2020-09-27@14:33:39 GMT
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    By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday officially called Connecticut lawmakers back to the state Capitol for a special session next week to consider bills that could lead to changes in how public utilities are regulated and allow local election officials to start processing absentee ballots a little earlier. The General Assembly is scheduled to begin its second special legislative session in recent months on Tuesday. The House and Senate are expected to meet separately on different days to help reduce the number of people at the Capitol, given the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers are expected to vote on bills concerning 10 issues, as well as four judicial nominations, including Appellate Judge Christine Keller, Lamont's choice to fill...
    HARRISBURG (KDKA) – This afternoon, the House of Representatives will be meeting to discuss a bill Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed. The question, will more families get the chance to watch their kids play sports? Here’s what this legislation will do: it will allow K-12 schools to make their own decisions on how many spectators can attend high school sports and activities. Just on Monday, Gov. Wolf vetoed the bill after it passed both the senate and house with bipartisan support earlier this month. The Wolf administration’s gathering limits of 25 people indoors and 250 people outdoors apply to youth sports, but this bill would give schools the power to make their own rules on the...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Tuesday that the Republican-dominated Legislature could consider a controversial proposal aimed at cracking down on disorderly protests when lawmakers return to Tallahassee in November for an organization session, as Democrats declared war on what they decried as a racially motivated election-year ploy. DeSantis’ law-and-order package, backed by incoming GOP legislative leaders, would create new felony crimes when property is damaged or when people are injured as a result of protests involving seven or more individuals. The measure would also make it a crime to obstruct traffic during unpermitted protests or demonstrations and do away with bail or bond for people involved in violent protests. The proposal comes as Republicans double down on efforts...
    By MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers announced Monday that they will convene a special session next week to address the near-bankruptcy of the state unemployment trust fund, to work on Hurricane Laura recovery and to try to scale back the governor's emergency powers in the latest battle over Gov. John Bel Edwards' coronavirus response. Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder released the broad, 70-item outline of what will be debated in the 30-day session that will begin Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. The Republican legislative leaders gathered a majority of signatures from House and Senate members to call the session on their own. That keeps Edwards, a Democrat, from having control...
    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The September special session of the South Carolina Legislature continues this week with more discussions about money. The House and Senate are expected to hash out differences on how to spend the $700 million in federal COVID-19 aid that has not already been allocated. Their differences are mostly minor. The Senate put $420 million of it toward replenishing the fund that pays unemployment benefits, while the House is putting $450 million into that fund. The Senate tweaked the state budget last week to give teachers a small annual pay increase and a $1,000 hazard pay bonus for state workers whose make less than $50,000 a year and whose jobs put them at risk to get COVID-19....
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The leaders of the Maryland General Assembly say they don’t plan to hold a special session this year. House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson made the announcement Wednesday night at an event organized by progressive groups who are urging lawmakers to convene. Jones and Ferguson said lawmakers need more time to work on legislation. Ferguson also noted the uncertainty of elections in November. When the General Assembly adjourned three weeks early due to the pandemic in March, leadership announced plans for a special session in May, but plans were canceled as cases of coronavirus increased. As the summer wore on with no public discussion of a new date, a special session looked increasingly...
    This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today. In dramatic fashion, the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly slammed the door Wednesday night on holding a special legislative session this fall. House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) turned up unannounced at a mock special legislative session organized by progressive groups in Annapolis on Wednesday evening and formally signaled their reluctance to convene before the 2021 session is set to begin in January. Despite hearing entreaties from a crowd of 200 people that the myriad challenges facing the state demand swift legislative action, Ferguson and Jones said they needed more...
    By SUMMER BALLENTINE, Associated Press COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike Parson's contested proposal to give the Missouri attorney general the power to intervene in St. Louis homicide cases failed Wednesday when the GOP-led House finished a special session focused on curbing violent crime without taking action on the bill. The bill would have allowed the attorney general, currently Republican Eric Schmitt, to prosecute St. Louis homicides if Gardner’s office didn’t act on those cases in 90 days and if police asked for an intervention. Parson said the goal of the prosecution bill was to help reduce violent crime in St. Louis, but the proposal was widely seen as criticism of the city’s first Black prosecutor, Kim Gardner, who...
    COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s contested proposal to give the Missouri attorney general the power to intervene in St. Louis homicide cases failed Wednesday when the GOP-led House finished a special session focused on curbing violent crime without taking action on the bill. The bill would have allowed the attorney general, currently Republican Eric Schmitt, to prosecute St. Louis homicides if Gardner’s office didn’t act on those cases in 90 days and if police asked for an intervention. Parson said the goal of the prosecution bill was to help reduce violent crime in St. Louis, but the proposal was widely seen as criticism of the city’s first Black prosecutor, Kim Gardner, who is a Democrat. “You’re not...
    Steve Kelley was removed as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce by a vote of the state Senate on Friday.Another special session, another commissioner out of a job. Minnesota Senate Republicans on Friday voted to remove Steve Kelley as commissioner of the Department of Commerce, more than a year and a half after Gov. Tim Walz appointed him to the job. Former Commissioner Nancy LeppinkThe move was not a surprise — the GOP has voiced frustration with Kelley’s regulation of financial industries and the DFLer’s choice to continue a lawsuit challenging Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline.  Republicans have also made clear they’re willing to vote down commissioners in part because Walz keeps renewing emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The...
    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers are returning to Columbia to take up how the state spends its money, voting and whatever other loose ends remain in a session disrupted by COVID-19. The General Assembly set aside two weeks starting Tuesday. The Senate will immediately take up alterations to the state budget, which include setting aside $500 million for any shortfall in revenue if the COVID-19 economic downturn continues and $1,000 hazard pay bonuses for lower-paid state employees who had to work through the pandemic. The House plans to start Tuesday with changes the Senate approved in voting for November's election including no excuse absentee voting. Legislators can take up any other matters that passed at least one chamber...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s fourth special session starts Friday. Gov. Tim Walz wants to extend his emergency powers for another 30 days and needs the Minnesota Legislature’s approval. The governor says COVID-19 is still a threat and he needs the ability to respond quickly. Walz first declared a peacetime state of emergency due to the pandemic in March. Since the legislature is not currently in session, Minnesota law requires that the governor call a special session to get approval for an emergency extension from lawakers. During the last three special sessions, the Republican-controlled Senate has called for the end of the state of emergency, but the DFL-controlled House has voted to continue to give Walz emergency...
