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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/17

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/17

NY: New York will remain ‘on pause’ for another month

buffalonews.com

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo postponed until May 15 the phased return to business in New York state, saying it would start with businesses deemed more essential and with low infection rates. Businesses deemed nonessential with high infection rates would not be reopened.

KY: Kentucky partners with six other states to reopen economy, but not yet

kentucky.com

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said he has been in close talks with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, both Republicans, about coordinating their efforts to “eventually ease restrictions and open up the economy.” New members of the partnership include governors from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, Beshear said in a statement.

NJ: New Jersey governor looking to borrow billions as tax revenue plummets

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey could borrow as much as $9 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve to plug craters in state revenue caused by statewide business closures, stay-at-home orders and record unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic.

CA: Outbreak at California prison worst in nation; 69 inmates, 25 staff infected

latimes.com

The nation’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 in a prison is at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, California, where 69 inmates and 25 staff members are infected and a field hospital is being constructed on the grounds, authorities said.

VA: Protestors gather at Virginia Capitol to call for reopening

richmond.com

Tired of staying at home, a group of roughly 50 people gathered on Virginia’s Capitol Square to protest executive orders from Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, requiring that some businesses stay closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LA: Louisiana won't be among the first states to reopen after coronavirus, governor says

theadvocate.com

Louisiana will not be among the first states to reopen, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said, as the White House offers governors guidance on how to best start up their economies after coronavirus-induced shutdowns.

PA: Workers returning to Pennsylvania liquor stores to boost online sales

triblive.com

To help process online orders, workers will be back on the job at many state-owned wine and liquor stores, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said.

CT: A plan to reopen Connecticut could include surveillance and confinement

courant.com

A plan by Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont's administration could require an unprecedented investment in an array of testing for the virus and measures to track and perhaps even confine those determined to have it. It also is likely to provoke discussion about privacy rights.

DE: Delaware says prisoners won’t get masks or be released

delawareonline.com

Delaware inmates will not be permitted to wear protective masks and top state officials say an emergency release of prisoners will not be necessary as the correction system fights a COVID-19 outbreak at its largest prison.

NC: North Carolina hospitals says they are ready for upcoming peak

newsobserver.com

Leaders of two of North Carolina’s largest hospitals say they don’t think the coronavirus outbreak has crested in the region but they’re confident they have the beds, equipment and staffing to handle the peak when it arrives.

PA: Employees at Pennsylvania’s ‘life-sustaining’ businesses question if their work is worth the risk

spotlightpa.org

With few legal protections, Pennsylvania workers said they fear questioning their employers or demanding more pay at the risk of losing their jobs during the pandemic.

SC: South Carolina governor says state economy will be ‘humming’ by June

thestate.com

Aiming to get the South Carolina economy moving again after it has stalled under the weight of a global pandemic, Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, announced plans to create a new task force that will include key state stakeholders from hospitality to manufacturing in hopes to get the state’s economy “humming” by the end of June.

MD: Maryland sees first drop in unemployment claims since virus hit state

baltimoresun.com

Another 61,770 Marylanders filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the state’s total in the past month to nearly 297,000. But last week’s figure was the first drop in jobless claims since COVID-19 reached the state.  

IN: Indiana governor hopes to begin reopening the economy in May

indystar.com

Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that he is working with surrounding states and looking to reopen the state's economy in May. He is joining with governors from Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky in the effort.

MD: Maryland’s U.S. senators urge governor to act as 136 cases hit state’s prison system

baltimoresun.com

A total of 72 correctional officers and 31 inmates in Maryland have been reported as having the virus. The other confirmed cases include contract workers and staff not working directly inside correctional facilities. 

RI: Rhode Island sets the stage for additional emergency borrowing

providencejournal.com

Rhode Island’s state treasurer has opened up a second $150 million line of credit to borrow more money, if necessary, to pay the bills to keep state government operating over the next few months, as the pandemic continues to ravage revenues.

FL: Florida has paid only 4% of jobless claims

wesh.com

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said Florida has sent unemployment payments to only 33,623 people who applied for benefits after the COVID-19 outbreak crushed the economy. There are more than 850,000 laid-off workers waiting for help.

TX: Undocumented Texans face tough choices in pandemic

texastribune.org

About 8% of Texas workers are undocumented, and because they're not eligible for stimulus payments, many are facing tough choices during the pandemic. They won’t get any financial relief from the aid package passed to help the working class endure the massive economic hit.

NM: Court tells New Mexico to consider prisoner release

santafenewmexican.com

The New Mexico Supreme Court has directed Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, to respond to prisoner advocates seeking the release of about 30 percent of state prisoners to guard against a potentially deadly outbreak of COVID-19. A May hearing was scheduled.

TN: Nashville is starving the coronavirus. The rest of Tennessee? Maybe not.

tennessean.com

Residents of Nashville and 12 surrounding counties appear to have effectively starved the coronavirus to the point of shrinking the outbreak, but the virus continues to spread through most of Tennessee, according to new research from Vanderbilt University.

MA: Critics say Massachusetts needs to repeatedly test all nursing home staff and residents

bostonglobe.com

With nearly half of coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts occurring at long-term-care facilities, state officials are now offering to provide testing for residents and staff at any nursing home, assisted living facility or rest home, seeking to curb a contagion that preys upon the frail and elderly.

