Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/29

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/29

WA: Washington state claws back $300M from unemployment fraud scheme

seattletimes.com

A week after acknowledging “hundreds of millions of dollars” in losses from an organized fraud scheme, Washington state’s unemployment insurance system officials say they’ve recovered more than $300 million of the stolen funds. Unemployment benefits for some 320,000 workers have been delayed.

CA: California is reopening, but ominous signs occur

sacbee.com

Just days after Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom greenlighted most of the state’s counties for another round of reopening, a remote county announced it was closing businesses after four residents tested positive.

CT: Proponents of ending Connecticut vaccine exemption eye special session

ctmirror.org

Legislative leaders who initially intended to avoid heated bills during a special session this summer are now poised to tackle a divisive issue: removing Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations. Democratic leaders said the COVID-19 crisis has made the problem even more urgent.

NY: New York governor allows businesses to require masks to enter

nydailynews.com

Businesses in New York can now tell customers: No mask, no service. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an order allowing shops and stores in the state to deny service to customers who refuse to wear masks or face coverings once they reopen.

OK: Saturday school days approved in Oklahoma

oklahoman.com

Previously banned under state law, Saturday school days are now a viable option for Oklahoma school districts because of COVID-19. Public school districts in the 2020-21 school year could use Saturdays as an instructional day.

AK: Labor leaders worry about worker safety as Alaska lifts restrictions

alaskapublic.org

Alaska lawmakers were told in a hearing that the state should be doing more to require businesses and individuals to follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

WY: Wyoming students prosecuted on quarantine citation

wyomingnews.com

Four students at the University of Wyoming, three of them roommates, were ordered quarantined after three of them tested positive for COVID-19. But they were seen at a local grocery and at a local lake, and later charged with misdemeanors, police said.

DE: COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline in Delaware

delawareonline.com

Delaware officials said 192 people are hospitalized from the coronavirus, which is the lowest this number has been since mid-April. Of these people, 35 are critically ill. Still, the number of new cases rose by 75.

PA: Pennsylvania legislature OKs $26B short-term budget

spotlightpa.org

The Pennsylvania legislature will send a short-term budget to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, an unusual measure made necessary by the strain put on the state’s finances by the coronavirus pandemic.

NC: North Carolina hospitalizations reach new all-time high

newsobserver.com

North Carolina’s coronavirus update showed troubling numbers, as Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper faced another challenge to his authority to keep businesses closed. The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 increased by 33 to 827 and hospitalizations established a new single-day high of 708, according to new data.

GA: Georgia eases more virus restrictions, lets bars and nightclubs reopen

ajc.com

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp continued to lift economic restrictions aimed at containing the  coronavirus in Georgia, signing an executive order that clears the way for larger gatherings and lets bars and nightclubs reopen if they follow guidelines. 

ME: Seven Maine public health and emergency workers report COVID-19 symptoms

pressherald.com

The employees work at the Maine Emergency Management Agency offices where daily media briefings are held, but state officials say Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and other top state officials have not been in close contact with the affected workers.

NY: Governor: New York City not yet safe to reopen

timesunion.com

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York City has not met the thresholds needed to begin the first phase of reopening, even as regions of upstate New York are moving toward the second phase of restarting their economies after being shut down more than two months ago.

MS: Case spike leads to new coronavirus record in Mississippi

sunherald.com

The seven-day average for newly reported coronavirus cases in Mississippi cleared 300, the first time since March, when the Mississippi State Department of Health began reporting new cases.

MD: Maryland child care providers say they can’t afford to stay open

baltimoresun.com

Maryland child care providers say current state rules limiting their class sizes will force some of them out of business and leave thousands of families without trusted child care. In a recent survey, two-thirds of the businesses reported losing between $1,000 and $5,000 each week.

SC: South Carolina governor extends state of emergency

thestate.com

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, extended his state of emergency order. According to the state’s health agency, 10,788 South Carolinians have tested positive for COVID-19, and 470 people have died.

AR: Northwest Arkansas sees spike in cases

4029tv.com

Northwest Arkansas is experiencing a spike in cases of COVID-19, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced. The state is planning to add new testing drive-thrus in the region that is the current center of the outbreak in the state.

