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Arizona Senate Bill 1186

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Arizona, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 1186, Update Fingerprinting and Background Check Laws for Alarm Installers: Passed 56 to 0 in the state House on April 20, 2017.

 

To modify fingerprinting and background check requirements for application and renewal of state licences for alarm installers eliminate gaps in oversight, and to change the renewal period from 2 years to 3.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Arizona Senate Bill 1186!

 

 

Nevada Changes Law to Deal with Marijuana Shortage

 

Recreational marijuana use became legal in Nevada in early July. Unfortunately for Nevadans who wanted a legal high, the state’s distribution system caused supply to lag behind demand. Now regulators are relaxing rules in order to ensure a steady flow of weed.

 

Initially, state law only allowed alcohol wholesalers to distribute marijuana to retail outlets around the state. Nevadans’ demand for marijuana overwhelmed this system, however. There were over 40,000 transactions in the first few days of legalization, leading to shortages.

 

This prompted Gov. Brian Sandoval to declare a state of emergency. The state tax commission met and set new rules so that entities other than alcohol wholesalers could distribute marijuana. They hope that this will alleviate problems with retail outlets running low.

 

While Nevada officials had a rough time getting their system up and running, it does show that the state stands to reap significant tax revenue by allowing recreational marijuana use. The state imposes a 15% tax on wholesalers and a 10% tax on retail sales. The state projects that this will lead to $100 million in new tax revenue.

 

This influx of revenue could tempt lawmakers in other states to consider following the lead of Nevada and other states that legalize and tax recreational marijuana use.

 

Do you think that marijuana should be legal? Or do you support laws that make it illegal for people to use the drug recreationally?

 

Needle Exchanges Spreading to More States

 

Across the country, intravenous drug users are exchanging their used needles for clean ones. Needle exchange programs are illegal in some states, but there has recently been a trend towards removing barriers to their operation.


This year Tennessee and New Hampshire passed legislation that allows needle exchange programs. Last year North Carolina did the same. Other states either considered similar bills during their legislative sessions this year or are currently doing so.

 

These programs are being operated under a “harm reduction” model. That is, they recognize that people are going to use needles to inject drugs, but this does not mean that steps cannot be taken to reduce the harm intravenous drug use. Sharing dirty needles can spread diseases. The logic behind exchange programs is that if users have clean needles there will be a reduction in the spread of diseases such as HIV or hepatitis.

 

Opponents of these programs say that they facilitate drug use by giving addicts the tools they need to use an illegal substance. Many states still outlaw the possession of hypodermic needles without a prescription.

 

State that allow needle exchanges have differing laws on the subject. North Carolina, for instance, allows such exchanges but prohibits taxpayer money from funding them. Other states allow such programs only for private organizations.

 

Do you support needle exchange programs to stop the spread of infectious diseases? Or do you oppose the government taking steps to make it easier for addicts to shoot up?

 

Are Sales Tax Holidays Good Policy?

 

It’s back-to-school season, so that means parents are rushing to stores while clutching school supply lists.  In some states, they may get a brief reprieve from paying sales tax on clothes or notebooks. This type of sales tax holiday may sound like a great deal for consumers, but some experts say it is bad policy.


Sales tax holidays are promoted as a way to spur retail sales as well as help families afford necessary school supplies. Politicians in 16 states have enacted these sales tax holidays, and they cover a variety of goods.

 

Bob Peterson, a state senator from Ohio, co-sponsored legislation in that state creating a sales tax holiday this year. He says, “Ohioans saved millions of dollars on back-to-school items during the prior Sales Tax Holidays, and stores saw significant boosts in statewide retail sales.”

 

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, however, these supposed benefits are an illusion. Here are some of the problems with this brief window of tax-free shopping, according to the foundation’s experts:

 

“Most sales tax holidays involve politicians picking products and industries to favor with exemptions, arbitrarily discriminating among products and across time, and distorting consumer decisions… Political gimmicks like sales tax holidays distract policymakers and taxpayers from genuine, permanent tax relief. If a state must offer a ‘holiday’ from its tax system, it is an implicit recognition that the state’s tax system is uncompetitive. If policymakers want to save money for consumers, then they should cut the sales tax rate year-round.”

 

What do you think? Do you support sales tax holidays? Or do you think that these holidays are gimmicks that have no real positive effect?

 

Ohio House Bill 132

 

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Ohio House Bill 132, Regulate Fantasy Sports Betting: Passed 82 to 15 in the state House on May 24, 2017. 

 

To require the Ohio Casino Control Commission to investigate, license, penalize, and regulate anyone conducting or participating in a fantasy sports league.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Ohio House Bill 132!

 

 

Wisconsin Senate Bill 58

 

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Senate Bill 58, Make Carjacking a Specific Crime: Passed 26 to 7 in the state Senate on June 14, 2017.

