Progress in April-July 2018

Posted on July 18, 2018

Civil Rights & Liberties

Oregon enacted two pro-immigrant measures, one to allow unauthorized students to continue to qualify for in-state college tuition and the other to allow “dreamers” to renew their driver’s licenses.

Connecticut enacted legislation to allow “dreamers” to qualify for in-state college tuition.

Vermont enacted a gender-neutral bathroom law which requires that all single-user bathrooms be marked as gender-free. Vermont joins 18 other states and the District of Columbia.

Vermont enacted a sexual harassment law giving volunteers, interns and independent contractors legal protections.

Maryland became the eleventh state to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth.

Hawaii became the twelfth state to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth.

Illinois ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution becoming the 37th state to do so.

New Jersey enacted three transgender rights bills to allow an amended birth certificate bill (SB 478), to require death certificates to reflect gender identity (SB 493), and to establish a Transgender Equality Task Force (SB 705).

Consumer Protection

Oregon enacted a net neutrality law, barring the state from doing business with Internet providers that manipulate the speed of web traffic.

The California Senate passed a net neutrality bill; negotiations about the strength of the ultimate bill are ongoing in the House.


A walkout of teachers in Arizona ended when the state enacted the #20×2020 plan, which gives a 20 percent boost in teacher pay over the next three years, including 10 percent this year.

Environment & Smart Growth

The California Energy Commission, implementing the state’s renewable portfolio standards, has ordered that beginning in 2020, all new homes will have solar panels on their roofs.

Maryland enacted HB 1456 to ban offshore oil drilling.

Hawaii enacted legislation, HB 2182, to combat climate change by making the state carbon neutral by 2045, and another bill, HB 1986, to create a framework for a carbon offset program.


Virginia enacted Medicaid expansion which will provide health insurance to about 400,000 residents. Virginia joins 32 states and the District of Columbia.

A judge in Maine ordered the state to implement its voter-approved Medicaid expansion. Governor Paul LePage has been blocking it.

Vermont enacted a law making it the first state to legalize importing prescription drugs from Canada. The law was modeled on legislation drafted by the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Maryland created a reinsurance program to control health insurance premiums.

The Massachusetts House approved a bill to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21.

New Jersey became the second state to enact an individual health insurance mandate.

Public Safety

The city council of Boulder, Colorado voted unanimously to ban semiautomatic assault weapons.

The city council of Deerfield, Illinois, near Chicago, voted to ban semiautomatic assault weapons.

Hawaii enacted legislation to ban “bump stocks” and other multiburst trigger activators.

The Illinois legislature approved a gun dealer licensing law that requires dealers to certify their federal licenses with state police and other requirements.

Illinois enacted “red flag” legislation to take guns away from people who are “an immediate and present danger” the themselves or others. Illinois also extended its 72-hour gun purchase waiting period to all guns.

New Jersey enacted six new gun restrictions including background checks for all gun sales, a ban on large capacity magazines over 10 rounds, and a “red flag” provision.

The Maine legislature overrode a governor’s veto and put the state on-track to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use.

In California, both House and Senate are advancing bills to restrict police use of force.


The Seattle City Council approved and then repealed a tax on the city’s largest employers to help the homeless.

Voting & Elections

The state of New Jersey adopted automatic voter registration.

The state of Maryland adopted automatic voter registration.

The Massachusetts House and Senate passed automatic voter registration.

Connecticut became the eleventh state to approve the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact which ensures that the popular vote winner becomes President.

Louisiana enacted legislation to restore voting rights to ex-offenders who have been out of prison for at least five years.

Wages & Benefits

Both the Vermont House and Senate approved a $15 minimum wage by 2024. The governor vetoed it.

The Michigan Time to Care Coalition gathered enough signatures to place earned sick time on the November ballot.