Catch up quick: 8 things you missed in the states this week

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, Thursday, May 4, 2023, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Department of Motor Vehicles is going digital.

Nearly 30 states have implemented or are piloting programs to create digital driver’s licenses, our colleague Austin Jenkins reported this week. Iowa became the latest state to introduce a mobile app for your driver’s license, joining 11 other states in the App Store.

Privacy rights advocates have concerns with the new mobile licenses — the ACLU warned back in 2021 that law enforcement officers could use digital identification as a pretext to search someone’s phone.

But an ID on your phone looks like the wave of the future. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators has developed implementation guidelines for the states, and international standards bodies are working on global rules.

Here are eight other things states did this week:

ENVIRONMENT: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation allowing the state to pass environmental rules that are stricter than federal standards. The law reverses a 2018 law approved by Whitmer’s predecessor, former Gov. Rick Snyder (R). (Bridge MI)

Attorneys general in 23 states have filed a motion urging a federal court to reject a $10.3 billion settlement proposal from 3M over PFAS chemical contamination in drinking water. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) has filed a new complaint adding allegations against the defendants. (Cap Times)

ABORTION: Attorneys general from 20 states where abortion is legal are asking a federal judge to block a new Idaho law that makes it a crime for adults to help minors travel out of state for an abortion. In an amicus brief filed in U.S. District Court, the attorneys general say Idaho should not be allowed to criminalize conduct that is legal in other states. (Pluribus News)

MEDICAID: At least 3.7 million Americans have lost Medicaid coverage in 41 states and the District of Columbia after the end of the Covid-19 emergency. That includes 82% of Medicaid recipients in Texas. About three-quarters of those who have lost Medicaid have been booted for paperwork reasons, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (NPR)

Just before the end of the emergency declaration, the CDC found just 7.7% of Americans lacked health insurance, a record low.

EDUCATION: Illinois parents are now able to open a 529 College Savings account for their children, with a $50 deposit from the state. To qualify, parents must open their accounts and submit a claim before their child turns 10. (Fox 32) Utah Rep. Jeff Stenquist (R) will reintroduce legislation banning discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 classrooms. Stenquist pulled a version of the bill this year before it reached a vote. (KSL)

TECHNOLOGY: A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from adult industry groups that challenged Utah’s new law requiring adult websites to verify the age of users. The judge said the group cannot sue because the law does not direct Utah to pursue or prosecute websites; instead, it gives residents the power to sue. (Salt Lake TribuneAssociated Press)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has signed legislation overhauling parole, allowing a Prisoner Review Board to reduce the length of post-incarceration supervision if offenders earn educational degrees. The new law allows for remote check-ins and encourages parole officers to recommend early discharge for those who demonstrate success after release. (Capitol News Illinois)

GAS: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) will let a bill allowing self-service gasoline across the state to become law, ending a 72-year ban on drivers pumping their own gas. The law will still require gas stations to staff at least half their pumps for those who don’t want to pump their own gas. Kotek said her office received more than 5,000 emails about the bill. (Oregonian)

POLITICS: Voting rights activists have filed an objection to Alabama’s new redistricting plan after Republican lawmakers approved a map that does not create a new majority-Black U.S. House district. Plaintiffs representing the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other groups asked the three-judge panel to step in and draw new lines. (Associated Press) The federal Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case. (AL.com)

A coalition of law firms and nonprofits have filed suit challenging Wisconsin’s state legislative district lines, a day after liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn into office. Liberals now hold a majority on the state Supreme Court. The lawsuit alleges Republican lawmakers executed an extreme gerrymander to keep themselves in office. (Pluribus News)