    By STEPHEN GROVES SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's administration on Thursday laid out a plan to spend the bulk of the $1.25 billion in federal funds the state has received to address the coronavirus crisis, but some House lawmakers balked at allocating the money without more input from the legislature. The Republican governor's administration has spent about $114 million in federal funds so far and must expend the rest of the money by December 30 unless Congress extends the deadline. Noem this week laid out a plan to make $400 million available to businesses hurt by the pandemic, and a legislative committee that handles the budget provided some feedback on it. But as lawmakers debate...
    SACRAMENTO —  This was the ideal time — politically and policy-wise — for the Legislature and the governor to authorize loads of extra spending on wildfire prevention and helping victims. But they botched it. Shame on them. The people’s representatives couldn’t get their act together amid internal turmoil to agree on a stripped-down $500-million wildfire appropriation before they were forced by law to adjourn the two-year legislative session at midnight Aug. 31. The shelved wildfire bill was just one of several very important measures that were victimized by legislators fractured by rivalries and bitterness, and a governor apparently spread too thin managing a pandemic and infernos to exert his political muscle in the Legislature. Other major bills that were scuttled...
              The General Assembly has been in Special Session since August 18. Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement said the session was meant to pass a new budget in light of COVID-19 and consider criminal and social reform laws. In the past three weeks, the Assembly has considered bills ending qualified immunity, eliminating minimum sentences for assaults on police officers, and allowing early release of violent offenders. “This is the Democrat show the entire time,” Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpepper) told The Virginia Star. “As soon as they said that social justice was one of the categories, that’s when you knew that this was an empty bucket that they could put anything they wanted into it.” “Hopefully,...
    Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has called lawmakers back to the state Capitol for a special session Friday, citing the need to preserve the emergency powers that he’s been using to manage the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic governor said in his announcement Wednesday he intends to extend the state’s COVID-19 peacetime state of emergency by 30 more days to ensure that the state can continue to quickly and effectively respond. An agenda for the special session was not immediately announced. The governor had raised the possibility in recent weeks that he might not need to keep calling special sessions each time he extends his emergency powers. But in his proclamation Wednesday, he affirmed his earlier view that state law requires him...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called again Wednesday for a special legislative session to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency for 30 days. The governor first declared a peacetime state of emergency due the pandemic in March, which he is able to do under state law. However, when the state legislature isn’t in session, he is required to call a special session so that lawmakers can vote on whether or not to end it. “While Minnesota has taken life-saving action, the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Walz said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s imperative that we have the tools necessary to respond to this rapidly-evolving virus quickly and decisively in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of...
    Sign up here to get our daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox each afternoon. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage. The primary difference between traditional couples counseling and what went on last week between Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, leader of the Minnesota Senate GOP, is that couples counseling doesn’t usually play out in front of the press and public. That might also explain why the former is sometimes successful and why the latter may not be. Walz and Gazelka — respectively the highest-ranking elected DFLer and Republican in state government (though DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman might take exception) — spent the weeks before yet-another...
    SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Mayor Sam Liccardo publicly urged the California Legislature to return to session to pass Senate Bill 995, which streamlines the process for major housing development projects. Motivating Liccardo’s concerns is Google’s massive Downtown West mixed-use project, which would install affordable housing and commercial spaces near San Jose’s SAP Center. “In a moment of historic levels of joblessness and amid our chronic shortage of affordable housing, we will continue pushing forward with this transformative project to ensure that our community can benefit from thousands of affordable apartments and millions of square feet of workspace,” Liccardo said. “We urge a special session that will enable the Senate to consider SB 995, because this project has already met...
    SAN JOSE — A legislative failure in Sacramento has complicated plans for Google’s game-changing transit village proposal in downtown San Jose, a setback that has prompted the city’s mayor to urge lawmakers to set up a special session to address the dilemma. A bill, SB 995, that would have smoothed the pathway to fast-track development of certain major projects in California failed to gain the approval of state lawmakers after time ran out in the hectic final hours of the Legislature’s session on Aug. 31. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on Friday requested that the state Legislature convene a special session to take up the measure, which would have created a four-year extension to give projects such as Google’s Downtown...
    After the state Legislature’s coronavirus-shortened session came to a chaotic end this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday left the door open to calling lawmakers back for a special session. But while they have plenty of unfinished business, the likelihood of legislators returning to Sacramento this fall is unclear. Bills meant to ease the state’s housing crisis, overhaul policing and provide help to people affected by COVID-19’s economic downtown never made it out of the Legislature by its deadline of midnight Tuesday, leaving a broad sense of disappointment from lawmakers and advocates. Some proposals failed painfully close to the finish line. Bills that would have allowed duplexes to be built on single-family lots, and expanded public access to police misconduct...
    Republican Wisconsin lawmakers did not participate in a special session Monday called by Gov. Tony EversTony EversWisconsin governor urges Trump not to visit Kenosha: 'I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing' ACLU demands Kenosha officials resign following the shooting of Jacob Blake The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Pence rips Biden as radical risk MORE (D) to address police training and criminal justice reforms. Evers signed an executive order calling the session within 24 hours of the shooting of Jacob Blake. Under state law, however, the order only has the power to convene such a session. Lawmakers are under no obligation to participate in debate or vote on anything, according to NPR. State Senate...
              RICHMOND, Virginia – As the Senate wraps up its second week of the 2020 special session and continues to pass new legislation, the timing of crossover with the House of Delegates, a requirement for a bill to become law, remains unknown. Since the Senate began considering bills in committee and advancing legislation during sessions almost a week before the House, the two bodies are currently not in sync with their lawmaking procedures. Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County) told The Virginia Star after Friday’s session that he has no idea when Senate bills will be considered by the House and vice versa. Del. Mark Sickles (D- Fairfax County) echoed Surovell, saying he does not...
    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate plans to meet in a special session Monday to discuss police reform in wake of Jacob Blake shooting. Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    The RNC at a time of national reckoning and ongoing crisis: I have a present for you. It’s this. You can read it instead of watching (or while watching, as a distraction) Trump’s RNC speech tonight. I mean, let’s be real—it’s a much better use of your time all around. This: Contains facts. That: Contains outright lies. This: Has bad jokes. That: Has racisms. This: Can be read to yourself in any voice you like (personally, I prefer Nathan Fillion as my internal narrator). That: Can only be heard in Trump Yells. Anyway, you get the idea. Even though Republicans are holding their national convention this week, not all is sunshine and roses in GOP-land. In fact, there’s some serious R-on-R...
