Policy

Catch up quick: 8 things you might have missed this week

Homes, in suburban Salt Lake City, are shown on April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Municipal and county governments absolutely hate it when state lawmakers take away their power, preempting anything from the right to block solar or wind power (Michigan) to the right to ban people from using cell phones while they drive (Texas).

But some preemption can have a beneficial side effect: It can take the heat off the politicians who might otherwise bear the brunt of an unpopular decision.

That’s the case in Colorado, where state Rep. Judy Amabile (D) told us a few weeks ago she was hearing from mayors and city council members who wanted the state to require cities to allow alternative dwelling units, or ADUs.

“They’re saying to me, please get this done at the state level,” Amabile said, “so that we can have this here, and we can blame you all instead of taking the heat ourselves.”

Nothing draws a NIMBY crowd to a city council meeting like new density proposals. Colorado lawmakers want to give their local colleagues a break by redirecting anger toward the state capital. Clever move, mayors.

Here are eight things you might have missed this week:

HEALTH CARE: The Mississippi House on Wednesday approved legislation to expand Medicaid to cover those who make less than 138% of the federal poverty limit. The bipartisan vote of 96-20 advances a bill that includes requirements that recipients work at least 20 hours per week in a job that does not provide health insurance. Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R), who leads the Senate, has signaled his support for a companion bill. (Pluribus News)

Mississippi would be the 41st state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) remains skeptical that work requirements will stick.

Alabama leaders are laying the groundwork for their own Medicaid expansion program — one that may not require a formal legislative vote to adopt: The State Hospital Association has proposed a new health plan that would offer private health insurance to low-income residents, paid for by a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize lottery and sports betting. (Pluribus News)

This reminds us of those Republican governors — like Mike Pence, then Indiana’s governor — who expanded Medicaid without calling it Medicaid expansion.

TECHNOLOGY: The California Privacy Protection Agency is backing legislation that would make it easier for consumers to opt out of having their data collected online for targeted advertising purposes. The bill, carried by Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal (D), targets popular browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge that do not offer built-in support for opt-out preference signals. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The West Virginia legislature is considering a measure to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors deemed at risk of self-harm or suicide. The legislature banned gender-affirming care for minors last year, but with an exemption for at-risk kids. (Associated Press)

The Tennessee House voted along party lines for a bill that would effectively bar pride flags from school classrooms. The bill would allow parents of a school student to bring lawsuits challenging the display of flags by a school or employee. (Associated Press)

ABORTION: The Alabama House and Senate passed nearly identical bills to provide legal protections to IVF clinics. Final passage could come as soon as next week, after the state Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos held in storage are considered unborn children under state law. (AL.com) A Montana judge struck down a 20-week abortion ban and a law banning abortion prescriptions given via Telehealth. (Associated Press)

IMMIGRATION: The Georgia House approved a bill allowing police to arrest anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally and to detain them for deportation. The bill would require jailers and sheriffs to report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MARIJUANA: The Virginia General Assembly has given final approval to bills that would create a recreational marijuana market by next year. The measures would allow the state to start taking applications for cultivating, testing, processing and selling pot, with products taxed at a rate of 11.625%. (Associated Press)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Kansas House unanimously approved legislation to shield people from prosecution when they call emergency services to report an overdose. Kansas is one of just two states — along with Wyoming — that does not have a so-called Good Samaritan law on the books. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

POLITICS: New York Democrats adopted new congressional district lines that shift two Republican-held swing seats to the left, while cementing two Democratic-held swing seats. A handful of Senate and Assembly Republicans joined Democrats in approving the new maps. (New York Times)

Missouri Republicans are seeking to block Darrell McClanahan III (R) from running for governor. McClanahan, who has been photographed at multiple KKK events, claims he was only an “honorary” member of the hate group. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Missouri’s Democratic Party has refused to accept a filling fee from former Rep. Sarah Unsicker (D), who tried to file papers to run for governor. Unsicker was kicked out of the House Democratic Caucus after she associated herself in social media posts with a Holocaust denier. (Associated Press)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Sunday he would launch an advertising campaign aimed at abortion restriction legislation in Repiublican-led states. The first ads launch today in Tennessee, where legislators are considering an “abortion trafficking” ban. (Associated Press)