OR: Oregon courts overturn convictions in cases with split verdicts

oregonlive.com

Oregon’s appellate courts began reversing convictions across the state that resulted from non-unanimous verdicts, sending 19 cases back for retrial as they begin their review of more than 260 such convictions so far. The reversals followed last month’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the U.S. Constitution banned non-unanimous jury verdicts in cases involving serious crimes.

MN: Despite fears, most renters in Minnesota have been paying on time

minnpost.com

Reports from building owners in Minnesota have shown that late or nonpayments so far are less dramatic than feared. But with another rent payment due Monday, the third since the coronavirus pandemic shut down a big chunk of the state economy, the state still lacks a fund to help people pay rents and mortgages.

OH: Outdoor visits to resume at Ohio assisted living facilities

dispatch.com

Ohio will start allowing some assisted living facilities to visit residents outdoors next month. Facilities will have to follow guidelines.

GA: Spike in Georgia COVID-19 cases partly from spread, expert says

ajc.com

Georgia’s recent spike in new COVID-19 cases likely indicates the virus is spreading and cannot be solely attributed to a surge in testing, a prominent public health expert said.

IL: Illinois suburbs set to reopen in Phase 3

abc7chicago.com

Phase 3 of the Illinois reopening plan takes effect Friday. Customers can return to outdoor dining, with restrictions, including accommodating for social distancing. Retail, barber shops, hair salons and more also can reopen.

VT: Vermont governor runs for reelection, but won’t campaign for now

vtdigger.org

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, is running for reelection. But he won’t be campaigning until the state of emergency is over, he wrote in an announcement.

IA: Coronavirus outbreak at pork processing plant in Iowa hits 555 employees

desmoinesregister.com

The Iowa public health department’s deputy director confirmed the suspected outbreak at a Tyson Foods pork processing plant where more than 20% of the employees have tested positive.

MO: Missouri governor's social distancing order extends through June 15

columbiamissourian.com

Republican Gov. Mike Parson announced that Missouri’s order on economic reopening and social distancing will extend to June 15, saying some areas of Missouri are further along with economic reopening than others. The executive order will now expire the same day as Missouri’s state of emergency.

RI: Youth sports return to Rhode Island

apnews.com

Youth sports programs will be allowed to resume in Rhode Island starting next week, though there won’t be any league play, tournaments or other organized competitions for now, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said.

ME: Maine National Guard’s mask-fitting mission helps in battle against coronavirus

pressherald.com

The Maine National Guard is helping long-term care facilities prepare for possible outbreaks by fitting workers with medical-grade masks normally used in hospital settings.

KS: Many Kansas bars staying closed despite dropped restrictions

kansas.com

Many popular bar and brewery owners in Kansas say they’re not quite ready to go yet, and they’re not sure how long it will be until they are.

ID: Idaho reopens bars, theaters

idahostatesman.com

Despite a slight rise in coronavirus cases in the past week, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, announced that he is moving the state into Stage 3 of reopening. That means nearly all remaining businesses, including bars and movie theaters, can reopen Saturday.

NJ: ‘You’re playing with fire,’ New Jersey governor says to reopening salons, gyms

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy warned that it’s still too early for New Jersey indoor businesses like gyms and salons to reopen. Murphy was asked to respond to social media groups attempting to organize businesses for a coordinated defiance of the closures June 1.

CO: Medically vulnerable prisoners sue Colorado Department of Corrections

denverpost.com

Prisoners represented by the ACLU of Colorado and other civil rights attorneys are asking a district judge to require the state corrections department to identify prisoners who would be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because of age or medical conditions and look for safe ways to release them.

UT: Utah governor plans to keep National Guard deployed

sltrib.com

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, plans to take advantage of President Donald Trump’s decision to extend the ability to deploy National Guard troops through mid-August to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Herbert had signed on to a letter with 49 other governors asking Trump to keep the soldiers deployed.

AZ: Arizona governor says schools and youth sports leagues can open

azcentral.com

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, confirmed schools will reopen for in-person instruction in a few months. Youth summer leagues, summer schools and day camps also can reopen, with some starting as soon as next week, he said.

KY: Four Kentucky parks that were coronavirus quarantine sites can reopen, governor says

kentucky.com

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said the state had made enough progress limiting the spread of the virus to allow reopening the parks along with others next week. Playgrounds and pools at all the parks will still be closed, however.

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