    With protesters back in the street this week after the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin, unions representing Los Angeles and San Francisco officers Thursday asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to call a special session of the Legislature on policing before passing reforms. While the current legislative session began as protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a Minnesota police officer in May, convulsed the state, the will for reforms has waned at the Capitol as those uprisings have tapered and public attention has shifted to wildfires and the coronavirus. Nearly two dozen bills introduced weeks ago have now been pared down to a handful of mostly moderate reforms. A proposal to...
    By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers meeting in a special session resumed work Wednesday on bills dealing with the coronavirus pandemic following two chaotic days culminating with the arrest of anti-government activist Ammon Bundy. The House of Representatives quickly approved legislation to smooth the counting of what is expected to be a surge of absentee ballots for the November election. That bill has already been approved by the Senate and now heads to Republican Gov. Brad Little. Lawmakers are also looking at legislation intended to shield schools, businesses and government entities from lawsuits from people who get COVID-19. Bundy, who led the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and his supporters...
    By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers on Tuesday started the second day of a special session called by Republican Gov. Brad Little to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers gathered at the Idaho Statehouse following a chaotic first day where angry protesters forced their way into the Idaho House gallery that had limited seating due to the virus. Lawmakers are looking at changes to election laws to smooth voting in November. The Senate on Monday approved two bills, one creating centers where residents from different precincts can vote. Another has to do with making it easier to count what is expected to be a surge of absentee ballots. Those bills will likely be considered by...
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Eleven Nebraska lawmakers will make a long-shot attempt Tuesday to bring the Legislature into a special session focused on the coronavirus pandemic and law enforcement. The lawmakers will file paperwork with the secretary of state's office to ask their colleagues whether they would support a special session. The secretary of state's office will then survey all state lawmakers. At least 33 of the Legislature's 49 senators would have to endorse the idea of a special session, an outcome that's extremely unlikely. Lawmakers finished their regular session less than two weeks ago after passing a major tax package. The session was also marred by nasty public disputes. Nine of the 11 senators calling for a special session...
    Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is calling the Wisconsin Legislature into a special session to take up a package of police reform bills after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back by a police officer in Kenosha on Sunday, according to CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster. Evers first unveiled the bills in June, which include measures like creating a statewide use of force standards, requiring officers to complete at least eight hours of deescalation training annually, banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and requiring an annual statewide report on police use of force incidents. "We must rise to this movement and this moment, and meet it with our empathy, our humanity and a fierce commitment to disrupt the cycle of systemic...
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Angry, maskless spectators forced themselves into the Idaho House special session on the coronavirus pandemic Monday, shattering a glass door, rushing into the gallery that had limited seating because of the virus and forcing lawmakers to ask for calm in a crowd that included a man carrying an assault-style weapon. After some people shoved their way past Idaho State Police, Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke allowed the gallery to fully open as long as the crowd stopped chanting and was respectful. “I want to always try to avoid violence,” he told The Associated Press later. “My initial reaction of course was to clear the fourth floor. But we had room for at least some more.”...
    The House of Representatives is currently conducting a special Saturday session to address the needs of the Postal Service and put a halt to the destruction that’s not just limiting the ability of the post office to deal with the fall election, but impacting millions of Americans right now. But Mitch McConnell has made it clear that the Senate has no intention to help pass the “Delivering for America Act.” And Donald Trump has already made it clear that he has his veto pen ready for any bill intended to secure operations of the Postal Service until after the election. The bill being considered by the House would provide $25 billion in emergency funding and prohibit changes in processes through the end...
              While the House continued its quick, procedural sessions, the Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee continued to advance bills centered around criminal justice reform and policing. Before the Senate convened in-person in its new home for the 2020 special session at the Science Museum of Virginia, the Judiciary Committee held a meeting where it reported and referred more bills. During the Judiciary Committee’s meeting, it referred many bills on the docket to the Finance Committee relating to Senate Democrats’ overall agenda including sentencing reform on specific criminal cases, expungement of police and court records, prosecutorial discretion to dispose of a criminal case and the creation of a mobile crisis co-response team throughout Virginia...
              It was relatively quiet during day two of the Virginia General Assembly special session as the House adjourned after less than an hour of meeting, while the Senate was more lively during member’s points of personal privilege. Wednesday marked the first day the House held session electronically, with Speaker Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) and the House Clerk in the actual chamber of the Capitol building. The Senate, just like on Tuesday, held its session at the Science Museum of Virginia. The first morning hour of business in the House began with the second reading of House Resolution (HR) 514, pertaining to conducting sessions virtually, but, delegates had technology issues with the virtual meeting software...
              Live from Virginia Tuesday morning on The John Fredericks Show –  weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream –  host Fredericks welcomed Democratic State Senator Bill Stanley to the show. During the show, Stanley weighed in on the current behavior plagued by Democrats in the special session. He also discussed how he was disturbed by the destruction of downtown Richmond and its effects on fellow Virginians. Fredericks: Bill Stanley live in Richmond. Senator great to have you. Stanley: Great to...
    Democrats and Republicans at the Illinois statehouse both support proposed legislation designed to address corruption in government through changes to ethics rules, but Republicans want to take them up before the November election while Democrats said the plans can wait until after the election. Last week Democrats held a press conference laying out a slew of ethics reforms. Those reports included more oversight into lobbyist activities, barring legislators from being lobbyists, restricting the revolving door of former lawmakers becoming lobbyists, term limits on legislative leaders, and various other measures. State Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said there is bipartisan support “and [we’re] looking at in many different ways between now and November when we hope and trust that we...
    Virginia House committees will not hold any special session votes on legislation this week after Democrats failed to get a supermajority vote Tuesday to immediately change the rules to allow online voting. House Republicans quickly criticized the action, accusing Democrats of abandoning 400 years of tradition and rule of law to avoid public scrutiny of their agenda. An immediate rules change requires 66 votes from the 100-person chamber. Democrats, who have a 55-45 majority, can change the rules with a simple majority (51 votes), but it requires the rules to be read on five different days. Democrats failed Tuesday to get a supermajority on two resolutions. The first resolution would have immediately changed the rules to permit...
              Live from Virginia Monday morning on The John Fredericks Show –  weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream –  host Fredericks welcomed Democratic state Senator Scott Surovell to the show. During the show, Surovell described the top priorities of Virginia’s special session and gave his impression of Governor Northam’s handling of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. Fredericks: Joining us now is the State Senator from Fairfax ,Scott Surovell. Senator Surovell, great to have you with us today. Surovell: Hey John,...
