The governor rejected one proposal that would have increased the maximum possible penalty for aggravated assault in a domestic violence situation if the assailant knew or had reason to know the victim was pregnant. The other bills concerned utilities planning new facilities, bank lending practices and pollution discharges.
TX: GOP Texas senators pull their support for allowing teens to continue gender-affirming care
Republican Texas senators reversed themselves and voted against allowing transgender kids currently being treated with puberty blockers and hormone therapy to continue receiving it. The chamber voted 19-11 along party lines to preliminarily approve a broader ban on such care for minors, without that exception.
MN: Minnesota Court of Appeals rejects abortion challenge bid
The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected an attempt by the Traverse County prosecutor to appeal a judge’s decision last year that threw out most of the state’s restrictions on abortion as unconstitutional.
AR: Criminal justice bill clears Arkansas Senate, heads to the House
The Arkansas Senate approved a wide-ranging criminal justice bill that would revamp the state’s parole system and require people convicted of the most violent felonies to serve the entirety of their sentences in prison. The bill also would establish a task force to study Arkansas’ high rate of recidivism, launch a mental health pilot program and increase penalties for certain charges.
LA: Louisiana again weighs ban on youth gender-affirming care
Louisiana lawmakers say the bill would protect children, but a new state report says the procedure has hardly occurred in the state in recent years.
MT: Medicaid provider stabilization bill advances in Montana house
A bill that would bring Montana’s Medicaid reimbursement up to par with the findings of a state-commissioned study passed a second round of scrutiny on the House floor with substantial bipartisan support in an 82-18 vote.
IA: Iowa House panel considers tax exemptions for direct-care workers
The Iowa bill would exempt individual income tax wages for employees of a nonprofit organization providing services for people with a mental or physical disability. Lawmakers heard from several disability rights and worker advocates who said the measure would help recruit and retain workers in an industry where low wages and challenging work is common.
MO: Missouri sees surge in cannabis jobs after legalization vote
Thousands of people have landed cannabis jobs in Missouri since voters approved recreational marijuana use through a constitutional amendment, which appeared on the November ballot as Amendment 3. The job surge is best seen through the number of licenses the state approves for new employees each month — it’s quadrupled since November.
CA: California’s snowpack is among the deepest ever. Now get ready for the perilous ‘big melt’
California’s wet and wintry start to the year has resulted in perhaps the deepest snowpack recorded in more than 70 years, officials said. But though the bounty has eased drought conditions, experts warn that the dense Sierra Nevada snowpack will soon melt, potentially unleashing torrents of water and creating considerable concern about spring flooding in valleys, foothills and communities below.
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