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

Like every other week so far in January, this week saw no shortage of action by lawmakers around the country. Hot-button issues such as election reform, abortion access, vaccine mandates, and sports betting dominated headlines. In addition, DMGS covered various topics in the last few weeks such as newly signed legislation and executive orders around the U.S., a state of the state update, federal cannabis, and automated speed enforcement.


State lawmakers began the process Monday of making major and minor alterations in state election laws when the GOP controlled Senate Government Committee approved legislation related to paper ballot security requirements, requiring images of every ballot be made public, and mandating automatic recounts in elections where the margin of victory is less than 0.5%, up from the current 0.1% threshold.

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State lawmakers in California introduced legislation earlier this week that would ban single-use tobacco products.

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GOP state lawmakers in Colorado say they want to look at cleaner power generation, but instead from wind and solar energy, they’re looking at nuclear and hydroelectric power.

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Lawmakers in Connecticut are pushing to expand abortion access in the state as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the future of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, while abortion opponents are promising to fight back.

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Indiana’s legislative session is in full swing as lawmakers are already debating issues ranging from vaccine mandates to guidelines on school curricula.

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Various legislation introduced by Iowa lawmakers this week would change how teachers teach social studies at public schools in the state.

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker earlier this week said he’d sign a bill to legalize sports betting in in the state if lawmakers pass such legislation this session as he finishes his second term.

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Earlier this week, the Michigan House passed new distracted driving legislation that aims to modernize the state’s current distracted driving laws.

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One Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker said he’s planning to introduce a bill next month that would allow workers with natural immunity to avoid workplace mandates if they’re able to prove they have sufficient antibodies through a blood test conducted by a state-certified lab.

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Washington state lawmakers are grappling with ways to curb the recent spike in thefts of catalytic converters, which are the the emissions-control devices that contain precious metals which can be sold for scrap.

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The Wisconsin Assembly approved legislation that would make legal changes to current law to allow dogs in stores that sell prepackaged foods. Current law prohibits dogs from entering businesses that sell food due to contamination concerns, but this legislation would allow dogs in businesses only if their food sales comprise less than 5% of their sales.

Learn more here.

This Month’s DMGS Posts

  • Newly Signed Legislation & Executive Orders Around the Country
    • We may be less than a month into 2022, but governors around the country have been busy with their State of the State addresses and signing new pieces of legislation or executive orders. New laws and orders being signed this year range across various issues, including COVID-19, public education, climate change, voting, and more.
  • State of the States: Part II
    • As we noted in our last State of the States installment, governors around the country are in the process of delivering their State of the State addresses where they outline their legislative and executive priorities for the year. Since our last update, more governors have delivered their addresses and provided legislators and the public a peek into their 2022 priorities.
  • Federal Cannabis Legislation: Congressional Efforts to Legalize Marijuana in 2022
    • With most states now permitting Americans to make use of marijuana products in some fashion and with a push to legalize marijuana in additional states, the push to decriminalize and legalize marijuana nationwide continues at the federal level in Congress and the Biden-Harris administration.
  • Automated Speed Enforcement Legislation: 2022 Session Updates
    • Automated speed enforcement (ASE) is an issue that DMGS covered last year. As we begin the 2022 legislative sessions, lawmakers around the country are looking to introduce additional ASE legislation. Some of the legislation would allow for automated speed enforcement in general, and some would expand it. In contrast, others would limit certain locations or ban ASE altogether.

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

  • Edward Briggs: new Vice President of Government and Community Relations, RSA Consulting Group, LLC
  • Enrique Marquez: new Chief of Staff, Texas Speaker Dade Phelan
  • Clayton Stewart: new VP of Public Affairs and Chief Lobbyist, Texas Medical Association
  • Eric Blackwell: new Senior Manager, Government Affairs, NRG Energy
  • Zeenat Yahya: new Director of Policy, March For Our Lives
  • Sally Rose Larson: new VP, Government Relations, The Digital Media Association
  • Kirsten Barlow: new Vice President of Public Policy, California Hospital Association
  • Timothy Johnson: new Manager, State and Local Government Affairs, Google Cloud

Happy Birthdays This Week

  • Hank Dempsey: Head of Public Policy – Western States, Snap Inc.
  • Brandon Vaughan: Senior Program Specialist, National League of Cities
  • Kristin Nash: Vice President, Ignite Strategies
  • Alexandra Altman: Deputy Press Secretary & Communications Strategies, Office of Governor Phil Murphy

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