              The Senate and House of Delegates met separately in Richmond Tuesday, officially kicking off the special session of the General Assembly. Despite a bevy of bills and promises of swift action, the House and Senate primarily discussed operation and procedural resolutions for the special session going forward. Both state bodies began their respective sessions at 1 p.m. today, with the House convening at the Siegel Center on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus and the Senate convening at the Science Museum of Virginia. Here are details of what happened in both chambers. In the Senate, the first order of business was on Senate Resolution (SR) 503, introduced by Sen. Locke (D-2). SR 503 pertains...
    By ALAN SUDERMAN and DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers will meet Tuesday for a special session to address both the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread calls for criminal justice reform sparked by the death of George Floyd. Democrats, who took full control of the General Assembly earlier this year, have promised an expansive session whose proposals range from banning police chokeholds to increased spending on high-speed internet for virtual schooling. The session could take several weeks to complete and lawmakers are meeting outside of the Capitol so they can practice social distancing. The House plans to meet at the Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center and could hold some hearings virtually. The Senate...
    Republican and Democratic delegates of the Virginia General Assembly will tackle coronavirus pandemic and policing-related issues in a special session starting Tuesday. Democrats are expected to seek a requirement for businesses to provide paid sick leave for employees, and protection for tenants unable to pay their rent during the pandemic. Republicans will prioritize getting children back into public schools, and will focus on protecting businesses from some virus-era restrictions. Both parties will delve into police reform: Democrats are looking to ban law enforcement use of chokeholds and set stricter thresholds for when an officer can resort to deadly force. On their end, Republicans are seeking expanded use of body cameras and tighter hiring standards for new officers. One proposal in...
              The Virginia legislature is considering laws that would remove qualified immunity for law enforcement officers. On August 13, Democrats in the House announced a list of items they will introduce into the legislature’s Special Session. Among these items is the “[elimination of] qualified immunity for law enforcement officers.” It should be noted that even with qualified immunity, individual police officers can be sued in civil court for clearly violating police guidelines. Qualified immunity protects officers that act in good faith and according to police regulations from being sued in civil court by offenders. State Delegate Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond) will carry the legislation in the House. Bourne has said that the repeal of qualified...
    Virginia Senate Democrats released a series of proposals aimed at addressing law enforcement and criminal justice reform amid the continued widespread protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Justice Reform and Racial Equity package comes on the heels of an Aug. 18 special session for the General Assembly. A large portion of the legislation tackles policing across the commonwealth and includes a host of ideas proposed by Caucus Chair Mamie E. Locke, D-Hampton. They include bans on no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and sex between officers and those under arrest. Other proposals require police to attempt to de-escalate encounters with citizens before use of force, issuing warnings before shots are fired and forbid...
              Virginia’s legislature will meet in a Special Session on August 18, and House Democrats are eyeing new laws and regulations that will place tighter regulations on Virginia police departments and officers. In a statement released today, the House Democrats listed a myriad of points (detailed at the end of this article) they hope to address by introducing new legislation during the Special Session. Among those points are goals to reform Virginia’s Criminal Justice and Police systems. Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) said that in addition to “a bold plan” to “support the Commonwealth’s students, teachers, workers, and health care system” in response to COVID-19, the House Democrats will “also pass long-overdue...
    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia House Democrats are planning to use an upcoming special session to mandate employers provide paid sick days, along with several other priorities. The Democratic majority unveiled its agenda Thursday for a special session set to start next week. The session was initially supposed to focus on adjusting the state’s budget amid the coronavirus pandemic but has grown to include criminal justice reform and other measures. A proposal for paid sick days tops their list after it failed earlier this year. Democrats in both chambers have also said they are looking to make transformational change to the state’s criminal justice system. Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,...
    By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia House Democrats are planning to use an upcoming special session to mandate employers provide paid sick days, along with several other priorities. The Democratic majority unveiled its agenda Thursday for a special session set to start next week. The session was initially supposed to focus on adjusting the state's budget amid the coronavirus pandemic but grew to include criminal justice reform and other measures following widespread civil unrest over the death of George Floyd. “The House Democratic Caucus has laid out a bold plan this special session to support the commonwealth’s students, teachers, workers and health care system as we recover from COVID-19,” House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said. A top...
    This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today. Groups representing workers, tenants, immigrants, parents, students and others pledged on Wednesday to ramp up their campaign to bring the Maryland General Assembly back to Annapolis for a special session. Speaking at an online news conference, representatives of the organizations said they would hold rallies and marches, and use digital advertising, to mobilize support for their cause. “There is too much at stake right now to wait until January,” said Larry Stafford, executive director of Progressive Maryland. “Thousands of Marylanders have to go to work every single day during this pandemic. We expect our leaders, that we elect,...
    After the Virginia Parole Board was accused of breaking the law to release prisoners more easily, a Republican senator introduced legislation to increase transparency regarding the board’s decisions. Currently, individual votes by the parole board for whether a person will be granted parole are not public record. Senate Bill 5012, which was filed by Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, would make those votes accessible to the public and subject to the state’s Freedom of Information Act. “The parole board makes such significant decisions affecting public safety,” Suetterlein told The Center Square, noting the public should know what the board is saying and doing. Suetterlein said people have a legal right to access a judge’s decision and the...
              Several bills addressing the issues outlined in Governor Bill Lee’s proclamation for an extraordinary session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly were taken up in Senate and House committee meetings Tuesday. The call for the special session limited the legislation that could be taken up to COVID-related liability protection for persons and entities, electronic delivery of health-related services, protection of private and public property and personnel as well as the appropriations related to the legislation passed during the special session. While the Senate used their existing standing committee format, House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) established new committees for the extraordinary session including the COVID Related Liability Committee, Public Safety Committee, Electronic Delivery of...
    By SARA CLINE, Associated Press/Report for America Oregon lawmakers cut hundreds of millions of dollars from state agencies and tapped emergency reserves to help plug a $1 billion budget deficit due to COVID-19 shutdowns and also further restricted police choke holds during a testy, day-long special session. Some leading lawmakers had hoped to focus the special session, which began Monday and adjourned after 11 p.m., only on spending matters. The Legislature had been tasked with filling a $1.2 billion budget hole. Lawmakers cut roughly $400 million across state agencies and used about $400 million in emergency funds from the Education Stability Fund to help repair the budget. The total adopted state budget for the 2019-21 biennium is nearly $86 billion,...
