Weekend recap – education cuts, immigration reform and medicaid

The weekend recap is the place to find out what happened last week and what’s ahead in state legislatures across the nation. Read on to learn about what you might have missed between between brunch and waking up to the cruel realization that it’s Monday. Want to call out something happening in your statehouse? Email us at civsource {at} civsourceonline.com.

Oregon
Key points:

  • The legislature is looking at a measure that would alter the state requirements for charter schools. The measure was hotly debated last week and ultimately sent back, this debate will cover the changes.
  • Home brewers will be interested in Senate Bill 444, which would allow for homemade beer and wine to be made and transported.

Washington
Key points:

  • Washington passed a $300 million unemployment-tax break for businesses along with a temporary pay increase for people collecting unemployment.
  • The state is also working on reforming its worker’s compensation program after an audit revealed that the program was likely to be insolvent in five years.

Utah
Key points:

  • The Utah legislature ended its session having passed several controversial measures including immigration reform and another member that would keep the communications of state politicians secret.
  • The state also balanced its budget.

Montana
Key points:

  • Republican lawmakers are proposing a $32 million cut to higher education funding – a measure which has students concerned about a potential increase in tuition to cover the gap created by the cuts.

Kansas
Key points:

  • The legislature is expected to provide proposals that will fix the state worker pension system budget gap by cutting some funding from schools.

Wisconsin
Key points:

  • A bill that would allow lawmakers to ask for an individual’s immigration papers based on “reasonable suspicion,” similar to the controversial Arizona immigration law, is making its way through the statehouse.
  • The republican controlled legislature voted to strip public workers of the collective bargaining rights. The bill was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker who now faces a recall action.

West Virginia
Key points:

  • On Friday, the Senate approved a shield law for journalists designed to ensure that journalists do not have to reveal their sources during most legal proceedings. The measure goes back for final passage this week.
  • The legislature also passed a bill that will make it illegal for groups to picket soldiers funerals.

Alabama
Key points:

  • Two Senators are pushing bills that could potentially weaken the power of the legislature. One bill would make it harder for the legislature to override a veto. The other proposes making term-limits kick in sooner for lawmakers.
  • Another measure that would end deferred retirement benefits for teachers, is on track for final passage

Florida
Key points:

  • The house is pushing a package of major reforms to the state’s Medicaid system.

Maine
Key points:

  • The legislature currently has 13 bills that would change state gaming laws up for debate and is expected to put the measures up as ballot initiatives that will let voters decide in November.
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