Top State Stories: Ohio governor delays 3 inmates’ executions
OH: Ohio governor delays 3 inmates’ executions
Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine issued three reprieves of execution, citing issues with obtaining drugs for lethal injection. DeWine has repeatedly expressed his concern that if pharmaceutical companies find that Ohio used its drugs to put people to death, they will refuse to sell any of its drugs — not just the ones used in executions — to the state.
FL: Florida governor signed abortion bill late at night, raising questions
The quiet signing of such a landmark piece of legislation raised questions about whether Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to run for president in 2024, was avoiding drawing too much attention to an issue that may carry political risk.
UT: Utah’s Great Salt Lake risked disappearing. Unprecedented weather is bringing it back.
The Great Salt Lake in Utah was at a record low before historic snowfall fueled its rise — along with violent runoff that is difficult to control.
CT: In 24 Connecticut towns, no stores accept food stamps
A bill in the Connecticut legislature would create the state Office of the Food Access Advocate and provide tax incentives to certain grocery stores opening in food deserts.
IA: Iowa Supreme Court says open records suit against governor can proceed
A lawsuit by three journalists who allege Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds violated the state’s Open Records Law, should continue in district court to determine whether her responses to their requests were timely, the state Supreme Court decided.
NY: New York State School Board expected to ban native mascots
Under a new policy expected to be approved by the New York State Board of Regents, native school nicknames may have to be changed. Dozens of schools are scrambling to either adopt new names or attempt to use a provision in the policy that allows for some Native mascots to remain if they are endorsed by one of the state’s recognized tribal nations.
AK: Alaska young adults tripled e-cigarette use in recent 5-year period, report says
Alaska posted the nation’s highest rate of increase in electronic cigarette use by young adults from 2016 to 2021, according to a report tracking patterns in all the states. The rate of e-cigarette use by Alaskans in that age group more than tripled, from 4.8% in 2019 — the lowest rate in the nation at the time — to 15.8% in 2021, according to the report.
PA: Pittsburgh synagogue shooter to stand trial, 4 years later
It’s been more than four years since Robert Gregory Bowers opened fire on Shabbat services on a gray and rainy fall Saturday in Pennsylvania, becoming linked to the worst attack on the Jewish faith in American history. His trial, finally, is imminent. Jury selection in the federal case against Bowers, 50, begins April 24.
AZ: Arizona’s new secretary of state wants millions more for his office
Arizona Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes is looking for money. Nothing less than the safety and security of the 2024 elections is at stake, as he sees it.
CA: Cal State undergraduate workers seek union representation
Undergraduate student assistants at California State University are mounting a union organizing campaign, calling for more work hours, paid sick time and higher wages.
OK: Oklahoma governor dissolves inter-agency council on homelessness
The Oklahoma group, established nearly 20 years ago, included members of the public as well as private and nonprofit representatives who work together to come up with solutions to the state’s homelessness problem. Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt says there is no need for the council anymore and that he doesn’t believe it was moving the needle.
WA: WA lawmakers consider tax increases as session nears end
A Washington House panel voted to raise an existing tax on sales of multimillion-dollar properties — one of a handful of tax bills that are getting consideration in the final days of the legislative session. The vote in the House Finance Committee to raise the state’s real estate excise tax on higher-end property sales was a sign that majority Democrats are weighing tax increases to boost spending on low-income housing to address the state’s homelessness crisis.
OR: Universities, community colleges face bleak funding picture in Oregon
Higher education advocates came into the 2023 Oregon legislative session with momentum, but at the halfway point of the session, any hopes of lofty new investments have been tempered by lean budget models and other spending priorities in Salem. Though final allocations have yet to be decided, colleges and universities are planning for funding levels for the coming two academic years to potentially fall below current operating costs.
MT: Montana governor signs employee pay hike plan
The pay plan signed by GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte calls for either .50-an-hour or 4% raises, whichever is greater, for state and Montana University System employees this year and next, effective July 1 of each year. Employees also will receive a one-time bonus, ,040 for full-time workers and lesser amounts for part-time workers.
NM: New Mexico changes policies in attempt to lure more film productions to state
The New Mexico changes to a state film incentive program will allow the state to gradually increase its annual spending on incentives — from million to million — and offer a larger per production credit to NBCUniversal, Netflix and other film “partners” that have set up shop in New Mexico and are not subject to the broader spending limit.
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