    The Minnesota state Legislature gets together again Wednesday with even less to do — and less prospect of succeeding — than it did during two previous summertime special sessions. These mid-month gatherings adhere to a predictable schedule, coinciding with extensions of the peacetime state of emergency first declared by Gov. Tim Walz in March to address COVID-19: Extend the emergency  by 30 days, convene the Legislature, repeat. With much of the financial work of the 2020 session left undone when the regular session adjourned on May 18, these bonus sessions were once seen as a way of finishing some business, which included a bonding bill, a tax bill and a supplemental budget. But politics got in the way. Twice, in...
    Tennessee’s state Legislature convened Monday in Nashville for a special session to consider a number of bills responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing protests outside the state Capitol. Legislators will consider bills to provide COVID-19-related liability protection for businesses and schools, expand telehealth services and amend laws governing protesters and camping on state property. When the Legislature reconvened in June to complete this year’s regular legislative session, lawmakers debated liability protection but were not able to agree on a final version of the bill. This week, they’re taking up the issue again in a bill called the Tennessee COVID-19 Recovery Act. The bill would provide limited immunity from COVID-19-related lawsuits for businesses, schools, health care providers and...
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's Republican-dominant Statehouse will continue to meet for a special legislative session on Tuesday as they address COVID-19 liability, telemedicine and penalties against protesters. Gov. Bill Lee announced last week that he was convening a special legislative session to address a handful of bills lawmakers failed to advance earlier this year. Lawmakers did pass a sweeping anti-abortion bill before adjourning in mid-June, but the legislation is currently being blocked by a judge from being implemented as it's being legally challenged. Protesters have held demonstrations outside the Capitol for weeks demanding a meeting with Lee to discuss “racial justice” issues, but the Republican has declined, and instead called for law enforcement agencies to review various policies. GOP...
              The first day of the Tennessee General Assembly’s special session Monday called by Governor Bill Lee, revealed the legislation related to COVID-19 liability, telemedicine expansion and protesting that will be considered. Only legislation related to the topics specifically contained in the governor’s proclamation can be considered during the special session, which began at 4 p.m. on Monday with both the House and Senate going into a floor session. The floor sessions, which lasted less than 30 minutes each, dispensed quickly with the formality of the respective speakers assigning two committees each to notify the governor and the other chamber that it has “perfected its organization and is ready to conduct business.” The Senate...
              The special session of Tennessee lawmakers scheduled for the week of August 10 will likely cost Tennessee taxpayers more than $100,000. Legislators were called to the special session by Governor Bill Lee through an August 3 proclamation to address three issues, the first two which could have been addressed during the previous legislative session. The first issue is limiting the COVID-19 liability risk for healthcare providers, businesses and schools operating in a responsible and safe manner. The legislature took up the matter under SB 2381 / HB 2623 when they returned in June from a two-month COVID-19 recess. Each chamber, however, passed a different version of the legislation and a bi-partisan joint Conference...
    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers return to the Capitol for the second special session of 2020. But the question remains if the session, which begins Monday, will be solely dedicated to rebalancing the state budget thrown out of whack because of the COVID-19 pandemic or if bills altering policy, such as those addressing police reform, will be added to the agenda. Tasked with filling a $1.2 billion budget hole, leading lawmakers have proposed cuts totaling $387 million across state agencies and utilizing $400 million in emergency funds from the Education Stability Fund. While some lawmakers predict the session could be completed within a day or two, that time frame could be lengthened depending if the Legislature decides to focus...
    Tennessee’s special legislative session likely will cost taxpayers about $153,200. State lawmakers return to Nashville this week for a special session to consider bills providing limited liability protections for businesses, health care workers and schools; expanding telehealth; and amending laws that govern the Capitol grounds. The House is scheduled to meet for four, starting Monday. The minimum time the Legislature could meet and pass a bill would be three days; the state constitution requires a bill to be considered on the floor three times before a vote for passage. It is impossible to know exactly how long the session will last, but it is expected to wrap up within the week. Members of the General Assembly are...
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are heading back to the Capitol on Monday to address legislation that would provide health care providers, schools and businesses broad protections against coronavirus lawsuits. Republican Gov. Bill Lee announced last week that he was convening a special legislative session to address not only COVID-19 liability but also “telehealth services and laws governing the Capitol grounds.” The GOP-dominated Statehouse failed to advance the proposal earlier this year when negotiations among lawmakers broke down in the hectic waning hours of legislative work. The main dividing line over the liability bill was whether to make its protections retroactive to early March, which the Senate supported and the House opposed. Critics of such legislation argue the legislation...
            by Tyler Arnold  Police officers and criminal justice reform advocates share some common ground going into Virginia’s special session to address policing reform, but the two groups break apart on some of the more controversial reforms. “We are as repulsed by bad police officers … as anyone [else],” Wayne Huggins, executive director of the Virginia State Police Association, told Virginia House members Thursday during the last criminal justice reform hearing ahead of the special session, which convenes Aug. 18. One area of agreement is reforming the state’s decertification process. Current law permits officers to be decertified only if their violation falls under a short list of offenses, which includes a felony conviction, a misdemeanor sex...
              Governor Walz announced in a press release Friday that he will extend Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency again by 30 days. The state’s peacetime emergency first went into effect March 13 – this is the fifth extension to date. “The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and rapidly evolving, and we can’t let our guard down,” stated Walz. In the upcoming special session, the legislature has the power to terminate this peacetime emergency, since it extends well beyond 30 days. Though it is unclear at this time whether they will exercise this power, the Minnesota House tweeted that the session would be “a very quick in and out.” While the governor’s press release explained these states...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday that he will convene a third special legislative session beginning on Wednesday. However, Minnesota lawmakers will only vote on whether or not to extend Walz’s emergency COVID-19 powers for 30 days. “As long as the COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to Minnesotans, it is my duty to work to provide our state with the tools we need to fight this,” said Walz. “The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and rapidly evolving, and we can’t let our guard down.” Lawmakers may hold a fourth special session in September to try once again to pass a bonding bill for jobs and infrastructure. Previously, the Republican-controlled Senate said they would not agree to the bill without Walz...
    A small group of peaceful protestors hold signs and shout slogans in memory of George Floyd and in opposition to police brutality, in the Silverlake section of Los Angeles, California, June 11, 2020.Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images The death of George Floyd and widespread protests over racial injustice have prompted several states to move at a lightning pace to pass significant policing reform proposals that in some cases have languished for years. The urgency is bipartisan, as both Democratic and Republican majorities in various legislatures have moved quickly to pass bills banning chokeholds, making it easier to hold officers legally accountable for their actions and other reforms. GOP-controlled Iowa took about a week to pass a series of...
