Top State Stories 4/6
IN: Indiana governor signs bill banning gender-affirming care for minors
Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill banning gender-affirming health care procedures for transgender minors. Almost immediately, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to stop it from being implemented.
MD: State report shows ‘astonishing’ depravity in child sexual abuse at Maryland archdiocese
A four-year state investigation reveals the scope of 80 years of child sexual abuse and torture in a Maryland Catholic archdiocese and how church officials often covered it up and, in some cases, paved the way for further abuse.
NM: New Mexico governor signs bill providing protections for reproductive, gender-affirming care
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a bill that shields New Mexico patients and providers from out-of-state investigations into abortion or gender-affirming care and prohibits local governments and public agencies from restricting access to such care.
US: Fentanyl overdoses spur states to seek tougher laws
State lawmakers are moving to crack down on drug crimes in response to growing anger and fearover the toll of a drug crisis killing thousands every month. In North Carolina, one of at least a dozen states this year that haveconsidered tougher drug penalties, the Senate recently passed a measure thatwould expand prosecutors’ ability to bring felony charges againstanyone who gives a lethal dose of fentanyl.
TN: Tennessee Senate joins House in passing narrow abortion exception bill
The legislation would explicitly exempt ectopic and molar pregnancies from Tennessee’s abortion ban, in addition to allowing doctors to perform abortions if, in their “reasonable” medical judgment, an abortion would prevent the death or “to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Bill Lee.
TX: Texas Senate votes to defund libraries where drag queens read to kids
The Texas Senate approved two bills aimed at restricting drag performances that children attend or see. One of them would defund public libraries where drag queens are allowed to read to children, while the other would bar kids from drag shows if the performances are overly lewd.
KS: Kansas bans transgender athletes from women’s sports
When Kansas high schools and colleges return for the fall semester next year, transgender athletes will no longer be eligible to compete in girls or women’s sports. The Kansas House and Senate overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s third veto of the legislation.
FL: Florida Senate bill would let people sue over removing, damaging Confederate monuments
The proposal would also allow any legal resident of Florida, or any nonprofit organization focused on historical preservation from anywhere in the country, to sue those responsible for damaging, destroying or moving a monument.
CA: California child welfare agencies under fire for pocketing foster kids’ Social Security money
A California lawmaker is authoring a bill that would prohibit counties from using federal benefits to defray foster care costs. It also would direct child welfare agencies to use the money for the children directly, which could include preserving it for their futures.
NV: Nevada bill targeting train safety gains steam amid national derailments
A new proposal heard by lawmakers could set the maximum length of a train running through Nevada to just 7,500 feet, or just over 1.4 miles, a move that comes amid a rash of high-profile train derailments — including a devastating chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio.
HI: As mental health crisis worsens in Hawaii, psychiatrist shortage takes heavy toll on kids
A severe shortage of pediatric psychiatrists in Hawaii, combined with growing demand for mental health services fueled by the pandemic, social media, bullying and other factors, leaves many families desperate to find whatever help they can get. State leaders are working to bring some relief, especially on the neighbor islands.
AZ: Arizona governor bans TikTok from most state-owned devices
Arizona will ban TikTok from most state-owned cellphones and electronic devices, making the state the latest to join efforts across the country to respond to fears about spying by the Chinese government via the video-sharing app.
MI: Governor repeals Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban
With the stroke of her pen, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer repealed an unenforceable Michigan law that makes it a felony to administer most abortions with no exception for rape or incest. While a constitutional amendment passed by voters means the 1931 abortion ban is no longer in effect, Democratic lawmakers still wanted to repeal it.
AK: Alaska House budget stalls over plan to use savings for one-time school funding boost
The Alaska House of Representatives’ progress on the state budget stalled with a mass exodus from the Capitol after an amendment was proposed by the Republican-led majority to use savings to pay for a one-time boost for education.
AR: Arkansas bill cutting personal, corporate income taxes heads to governor
The Arkansas House of Representatives voted to send Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders a bill that would cut the state’s top individual income tax rate from 4.9% to 4.7% and the state’s top corporate income tax rate from 5.3% to 5.1%, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023.
VT: Vermont Senate approves bill that would ban ‘forever chemicals’ from menstrual and cosmetic products, textiles and turf fields
The Vermont legislation, which now heads to the House, prohibits manufacturers from selling cosmetic products, including shampoo, makeup, deodorant, sunscreen, hair dyes and more, if they have “intentionally added” any of a list of chemicals including ortho-phthalates, formaldehyde and aluminum salts.
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