Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/25

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/25

NY, NJ, CT: Three Northeast states enact 14-day quarantine for some out-of-state visitors

timesunion.com

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are issuing a travel advisory requiring out-of-state visitors from states with COVID-19 spikes to isolate themselves for 14 days. States affected are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.

WV: West Virginia health officer resigns after governor’s rant

wvgazettemail.com

Dr. Cathy Slemp, the commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health and state health officer who helped guide West Virginia through its initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, resigned from her post after Republican Gov. Jim Justice publicly criticized reporting errors at her office during his daily news briefing hours earlier.

AL: Alabama history agency admits perpetuating systemic racism

apnews.com

Alabama’s main state history agency, spurred by nationwide protests against racial injustice, is acknowledging that it helped perpetuate systemic racism for generations by promoting Confederate narratives while ignoring those of Black people.

CO: Colorado governor urges state residents to avoid large July 4 gatherings

denverpost.com

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis urged Coloradans to take actions to limit the spread of the new coronavirus — including forgoing large parties or cookouts to celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July holiday — after several counties have reported spikes in cases of COVID-19.

HI: ACLU says face scanners at Hawaii airports are 'terrifying'

civilbeat.org

As Hawaii continues to test facial recognition and thermal scanning technology this week for a pilot program to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a civil rights group is raising concerns about invasion of privacy. The ACLU of Hawaii is asking the state to release all government records related to the use of the facial recognition technology in Hawaii, and respond to its concerns about the potential for abuse.

MI: Case spike follows Michigan reopening

freep.com

Michigan tallied its highest daily case tally since May 31. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted her stay-at-home executive order June 1 as the state's coronavirus surge began to ease, and has been slowly lifting restrictions since May.

VA: Virginia legislature’s Black caucus calls for police changes

richmond.com

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus released a wide-ranging list of legislative proposals to change the state’s law enforcement system, urging “a bold swing” toward racial equity and social justice. The proposals include greater accountability and transparency from law enforcement agencies, and the reallocation of funding from law enforcement budgets to community services.

FL: Florida sees big case spike

miamiherald.com

With Florida reporting the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day Wednesday, public health experts say the state could be witnessing exponential growth of the spread of the virus. Almost 30% of Florida’s cases were recorded in the past 10 days.

TX: Texas border struggles

texastribune.org

In Texas, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, limits on cross-border commerce and a downturn in the energy sector have hit the Rio Grande Valley's economy especially hard. Unemployment has tripled and local governments lost taxes from Mexico visitors and jobless residents.

NM: New Mexico schools face 'CARES swap' funding loss

abqjournal.com

A budget solvency bill would reduce school funding by $45 million to reflect federal stimulus dollars received by school districts in New Mexico. School leaders are crying foul, saying the stimulus money was meant to help schools with increased pandemic costs.

NJ: Trump visiting New Jersey after hosting rally in a hotspot, but won’t follow quarantine mandate

nj.com

On the heels of his mask-optional campaign rally in Arizona, President Donald Trump will not follow Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s new 14-day quarantine mandate on Friday when he travels to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, the White House said.

MO: As state workers go remote, Missouri officials look to save on office leases

stltoday.com

With an estimated 31% of the state’s workforce now working from home, GOP Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is assessing whether it can consolidate and jettison millions of dollars in leased office space.

WA: Washington schools still ironing out in-person learning plans

seattletimes.com

Few Washington state districts are prepared yet to answer basic questions about distance-learning plans, transportation or strategies to keep school communities safe. The state is not tracking which schools have the space to allow for sufficient distancing, and plans are still unclear for educators who are unable to work in person due to risk factors.

OR: List of Oregon inmates eligible for early COVID-19 release shrinks to 61

oregonlive.com

The number of Oregon inmates eligible for early release under Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s plan to address the coronavirus threat in the state prison system has shrunk to 61 from an initial group of 75. State corrections officials provided the revised list to Brown’s office after removing 14 prisoners for consideration based on their behavioral history behind bars.

ID: Increasing infections in health care workers could stall Idaho's reopening

idahostatesman.com

There are signs that Idaho might not meet the criteria to advance out of Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds plan. The plan requires that Idaho have fewer than two health care workers per day reported as COVID-19 positive over the 14-day evaluation period, but the state has seen an average of 5.6 health care workers infected daily from June 10 through June 23.

CO: Coronavirus cases rise among young Coloradans

coloradosun.com

Over the past 25 days, people under 30 accounted for about 40% of Colorado’s coronavirus cases. For the 25 days before that, it was about 31%.

MD: Outbreaks slow at Maryland nursing homes

baltimoresun.com

Coronavirus outbreaks at Maryland nursing homes and assisted living centers continue to slow, with the number of active COVID-19 cases down by 20% and the death rate among the facilities’ residents slowing significantly over the past week.

AZ: Arizona governor unveils education aid package

azcentral.com

Arizona students who attend class virtually in the coming academic year will count toward public schools' enrollment numbers, according to a new executive order — one of several measures rolled out by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to keep schools afloat during the pandemic.

UT: Utah governor halts reopening as cases surge

sltrib.com

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert announced that he will not consider any easing of restrictions related to the coronavirus in Utah for the next two weeks, locking the state’s current color-coded risk designations in place.