    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The death of George Floyd and widespread protests over racial injustice have prompted several states to move at a lightning pace to pass significant policing reform proposals that in some cases have languished for years. The urgency is bipartisan, as both Democratic and Republican majorities in various legislatures have moved quickly to pass bills banning chokeholds, making it easier to hold officers legally accountable for their actions and other reforms. GOP-controlled Iowa took about a week to pass a series of policing bills in mid-June. A week later, the Colorado Legislature, where Democrats hold the majority, passed a sweeping police accountability bill that sped through the legislative process with bipartisan support. Minnesota passed a broad slate...
    The Forum News Services’ Dana Ferguson writes: “Gov. Tim Walz on Friday announced that he would call lawmakers back next week for another special legislative session to weigh the use of his enhanced executive powers. In a proclamation, Walz said lawmakers would return to the Capitol on Wednesday to vote on a proposed 30-day extension to Minnesota’s peacetime emergency to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Star Tribune’s Aby Simons writes: “A Hennepin County judge has ordered the public release of body camera video from the night George Floyd was killed after a challenge by a coalition of local and national media companies, including the Star Tribune. In a ruling issued Friday, Judge Peter Cahill wrote that ‘Members of the...
    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Republicans have again declined to agree to a special session of the state Legislature to address bills left unfinished by the coronavirus pandemic. The Republicans shot down the idea on Wednesday. It was the second time they've declined to hold the session, which would be held at Augusta Civic Center. Hundreds of bills were left over when the pandemic halted the legislative session in March. The state's Democratic leaders accused the Republicans of failing to serve Maine people. But the Republicans said they want an agreement on the scope of the work the legislature would be doing. Specifically, they want lawmakers to address emergency pieces of legislation that are directly related to the pandemic. Democratic...
    ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that he plans to call a special session of the state legislature in order to fix a technical error on a bill that exempts hurricane relief payments from certain taxes. Kemp said in a statement that he signed House Bill 105 despite the problem. The bill, passed by the legislature in June with bipartisan support, shields farmers from having to pay state income tax on relief payments received after Hurricane Michael, which caused widespread damage across southern Georgia in Oct. 2018. It also imposes a 50-cent tax on ride-hailing service, taxi and limousine rides instead of leaving them subject to higher, regular sales taxes. Experts from the University of Georgia have...
    By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press Idaho Gov. Brad Little said Wednesday that he’ll call a special session in late August due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican governor in a statement said the special session will start during the week of Aug. 24 and possibly include how to conduct the November general election amid the pandemic. Little also said the session might include legislation creating a liability shield for protection against lawsuits during declared emergencies such as the pandemic. A majority of House and Senate lawmakers on the Judiciary and Rules Working Group last month concluded that such a law is needed to protect government, schools and private businesses from frivolous lawsuits. A timeline calls for lawmakers to give the...
              Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed public affairs strategist Clint Brewer in the studio. During the third hour, Brewer gave his take on the recent firing of the Tennessee Valley Association (TVA) director for outsourcing IT positions overseas. He later discussed Governor Lee’s calling for a special session in regard to the liability limits of COVID-19. (Trump on TVA clip plays) Leahy: That’s President Trump talking about TVA. Wow. What a mess TVA has created for itself. I think the President acted properly. What’s your take on...
    Tennessee lawmakers will return to Nashville on Aug. 10 for a special session to consider legislation to provide COVID-19-related liability protections for health care providers, businesses and schools. Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation Monday afternoon calling for the legislative special session. “It is now more important than ever that Tennessee businesses, hospitals, churches and schools have COVID-19 liability protection,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said in a statement. “The last thing small business owners, pastors, doctors and school superintendents need to worry about are frivolous lawsuits which would further impede their ability to do their jobs in this difficult time.” Tennessee schools and businesses reopening amid the pandemic remain open to lawsuits. The state’s business...
            by Vivian Jones  Tennessee lawmakers will return to Nashville on August 10 for a special session to consider legislation to provide COVID-19-related liability protections for health care providers, businesses and schools. Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation Monday afternoon calling for the legislative special session. “It is now more important than ever that Tennessee businesses, hospitals, churches and schools have COVID-19 liability protection,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) said in a statement. “The last thing small business owners, pastors, doctors and school superintendents need to worry about are frivolous lawsuits which would further impede their ability to do their jobs in this difficult time.” Tennessee schools and businesses reopening amid the pandemic remain open to lawsuits....
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee on Monday announced he's calling lawmakers back to the Capitol to address legislation that would provide health care providers, schools and businesses broad protections against coronavirus lawsuits. Lee said the special legislative session will convene Aug. 10 to address not only COVID-19 liability but also “telehealth services and laws governing the Capitol grounds.” The GOP-dominated Statehouse failed to advance the proposal earlier this year when negotiations among lawmakers broke down in the hectic waning hours of legislative work. The main dividing line over the liability bill was whether to make its protections retroactive to early March, which the Senate supported and the House opposed. Key lawmakers not only questioned whether it would be...
    By SAM METZ, AP/Report for America CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Steve Sisolak convened the Nevada Legislature on Friday for a special session to address policy issues related to the coronavirus pandemic as well as Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation since May. The special session is the second of the summer and follows the 12-day emergency session convened to balance the state budget amid the pandemic and projected revenue shortfalls. Sisolak reversed his plans to hold back-to-back sessions and sent lawmakers home on July 20 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Unlike the first session, the governor's proclamation specifies an end date of Aug. 7 at midnight to avoid unnecessary exposure. “In order to protect...
    A bipartisan chorus of lawmakers calling on Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to step down from his leadership positions or resign from the General Assembly got louder Thursday as lawmakers also called for a special session to address ethics reforms. Ethics reforms were top of mind for legislators earlier this year when they created a commission to formulate ideas. That was after months of revelations of federal investigations, lawmakers wearing wiretaps, indictments, and office raids. But then the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world. Earlier this month, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois released a deferred prosecution agreement with utility ComEd that implicated Madigan. While Madigan hasn’t been charged with a crime, some expect that to...
    By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers on Thursday voted for proposed legislation creating a liability shield for protection against lawsuits during declared emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic, and are asking Republican Gov. Brad Little to call the Legislature back into session to pass it. A majority of House and Senate lawmakers on the Judiciary and Rules Working Group say such a law is needed to protect government entities and private businesses. Some lawmakers opposed to the legislation said a liability shield will remove incentives for businesses and government to take precautions. Little is the only one who can call the part-time Legislature back into session, which otherwise wouldn’t meet until early January. Lawmakers in...
