Top State Stories 4/10

By: - April 10, 2023 12:00 am

NC: Will North Carolina be the ‘beginning of the end’ of the Medicaid expansion fight?

Intense patient advocacy, shifting politics, a determined Democratic governor and a handful of maverick Republicans led North Carolina to join 39 other states that have expanded Medicaid.

ID: Idaho AG walks back opinion on prohibiting referrals for out-of-state abortions

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, a Republican, wrote in a follow-up letter to state GOP Rep. Brent Crane that the opinion had been “mischaracterized as law enforcement guidance sent out publicly to local prosecutors and others. It was not a guidance document, nor was it ever published by the Office of the Attorney General,” he said. “Accordingly, I hereby withdraw it.”

MI: Hidden memo was supposed to stop Michigan prisoners from lining up in the cold and rain

The Michigan Department of Corrections settled a 2020 lawsuit by directing wardens to keep prisoners from standing in freezing rain, but the memo setting out that policy change has been kept under wraps as the practice has continued.

MT: Montana lawmaker brings DUI expungement bill after his own conviction

Montana state Rep. Scot Kerns, a Republican, was convicted of a DUI after police found him sleeping in his car with an open container at arm’s reach. This session, he brought a series of traffic crime bills — including one that would allow people convicted of the same crime to get their records expunged.

MO: Missouri Senate reaches deal on GOP tax cut for guns, Dem tax cut on diapers, tampons

The Missouri Senate passed two separate tax relief bills as part of a bipartisan compromise effort. One bill would raise the tax credit limit for food pantry donations, exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from sales tax and give tax credits for consumers buying groceries in food deserts. The other would remove state and local sales tax on firearms and ammunition and offer a state tax credit to sellers equal to the federal tax on the sale of those items.

WI: Wisconsin governor pardons nearly 160 people, extending state record

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers pardoned nearly 160 more people, most of them for relatively low-level offenses ranging from drug dealing and possession to theft. That extends his record number of pardons to 933 during four years in office, easily the most of any Wisconsin governor.

MN: Minnesota lawmakers might pass the largest environmental budget in state history

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has asked the legislature for a major influx of money, aimed in part at modernizing and revitalizing aging infrastructure such as hatcheries, fishing piers, campsites, boat landings, parks and trails.

OK: Lax purchasing exemptions expose Oklahoma to misspent billions, report says

Oklahoma’s lax purchasing exemptions for agencies expose the state to billions of dollars in misspending, including recent examples at the Tourism Department over a contract for barbecue restaurants at state parks and federal coronavirus aid for education, a legislative watchdog report concludes.

DE: Delaware Senate votes to move forward with polystyrene container, plastic straw restrictions

Delaware’s Senate voted to largely ban the use of polystyrene food containers and several other single-use plastics, with some notable exceptions. Delaware already bans plastic carryout bags.

IL: Illinois seeks library pledge against ‘banning’ books

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, who is also the state librarian, is spearheading legislation that would make state grants to libraries contingent on their establishing “a written policy prohibiting the practice of banning books.” The legislation won House approval and awaits action by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

WA: How Washington state’s plan to transform its mental health system has faltered

In a quest to revamp mental health care, Washington state officials made a challenging transition even harder — shutting down some of Western State Hospital’s wards without the planned community facilities that were supposed to take the people who relied on the state hospital.

OR: Oregon school district pulls 36 books after 2 parents complain, sparking student protests

Dozens of Canby High School students are speaking out against the decision last month to pull 36 books from school library shelves before the Oregon district goes through a formal review process over them. The protest, which included students marching during a recent lunch period, joins similar demonstrations around the country as book bans stack up from Oregon to Florida.

CO: Colorado community colleges offering links to 2 historically Black colleges

Colorado community college students looking to transfer to a four-year university can now add two historically Black colleges and universities to their list of options.

SC: South Carolina car dealers push Statehouse to get consumer agency off their back

South Carolina auto dealerships and the state’s consumer watchdog are waging a bruising battle over obscure pricing regulations that’s taken them into courtrooms and the halls of the Statehouse.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.