 

To create the new criminal offense of using force to take a vehicle without the consent of the owner. This crime could be punished by up to 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

 

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West Virginia Senate Bill 2006

 

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West Virginia Bill 2006, Expand Penalties for Violation of the Whistleblower Act: Passed 98 to 0 in the state House on February 15, 2017. 

 

To increase maximum fines for employers from $500 to $5000, and in the case of public employers, to create a process to remove a person from public office if they are found to have violated protections in state law for "whistle blowers."

 

Comment below to share what you think of West Virginia Senate Bill 2006!

 

 

Virginia Senate Bill 1240

 

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Virginia Senate Bill 1240, Override Veto of Allowing Students to Take Online Schooling: Failed 21 to 19 in the state Senate on April 5, 2017.

 

To override the governor’s veto of a bill to establish the Virginia Virtual School, which will serve up to 5,000 Virginia students. This online education must meet state standards and will be available beginning 2019.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Virginia Senate Bill 1240!

 

 

Tennessee House Bill 6

 

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Tennessee House Bill 6, Permit Soccer Subsidies: Passed 87 to 2 in the state House on March 30, 2017.

 

To allow sales tax revenue derived from major league soccer to be allocated to the municipality in which the soccer team is located. In effect, this bill would allow Nashville to use sales tax revenue to subsidize a major league soccer stadium.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Tennessee House Bill 6!

 

 

Pennsylvania House Bill 542

 

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House Bill 542, Mandate Online Sales Tax Notice: Passed 26 to 24 in the state House on July 27, 2017.

 

To mandate that online out-of-state companies selling to Pennsylvania customers must remind these customers that they owe the commonwealth’s sales tax on goods being purchased. In addition, these companies must send any Pennsylvania resident who spent more than $500 in a year a notice that they owe Pennsylvania sales tax.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Pennsylvania House Bill 542!

 

 

North Carolina House Bill 630

 

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North Carolina House Bill 630, Reform Social Services and Child Welfare Systems: Passed 101 to 14 in the state House on June 14, 2017.

 

To make several reforms to the state social services and child welfare systems. Among the changes, the bill would have the Department of Social Services work with several public and nonprofit organizations in setting up regional offices for localized administration of social services. It would also have the state contract with an outside organization to draw up reforms of accountability and oversight of the state social services and child welfare systems.

 

Comment below to share what you think of North Carolina House Bill 630!

 

 

New Hampshire House Resolution 7

 

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House Resolution 7, Restrict Political Contributions of Those Not Eligible to Vote: Passed 210 to 74 in the state House on February 9, 2017.

 

To call on the US Congress to consider a constitutional amendment prohibiting campaign contributions unless the donor is eligible to vote in that federal election.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Resolution 7!

 

 

Missouri House Bill 7

 

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House Bill 7, Appropriations for the Economic Development, Insurance, and Labor Departments: Passed 115 to 38 in the state House on April 6, 2017. 

 

To spend $301,156,373 for the Department of Economic Development, $43,833,994 for the
Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, and $212,298,975 for the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Missouri House Bill 7!

 

 

Michigan House Bill 4213

 

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House Bill 4213, Require Court Order to Breathalyze Minor Who Says No: Passed 37 to 0 in the state Senate on June 22, 2017. 

 

To establish that a police officer must get a court order to get a breath test for alcohol from a minor who objects. This is not related to drunk driving or vehicles, but to enforcement of a state law that bans minors from being in possession of alcohol. Recent court cases have suggested that doing this without a court order is unconstitutional.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Michigan House Bill 4213!

 

 

Iowa Senate Bill 502

 

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Senate Bill 502, To Raise a State-Imposed Cap on Fees Issued by Creditors: Passed 49 to 0 in the state Senate on April 12, 2017.

 

This measure modifies several aspects of state law governing credit cards, including raising the limit on overdraft fees (bounced checks) from $15 to $30. It also allows the fee for exceeding a credit limit to go from $15 to $30. It also increases the amount that a person can receive from a civil action against a credit issuer from a range of $100 to $1,000 to a range of $200 to $2,000.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Iowa Senate Bill 502!

 

 

Florida House Bill 1385

 

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House Bill 1385, Increase Domestic Violence Penalties: Passed 37 to 0 in the state Senate on May 5, 2017.

 

To increase mandatory jail time for guilty domestic violence offenders if they intentionally caused bodily harm or if the violence was committed in the presence of a child 16 years old or younger. This bill requires offenders to attend and complete a 29-week batterer’s intervention program.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Florida House Bill 1385!

 

 

Colorado House Bill 1222

 

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House Bill 1222, Create Family Caregiver Support Fund Tax Check-off: Passed 27 to 7 in the state Senate on April 18, 2017. 

 

To create a family caregiver support fund in the state treasury and, if space on tax forms permits, allow taxpayers to designate tax funds to provide money for the fund. Money remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year would go to Easter Seals Colorado.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Colorado House Bill 1222!

