State Capitals across the country saw a flurry of activity from both lawmakers and governors alike. Several governors gave their annual State of the State Addresses, while lawmakers in different states tackled issues including generative AI, mobile sports betting, paid family leave, and casino smoking bans.
Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) delivered his State of the State address this week. His address emphasized improving public safety and the pursuit of comprehensive education reform.
Senator Anthony Kern (R) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 1014 this week, which looks to give the legislature the authority to select presidential electors, regardless of the popular vote outcome.
Governor Gavin Newson (D) has pledged to push forward more than half a dozen projects aimed at removing or bypassing dams across the state. This commitment would help restore salmon in California and allow them to return to the streams to lay eggs and grow their dwindling population.
State lawmakers are considering a bill to ban legacy admissions. If passed, all colleges in Connecticut, both public and private, would be barred from considering legacy status during the admissions process.
Two pieces of legislation were discussed in the legislature this week that look to establish a registry for dogs that have been deemed dangerous, putting them in a statewide database. These bills exclude police and hunting dogs from being admitted into the proposed system.
In Georgia, a bipartisan group of senators introduced Senate Bill 392 to protect election integrity. The bill combats deep fakes by criminalizing their creation, usage, and solicitation. Deep fakes are considered criminal election interference under the proposed legislation.
Governor Josh Green (D) proposed a new tourist tax that would require travelers to pay an extra fee when entering the state. The funds from this new fee would be invested back into prevention efforts for natural disasters and statewide emergencies.
In Illinois, lawmakers from both parties have introduced legislation to raise the estate tax threshold for family farms. This move aims to provide financial relief and preserve the viability of family farms across the state.
On Monday, the Indiana House approved a bill to ban cities from prohibiting the sale of dogs at pet stores, overriding ordinances by 21 municipalities that aimed to curb so-called “puppy mills” and encourage shelter adoptions. The bill passed 59-36 and now heads to the Senate.
Lawmakers have advanced legislation that would require students to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to receive in-state tuition. This legislation would apply to Iowa’s three regent universities and several community colleges.
Lawmakers held hearings for Governor Laura Kelly’s (R) tax plan this week. Governor Kelly’s proposed tax plan has bipartisan support but comes as lawmakers are expected to attempt a veto-override of the GOP-backed plan that the governor previously vetoed. The key difference between the two plans: Kelly’s plan lacks a flat income tax rate.
Legislation passed out of the House this week that aims to make voluntary paid family leave insurance accessible to Kentucky employees. HB 179 would expand benefits to workers who would not normally be able to take off of work to take care of their families.
On the final day of their special session, lawmakers approved repealing the state’s open primaries for certain races, including Congress, the Louisiana Supreme Court, the Louisiana Public Service Commission and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Governor Janet Mills (D) delivered her State of the State address this week. Her speech focused on challenging current laws related to gun control. Mills looks to strengthen the state’s yellow flag law, increase background checks, and address the ongoing mental health crisis.
On Thursday, Maryland’s Senate Finance Committee discussed a bill (SB160) that would affect the state’s restaurant industry. The bill aims to remove the tip credit for restaurant workers, which has sparked differing opinions. Servers and bartenders in Maryland currently make $3.63 an hour and the legislation would eliminate the tip credit beginning in 2027 while simultaneously raising server and bartender wages to meet Maryland’s minimum wage.
Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced a two-year suicide prevention plan that intends to increase public awareness and data gathering along with expanding access to healthcare and long term support for families dealing with loss from suicide.
Governor Henry McMaster and other leaders in the state hosted the first South Carolina Governor’s Economic Summit this week. The summit focused on evaluating ways to expand business ventures in the state.
Governor Kristi Noem (R) signed two bills into law this week focused on the state’s relationship with existing tribal groups. These bills extend the time allowed for a tax agreement with a tribe and defines public infrastructure with the intention to allow tribes to be eligible for housing grants, loans, and the ability to declare an emergency.
Lawmakers passed a bill this week that had previously failed twice in the House. The legislation would grant local governments the authority to raise their local sales tax for funding school constructions initiatives.
Governor Mark Gordon (R) unveiled a new initiative to address the ongoing mental health crisis in the state. The “Mental Health Roadmap” plan looks to advance behavioral health reform and expand existing programs.
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