Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/15

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/15

NY: Mass evictions in New York may loom without rent, mortgage relief

timesunion.com

A moratorium preventing landlords from filing eviction notices in court remains in place in New York but does not protect tenants from having to pay all rent that is due when the moratorium is lifted. The evictions would include cases that were stalled when courts shut down.

TX: Two weeks after reopening, Texas deaths at new peak

star-telegram.com

A single-day high of 58 Texans died from the coronavirus, two weeks after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening. The state reported 116 deaths over the past three days, the most in a three-day stretch during the pandemic.

WA: Washington halts unemployment payments after fraud

seattletimes.com

Washington state officials said they’re stopping unemployment payments for two days while they attempt to block a gush of fraudulent claims. Between March and April, the number of fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits jumped to 700, bleeding off nearly $1.6 million in funds.

NV: Pastors call on Nevada to lift ban on in-person worship

thenevadaindependent.com

Calling an April ban on in-person religious services of more than 10 people arbitrary, more than 190 pastors from across Nevada signed on to a letter urging Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak to lift the ban and allow congregations to implement their own guidelines aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

WI: Wisconsin counties, cities on their own to decide how to respond to virus outbreak

jsonline.com

After successfully suing Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to force him to work with the Wisconsin legislature to craft a plan to control the spread of the coronavirus, Republican lawmakers now suggest they don't need any new guidelines for the time being.

MN: Virus deaths and hospitalizations rising as Minnesota plans to reopen

startribune.com

The toll of COVID-19 on Minnesota continued to rise, with another 25 deaths being linked to the infectious disease Thursday, even as the state prepared for the reopening of more businesses and retail shops next week.

PA: Trump goes to Pennsylvania, urges the state to reopen faster

inquirer.com

Visiting a state vital to his reelection chances, President Donald Trump renewed his push for Pennsylvania to more quickly lift restrictions meant to stem the coronavirus, saying it’s time to “start opening up” as new data showed more than a quarter of the state’s workforce has filed for unemployment benefits.

MA: Massachusetts to bolster testing as death toll rises

bostonglobe.com

Facing an economy gut-punched by the pandemic and a death toll that continues to rise, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said Massachusetts plans to significantly bolster testing for COVID-19 in coming months to the point where it would have the highest testing rate for the disease in the world.

IA: Iowa can test 5,000 daily

desmoinesregister.com

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said that Test Iowa’s equipment has been validated, a two-week process that the state hopes will expand its testing capacity significantly.

KS: Kansas allows hair salons to open, bars remain closed

kansas.com

Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly plans to move the state into Phase 1.5 of her reopening plan next week, allowing barbershops and hair salons to open by appointment but keeping bars and theaters closed.

ND: North Dakota aims to use COVID-19 aid to plug oil wells

apnews.com

North Dakota wants to use $33.1 million in federal coronavirus aid to plug “orphaned” oil wells, abandoned by companies financially disrupted by low energy prices and sparse demand brought on partly by the pandemic.

CT: Democratic leaders ask Connecticut governor to delay reopening

courant.com

A group of Democratic senators has asked Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to delay plans to reopen restaurants and businesses May 20 because, they say, “the first wave of the pandemic is still raging."

RI: Rhode Island governor to allow summer camps

providencejournal.com

If all goes as planned, municipal and private summer camps should be able to open June 29, Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced. But they will be following new restrictive guidelines.

CA: California governor’s budget cuts funding for schools, draws down reserves

sacbee.com

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new $203 billion budget proposal would cut funding for schools, cancel a planned boost in public pensions spending, draw down reserves and borrow money from internal accounts to make up for a projected $54.3 billion budget deficit.

VA: Virginia capital gets reopening exception

richmond.com

Richmond will not start easing COVID-19 restrictions Friday like most of Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam granted a city request. Data shows Richmond’s case rate is rising, not falling, and disproportionately hitting African American and Latino communities.

NC, SC, VA: Beach rules vary by town in the Carolinas and Virginia

newsobserver.com

As the weather gets warmer and the Carolinas and Virginia loosen restrictions, more people are heading outdoors and to the beach. But rules vary by town, and state officials suggest checking before hitting the sand.

UT: Buffets can reopen in Utah

sltrib.com

Buffets and salad bars can reopen — with restrictions — beginning Saturday, when much of Utah shifts into the “yellow” or low-risk coronavirus safety phase. But they may operate more like a school cafeteria than the self-serve options to which most diners are accustomed.

