* New York Times…
When J.B. Pritzker took over as the governor of Illinois this year, Democratic lawmakers, who had spent four years at an impasse with his Republican predecessor, vowed that their party’s new grip on the State Capitol would bring immediate change.
The pace has been startling. In recent months, Illinois legislators have moved sharply to the left, deeming abortion a fundamental right for women no matter what the Supreme Court might decide, raising the minimum wage, taking steps to legalize recreational marijuana and introducing a graduated income tax.
Some 700 miles to the south, the Alabama State Capitol, dominated by Republicans, has raced in the opposite direction.
Alabama lawmakers voted during this term to ban most abortions. They eliminated marriage licenses, so that probate judges opposed to same-sex marriage would not have to sign marriage certificates. And they approved requiring sex offenders who commit crimes involving children to undergo chemical castration at their own expense.
* There was one bit of agreement, however…
This year’s [Alabama] legislative session started with the gasoline tax for roads clearly established as the top priority for leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Kay Ivey. The legislation quickly passed with bipartisan support during a special session Ivey called to focus on the issue.
The tax on gasoline and diesel will increase by 6 cents a gallon after Aug. 31 and by 2 cents each of the next two years. The 10-cent increase is projected to raise more than $300 million a year for roads. The state gas tax was last raised in 1992. Advocates for the increase said the state could not build and maintain a road system to handle traffic volume and economic demands without more revenue.
Leaders from both parties joined the governor for a ceremony to sign the bill that Ivey called historic.