Top State Stories: Washington bans sale of AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles

By: - April 26, 2023 12:00 am

WA: Washington bans sale of AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles, effective immediately

Washington has become the 10th state to prohibit sales of AR-15s and dozens of other semi-automatic rifles, as Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed the ban into law, effective immediately. The state Capitol was closed to the public for the signing ceremony out of security concerns.

MN: Minnesota House votes to legalize marijuana

Minnesota took a step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana for adults. The House approved the measure on a 71-59 vote after a long debate; next up is a vote in the Senate, scheduled for Friday.

TX: Texas Senate advances limits on farmland sales to China, other countries

The Texas Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would limit the sale of Texas farmland to citizens and entities associated with China and several other countries. The bill would restrict purchases of agricultural land, timberland and oil and gas rights by entities associated with any country that “poses a risk to the national security of the United States” — as designated by three consecutive annual threat assessment analyses by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

NY: New York legislature close to passing budget without governor’s top priority — housing

New York state lawmakers are nearing the end of their budget negotiations without Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s top priority — a comprehensive housing plan that set a goal to build 800,000 new units. Hochul all but admitted defeat in an appearance with hockey great Wayne Gretzky. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” Hochul said at the Capitol. “I took the shot.”

FL: Florida lawmakers poised to allow governor to run for president without resigning

Florida lawmakers are poised to change state law to allow Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to remain in his seat if he decides to run for president. An amendment to an elections bill would carve out an exemption from the state’s resign-to-run law for candidates for president or vice president.

PA: Pennsylvania House passes bill to widen window for suits over childhood sexual abuse

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed — for the fourth time this year — a measure that would change the commonwealth’s statute of limitations to allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse a two-year legal window to file suit. But the measure now faces likely inaction in the Senate, where GOP leaders have said it will not be entertained unless packaged with two other constitutional amendments that have a sharp partisan divide.

MO: Missouri GOP lawmakers divided on restricting gender-affirming care for adults

The sweeping nature of a new statewide rule is dividing Missouri Republicans, with some voicing full-throated support for making restrictions on gender-affirming care as broad as possible. Others say adults should have the freedom to make their own decisions even as they back bans on the care for children.

WI: Wisconsin schools consider closure, consolidation as enrollment drops

Wisconsin’s public schools have fewer students in the classrooms. And since school funding is tied to enrollment, districts across the state are considering closing and combining schools.

NE: Nebraska governor signs permitless carry law

Republican Gov. Jim Pillen signed into law a bill authorizing Nebraskans to carry concealed handguns without a permit or gun safety training. The bill was opposed by the cities of Lincoln and Omaha.

KS: Kansas Republicans gear up for veto overrides

Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has broken her own record for most vetoes in a session as the Republican supermajorities in the legislature gear up for override attempts during this week’s veto session. Kelly vetoed 15 bills and about 15 line items, while signing another 80 bills into law.

SD: South Dakota governor blames housing delays on lawmakers

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem blamed state lawmakers for delays in a plan for $200 million in new housing, saying the slow pace in making new rules for the plan were inexcusable. The director of the state Housing Development Authority resigned in March.

WY: ‘Epic’ spike in Wyoming officer-involved shootings detours state from investigating cold cases

Last year was “an epic year” for officer-involved shootings in Wyoming with 15, more than double the five to seven per year over the previous decade, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Commander Matt Waldock told state lawmakers. A less-obvious side effect is the major drain on resources and time the shootings siphon away from investigating other cases.

CO: Colorado plan will put more electric trucks, semitrailers on the road beginning in 2027

Colorado’s trucking industry will need to start investing in zero-emission semitrailers, buses and delivery trucks as soon as 2027 as part of the state’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the cause of climate change. The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission approved a plan to convert most of the medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold in the state to electric vehicles or vehicles that run off hydrogen fuel cells, starting in 2027.

IL: Cannabis classes are expanding at Illinois colleges

As the cannabis industry continues growing, Illinois companies are looking to hire people who have some cannabis knowledge — and more of those businesses are even sponsoring college courses. That workaround is crucial since marijuana is still federally illegal, and there’s a risk schools that receive government funding could lose it by working with the actual product on campus.

OH: Ohio House nixes proposal making seatbelt use a primary offense

The Ohio House has for now scrapped a proposal from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine that would allow police officers to pull over drivers for failing to wear a seat belt or properly buckle in their child. Both are currently classified as “secondary” offenses, meaning they can’t be the basis for their own traffic stop but can be ticketed if a driver is pulled over for a separate “primary” offense.

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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.