Digital collage by Ryan Stevens; image source by Abhardphoto from Pixabay

Heading into the holiday season, lawmakers were quite busy this week on a range of topics including agendas for the upcoming legislative sessions, how to continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, marijuana, housing, and more. Notably, some states, like California and New York, are re-implementing various COVID-19 restrictions, while Colorado’s governor declared the emergency to be “over.”

The Garden State of New Jersey also made headlines this week as the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission announced that 500 applications to enter the legal cannabis market were submitted in the first four hours alone.


One lawmaker in Arizona proposed an automatic exemption from any vaccine requirement of any government or private entity if someone can provide documented test results showing that the person has COVID-19 or COVID-19 variant antibodies.

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This week, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the state’s $1.1 billion initiative to clean areas near highways, roads, and other public places. The governor hopes this effort expands next year to address homeless encampments.

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In a recent interview, Governor Jared Polis declared the COVID-19 emergency to be “over.”

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Some democratic lawmakers are urging Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency on housing.

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Legislative leaders in Georgia are starting to outline their plans for the upcoming 2022 legislative session.

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Some lawmakers in Illinois are hoping to pass legislation in the next session to change the way nursing homes are paid through Illinois’ Medicaid program to address staffing shortages.

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Lawmakers in Kentucky held a special work group session at the beginning of the week to hear testimony on which essential worker groups (i.e. nurses, firefighters, police, corrections officers, etc.) are most deserving of bonus pay.

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New Jersey

New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission this week began accepting applications from cannabis growers, manufacturers, and testing laboratory operators hoping to get into New Jersey’s legal weed industry. 500 applications were submitted in the first four hours alone.

Learn more here.

New Mexico

New Mexico lawmakers approved a spending bill this week that allocates $478 million in federal pandemic relief toward highways, internet infrastructure, tourism ads, hospital construction, and more.

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New York

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a temporary indoor mask mandate, which is in place from December 13th through January 15th, 2022.

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Oregon lawmakers returned for their second special session of the year and are working on legislation to extend the current 60 day eviction protection period.

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The commission tasked with redrawing state legislative districts released draft maps for both legislative chambers this week, with potential big changes coming to the legislature.

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South Carolina

Lawmakers in South Carolina are pushing for legislation to prohibit COVID-19 mandates. One bill in particular would give financial compensation to individuals who were terminated from their jobs due to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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Lawmakers held their legislative session this year virtually due to COVID, but are debating what to do for the 2022 session.

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Virginia’s Cannabis Oversight Commission agreed this week to recommend the Commonwealth speed up its timeline for retail recreational marijuana sales to 2023.

Learn more here.

This Week’s DMGS Posts

Capital and Capitol Happenings: Staff on the Move, Promotions, and More

  • Matthew Hargarten: new VP of Campaigns, Coalition for Community Solar Access
  • Elle Hoxworth: new Legislative Director, California State Assembly
  • Christy Tarallo: new Director of Government Affairs, ACEC Georgia
  • Matt Deegan: new Legislative Assistant, Senate of Pennsylvania

Happy Birthdays This Week

  • Andrew Wiggins: Senior Director, Political Affairs & Coalitions Advocacy, Florida Chamber of Commerce
  • Lee Modesitt: Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Kansas Insurance Department
  • Mark Harris: Managing Partner, Cold Spark Media
  • William Reid Hansen: Kansas City Field Director, Governor Mike Parson
  • Annie Dutton: Director of Government Relations, Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana/Kentucky
  • Jacob Caplan: Senior Advocacy Manager, National MS Society
  • Erik Rison: Vice President of Public Policy & Research, Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • Clarke Wise: Vice President of Government Relations, Mississippi Association of REALTORS

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