There are some weeks in the rhythm of the legislative year when one state becomes the dominant story. This week, all eyes were on California lawmakers as they raced to finish their work ahead of their adjournment on Thursday — and they passed so many consequential measures that we were a little self-conscious about how many California-based stories we wrote.
You can read all about what Golden State lawmakers did in our mega-roundup, here.
To atone for our California-centric coverage this week, here are eight things that happened in the other 49 states this week:
LABOR: Members of the United Auto Workers began a strike at three Midwestern auto plants on Friday in the midst of a contract dispute over pay, benefits and work hours. Workers walked off the lines at a GM plant in Wentzville, Mo.; a Stellantis facility in Toledo, Ohio; and a Ford plant in Wayne, Mich. UAW president Shawn Fain said the union would not hold talks with the companies on Friday. (Detroit Free Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Toledo Blade)
PUBLIC HEALTH: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed legislation Thursday banning schools and state agencies from imposing Covid-19 vaccine mandates. Government agencies cannot require people to receive a vaccine as a condition for employment, education or services. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
ABORTION: Republican-controlled legislatures in 12 states have approved 25 bills providing at least $250 million in taxpayer funds or tax credits for crisis pregnancy centers. Nine states now provide direct taxpayer funding to centers, which advocate against abortions, and four more offer tax credits. Crisis pregnancy centers now outnumber abortion clinics in the United States by a 3-to-1 margin. (Washington Post)
Women denied abortion access in Idaho, Tennessee and Oklahoma have filed suits in state courts challenging bans, alleging denial of care endangered their lives. The lawsuits, similar to one filed in Texas earlier this year, ask courts to clarify the circumstances under which patients would qualify for legal abortions. (Associated Press)
IMMIGRATION: Massachusetts lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on legislation that would make legal immigrants, including asylum seekers and refugees, eligible for food assistance and cash benefits. Six other states provide benefits to legal migrants. (Boston Globe) Gov. Maura Healey (D) is activating 250 National Guard members to assist at 40 migrant shelters that do not have adequate staffing. (Boston Herald)
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) says she is considering ways to issue work permits to asylum seekers to circumvent long wait times for federal work permits. New York would be the first state to experiment with authorizing its own work permits, potentially testing federal law. Legislators in Albany have introduced bills to create a state-level work permit. (New York Times, City & State)
PRIVACY: Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) has signed a data privacy protection bill sponsors say is the strongest in the nation. The law applies to entities that control or process personal data of more than 35,000 consumers, or 10,000 consumers if they make much of their money from data sales. Delaware will be the first state to restrict selling data on those under the age of 18, rather than 16. (Delaware Public Media)
TORT REFORM: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is signaling that tort reform will be key to his agenda next year. Supporters of tort reform have pointed to a new Florida law that expands immunity for property owners against lawsuits from criminals injured on their properties and reduces the statute of limitations for general negligence cases. (Georgia Public Broadcasting)
CLIMATE: Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R) has established a select committee on hurricane resiliency and recovery, to be chaired by House Majority Leader Michael Grant (R). The committee will be charged with helping recovery efforts after Hurricanes Idalia, Ian and Nicole, and for ways to protect the state against future storms. (Florida Politics)
POLITICS: Texas senators are hearing closing arguments in suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) impeachment trial after Paxton’s defense rested on Thursday. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said the trial will continue through the weekend. (Texas Tribune, Associated Press)
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) raised about $15 million for his campaign since the mid-May primary, according to new campaign finance reports, including $6 million rolled over from the primary campaign. Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) has pulled in only about $2.8 million in the same time span. Cameron’s campaign said it had just $1.4 million in the bank by Tuesday. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) endorsed Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) as his successor. Ferguson formally launched his campaign this weekend with events in Seattle, Pasco and Spokane. (Seattle Times)
The powerful Club for Growth has endorsed U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R) in his run for Indiana governor. Braun faces Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R), former Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers (R), businessman Eric Doden (R) and former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) in the GOP primary. (Indianapolis Star)