OH: Ohio governor says residents must get back to work — some beginning May 1

dispatch.com

As daily virus case increases have settled into a fairly narrow and consistent range, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said that “We must get people back to work.” Yet he cautioned that the reopening will be cautious and still change everyday life.

CO: Colorado hospitals predict continued protective equipment shortage

denverpost.com

A data snapshot from the Colorado Hospital Association showed at least 19 of the state’s hospitals expect to be short of protective equipment, staff or intensive care beds in the next week, but they said that’s an improvement over recent weeks.

UT: Utah legislature eyes May 1 for reopening economy

sltrib.com

Utah lawmakers convened a historic, all-virtual special session on the COVID-19 outbreak with an eye toward the date the state can start emerging from quarantine — and they’re pitching May 1 as a target. One of the bills lawmakers considered would create a commission assigned to craft such a framework.  

NV: Nevada Democrats sue over planned all-mail June primary election

thenevadaindependent.com

The demands included additional in-person voting sites, sending mail ballots to “inactive” voters, and suspension of several election law provisions, including throwing ballots out for not matching signatures.

OK: Oklahoma medical groups fight governor on restarting elective surgeries

oklahoman.com

The Oklahoma Hospital Association came out against GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt’s goal of resuming elective surgeries next week, saying the focus should remain on preserving resources to fight the pandemic.

WA: Washington jobless claims near 600,000

seattletimes.com

Washington reported receiving 143,241 initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending April 11. That brings the total number of initial and recurring unemployment claims to 585,983, which is nearly twice the peak recorded during the Great Recession and suggests the state’s unemployment rate might be as high as 15%.

OR: Oregon to waive waiting week for jobless benefits

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, says the state will waive the one-week waiting period before newly laid off workers are eligible for jobless benefits, reversing the state’s policy on the issue. The switch could provide more than $100 million in additional benefits.

ID: Idaho conservative groups to violate stay-home order with Capitol protest

idahostatesman.com

Three activist groups are planning on a staging a protest Friday afternoon at the Idaho Capitol, dubbed Disobey Idaho. The event is being held to protest Republican Gov. Brad Little’s extension of the statewide stay-home order.

HI: Pandemic cuts Hawaii parents off from kids in foster care

civilbeat.org

Hawaii has halted all face-to-face visits between parents and their children in foster care. Parents are left to fret about their children’s well-being during the pandemic and setbacks in their efforts to become a family again.

AL: Alabama prisons to resume taking some inmates from counties

al.com

The Alabama Department of Corrections plans to begin accepting inmates from county jails again on a limited basis starting next week. The ADOC placed a moratorium on receiving state-sentenced inmates.

GA: Only a handful cited for violating governor’s ‘shelter-in-place’ order

ajc.com

Law enforcement officials have only sparingly issued citations to Georgians violating the order, instead opting to take a softer approach to the restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

MS: Mississippi governor created a task force to 'Restart Mississippi' after coronavirus

clarionledger.com

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has created a private-sector task force to help Mississippi economically recover from the coronavirus pandemic. About half of the task force members played a role in his campaign or have other ties to the governor.

MN: Minnesota governor joins compact with Midwest governors to reopen economy

startribune.com

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, and six other governors across the Midwest announced they will coordinate their work to reopen their states’ economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

AL: Could some of Alabama’s beaches be reopened by May 1?

al.com

An effort is underway to reopen Alabama’s beaches abutting private properties. A recommendation from a task force assembly by Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth could be presented to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

MN: Minnesota legislators strike deal on takeout beer and wine sales at restaurants

startribune.com

Minnesota restaurants will be able to sell beer and wine with to-go orders during coronavirus closures, under an agreement reached by state legislators.

WI: Wisconsin governor closes schools for the year, extends order to stay at home until May 26

jsonline.com

Wisconsin schools will be closed for the rest of the school year and many businesses will stay shuttered until the end of May under action Democratic Gov. Tony Evers took to extend restrictions to contain the coronavirus in the state.

PA: All Pennsylvania businesses must require employees and customers to wear masks amid coronavirus pandemic

inquirer.com

Pennsylvania officials implemented new rules aimed at keeping the coronavirus from spreading in businesses open to in-person customers, including requiring they mandate employees and customers wear masks, and take all employees’ temperature if a worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

VT: Vermont unemployment claims drop, as tens of thousands see delays in benefits

vtdigger.org

The number of processed unemployment claims dropped this week but remains more than 10 times higher than the same period last year, according to data released by the Vermont Department of Labor.

AK: Some elective medical procedures will begin in Alaska next week

alaskapublic.org

GOP Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy and state health officials announced a new health mandate allowing more health care services. Health care providers must keep social distancing where possible and minimize the use of personal protective equipment.

WY: Wyoming coalition wants statewide ban on evictions

wyomingnews.com

A coalition of community organizations in Laramie County, Wyoming, has asked state officials to issue a moratorium on all eviction and foreclosure proceedings amid the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MT: Revenue drops, triggering furloughs at Montana hospitals

missoulian.com

COVID-19 is taking a financial bite out of Montana’s hospitals, one that may have reached $100 million in just the first three weeks of the pandemic.

NE: Nebraska governor begins business recovery planning with online survey

journalstar.com

In preparation for mapping a plan for economic recovery from the crushing impact of the coronavirus, Republican Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts launched a business recovery survey that will gather information and suggestions online.

Coronavirus and the States: Nearly a Quarter of Workers Lack Jobs in Some States Black Midwives
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