OR: Oregon to allow 31 counties, all retail stores, to reopen

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is allowing nearly all of the state's counties to begin reopening Friday, as well as all retail statewide, save shopping centers and malls, with conditional safety measures. Absent an unmanageable increase in cases, restrictions could be further loosened after three weeks.

ID: Restaurants, gyms and salons reopen in Idaho

idahostatesman.com

Republican Gov. Brad Little announced that Idaho will move into Stage 2 of its recovery plan Saturday, allowing restaurants, salons and indoor gyms to reopen. He also made waves by moving bars from Stage 4 to 3, meaning they might be able to reopen at the end of May rather than in mid-June.

HI: Hawaii's economy is reopening, but tourism remains on lockdown

staradvertiser.com

Retail centers and beaches in parts of Hawaii are set to begin reopening, but tourism remains under strict lockdown. Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, has said there is no explicit timeline for the industry to reopen.

GA: Judge rules against delaying Georgia’s primary

ajc.com

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that attempted to postpone Georgia’s June 9 primary election because of the pandemic.

LA: For Louisiana businesses, reopening is finally allowed, but not everyone is ready

nola.com

Outside of New Orleans, Louisianans will be allowed to get their hair cut at a salon, sit in a church pew and eat a meal inside their favorite restaurants as Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards lifts some restrictions after a two-month lockdown.

MS: Mississippi casinos now have green light for reopening

sunherald.com

Casinos in South Mississippi can start opening next week. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves met online with casino officials to discuss the opening.

OK: Oklahoma House OKs bill to strip power from local officials

apnews.com

The Oklahoma House narrowly approved a bill to strip some power during health emergencies from mayors and other local officials. The bill would confer broad authority on the governor and others during health emergencies if the legislature agrees.

NJ: New Jersey beaches can reopen for Memorial Day

northjersey.com

New Jersey's beaches can reopen by Memorial Day weekend but with rules on spreading out umbrellas and chairs more than usual. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said towns must comply with social distancing measures and limit capacity.

NJ: New Jersey legislature approves furlough for 100K workers

nj.com

The New Jersey legislature gave its blessing to a plan to partially furlough state and local government workers to avert mass layoffs. The bill heads to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who has said that he’s concerned about meeting the demands on government during the pandemic.

NY: New York attorney general has sent nearly 1,700 cease and desist orders during pandemic

timesunion.com

The New York state attorney general's office has issued nearly 1,700 cease and desist orders during the coronavirus pandemic to businesses accused of price gouging, labor issues, violating passenger transportation rules or marketing products as cures for COVID-19.

MD: Coronavirus could cost Maryland up to $4B a year in revenue

baltimoresun.com

In the coming years Maryland could be missing out on between $2.5 billion and $4 billion annually if job losses, lost income and reduced consumer spending continue.

MN: Minnesota lawmakers want a say in federal COVID-19 money

minnpost.com

The problem: Even if the administration prefers to work with the Minnesota legislature, lawmakers know Democratic Gov. Tim Walz can act without legislative authority.

PA: Pennsylvania governor warns requests for business waivers could reveal proprietary details

spotlightpa.org

The legal battle surrounding Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order intensified, with Republicans pushing for an expedited court decision that could force Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor to disclose records about waivers his administration granted businesses to operate during the pandemic.

VT: Prison, nursing home testing stays limited, despite expanded testing elsewhere in Vermont

vpr.org

Beginning this weekend, almost anyone in Vermont can get tested for COVID-19 who wants to. That is, except those most vulnerable to infection: People in nursing homes, residential homes and incarcerated in the state’s prisons. 

VT: Vermont governor pitches plan requiring school districts to re-vote budgets

vtdigger.org

Republican Gov. Phil Scott is proposing that Vermont school districts be required to re-vote their budgets for the upcoming year in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and plummeting state revenue.

FL: Florida governor hints at doubling restaurant capacity

palmbeachpost.com

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled he may allow Florida shops and restaurants to increase occupancy to 50% as he continues to find ways to jump-start the state’s economy. He also might allow gyms to reopen.

OH: Ohio restaurants, bars to reopen patios; who will come?

dispatch.com

Ohio restaurants are allowed to open their patios, but not all of them plan to do so as the coronavirus continues to spread.

MA: Massachusetts to distribute $502M to towns and cities

masslive.com

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced the plans along with guidelines to local municipalities seeking funds and looking to avoid dipping into reserves to cover deficits and unexpected costs related to the public health crisis.

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