Capitol Comments

On July 1, 2016 the minimum wage will increase in Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The minimum wage is scheduled to increase in Minnesota on August 1, 2016.

In 2015, the U.S. exported over $56 billion in merchandise to the United Kingdom. That represents nearly 4 percent of all U.S. exports and makes the U.K. the fifth largest export market for the U.S. After hitting a 10 year low in 2013, exports have been on the rise to the U.K. for the past two years. However, those gains could be in jeopardy following the U.K.’s recent vote to leave the European Union, also known as “Brexit”. On a state-by-state basis, exports to the U.K. range from less than one percent of total exports in six states (Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota) to a high of 22.9 percent in Utah and 16.3 percent in Delaware.

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two Texas abortion restrictions. The first required doctors at abortion clinics to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. The second required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers. Currently 26 states have one or both of these provisions.

Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes and texting is one of the most common distractions. State leaders have taken action. In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Nine years later, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans.

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, most states (46) will start their fiscal year on January 1, 2016. Most states (39) have enacted their budgets for the new fiscal year, including 16 states that operate on a biennial budget and who passed their fiscal year 2017 budgets last year. That leaves 11 states that have yet to enact a budget for 2017: Alaska, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

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