    Urged on by Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Connecticut Senate assured final passage of a police accountability bill early Wednesday morning, 21-15, during a rushed special session. ICYMI: The police accountability bill passed the senate early this morning. With that vote, the bill passes out of the legislature. It now awaits action by Governor Lamont. https://t.co/RWgFGgn8mp — ACLU of Connecticut (@acluct) July 29, 2020 Bill No. 6004 (LCO No. 3700) passed the State House 86-58 Friday, after hours of overnight debate and then moved on to the Senate. Every Senate Republican voted against the bill. “This is an anti-police bill,” Sen. Rob Sampson (R) said, according to CT Mirror. “This bill seeks to decimate...
    DENVER (CBS4) – State Republican lawmakers are asking Governor Jared Polis to call the legislature to the Capitol for a special session. Their hopes are to develop new policies to protect access to education in the midst of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The letter is signed by 36 state senators and representatives. (credit: CBS) “As the school year rapidly approaches, tens of thousands of parents throughout Colorado have entreated us to take action both to ensure the health and safety of their children and to prevent them from falling behind in their education as we deal with this unprecedented crisis,” the group writes in the letter. Parents need concrete, actionable, and flexible options for the 2020-2021 school year. Kids get...
    More than 70 groups signed on to a joint letter demanding Maryland’s legislative leaders and members hold a special session to deal with pandemic-related issues and criminal justice reform. The letter was addressed to Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne A. Jones, Senate President Bill Ferguson and members of the Maryland General Assembly. “We remain deeply concerned for the most vulnerable,” the letter said. “Marylanders simply cannot wait until January.” The letter goes on to say that “black, brown, and other marginalized communities confront a tsunami of negative COVID-19 health outcomes, economic freefall including mass evictions, and the relentless denial of their humanity by the police and other pillars of the criminal justice system.” “There is a failure of...
    The bill passed after nearly two months of difficult negotiations that followed Floyd's death on May 25 and the ensuing unrest that spread around the world over police brutality and racism. Floyd, who was Black, was killed when a white officer held his knee to Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes as he was handcuffed and restrained by three other officers holding him down. Members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus led the policing reform efforts at the Capitol, speaking with community members and law enforcement before drafting the legislation they introduced last month. POCI Caucus member and House public safety committee chairman Rep. Carlos Mariani said the legislation is the first step in preventing what happened...
    By MOHAMED IBRAHIM ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz signed a police accountability bill into law Thursday that includes a ban on neck restraints like the one that was used on George Floyd before his death in Minneapolis, though some activist groups say the legislation falls short. The bill, passed by the Legislature earlier this week, also bans chokeholds and fear-based or “warrior-style” training, which critics say promotes excessive force. It imposes a duty to intercede on officers who see a colleague using excessive force and changes rules on the use of force to stress the sanctity of life. “This bipartisan piece of legislation moves us toward a critical step towards criminal justice reform,” Walz said at a...
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is being urged to reconvene the General Assembly, or be forced to do so by lawmakers, in order for the state to take new action on coronavirus relief and police reforms. The calls are coming from state Del. Julian Ivey, a Democrat who represents part of Prince George’s County. He wants to see legislation that would have ballots mailed to every voter in the upcoming election and for moratoriums on evictions to be extended. In response, Hogan’s office said the evictions moratorium is tied to the state of emergency and remains in place for the foreseeable future. Ivey, though, said there are loopholes in that moratorium. He added that when it comes to implementing police reforms,...
            by Steve Karnowski  MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — The Minnesota Legislature passed a broad slate of police accountability measures early Tuesday that includes a ban on neck restraints like the one that was used on George Floyd before his death in Minneapolis. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown with Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Anne Neu, R-North Branch Monday, July 20, 2020 in St. Paul, Minn. With him is Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Anne Neu, R-North Branch.(Glenn Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP) The package also bans chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training, which critics say promotes excessive force. It imposes a duty to intercede on officers who see a colleague using excessive force. It changes rules on the use...
    Hours after the Minnesota Legislature failed to pass a bill to fund public construction projects before adjourning early Tuesday morning, dozens of members Minnesota building trades unions — decked out in orange safety vests and yellow hard hats — lined up on the state Capitol Mall to plead with Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders to return for another special session and finally approve a bonding bill. Some suggested they could do it during a likely special session in August. Sorry, Walz said just an hour later. “We can’t do it in August.” Why not? Because, he said, it would mess up the state’s plan to sell bonds next month to finance construction projects that were previously authorized by the...
    By CASEY SMITH, Associated Press/Report for America INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Legislative Democrats want Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to bring the General Assembly back in a special session as concerns over racial injustice and rising coronavirus cases have created what they say is an immediate need for legislators to reconvene. The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus and the Indiana House Democratic Caucus are requesting a special session in August to consider police reform measures, allow for unrestricted absentee voting and to implement legislative oversight in the distribution of federal COVID-19 relief funds received by Indiana. There's been too little transparency and action taken on these issues so far, Democrats said, and a special session would allow new legislation to take effect before...
    Despite utility giant ComEd admitting to bribery in a federal investigation that also implicated Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday he has no plans to call a special session of the legislature to take up ethics reform. During an appearance in Peoria on Monday, Pritzker would not commit to calling a special session to take up the issue even though earlier in the day he said lobbying reform was needed. “I am hoping that in November that we will be able to take up again the work by the ethics commission that was put together in the General Assembly, a bi-partisan commission that was doing quite good work before they were cut short...
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Legislature passed a package of police accountability measures early Tuesday that includes a ban on neck restraints like the one that was used on George Floyd before his death in Minneapolis. The sweeping package was said to be one of the most substantial changes to the state's criminal justice system in years and also bans chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training in which officers are instructed to view all encounters as inherently dangerous. Passage of the measures comes after nearly two months of negotiations that followed Floyd's death May 25. The Black man was restrained face down in the street while handcuffed and with three officers holding him down, including a white officer who...
              MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — Legislative leaders had a tentative agreement Monday on the outlines of a police accountability bill, the top Republican in the Minnesota Senate said, but chances appeared dimmer for a $1.9 billion public construction projects package that had yet to win the necessary GOP support in the Democratic-controlled House. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) (pictured above) said he planned to adjourn the special session by midnight if there was no agreement on the projects bill, also known as a bonding bill. He said a deal was mostly up to the House. “It’s basically today or it’s not going to happen,” Gazelka said as lawmakers returned to the...
