Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/28

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/28

AZ: Arizona will share $441M in federal relief aid with cities, counties and towns

azcentral.com

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey announced Arizona cities, towns and counties that haven't gotten federal coronavirus relief funds will receive $441 million of the nearly $2 billion the state received. Municipal and county leaders around the state have been calling on Ducey to distribute the funds since at least early May.

CT: Connecticut governor still clashing with Native American tribes over casino reopening

courant.com

Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has been pushing a go-slow approach regarding the reopenings of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino. But Native American tribes, who plan to open their casinos June 1, say they have the authority as sovereign nations to reopen when they want.

RI: Many Rhode Island voters complain they haven’t received mail ballots

providencejournal.com

Less than a week out from Rhode Island’s predominantly mail-ballot primary, state election officials are so worried the ballots won’t get to voters in time to be counted that they considered — then rejected — extending the deadline for receiving and counting votes.

ME: Maine governor postpones restaurant reopenings in 3 counties

bangordailynews.com

Citing increased hospitalizations in Maine, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills delayed the reopening of restaurants in three counties beyond June 1, saying she would revisit the openings later.

IA: Iowans with disabilities feel shut out of drive-up testing

desmoinesregister.com

Many people with disabilities have chronic health problems that make them susceptible to deadly complications of COVID-19. And it’s an especially high hurdle for those who can't drive and live outside of towns where drive-up testing sites are being set up.

CA: California state workers could be assigned contact tracing if volunteers fall short

sacbee.com

The administration of Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration expects more state workers to volunteer for contact tracing assignments, and if they don’t, the state has the authority to reassign them to the work, according to an administration spokeswoman.

VA: Virginia attorney general warns over 100 firms on price gouging

richmond.com

The Virginia attorney general’s office has sent at least 114 warning letters about price gouging to businesses in the state during the pandemic, after receiving complaints about products that included toilet paper, hand sanitizer and paper towels, among other things.

NC: North Carolina hits one-day high on coronavirus hospitalizations

newsobserver.com

North Carolina has more than 700 reported coronavirus-related hospitalizations, the highest one-day total since the pandemic hit the state in March, the state Department of Health and Human Services said. Despite that, the state is continuing with Phase II reopening.

SC: South Carolina Supreme Court tosses lawsuit on absentee voting; new law supersedes it

thestate.com

The South Carolina Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit by state and national Democratic party interests who sought a ruling that would have allowed all voters to cast absentee ballots in the upcoming June 9 primary without an excuse. A bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster already allows that, so the court said the suit was moot.

WA: Washington governor's plan will allow houses of worship to hold services

seatletimes.com

Washington’s churches and houses of faith can start to hold services again — with restrictions — under new coronavirus safety guidance from the state. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state will allow up to 100 people to meet outdoors, and once counties reach Phase 2 of the reopening plan, faith organizations will be allowed to hold services indoors while capping attendance.

OR: Oregon hasn’t taken dramatic steps to solve unemployment benefits backlog

oregonlive.com

Unlike Oregon, many states have made dramatic changes in their benefits programs to address their backlogs and make it easier for workers to contact state employment departments. The Oregon Employment Department has resisted major changes, arguing they would actually slow down the processing of new claims while the state took time to implement new procedures.

ID: Record Idaho unemployment from pandemic increases need for food

idahostatesman.com

Across Idaho, the amount of food distributed by The Idaho Foodbank has increased 30% during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, 90% of the food distributed by The Idaho Foodbank was donated, but it's had to buy more food recently to keep up with demand.

HI: 400 Hawaii National Guard troops coming off coronavirus duty

staradvertiser.com

The number of Hawaii National Guard troops on federal active duty for the coronavirus pandemic will drop early next week to 800 from 1,200 as part of a Pentagon “right-sizing” ahead of a “hard stop” set for June 24 for the deployment of almost 46,000 citizen soldiers nationwide.

AL: Alabama adds 5,000 COVID-19 cases in last 2 weeks

apnews.com

Alabama added more than 5,000 coronavirus cases over the last 14 days as the state lifted restrictions. The state this month lifted most of the restrictions that had been in place. 

GA: Georgia governor aims to roll back more coronavirus restrictions

ajc.com

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said he’ll continue to roll back coronavirus restrictions as long as residents abide by safety guidelines, adding that his decision to allow more businesses to reopen is “reinvigorating” the state’s stalled economy. 

GA: Georgia senators worried about law enforcement furloughs

ajc.com

Georgia state senators expressed concern over budget plans that would force state troopers and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents to take nearly five weeks off without pay in the coming year.

LA: First Louisiana youth dies of inflammatory illness connected to coronavirus, governor says

theadvocate.com

Louisiana has confirmed its first death from a rare coronavirus-related inflammatory condition in children and young adults, officials said, as the state sees continued improvement on some key virus testing and hospitalization metrics.

MS: All Mississippi businesses can reopen Monday with restrictions, governor says

clarionledger.com

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is priming the pump to fully reopen Mississippi's economy. Starting Monday, all businesses in the state can be open, Reeves said, though there will be some restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CO: Colorado Democrats approve rule to allow lawmakers to cast votes remotely

coloradosun.com

With party-line votes, the Colorado General Assembly approved new rules that allow lawmakers to cast votes remotely during a public health emergency, suspending the long tradition of requiring senators and representatives to appear in person to make their voices heard. Republicans opposed remote voting and used it as a proxy to object to public health orders put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

NV: 2021 special session needed for redistricting in Nevada

thenevadaindependent.com

Attorneys for the Legislative Counsel Bureau told Nevada lawmakers that the coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent delays in scheduled 2020 census activities, meant that the state would not receive demographic data needed for the redistricting process until after the end of the 120-day legislative session in 2021.

UT: Utah Hispanics account for more coronavirus cases than whites

sltrib.com

Hispanics make up 14.2% of Utah’s population, but they account for 38.6% of the state’s coronavirus cases, according to the Utah Department of Health’s most recent data. The state has had 8,706 people test positive; 3,363 of them are Hispanics.

NJ: New Jersey hits 20K daily testing goal

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy encouraged more New Jerseyans to get tested for the coronavirus as he announced the state has surpassed its goal of testing at least 20,000 residents a day by the end of May — which he cited as a crucial step to further reopen the economy and protect against a second wave of the illness.

MO: Testing begins in veterans homes around Missouri

columbiamissourian.com

Residents and staff in all of Missouri’s veterans homes will be tested for COVID-19, GOP Gov. Mike Parson announced. By going into state-owned facilities and testing every patient and employee, Parson said the goal is to isolate the virus before it spreads.

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