States of Mind

Recent legal and legislative actions across the country show states have become the front lines in the culture wars. 

  • Gun control: 
    • Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law a bill allowing the concealed carry of a gun without a permit, training or background check. DeSantis has stated he believes Florida should go further and allow open carry, which some members of the state legislature also support.
  • Abortion:
    • A bill to criminalize helping minors obtain an abortion without parental consent was signed into law by Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R). The law will restrict out-of-state travel for abortions by creating the crime of “abortion trafficking” and would bar adults from obtaining abortion pills for a minor or “recruiting, harboring or transporting the pregnant minor” without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a bill protecting abortion providers from related prosecution, professional disciplinary action or extradition attempts by out-of-state interests.
  • Transgender Rights: 
    • Lawmakers across the country advanced GOP-led legislation last week that would restrict the rights of transgender and nonbinary people. North Dakota’s State Senate passed several bills limiting transgender rights in sports, health care, schools and workplaces. The legislation still needs to clear the House and be signed into law by Gov. Doug Borgum (R), who notably vetoed another bill involving pronoun restrictions. Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) both signed legislation into law this week that would restrict gender-affirming healthcare for youth. 
    • In Kansas, lawmakers overrode Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of a bill that would ban transgender athletes from women’s sports, enacting the restrictions into law. Days earlier, Kansas lawmakers also passed a bill that would ban transgender and nonbinary people from single-sex public accommodations, which critics are calling the most restrictive legislation aimed at transgender people in the nation.