    By STEVE KARNOWSKI MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Legislative leaders had a tentative agreement Monday on the outlines of a police accountability bill, the top Republican in the Minnesota Senate said, but lawmakers struggled with the details and chances appeared even dimmer for a $1.9 billion public construction projects package that had yet to win the necessary GOP support in the Democratic-controlled House. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, of East Gull Lake, said he planned to adjourn the special session by midnight if there was no agreement on the projects bill, also known as a bonding bill. He said a deal was mostly up to the House. “It’s basically today or it’s not going to happen,” Gazelka said as lawmakers returned to...
    By SAM METZ, AP/Report for America CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday signed five bills passed by the Legislature restoring some of the $536 million in cuts the governor outlined in his proposed budget and creating a federally funded grant program for schools facing coronavirus expenses. Sisolak signed the bills a day after the conclusion of a marathon 12-day special legislative session. Memories of the Great Recession and its effect on Nevada lingered as lawmakers worked to plug a projected deficit one-fourth the size of the state’s general fund. With bars closed throughout Nevada, visitor volume down and the number of virus cases on the rise, the state once again faces a severe budget crisis....
    There’s still no deal on a $1.8 billion public construction bill in the Minnesota Legislature. Just four days after Gov. Tim Walz predicted he and Republican lawmakers would negotiate a compromise to pass his “local jobs and projects plan,” also known as the bonding bill, House GOP Minority Leader Kurt Daudt of Crown said Monday he and his fellow Republicans would not vote for the measure that was scheduled to come up on the floor later in the day.  That effectively sidetracked the bill — at least for now. Daudt announced his position as lawmakers returned to the Capitol to resume the second special session of the summer. They had taken a break from floor sessions last week as Walz,...
    In response to the death of George Floyd and protests against police brutality erupting throughout the country, policing reform will be one of the top priorities in Virginia’s upcoming special session. Senate Democrats have released a six-point plan for addressing policing reform, which includes bringing equity into policing, giving courts and prosecutors a greater ability to give lesser sentences, ensuring equitable sentences and reducing racial profiling from police. Some proposals in the plan for bringing equity to Virginia policing included ending no-knock raids, making it illegal for police to have sex with individuals in custody, firing officers who use force during interrogations, requiring de-escalation attempts before using force, requiring warnings before shots can be fired and creating a...
    Legislative leaders had a tentative agreement Monday on the outlines of a police accountability bill, the top Republican in the Minnesota Senate said, but chances appeared dimmer for a $1.9 billion public construction projects package that had yet to win the necessary GOP support in the Democratic-controlled House. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said he planned to adjourn the special session by midnight if there was no agreement on the projects bill, also known as a bonding bill. He said a deal was mostly up to the House. “It’s basically today or it’s not going to happen,” Gazelka said as lawmakers returned to the Capitol to resume their second special session of the year after several days...
    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota House Republican leaders said Monday they won't provide the votes needed to pass a $1.9 billion public construction projects bill, and that they won't back a package of police accountability measures either. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, of Crown, made the comments at a news conference as lawmakers returned to the Capitol to resume their second special session of the year after several days of behind-the-scenes negotiations. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz had to call the special session to give lawmakers a chance to rescind the emergency powers he's been using to respond to the conornavirus pandemic. The Democratic-controlled House blocked a GOP effort to void those powers last week. But the special session also gave legislators...
    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota House Republican leaders said Monday they won’t provide the votes needed to pass a $1.9 billion public construction projects bill, and that they won’t back a package of police accountability measures either. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, of Crown, made the comments at a news conference as lawmakers returned to the Capitol to resume their second special session of the year after several days of behind-the-scenes negotiations. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz had to call the special session to give lawmakers a chance to rescind the emergency powers he’s been using to respond to the conornavirus pandemic. The Democratic-controlled House blocked a GOP effort to void those powers last week. But the special session also gave legislators...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Monday at noon, both houses of the Minnesota Legislature convene for a second summer special session. Among the unfinished business includes police reform; a billion-plus infrastructure, jobs and bonding bill; help for riot-torn Minneapolis and St. Paul, and more. With the pressure building, it’s not clear if an agreement can be reached at all. The problem issues have not only not gone away, but have only gotten more complicated. It was a week after the regular session ended that George Floyd was killed, moving police reform front and center onto the agenda. While the Democratically-controlled House is still demanding sweeping reforms, Republicans are supporting far more limited changes. Both parties do agree on general wording when...
    CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced he no longer plans to call for a special legislative session to address criminal justice and coronavirus-related concerns of business and worker groups legal liability and worker protections. In a statement Sunday afternoon, the governor said he originally intended to call a special session after lawmakers wrap up proceedings on the state budget to address issues he believes “cannot and should not wait. He has since reconsidered, he said, due to the continued spread of the virus and the length of the special session underway to address the state's budget shortfall. “I have serious reservations about having our lawmakers convene again for a similar – or longer – period of...
    By The Associated Press Recent editorials of statewide and national interest from New England’s newspapers: CONNECTICUT Stonington school board should stop self-serving FOI appeal The Day July 16 The job of the Stonington Board of Education is to set policy for the administration to implement. One policy it should set for the administration: stop wasting taxpayer dollars fighting to keep information from the public. Case in point. A year ago The Day sought access to a memo from Principal Mike Friese to Superintendent of Schools Van Riley with the subject line: INVESTIGATION of STUDENT ALLEGATION OF INAPPROPRIATE CONTACT BY A TEACHER. The teacher, we know, is former high school instructor and coach Timothy Chokas. Though the reporting of Day Staff...
    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has called for a special legislative session next month to focus on the state budget in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as well as criminal and social justice reform. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Northam's office made the announcement Friday. Lawmakers will be due back in Richmond on Aug. 18. “I look forward to bringing legislators back in session as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “We have a unique opportunity to provide critical support to Virginians, invest strategically in our economic recovery, and make progress on policing and criminal justice reform. Let’s get to work.” The governor's office said he expects to...
    By SAM METZ, AP/Report for America CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — After a week of mostly behind-the-scenes discussions, the Nevada Legislature’s emergency special session grew contentious Thursday during middle-of-the-night sparring over a proposal to cap tax deductions for mining businesses that stalled hours after it was introduced. The bill passed through the Assembly on a party line vote but fell one vote short of passing in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is needed to increase taxes. The deduction cap would have provided about $100 million to the state’s general fund and was the first substantial revenue proposal put forth during the nine-day special legislative session. It garnered enthusiasm from Democrats all the way up to Gov. Steve Sisolak, who...