Wyoming Senate President Dan Dockstader helps repair roof at Wyoming Capitol building

Wyoming Senate President Dan Dockstader flexes some legislative muscle to help remove snow from the Capitol roof, which developed leaks after a historic winter storm in Cheyenne last weekend. (Photo Wyoming House Speaker Eric Barlow)

First Branch News | Legislative Headlines, Week of March 15, 2021

By Gene Rose | March 19, 2021 | State Legislatures News

First Branch News is NCSL’s weekly roundup of legislative headlines from news sources across the country and throughout the territories.

Wyoming leaders and legislators clean up after a snowstorm created leaks in the legislative chambers, while their counterparts in neighboring Colorado consider building a fence around the Capitol. And a young Nevada legislator is gaining popularity by using TikTok to communicate.

Legislative Operations

The South Dakota Legislature ended its 2021 session, adopting “generational” measures like broadband and rail expansion. The Pennsylvania House converted two old courtrooms into hearing rooms. NCSL experts explained redistricting options available to legislatures in testimony to an Illinois Senate panel. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the Senate could not use a speed-reading computer to meet a requirement that the text of bills be read on the floor. The Colorado Legislature is considering installing a permanent fence around the Capitol. South Carolina is considering pay raises for House legislative aides.

Authority of Legislatures

The Arkansas House approved a bill to limit the governor’s emergency powers. The Kentucky House approved a joint resolution regarding the governor’s executive powers. Meanwhile, the Utah governor signed a bill restricting his own powers.

Legislators and Staff in the News

Wyoming House Speaker Eric Barlow (R), Senate President Dan Dockstader (R) and other lawmakers went to the Capitol roof after a major snowstorm to help stop leaks coming into the legislative chambers. Nevada House Speaker Jason Frierson (D) is recovering from outpatient surgery this week. Arkansas House Speaker Matthew Shepherd (R) indicated he is open to serving a third term as the chamber’s leader. Nevada Assemblywoman and high school English teacher Selena Torres (D) is gaining attention for communicating with students and constituents via TikTok, where she posted this bipartisan dance with Assemblyman Gregory Hafen (R). Montana lawmakers participated in a bipartisan bow and arrow lesson this week, with Representative Mary Ann Dunwell (D) describing the experience on Twitter as a “bullseye.” (That’s her pictured on the right.) Nevada Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D) is the longest-serving female legislator in the state’s history. Nicole Brown was named general counsel for the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office.

This Week From NCSL’s State Legislatures News

Articles from news sources curated in First Branch News are provided for information purposes only and do not reflect NCSL views.

Gene Rose is NCSL’s communications director.

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