We’re back with another legislative roundup! As some states are in the middle of session, and others start to wrap up, check out the blog for updates.
Arizona State Legislature
- One of the largest events of this year’s Arizona legislative session happened in early April when the House expelled Republican Rep. Liz Harris for inviting an individual to testify regarding unsubstantiated claims relating to the two most recent elections.
- Hobbs broke the veto record set by former Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2005. One of the most prominent bills she vetoed was the “Tamale Bill,” citing food safety concerns as rationale for declining to expand the list of foods that could be sold out of a home kitchen.
California State Legislature
- California’s legislative session runs through mid-September, making it one of the longer lawmaking seasons compared to other states.
- A bill in the Senate would establish an “Ebony Alert,” or a system similar to an Amber Alert but specifically for Black youth and women. Proponents cite statistics showing Black people are reported missing at disproportionate rates.
- School choice, also called vouchers by some, has been a popular education policy in some states over the last few years. The Senate Education Committee in California, however, rejected the policy this year.
Connecticut General Assembly
- The state is mulling over bail reform, although it could be a long process before change is enacted.
- A lot of key insights lie in the state’s budget proposal, including $600 million for housing programs like a homeownership program and building new housing for environmental justice communities.
- The proposed budget also has some higher education advocates worried about a funding cut they say could cause layoffs and tuition hikes.
- The final budget is yet to be decided, however.
Georgia General Assembly
- Georgia’s legislative session is over as of March 29, and now Gov. Kemp is in the process of reviewing and signing laws.
- The Assembly changed EV charging laws, enacting an additional excise tax on EV charging and changing how drivers pay for the charge, from per time to per electricity usage.
- Lawmakers rejected a private school voucher bill, similar to California, and didn’t take much action on affordable housing.
- The People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus in the House is advocating for at least 20% of the state’s budget surplus to go to BIPOC communities for various initiatives.
- Minnesota may become the next state to legalize adult-use cannabis and expunge prior convictions. The House passed a legal cannabis bill and the Senate is expected to pass it as well.
- The House passed expanded background checks and a red flag law for firearms, but the Senate has not passed these measures yet.
Missouri General Assembly
- Republican lawmakers in the state have been arguing within the caucus about pursuing anti-DEI measures. A bipartisan vote defeated an amendment to the state budget bill intended to ban the state government’s spending on DEI initiatives.
- Over $55 million in the budget will go to expanding pre-kindergarten programs in the state.
- The governor recently commented he would call for a special session if lawmakers do not join the many other states passing bans on transgender athletes and gender-affirming care.
New York State Legislature
- The Senate approved a measure intended to expand substance abuse treatment in prisons by designating it as an essential medical service.
- Legislators and Gov. Hochul are in negotiations over affordable housing policies, but the governor says she’s committed to addressing the complex crisis.
- Debates continue over a potential minimum wage increase as well, with some advocating for $17 and others supporting up to $21.25.