Welcome to October! In the first week of the month, plenty of legislative and executive action occurred on various issues and topics. In California, the governor signed a bill to allow remote notariziation, Massachusetts enacted its first tax relief in over two decades, and a Pennsylvania House Committee advanced legislation to make it easier for consumers to purchase popular concert tickets.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is opening an investigation into the state’s wastewater infrastructure and if it was discriminatory towards African-American residents.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed Senate Bill 969 allowing remote online notarization, making California the 44th state to pass such legislation. The law is expected to go into effect in multiple phases, with full functionality expected by 2030.
Connecticut’s new gun control law went into effect this week. Signed by Governor Ned Lamont (D), the new law bans the open carrying of firearms as well as the sale of more than three handguns to any one person within a 30-day period.
District Judge Samuel Hoagland dismissed the lawsuit against House Bill 124, which removed student IDs as a form of voter ID. The suit, brought on by Babe Vote and the League of Women Voters in Idaho, argued that HB 124 made it more difficult for 18-year-old students in school to vote.
An upcoming ballot question seeks to restore language previously omitted from Maine’s constitution. In an effort to ensure transparency, question 6 on the November 7th ballot will ask voters whether they would like to return passages containing the state’s rights and responsibilities to tribal nations.
Maryland’s Child Victims Act went into effect this week. The new law eliminated the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse victims, making it possible for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to seek reparations.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed two pieces of legislation this week that expand the bargaining power of public-school teachers. House Bill 2356 eliminates the discussion of third-party contracting, while House Bill 4357 allows school districts to enter into collective bargaining agreements that deduct union dues from employee compensation.
$50 million in safety grants for Missouri’s public and private schools was announced by Governor Mike Parson (R). A number of schools received grants for safety enhancements through a competitive process; these funds can be used for things like emergency medical kits and modifications to physical security. This cash is on top of the $20 million that was previously set up for comparable goals that were exclusive to public schools.
Over 100 bills passed earlier this year have taken effect in Nevada. The new laws include increased penalties for fentanyl trafficking, improvements to prison health care, fundraising restrictions for state officers, and more.
Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed a series of legislation this week, all bringing changes to the state’s employment laws. One new law prohibits employers from requesting an employee’s social media account log-in information, while another mandates that employers provide separated employees with written notice of unemployment eligibility benefits.
The Pennsylvania House Consumer Protection Committee unanimously advanced three bills this week. Each bill is intended to improve online purchase transparency and provide Pennsylvania consumers with a “fighting chance” to buy popular concert tickets.
Proposition 1 in the upcoming Texas election seeks to limit municipal governments’ power to regulate agriculture. The amendment builds on statutory changes that expanded the state’s right-to-farm statute since 1981, limiting local-level regulation and strengthening agricultural operations’ protections from lawsuits.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) proposed a $418 million investment to address students’ learning loss, with a particular emphasis on grades 3 through 8. The action was taken in response to the state’s dismal SOL test results, which raised worries about COVID-19-related educational failures. The money is intended for a statewide tutoring program and is a component of Youngkin’s “All In Virginia” agenda.
State Representative Alex Joers (D) and Senator Chris Larson (D), are co-authoring a bill to repeal the statewide ban on skateboarding. The bill would instead allow municipalities to pass their own skateboarding ordinances to determine whether riding on roadways is legal.