Top State Stories 4/14
FL: Florida governor signs 6-week abortion ban. Next step is up to state Supreme Court
Late Thursday night, in a private ceremony in his office, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The legislation prohibits abortion in most cases after six weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and human trafficking.
TN: Tennessee gun lobby throws cold water on governor’s protective order plan
The Tennessee Firearms Association is trashing Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s push for what it calls a “red flag law,” saying he wants to pass an unconstitutional measure as an emotional reaction to the Covenant School shooting.
MT: Montana bill would claim state constitution doesn’t protect abortion after all
A bill that aims to put language into Montana law saying the right to individual privacy under the state constitution does not create a right to abortion is headed to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk despite questions over its constitutionality.
MI: Michigan House Democrats pass red flag bills
Just hours after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law bills expanding background checks for firearm purchases and safe storage requirements, the Michigan House approved a series of bills to enact a so-called red flag law that would empower courts in the state to temporarily take away guns from those deemed dangerous.
TX: Texas House approves bill banning hairstyle discrimination
The Texas House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would prohibit race-based hair discrimination in schools, workplaces and housing. The lower chamber’s vote tookthe state one step closer to adopting a law inspired by the experiences of two Black high schoolers near Houston who were threatened with discipline if they didn’t cut their locks.
CA: Tobacco sales phaseout withers in California without support from anti-tobacco advocates
A bill to phase out all tobacco sales in California has been shelved, and anti-tobacco groups won’t say why they didn’t offer support. The bill was amended to focus on enforcing an existing ban on flavored tobacco.
WA: Washington state legislature backs compromise bill on police pursuits
The Washington state legislature is moving to ease restrictions on when police can engage in car chases to nab fleeing criminal suspects. A bipartisan compromise bill approved by the state House was praised by supporters as striking a middle ground on the hot-button issue.
OR: Oregon governor signs bill with M for chip industry, granting new land-use powers for her
Oregon chipmakers are in line for million in taxpayer support from a bill Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek signed, and she gained temporary but nonetheless extraordinary authority to designate rural lands for industrial development.
WY: A lot of mountain lions are being spotted in Wyoming towns
Mountain lions occasionally wandering into urban areas is nothing new in Wyoming, but there’s been a recent flurry of big cats taking to the streets, though it’s not certain whether that’s because of the harsh winter, a predator expert said. With terrible winter conditions driving prey animals, such as deer, into settled areas, mountain lions might be following.
CO: Water quality in Colorado’s mobile home parks has been a problem for decades
Mobile home park residents across Colorado — and the rest of the nation — have consistently ranked water quality issues as one of the enduring problems in America’s last bastion of unsubsidized affordable housing. These concerns have prompted state lawmakers to bring a bill this session that would establish for the first time a statewide water quality testing program across the more than 700 mobile home parks that dot the Centennial State.
MO: Missouri ‘emergency’ rule limits gender-affirming care for minors, adults
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, announced new “emergency” restrictions on gender-affirming care for adults in addition to minors in a move that is believed to be a first nationally. The rule includes a required 18 months of therapy before receiving gender-affirming health care; it is set to take effect April 27 and expire next February. Doctors who provide gender-affirming health care must first provide patients a lengthy list of potential negative side effects and information warning against those treatments. Puberty blockers have been approved as safe for 30 years.
NM: New Mexico maternal health services shrink as need grows
Pregnant women across New Mexico are facing similar dilemmas. In the last decade, six hospitals around the state have closed their maternity wards and at least three clinics have been forced to close or severely reduce operations, due to financial stress, staff shortages or other causes.
ID: As bonds fail over and over, Idaho schools are falling apart
No other state spends less on education per student than Idaho. It also ranks last in the nation in terms of school infrastructure spending per pupil. Despite urgent needs, most rural bond efforts fail, an investigation by the Idaho Statesman and ProPublica has found.
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