 

 

Arizona House Bill 2482

 

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House Bill 2482, Expand Exemption for Mandated Workers Compensation: Passed 29 to 0 in the state Senate on April 24, 2017. 

 

To allow business owners who own at least 25% of a limited liability company to opt out of state mandated workers compensation insurance.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Arizona House Bill 2482! 

 

 

Trump a Big Factor in Virginia Governor’s Race

 

Donald Trump may not be on Virginia’s ballot this year, but he is certainly making his presence felt in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race.

 

During a recent debate between Republican candidate Ed Gillespie and Democratic candidate Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, the president and other national issues played a large role in the discussion. In fact, moderator Judy Woodruff led off the questioning by asking about President Trump.

 

Lt. Governor Northam did not hold back, saying:

 

“I believe that our president is a dangerous man. I believe that he lacks empathy. You need to look no further than his mocking of the journalist. That’s all that I needed to see. And he also has difficulty telling the truth. And it happens again and again. As we say on the Eastern Shore, he lies like a rug.”

 

Gillespie countered by saying that it would do Virginia no good to have a governor who insults the president: “When you hear the lieutenant governor, he calls his campaign the resistance. Resistance 2017. What are you going to do as our governor? Call the White House and say, ‘please put me through to the narcissistic maniac?’”

 

While promoting good ties with the Trump White House, Gillespie did make it clear that he has differences with the president. For instance, Gillespie supports funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, which Trump’s budget proposal slated for elimination.

 

During the debate, Northam stressed his opposition to hydraulic fracturing, his support of gun control, his desire to see Medicaid expanded to cover Virginians with higher incomes, and his opposition to restrictions on birth control. Gillespie discussed his plans to cut taxes, his support for gun rights, and said that he would work to end “sanctuary cities.”

 

This was the first in a series of three gubernatorial debates.

 

Do you think that gubernatorial races should focus on what President Trump is doing? Or do you think that governors and gubernatorial candidates should focus on state-level issues?

 

Senate Fails to Repeal Obamacare

 

After considerable debate and intense media attention, efforts in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, failed last week. This represents a huge blow to President Trump’s agenda, a pillar of which was to kill Obamacare. It is also a defeat for Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader who could not marshal enough votes to pass a repeal bill.

 

Here are some of the votes taken during Senate debate on Obamacare:

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Consider legislation to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare: Passed 50 to 50 To proceed with consideration of legislation that would repeal and modify portions of the Affordable Care Act. This motion passed because Vice President Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of it.

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Donnelly amendment to send Obamacare repeal to committee: Failed 48 to 52 To end consideration of legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and instead allow the bill to be considered in a Senate committee.

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Heller amendment to repeal the tax on expensive health insurance: Passed 52 to 48

To repeal the 40% tax on some employer-sponsored health insurance plans that offer benefits exceeding a certain amount. This tax is also known as the “Cadillac tax.”

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Amendment to express support for Medicaid expansion: Failed 10 to 90

To express the sense of the Senate that expanding Medicaid is important and that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, should be improved.

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Daines amendment to mandate government-run health insurance: Failed 0 to 57

To expand the Medicare program to cover all Americans, or alternatively to create a “single payer” health insurance system. This would be paid for by increasing income taxes, imposing a new payroll tax, and creating a tax on stock and bond transactions. The amendment would prohibit private health insurance that competes with government insurance. Forty-three Senate Democrats voted “present” instead of “yes” or “no” on this amendment.

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Paul amendment to repeal most of Obamacare: Failed 45 to 55

To repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the expansion of Medicaid and the mandate on individuals to buy health insurance. This amendment would also end the health insurance exchanges and repeal taxes imposed to fund the ACA. It would take effect in two years.

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Partially repeal and replace Obamacare: Passed 43 to 57

To repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act. This amendment would end the Medicaid expansion, increase Medicaid spending by $100 billion, and restructure Medicaid so that states are given a capped amount of federal dollars per recipient. It would also reduce subsidies for health insurance purchases, allow health insurance to be sold without as many government mandates, and end the mandates requiring individuals to purchase health insurance and employers to provide health insurance.

 

U.S. House Bill 1628, Amendment to repeal parts of Obamacare but leave Medicaid portion: Failed 49 to 51

To repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act, including the mandates that individuals purchase health insurance and employers provide health insurance, as well as the tax on manufacturing medical devices. The amendment would also end Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood for one year. This amendment would leave in place the ACA's Medicaid expansion, subsidies for the purchase of health insurance, and mandates on what types of health insurance can be sold. This amendment was known as “skinny repeal” of Obamacare.

 

 

Are you glad that the Senate failed to uproot the Affordable Care Act? Or do you think that keeping Obamacare in place is the wrong move?

 

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