CA: California insurance program deadline extended amid COVID-19 surge

sacbee.com

Covered California, the state’s medical insurance program, announced an extension of a special enrollment period to July 31 to give Californians additional time to sign up for health insurance. It had been set to end June 30. COVID-19 has killed roughly 5,600 people in California and has sickened more than 183,000. After a brief decline in the number of cases, infections are once again on the rise.

NC: North Carolina governor calls for mandatory masks

newsobserver.com

A concerned North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced the state will remain in Phase Two for another three weeks while making face coverings mandatory in public. The order that moved the state into Phase 2 on May 22 was scheduled to expire on Friday. It has been extended until July 17. The mask requirement takes effect Friday at 5 p.m.

SC: South Carolina effort to expand absentee voting fails

thestate.com

An early effort to expand absentee voting ahead of the November general election failed as the South Carolina House agreed to spend more than $1.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief, sending the legislation to the governor for his signature.

MN: In Minnesota, GOP lawmakers see police problems mostly as a Minneapolis problem

minnpost.com

Repeated statements by Republican leaders at the Minnesota legislature make it clear they see any problems with policing as more of a Minneapolis issue than a systemic one.

WI: Poll: 61% of Wisconsinites support protests against racism, police brutality

wpr.org

Large majorities of Wisconsinites support the protests against racial injustice and police brutality that have swept across the state in the last month, a new poll from the Marquette University Law School found.

PA: ‘Clear as mud’: How Pennsylvania chaotic coronavirus waiver program hurt small businesses

spotlightpa.org

As Pennsylvania reopens, the long-term consequences of inconsistency and a lack of enforcement are becoming evident in downtowns throughout the state.

AR: Arkansas to double number of contact tracers

kark.com

GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he has directed the Arkansas Department of Health to double the number of contact tracers from 350 to 700. The governor said this would cost around an additional $22 million.

IL: Federal aid helps Illinois cut unpaid bills to 5-year low

bloomberg.com

Illinois, the first U.S. state to tap into Federal Reserve aid for pandemic-battered governments, has reduced its unpaid bills to the lowest level since 2015. The backlog shrank to $4.8 billion on June 12, down from $6.9 billion at the start of the month. The number had swelled to more than $8 billion in April after shelter-in-place policies were enacted.

AL: Alabama sees second-highest total for daily coronavirus cases, records 25 more deaths

al.com

Alabama added 954 new coronavirus cases, a large increase over case counts from recent days, and the second highest single-day uptick since the start of the pandemic. The new cases pushed the state’s seven-day rolling average up to almost 673, an 80-case increase.

GA: Georgia House and Senate OK bill to increase options for restriction of criminal records

ajc.com

The Georgia House and Senate both voted unanimously to pass a bill that would increase options for restricting access to criminal records. The bill would allow some misdemeanors to be restricted and sealed if the offender doesn’t commit another offense within four years.

MN: COVID-19 hospitalizations up slightly in Minnesota

startribune.com

Minnesota health officials encourage continued mask-wearing and social-distancing amid sustained threat of COVID-19.

GA: Bill would ban a repeat of Georgia absentee ballot request mailings

ajc.com

A Georgia House committee voted to prohibit election officials from mailing absentee ballot request forms to voters. The legislation would prevent the kind of large-scale absentee voting effort undertaken during the coronavirus pandemic.

LA: Mayor: Abide by the coronavirus restrictions or New Orleans will be shut down

nola.com

With the number of coronavirus cases identified in New Orleans each day on the upswing and officials worrying about gatherings that could create new clusters of infections, Democratic Mayor LaToya Cantrell said residents need to do a better job of abiding by restrictions.

NY: New York City may lay off 22,000 workers

nytimes.com

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and other top officials warned that the pandemic was putting tremendous stress on the finances of government in New York City, raising the prospect that they might have to carry out cuts in infrastructure spending and some of the most sweeping layoffs of municipal workers in decades.

MS: ‘Major disaster’ looms as Mississippians ignore COVID-19 rules, top health official says

sunherald.com

State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs warns that hospitals will be overrun in the fall at the rate COVID-19 is spreading because so many Mississippians fail to follow simple public health guidelines.

MS: Mississippi flag: ‘In God We Trust’ for Confederate symbol?

apnews.com

Two of Mississippi’s top elected Republicans proposed the Confederate battle emblem be replaced on the state flag with the words “In God We Trust,” seeking a path toward unity in their state amid the backdrop of national protests over racial injustice.

IA: Police in Iowa capital city under fire for tactics during protests

desmoinesregister.com

Several activists said Des Moines police officers and Iowa State Patrol troopers pepper-sprayed or pushed peaceful protesters near downtown and used kettling — a controversial tactic where dozens of officers surround demonstrators to corral them before rushing in to make arrests.

ME: Vast majority of Maine businesses will be allowed to reopen July 1

pressherald.com

COVID-19 prevention checklists issued to movie theaters, amusement parks and entertainment venues put a 50-person limit on shared spaces, among other restrictions.

MT: Analysts: Montana may recoup virus revenue losses in 2 years

billingsgazette.com

Any coronavirus-related revenue losses to Montana's treasury over the next year will likely be recovered the year after, say state financial analysts.

ND: Governor: North Dakota close to last stage of reopening plan

apnews.com

Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said that several counties in the state are close to reaching the fifth and final stage of a reopening plan that would allow businesses to resume normal operations under standard precautions to minimize risk of the coronavirus.

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