Reading is fundamental! Let's see what we learn this week.
- Better than a scholarship: Connecticut lawmakers have just approved raising the state's hourly minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017, the highest of any state. Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy is excited to sign the bill into law.
- So maybe we can take a hint that guns and schools don't mix. Or not: In Indiana, it just became legal to have guns in school parking lots.
- Dropping science: Just take another study hall, maybe.
- Lawmakers in the heavily Republican Wyoming legislature have blocked a new set of national science standards because of the associated expectation that students understand that climate change is totally real and is the result of human activity.
- A Republican state Senator is trying to squelch an eight-year-old girl's dream of establishing the woolly mammoth as South Carolina's state fossil by appending a passage of the Genesis creation story to the proposal.
- In Missouri, a bill requiring parental notification of intent to teach evolution is advancing through the House.
- Poor attendance at polling places is almost a certainty if (who are we kidding? when) a new restrictive voting measure in Wisconsin becomes law. The bill, passed on a party-line vote (well, except for this guy) in both chambers, eliminates early voting on weekends and limits early voting hours on weekdays to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- This isn't the first time the GOP-controlled legislature has made voting more difficult for Wisconsinites; right after they swept into power in 2011, Republicans cut early voting drastically, from three weeks (including three weekends) to two weeks (including one weekend).
- Dropping out: GOP state Senator and notorious moderate Dale Schultz can't take it any more. He's retiring this year, but he's not going quietly. "I'm not willing to defend them any more," he said about his colleagues when asked about the new voting restrictions, accusing Republicans of "trying to suppress the vote."
- But you can still buy birthday cupcakes for your class, probably: Backers of an Oregon ballot measure that would allow businesses to refuse to serve gay weddings are super mad that the the approved ballot language makes their discriminatory proposal seem... discriminatory. They've gone to court to try to change the "politically charged" language ("Religious belief" exemptions to anti-discriminatory laws for refusing services, other, for same-sex ceremonies, "arrangements").
- After the ballot language is finalized, proponents of the measure have until July 3 to gather 87,213 signatures.
- Better than iodine and a band-aid: New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is about to sign the Medicaid expansion bill that just passed the legislature into law. About 50,000 Granite Staters are poised to get covered.
- More fun than programming Pong on your TI-84: The guys who brought us .gop (who also happen to be in charge of electing Republican state legislators, secretaries of state, and lieutenant governors) are spending money on building websites, which is maybe a way to pass the time when they're not working with the RSLC's "affiliate" 501(c)(4) group, the State Government Leadership Foundation (bonus: they're Article V-ers!).
- Cartography 101: Nebraska state senators are considering a measure that would take legislative and congressional redistricting out of their own hands and give it to an independent, bipartisan commission.
- Law school. Ugh. My favorite former law school classmate who's now a state legislator (just because he's my only former law school classmate who's now a state legislator) is pushing an measure in Florida that would impede the media's ability to access (and scrutinize) the application of the state's terrifying "stand your ground" law.
But wait! There's more...