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First Branch News: NCSL’s Weekly Roundup of Legislative Headlines

Compiled by Gene Rose | Jan. 22, 2021 | State Legislatures Magazine

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

COVID-19 and Legislatures

The Rhode Island House canceled its session on Tuesday due to an outbreak among senior staff. The Connecticut General Assembly extended the governor’s emergency powers to address the coronavirus. Lobbyists in Alaska have been banned from the Capitol while the legislature meets. Among those testing positive for the virus: legislators in Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri, as well as staff in Idaho and Illinois.

Legislatures in the News

The Michigan Legislature cancelled its session this week as a result of “credible threats.” The Kentucky governor vetoed five bills limiting his power, but the General Assembly may override them. A power struggle between the Idaho Legislature and the governor continues. The Alaska Legislature bought a remote-voting system for its members to use. Many states are addressing their cybersecurity weak spots after the attacks on the U.S. Capitol.

Legislators in the News: A Legislative Legend Passes

Former Maryland Senate President Mike Miller (D), who ruled the chamber from 1987 to 2019, died at age 78 last week. New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) announced she would retire, after 30 years, from the legislature at the end of the current term. New Montana House Speaker Wylie Galt (R) follows a long history of public service and land ownership.

News From the NCSL Online Newsroom This Week

Gene Rose is NCSL’s communications director.

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