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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/8

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/8

NJ: Major movie theater chains sue New Jersey over coronavirus restrictions

nj.com

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Trenton, some of the nation’s largest theater chains filed suit against New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, challenging the continued closure of the state’s movie theaters as unconstitutional. 

MS: Mississippi legislature’s top leaders test positive for coronavirus

mississippitoday.org

The Mississippi legislature’s two presiding officers, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, 73, a Republican, in the Senate and House Speaker Philip Gunn, 57, also a Republican, are at home quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19. They are among a growing number of legislators who have tested positive.

GA: Atlanta Mayor: No need for troops, despite Georgia governor’s order

apnews.com

The Democratic mayor of Atlanta said she doesn’t agree with Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s order to mobilize the National Guard in her city as a surge in violence became a political talking point.

MN: Minnesota lawmakers still hope for policing change, public works bill

startribune.com

Minnesota state lawmakers will get another chance to pass police accountability measures into law next week, with Democratic Gov. Tim Walz planning to call a special legislative session for the second time this summer.

TN: Tennessee moving forward with August execution

tenessean.com

Tennessee prison officials are proceeding with an execution next month despite COVID-19 outbreaks across the state that could complicate protocols and jeopardize last-minute legal moves.

ME: In ‘huge victory’ for Maine, judge rejects key argument against new internet privacy law

bangordailynews.com

A judge ruled that Maine’s pioneering and strict internet privacy law is not preempted by federal law, according to a ruling that scathingly rebuked a main argument from internet service providers.

HI: Hawaii passes policing change bill

staradvertiser.com

The Hawaii legislature passed a policing change bill that would make public the identities of police officers who have been suspended or discharged, putting them on equal footing with other public agency employees.

ND: Petitions submitted for sweeping North Dakota election changes

bismarcktribune.com

Supporters of a proposed ballot measure to enact wide-ranging election changes in North Dakota have submitted their petitions to state election officials.

CO: Colorado sees uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations

denverpost.com

Colorado is not experiencing the same surges as states such as Arizona, Texas, Florida and California. But the state’s rate of positive coronavirus test results has jumped since the first week of June, meaning that transmission of COVID-19 is increasing.

AZ: Arizona legislator says she tested positive for the coronavirus

azcentral.com

Rep. Joanne Osborne, a Republican, is the second state legislator and among more than 100,000 Arizonans known to have contracted the disease.

NV: Nevada governor proposes deep cuts to address budget gap

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has proposed slashing and shifting hundreds of millions of dollars from agency budgets and other programs to close an estimated $1.2 billion shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

CA: California firefighters accept 7.5% pay cut

sacbee.com

As fire season gets started, California state firefighters are taking a 7.5% pay cut in exchange for two flexible days off every month under a one-year agreement with Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration. Newsom mandated the reductions to help close a projected $54 billion budget deficit.

MS: COVID-19 is ‘skyrocketing’ in Mississippi and foolish behavior is to blame, officials say

sunherald.com

The state’s top public health specialists, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and the epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers are urging Mississippians to stop “foolish behavior,” as Dobbs said, because COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing.

VA: Governor urges education leaders to remove Confederate names from Virginia schools

richmond.com

Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, wants school systems across Virginia to change the names of schools honoring Confederate leaders. In a letter to the heads of school boards in the state, Northam says the names and mascots have a "traumatizing impact on students, families, teachers and staff of all backgrounds."

NC: North Carolina officials issue order to ease access to testing

newsobserver.com

North Carolinians no longer need a doctor’s referral to get a coronavirus test under a new plan announced by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The move is aimed at making it easier for people to get tested and for the state to track the results.

WI: County officials issue Wisconsin's first order requiring face masks

jsonline.com

Dane County public health officials are requiring all residents to wear face masks indoors unless they're at home — the first order in Wisconsin mandating the protective gear against the coronavirus.

CO: Colorado sues e-cigarette maker Juul

denverpost.com

Colorado is suing e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, Inc., alleging the company intentionally marketed its products to youth and misrepresented them as a healthy alternative to cigarettes. 

AZ: Arizona mayor says federal government denied requests for testing help

azcentral.com

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied multiple requests for a mega-COVID-19 testing site in Phoenix, Arizona, according to Democratic Mayor Kate Gallego.

VT: Vermont unveils rules for college campus reopenings this fall

vpr.org

Vermont colleges will be required to follow a series of guidelines in order to hold in-person classes this fall, including mandatory COVID-19 testing for all students.

DC: District of Columbia Council rejects tax increase on wealthy

washingtonpost.com

The District of Columbia Council eliminated some tax breaks for businesses but rejected an income tax hike for the wealthy during a contentious budget debate, amid warnings that revenue is likely to decline further as the coronavirus decimates the economy.

CT: Connecticut towns skip interior inspections during pandemic, worrying property owners

courant.com

Because of the pandemic, Connecticut communities that are revaluating property for upcoming tax bills are ditching or delaying requirements for full inspections of homes and businesses. 

RI: Thousands of Rhode Island small-business supporters ask governor to release federal aid

providencejournal.com

More than 2,300 people have signed an online petition calling on Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo to free up some of the state’s $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus aid to help small businesses stay afloat. 

WA: Mandatory mask rule takes effect in Washington

thenewstribune.com

Businesses across Washington are no longer allowed to serve customers who aren’t wearing a facial covering. Some say it will make it easier to enforce mask policies they already have in place.

OR: Cases steadily rise among Oregonians in their 20s

oregonlive.com

Coronavirus cases have been steadily on the rise among Oregonians in their 20s since the beginning of June, and now total 21% of all cases in the state. In Lane County, home to the University of Oregon, there’s a commonality among the new COVID-19 cases: house parties.

FL: Florida Democrats blast governor's coronavirus policies

palmbeachpost.com

Florida congressional Democrats blasted Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the state’s spike in coronavirus cases, calling for him to issue a statewide mask-wearing order, shut down beaches and not force schools to open next month.

MI: Michigan joins suit over COVID-19 money for private schools

freep.com

Michigan will join four other states in a lawsuit against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over how to distribute pandemic relief money to schools. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said that a rule issued by DeVos would divert to private schools money that Congress provided to help public schools.

NM: New Mexico offers loans to small businesses, local governments

santafenewmexican.com

The New Mexico program offers $400 million in low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits damaged by the coronavirus crisis, as well as $50 million for local governments that lost tax revenue.

OK: Hospital seeks additional bed capacity as Oklahoma shatters COVID-19 record

oklahoman.com

As Oklahoma reported its largest single-day increase of new COVID-19 cases, a metro hospital announced it is reopening a temporarily shuttered hospital as it seeks more room for patients. 

NJ: New Jersey now wants travelers from 3 more states to quarantine

nj.com

With a key indicator of the contagion inching upward, New Jersey is now calling for people traveling from three more states — including neighboring Delaware — to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the Garden State to protect against the coronavirus.

OH: Ohio governor makes masks mandatory in 7 counties

cleveland.com

After months of demurring over making masks mandatory, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new health order that will require them in the seven Ohio counties that are classified as red under the state’s new coronavirus warning system. 

KY: Nearly 1 in 3 Kentuckians are enrolled in Medicaid as COVID-19 recession ends jobs

kentucky.com

After slowly falling for two years, the number of Kentuckians enrolled in Medicaid shot up by 10% to 1.45 million as tens of thousands of people lost their jobs — and typically, their employer-provided health insurance — following the shutdown of the state’s economy in March.

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