Progressive victories continue to mount from coast to coast.
As children across the country end their summer break, states are not taking a break from making progress on issues like education, the environment, and gender equality.
Here is some good news for the week.
Oregon law gives tuition assistance to National Guard members
Gov. Kate Brown signed into law a new bill to provide tuition assistance to Oregon National Guard members, KVAL reported.
The law provides up to 90 hours of credits at a community college or 180 hours of credits at a pubic or even qualifying private state universities.
To qualify, student must remain in good standing and maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average.
Illinois teachers now have a higher minimum salary
Teachers in Illinois will now make at least $40,000, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday. The starting salary will increase in stages between the 2020 school year and 2023.
"We're addressing our teacher shortage and gradually putting teachers on track to make at least $40,000 a year by the first day of school in 2023," Pritzker said when he signed the bill into law.
"As Illinois children head back to school this week and next, this new law says to them and their parents loud and clear: we value teachers," he added.
Wisconsin aims for carbon-free electricity by 2050
Wisconsin will get all its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050, according to a new executive order signed last Friday by Gov. Tony Evers.
The executive order creates a new Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy tasked with promoting clean energy across the state and coming up with innovative solutions to expand clean energy usage.
"A transition to a clean energy economy will generate thousands of family-supporting jobs in Wisconsin,” Evers said at the time. "Our state has a responsibility to current and future generations of Wisconsinites to act to prevent continuing damage to our climate and to invest in solutions that help to mitigate the changes that have already occurred."
Colorado wildlife protected with new executive order
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is determined to protect Colorado's wildlife with an executive order issued on Thursday. The order will help create more safe wildlife passages, which is expected to both protect wildlife and reduce the number of car accidents with wildlife.
"Colorado's natural beauty and wildlife are part of why so many people love our great state," Polis said. "This is a step toward better understanding and protecting the migratory patterns of Colorado’s wildlife populations and ensuring we can preserve our treasured animals and their habitats."
New Jersey mandates lactation rooms in public buildings
Nursing mothers will soon be able to find lactation rooms in public buildings throughout the state of New Jersey, thanks to a law signed Monday. The law requires certain public spaces to provide lactation rooms upon request.
"By providing information on a woman's right to breastfeed in public and creating a lactation room in certain buildings, we can empower New Jersey mothers to feed their children as they see fit," state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, a sponsor of the legislation, said at the signing.
"Building a stronger, fairer, and healthier New Jersey begins with unwavering support for our mothers and families, including providing access to private, clean, and safe spaces for nursing,” New jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
California tightens rules on police using lethal force
California police officers have more stringent rules as to when they can use deadly force, due to a new law signed on Monday.
The new law directs police to "use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life" and encourages the use to de-escalation techniques before firing their weapon. and, when possible, to use techniques to de-escalate a confrontation before shooting..
"We are doing something today that stretches the boundaries of possibility," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a signing ceremony, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The new law takes effect on Jan. 1.
North Carolina governor vetoes anti-immigrant legislation
Progress isn't always about moving forward; sometimes it is about preventing a slide backward. And that's what happened this week in North Carolina.
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation requiring local law enforcement officers ask prisoners about their immigration status. Cooper said such a law would weaken local law enforcement by forcing them to do their own jobs and the job of federal officials, according to the Hill.
"This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina," Cooper said in a statement. "As the former top law enforcement officer of our state, I know that current law allows the state to jail and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status."
Come back next week for more good news.