Progress in January-February 2018

Posted on February 14, 2018

Civil Rights & Liberties

Delaware’s governor signed HB 204, which seeks to reduce the reliance on a cash bail system in the pretrial process in order to reduce the number of individuals who are retained simply because they lack the funds for their release. Washington’s Senate passed SB 5722, which would ban the practice of conversion therapy with patients under the age of eighteen. A Mississippi senator introduced SB 2933, which would affirm the civil rights of an individual to be free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or familial status. A Missouri representative introduced HB 2311, which would provide for further protections against discrimination in employment and places of public accommodation. A Connecticut senator introduced SB 13, which would provide for more protections regarding the fair treatment of incarcerated women. An Alaska representative has introduced HB 118, which would provide for a re-entry services program and compensation for individuals who have been wrongfully convicted or imprisoned.

Consumer Protection

Montana’s governor issued an executive order requiring internet service providers with state contracts to follow net neutrality principles. Similarly, New York’s governor issued an executive order to ensure net neutrality protections for the citizens of the state. California legislators have introduced SB 460 and SB 822, both of which also seek to protect net neutrality and ensure fair and reasonable access to the internet for all in the state. An Idaho Senate committee introduced SB 1289, which will provide for further transparency for pharmacy benefit managers. A Mississippi senator introduced SB 2113, which would restrict the use of certain chemicals in food and require more transparent labeling of food products. An Alaska Senator introduced SB 118, which would require commercial internet websites or online services to disclose what information have collected on a customer and with which third parties they have shared this information.


A Mississippi school district voted to prohibit the use of physical discipline on students. A Hawaii representative introduced HB 1905, which would implement a comprehensive sexual health education program in public schools in the state. A Washington senator introduced SB 5210, which establishes a student loan bill of rights. The Virginia senate has passed SB 273, and the House has passed HB 1419, both of which would allow for unstructured recreational time for grades one through six.

Environment & Smart Growth

A Maryland delegate introduced HB 3 which would require the Governor to include the state as a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance. A Hawaii representative introduced SB 3095, which would establish disclosure and public notification requirements for the outdoor application of pesticides in certain areas. Arizona senators have introduced SB 1370, which would require each school district and charter school to adopt a green cleaning policy and use environmentally sensitive cleaning products within their schools as well as requiring each state building to meet certain green building energy and efficiency standards.


The City Council of San Antonio, Texas voted to raise the age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 years of age to 21 years of age. An Indiana representative introduced HB 1380, which would also raise the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.  The first committee in the Hawaii House passed HB 1907, which would prohibit the remote sale and shipment of cigarettes and tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices.  The Mississippi Senate passed SB 2840, which would expand the types of drug violations for which a person may not be prosecuted when seeking medical attention and allows telemedicine providers to provide treatment for substance abuse disorders. A Missouri representative has introduced HB 2379, which would require certain health care professionals to complete two hours of cultural competency training as a condition of licensure.

Public Safety

The City Council of Columbia, South Carolina voted to ban the use of bump stocks for use with semi-automatic rifles. Similarly, South Carolina representatives have introduced HB 4424, which would ban prohibit the use of any accessory intended to accelerate the firing rate of semi-automatic rifles, such as bump stocks. An Alabama Senator introduced SB 223, which would prohibit an individual who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor that was deemed to be motivated by a victim’s race, national origin, ethnicity or physical or mental disability from owning a firearm.

Reproductive Rights

Rhode Island legislators introduced SB 2163, also known as the Reproductive Health Care Act, which would prohibit the state from interfering with any individual’s reproductive health care choices, including the decision to get an abortion. Hawaiian legislators have introduced HB 2127 and SB 2341, both of which provide for contraception and abortion insurance coverage. A Hawaiian representative has introduced HB 663 which would create transparency and disclosure requirements for crisis pregnancy centers around what reproductive services they actually provide. A Florida Senator introduced SB 320 which provides protections for reproductive health services clients, providers and assistants as well as safe access to reproductive healthcare facilities and clinics. The Washington Senate passed SB 6102, which would prohibit employers from denying coverage for contraception based on personal beliefs. California’s Senate passed SB 320 which requires each public university’s health center to offer medication abortion services. A Hawaii representative has introduced HB 1950, which would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraception.


The first committee in the Arizona House has passed HB 2217, which would exempt all feminine hygiene products, disposable diapers and baby formula from sales tax. Legislators in Georgia and Iowa have also introduced similar bills to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. A Kentucky representative introduced HB 236, which exempts from sales and use taxes not only feminine hygiene products, but also diapers, diaper wipes, baby bottles and breast pumps.

Voting & Elections

Kansas legislators have introduced HB 2538 and SB 326, both of which would allow for election day voting registration, creating a process for the permanent advance voting for any voter and reducing obstacles to providing voter identification.  Representatives in multiple states including Arizona, Illinois, and Maine have introduced bills which would provide for automatic voter registration for any citizen in the state obtaining or renewing a drivers or personal identification card.

Wages & Benefits

A Mississippi representative introduced HB 1303, which would set the state minimum wage at fifteen dollars per hour as well as requiring equal pay for equal work based on gender. Hawaii legislators have introduced HB 1867 and SB 3047, both of which would establish a paid family and medical leave program in the state. An Alabama representative introduced HB 368, which would prohibit an employer from paying any of its employees at wages that are less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work.