What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/3
NJ: New Jersey will track police use of force, require licensing cops, AG says
New Jersey will soon launch a statewide database of police use of force and create a licensing system for police officers, the state’s top law enforcement official said. The state also will update its police use of force policy, create a pilot training program for crisis intervention and establish a new team within the state Division on Civil Rights to respond to police shootings and other problems.
DC, US: Hundreds of National Guard troops flow into D.C. from around the country
U.S. Defense Department officials said that National Guard members from Utah and New Jersey were in Washington, D.C., and that additional troops from Indiana, South Carolina and Tennessee were expected. But some states with Democratic governors declined to send National Guard troops.
WI: Wisconsin governor backs bill to change police procedures
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, called for confronting “society’s comfort with racism” and pushed lawmakers to back a bill that would change law enforcement agencies’ use-of-force policies.
NE: Nebraska governor apologizes after calling black leaders in meeting 'you people'
A black pastor at a North Omaha Baptist church says he walked out of a meeting with city leaders and Republican Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts after the governor told black leaders, “The problem I have with you people.”
WY: Wyoming town police say armed civilian patrols aren't helpful
The Rapid City, Wyoming, police department said armed civilians preemptively patrolling businesses could encourage protesters who had no plans to show up. A spokesman also said armed civilians shouldn’t try to help law enforcement if violence does break out.
KS: Kansas legislature may leave large budget cuts to governor until after election
When the Kansas legislature returns, lawmakers will confront a budget shortfall estimated at more than $650 million. But they aren’t expected to make significant spending cuts. Instead, legislators will try to impose oversight or control over how Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly spends hundreds of millions in federal coronavirus aid.
CA: Protests close California COVID-19 testing centers
Ongoing protests have momentarily halted progress in Los Angeles County’s fight against COVID-19 as several test sites in the California city have closed or modified their hours. County officials have long stressed the need for residents to be tested for the coronavirus to prevent its spread.
US: Confederate monuments coming down around South amid protests
A wave of Confederate memorial removals that began after a white supremacist killed nine black people at a Bible study in a church in South Carolina in 2015 is again rolling, with more relics of the Old South removed.
WA: Debate over policing in Washington city continues after years of federal oversight
Two weeks before a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Seattle asked a federal judge to terminate the bulk of his long-standing oversight of the Washington city's police department. That request has now become a point of tension, as some question the city's ability to police its own police department following a 2011 report on excessive force by Seattle police officers.
MN: Minnesota Human Rights Department launches probe into Minneapolis police
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights will investigate the Minneapolis Police Department after filing a civil rights charge related to the death of George Floyd.
CO: Colorado governor rebukes Trump on protest response, calls for change
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said he would support efforts highlighted by protesters to address racial inequity in police treatment and other racial-justice issues. He mentioned a handful of ideas that have been discussed but didn’t specify any he’d push for.
MO: Governor to call up over 1,000 troops to ‘stop the violence’ in Missouri
Republican Gov. Mike Parson said he would “strengthen up the National Guard” in Missouri the afternoon after four St. Louis police officers were shot and a former police chief was killed by looters at a pawn shop.
GA: Georgia governor calls for calm ahead of more protests
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia will “do whatever is necessary to keep the peace” and prevent protests demanding racial justice from turning violent. He said he was committed to holding a dialogue with organizers when the situation calms.
WV: West Virginia National Guard member to be punished for comments on protesters
The West Virginia National Guard is pursuing disciplinary action against a member who posted on social media that he would shoot at protesters, officials said. He already has resigned from his position as a Winfield, West Virginia, police officer after making the comments.
VT: Vermont Senate approves bill to remove governor from vote-by-mail decision
The Vermont Senate advanced legislation that would give Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos the unilateral authority to expand mail-in voting during the pandemic, after he and Republican Gov. Phil Scott failed to reach an agreement on the policy.
PA: Courts extend Pennsylvania mail ballot deadlines in two counties
Pennsylvania counties have faced a surge in mail ballots from both the coronavirus pandemic and a change to state law that allows any voter to vote by mail. Citing the civil unrest that broke out over the weekend, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed an order allowing ballots in Philadelphia and other areas to be counted later.
HI: Hawaii will end interisland travel quarantine June 16
The tourism industry in Hawaii will begin opening up June 16, but only for people traveling within the state among the neighbor islands, Democratic Gov. David Ige announced.
ME: Inmate sues Maine governor over decision to seize prisoners’ unemployment benefits
A Maine prisoner sued Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and two of her commissioners in federal court, saying the administration violated his constitutional rights by seizing unemployment benefits he collected without due process.
PA: Some Pennsylvania nursing home residents aren’t getting their coronavirus stimulus checks
Federal stimulus checks aren’t reaching a growing number of seniors in Pennsylvania’s long-term-care homes, depriving them of money needed now more than ever to connect with family amid a pandemic that has overcome their facilities and isolated them from visitors.
CT: Connecticut governor expands unemployment benefits
Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is broadening eligibility for unemployment insurance to workers vulnerable to the coronavirus, drawing fire from the state’s largest business group.
MS: Mississippi to name nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks
The Mississippi State Department of Health said it will start releasing the names of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities where people have tested positive for the new coronavirus. The action comes only after a newspaper sued the department.
MN: Pushback grows as Minnesota continues to shield info on COVID-19 in long-term care
Even as coronavirus continues to ravage those living in long-term care facilities in Minnesota, the Department of Health has refused to reveal the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at each facility.
AZ: Arizona schools chief releases reopening guidelines
Arizona’s top school official released guidelines for reopening the state’s K-12 schools that include suggestions on how districts can decide whether to start traditional classes after summer break or switch to partly or fully digital learning models. The document leaves it up to districts to make those choices.
MD: Maryland ramps up contact tracing
Maryland health officials confirmed 848 new cases of the coronavirus and 43 more deaths due to the disease as they opened a call center with hundreds of workers to contact those who have tested positive and those they may have infected.
MS: Mississippi COVID-19 cases grow
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, and the state’s top health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, showed increased concern over worsening COVID-19 statistics in the state. The seven-day average for new cases reached a new high for the ninth consecutive day.
ID: Idaho's new unemployment call center overwhelmed by calls
A new call center was supposed to help jobless Idahoans get their unemployment compensation faster. But in its first two days, many callers were disconnected after being told call volumes were too high.
MA: Massachusetts issues new guidelines for visits to nursing homes
Massachusetts officials issued new guidelines that allow nursing home residents to have visitors for the first time in nearly three months, as long as they meet outdoors and follow procedures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
OH: Ohio county to compensate property owners for damage from protests
In Ohio, Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano said his office will work with owners dealing with damage to determine if tax breaks are available, through an existing mechanism usually for properties hit hard by storms or other natural disasters.
KY: Louisville, Kentucky, businessowner, killed by authorities
David McAtee, who owned a popular West End eatery, was shot and killed by law enforcement officers in Louisville, Kentucky. The incident is now under state, local and federal investigation.
DC: District of Columbia primary voters wait for hours
District of Columbia voters braved waits longer than four hours to cast ballots in a city primary election upended by coronavirus and demonstrations. The city attempted to shift to a mostly by-mail election but many voters never received the absentee ballots they requested.