Bills Deal with Drug Sentencing, Housing, Gun Control, AI in Campaign Ads
Oregon lawmakers won’t reconvene in Salem until next year but legislatures across the country are still in session and passing significant bills. Thanks to Pluribus News, here is a snapshot of issues they are considering:
The GOP-controlled Wisconsin Senate finalized a bill barring gender-affirming care for minors. The Senate also approved a $2 billion income tax cut, a state tax credit for families paying for child care and an increased tax deduction for private school tuition. Democratic Governor Tony Evers is expected to veto both measures. The Wisconsin Assembly approved bills to bar transgender students from participating in high and college women’s sports.
The Assembly also approved a $546 million financing plan to rehabilitate American Family Field, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, that is intended to keep the Brewers in Wisconsin through at least 2050.
Michigan’s House Elections Committee advanced a package of bills to regulate and punish deceptive use of artificial intelligence-generated material in political campaign ads. The bills would require disclosure if any AI images are used in advertising for or against a candidate.
Michigan lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation to increase drug sentencing recommendations for heroin and fentanyl dealers by raising the felony class for crimes related to manufacturing or delivering those drugs.
The Michigan House Energy Committee has approved a four-bill package designed to speed approval of renewable energy projects. The legislation gives the state Public Service Commission, rather than local governments, the authority to determine where certain wind, solar and storage projects can be located.
The Michigan Senate, with bipartisan support, voted to end a 28-year old state law that prevents residents from participating in class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies.
The Massachusetts House overwhelmingly approved a 125-page measure cracking down on ghost guns, prohibiting anyone from carrying a gun into a home without permission and strengthening the state’s assault-style weapons ban. The bill also prohibits guns in schools, polling places and government buildings.
Democratic Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey proposed a $4.1 billion housing bill to create 40,000 new low- and middle-income homes over five years. The bill would give localities authority to impose local taxes on high-dollar real estate sales and allow Accessory Dwelling Units, also called granny flats, on all single-family zoned lots in the state.
Massachusetts lawmakers asked to approve $4.1 billion to create 40,000 new affordable housing units.
Texas lawmakers are considering legislation to prohibit private employers from requiring employees to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. The bill would impose a $10,000 fine on employers who take an “adverse action” against an employee, contractor or applicant who refuses vaccination. The bill passed the Senate and is before the House Committee on State Affairs.
The Pennsylvania House approved legislation on a broad bipartisan vote to make it illegal to use or sell software designed to circumvent online ticket sales systems to enable ticket sales at higher prices on a secondary market. The vote comes after fans had trouble getting tickets to Taylor Swift’s recent tour.
Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation directing the Department of Health and health care providers to make resources available to women who have suffered a miscarriage or still birth. Dubbed Ava’s Law, the law is intended to support mental and physical health.
New York’s legislature will consider a measure intended to protect youth from harm on social media while ensuring their online privacy. Several other states, including California, have adopted or considered related legislation.
Under a proposal posted this week by the Legislative Compensation Commission, the starting salary for a member of the Kansas legislature would rise 94 percent to $43,000, up from the current salary of $22,109. Lawmakers set up the commission so they don’t have to vote on their own pay raises.
Tax Filing Pilot Program
Arizona, California, Massachusetts and New York are launching pilot programs in coordination with the Internal Revenue Service to allow residents with little non-wage income and eligibility for tax credits to file tax returnselectronically for free.