As we approach the Holiday season, action has not slowed down in state capitols around the country. Notably, more GOP governors issued orders this week banning TikTok from state devices and networks, (something DMGS has covered extensively), legislators are working to address specific items in special sessions, and incoming governors are making key appointments to their upcoming administrations.
Some lawmakers in Arizona are urging outgoing Governor Doug Ducey to call a special legislative session to address education funding.
In a special session, the Florida legislature passed new legislation with the hopes of stabilizing the property insurance market. The legislature created a $1 billion taxpayer-funded aid program for insurers.
Governor Brian Kemp announced that he was extending the state’s temporary fuel tax suspension through January 10th, 2023. He also expressed support for several other relief programs as Georgians battle inflationary costs.
Governor Laura Kelly announced a new program to provide $56 million in new funding for school-aged children that received free or reduced-price meals at school. The program will provide $391 to help combat food insecurity for kids while home for winter break.
Governor Andy Beshear announced his intention to push for medical marijuana legalization in the upcoming legislative session. In November, the governor signed an executive order to legalize medical marijuana in extreme cases.
The state is anticipating $3.5 billion in new funding next legislative session. The funding, which comes partially from increased oil and gas production, is expected to go towards projects like road and infrastructure projects, cybersecurity, broadband, water, and rural health.
The New York state legislature is currently considering a special session to increase their salaries. The proposal, which would raise legislator salaries from $110,000 to $130,000, may also ban any outside income.
Governor Mike DeWine announced the new ASSET program. The program, which stands for “Armed School Staff Essential Training,” will train staff members who opt in to allow them to carry firearms on school grounds.
State lawmakers might consider legislation to ban some school grade levels from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in the state. The potential legislation would require school personnel to recommend such subjects be discussed at home, and prohibit the topic from kindergarten through third grade.
Governor Kate Brown commuted all 17 of the state’s pending death row sentences. Governor Brown continued previous Governor John Kitzhaber’s practice of not enforcing the death penalty, which began in 2011. Governor Brown also ordered the dismantling of the state’s execution chamber.
Governor Kristi Noem and two state legislators announced legislation to restrict foreign purchases of agricultural land in the state. The legislation is viewed as a way to prevent China from buying land in the state.
Governor Spencer Cox joined other Republican Governors by issuing a ban on TikTok on any state owned devices. State employees are now prohibited from downloading or using the app or website on any state-owned devices.
Governor Phil Scott signed the Reproductive Liberty Amendment into the Vermont Constitution. The amendment, which had passed in November by more than 50 percentage points, enshrines the right to reproductive freedom into the state’s constitution.
Washington state has received a waiver allowing the state to offer health insurance to those not lawfully residing in the United States. This waiver allows health insurance through the ACA to be extended to approximately 105,000 residing in the state.
Governor Jim Justice announced that the state would become the first in the country to digitize vehicle titles and the process for vehicle registrations. The move is estimated to save about 4,000,000 pieces of paper per year, as well as drastically reduce the amount of time residents spend in DMV offices.