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Governors Spotlight: Abortion, $18 Billion Pandemic Relief Plan, Paid Family Leave & More

May 13, 2022

Govs Take Opposing Sides on Abortion

In the wake of a leaked memo indicating the Supreme Court of the United States will soon strike down Roe. V. Wade, red and blue state governors have quickly acted to further solidify their states’ positions on the issue.

Several blue states in recent years have adopted laws codifying the right to an abortion, while at least 13 red states have adopted so-called trigger laws that will greatly restrict or outright ban the procedure should Roe be struck down. But the leak of a draft majority opinion in early May has given both sides an even greater sense of urgency to act.

On May 5th, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed HB 5414, a bill that offers significant protections to individuals providing or seeking abortions in the Constitution State from restrictive abortion laws in other states.

In addition to expanding the kinds of health professionals that can perform the procedure, the law also bars those individuals from being extradited to another state and similarly prohibits state agencies from assisting in investigations or prosecutions from another state. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) proposed a bill last week that would require insurance plans to cover abortion with no out-of-pocket costs. Murphy noted that a bill he signed in January which codified the right to an abortion in the Garden State had a provision requiring insurers to pay for the procedure pulled from the bill before it got to him.

“At that time, there were also some who claimed we were being alarmist and that the Supreme Court would never overturn Roe v. Wade. That was five months ago,” Murphy said in announcing his proposal last week.

He was joined by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who committed $35 million in state funds toward increasing access to abortions in the Empire state. At least $25 million of that is expected to be used to cover potential costs for those coming from out of state for abortion and increase staff for current providers to meet expected demand, with the remaining $10 million being allocated for increased security for family planning clinics.

The strongest proposal, however, came last Wednesday from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who announced plans to include $40 million in his mid-year budget revision to provide grants to abortion providers to help offset the cost of uninsured and low-income residents seeking the procedure. The funds are also expected to help meet the costs of an expected influx of women from other states once the high court’s ruling becomes official. He added an additional $15 million to help family planning centers provide outreach and education. 

Newsom said he will also update state tax incentives to companies that want to move to or expand their presence in California. He referenced – but did not directly name – companies like Tesla, which has said it would pay for its workers to travel to California to obtain an abortion.

“To all those businesses, the idea that you’re moving your companies to states, and then you have to pay for your employees to travel back to the states you made them move, maybe they should start reconsidering some of those decisions,” he said. (LOS ANGELES TIMES, ALBANY TIMES-UNION, NEW YORK TIMES, POLITICO, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR'S OFFICE)

CA Gov Pitches $18 Billion Relief Plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) pitched an $18.1 billion “inflation relief” proposal last Thursday he said is intended to “help offset the higher costs that Californians are facing right now and provide support to those still recovering from the pandemic.” Among several things, the package includes $11.5 billion in tax rebates, $2.7 billion for rental assistance, $1.4 billion to help people behind on their utility payments, and $933 million for bonuses to hospital and nursing home staff. The proposal must gain approval from Golden State lawmakers. (CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE)

Judge Strikes Down FL Gov’s District Maps

A Florida Circuit Court judge struck down Congressional district maps drawn by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), saying the lines the governor drew are unconstitutional. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Layne Smith – who was appointed to the bench by DeSantis – said the maps diminish “African Americans’ ability to select the representative of their choice.” DeSantis said he will appeal the ruling. (TAMPA BAY TIMES)

DE Gov Signs Paid Family Leave Bill

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed SB 1, legislation that provides First State residents with 12 weeks of paid family leave each year. The law applies to companies with 11 or more workers. The law takes effect on July 1st. (DELAWARE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE)

KS Gov Signs Grocery Tax Elimination, Sports Betting Bills

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed two high profile measures last week: HB 2106, a bill that will eliminate the Sunflower State tax on groceries by 2025, and SB 84, which legalizes wagering on professional sports via both online apps and at casinos statewide. (KANSAS GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

CT Gov Signs Bill Allowing Psychedelic-Assisted Treatment

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed HB 5505, a budget bill that also contains a provision allowing for the use of substances like MDMA and psilocybin as part of an expanded access program for investigational new drugs through the federal Food and Drug Administration. (MARIJUANA MOMENT)

MI Gov Signs Service Animals Bill

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed HB 4256, a measure that allows service animals in training to accompany their trainer into public places to help with their training and socializing as long as the animals remain under the control of their animal raiser or trainer and have a harness, leash, or other tethers. (MICHIGAN GOVERNOR’S OFFICE)

--Compiled by RICH EHISEN

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