States across the country are bracing for winter weather this week, while more GOP governors are taking action to ban TikTok on state devices. Additionally, incoming governors continue to add to their staffs as they prepare to take office, and state legislators are planning for the upcoming 2023 legislative sessions.
The Alabama legislature is considering the potential of building a new state house, following up on the recommendation of a panel in September that directed staff and the Secretary of State to look into the idea.
Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) announced that Heidi Hedberg will serve as the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health. Hedberg has served as acting Commissioner since last month, replacing Adam Crum.
A judge in Maricopa County dismissed most of the lawsuit brought by Republican Kari Lake, who was defeated by Democrat Katie Hobbs in the race to succeed outgoing Governor Doug Ducey (R). Judge Peter Thompson dismissed eight of the ten claims in Lake’s lawsuit.
The Vision Zero Council, an interagency panel dedicated to reducing the amount of traffic-related deaths and injuries, approved various policy recommendations to the state legislature. Recommendations include new requirements for motorcycle riders, open container rules, and new studies of automated traffic enforcement methods.
Governor JB Pritzker (D) extended a prior Executive Order to support cybersecurity efforts across all levels of government. The Illinois Cybersecurity Commission will incorporate additional groups, including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Department of Innovation and Technology, Attorney General, and the State Police, among others.
In anticipation of a severe winter storm hitting the state this week, Governor Andy Beshear (D) declared a state of emergency. The order will allow for additional resources to be activated, including from the Kentucky National Guard and Emergency Operations Center.
Governor-elect Wes Moore (D) announced that he has selected State Senator Paul Pinsky (D) to direct the Maryland Energy Commission. Senator Pinsky had been serving as the Chair of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Committee.
Governor-elect Maura Healey (D) announced that Melissa Hoffer would be the state’s first climate chief. Hoffer is currently the EPA’s Principal Deputy General, and will be overseeing climate policy across state agencies.
Governor Tim Walz (D) indicated he is confident that Minnesota will legalize marijuana in the state by May, while the Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (D) sees a more long-term approach to the issue.
Governor Mike Parson (R) announced that Vivek Malek will serve as the new State Treasurer, filling the vacancy left by Scott Fitzpatrick, who was elected State Auditor. Malek will become the first Indian American to hold statewide office in Missouri.
Governor Greg Gianforte’s (R) housing task force announced a new set of recommendations to combat the state’s housing shortage. Suggestions include gathering new information and resources to support construction, streamlining the permit process, and trying to make regulators more efficient.
Senate Democrats passed new gun restrictions this week, with just one Democrat voting against the legislation. The legislation would implement new fees associated with gun ownership, and ban guns in some public spaces, among other things. Governor Phil Murphy (D) is expected to sign the legislation.
Governor Roy Cooper (D) issued a State of Emergency ahead of the anticipated freezing weather this week. The order will allow for a quicker flow of fuel and other resources to assist with heating needs.
The state’s Reemployment Assistance Advisory Council recommended a package of tax cuts for the state legislature to consider when the new session starts on January 10. The proposed cuts would reduce taxes by an estimated $18 million.
Governor Jay Inslee (D) introduced new legislative proposals that would implement new firearm restrictions, including prohibiting military-style weapons, a permit requirement to purchase a gun and making sellers potentially liable for negligent sales.