Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/10

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/10

OK: US Supreme Court rules against Oklahoma in major tribal case

oklahoman.com

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation was not officially terminated at Oklahoma statehood, as justices issued a decision that may upend state jurisdiction in much of eastern Oklahoma. The state attorney general’s office has warned of hundreds of criminal convictions being overturned.

NJ: New Jersey AG goes to state Supreme Court in fight to name disciplined cops

northjersey.com

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, a Democrat, has asked New Jersey's highest court to allow him to identify state police troopers who have been disciplined in the last 20 years after another panel of judges stalled his plans.

FL: Florida governor doubles down on school reopening

tampabay.com

As school districts in coronavirus hotspots threaten to defy the state’s order to reopen schools full time in August, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down, saying schools are an essential activity that must continue. But the governor cannot force school districts to open.

MS: Mississippi’s five largest hospitals are out of ICU beds

sunherald.com

Mississippi's five largest hospitals had no intensive care unit beds available for patients by midweek because of a surge in coronavirus cases, officials reported. Four more hospitals had 5% or less of those beds available.

GA: Governor’s office says mask mandates in Georgia are 'unenforceable'

ajc.com

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp's office said mask requirements adopted by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, and leaders of other cities are “unenforceable,” but stopped short of threatening legal action to block them.

PA: Pennsylvania issues new eviction moratorium after fears rent relief would be too slow

spotlightpa.org

Pennsylvania will offer another reprieve for the thousands of tenants struggling to pay rent because of the coronavirus outbreak, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced, after Democratic lawmakers and advocates urged him to act.

SC: South Carolina hospital may call in National Guard

thestate.com

Facing a staff shortage as they see an increased number of COVID-19 patients, a South Carolina hospital is considering asking the National Guard for assistance.

VA: Amended lawsuit challenges Virginia governor’s authority to remove Lee statue

richmond.com

An amended lawsuit challenging Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's plans to take down the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond questions the governor's powers under state law to order its removal.

AZ: Arizona reports more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases

azcentral.com

Arizona reported another 4,057 COVID-19 cases and 75 more known deaths as hospitals continue to see high numbers of patients. Inpatient hospitalizations and ventilators in use by suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients both hit new records.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds most lame-duck laws curbing powers of governor, AG

madison.com

The decision largely gives a nod — for now, at least — to Wisconsin's Republican legislature exercising greater authority over the Democratic-controlled executive branch, and especially the attorney general.

CA: How California will handle fire season amid pandemic

sacbee.com

The coronavirus has forced California firefighters to reevaluate training, alter daily life and change strategies for combating blazes.

NC: Some North Carolina gyms use legal loophole to open, despite governor’s ban

newsobserver.com

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s reopening plan generally bars gyms from opening yet, but some gyms are open under a loophole that allows those with a doctor’s prescription to work out. Gyms are citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying no one is required to disclose medical conditions or disabilities.

AL: Alabama county jail refuses inmates COVID-19 masks

al.com

The sheriff’s office in Madison County, Alabama, cited safety concerns among the reasons inmates aren’t allowed masks. But outside the jail, a county order requires most people to wear face coverings in public.

LA: Louisiana finds hundreds of businesses violating coronavirus rules – but no penalties given

theadvocate.com

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has eschewed new restrictions that other states have put in place to stem a new resurgence of the coronavirus, instead offering up a strategy of promoting compliance with existing rules. 

GA: Hospital beds dwindle as Georgia virus cases soar

ajc.com

The number of hospital beds available to treat critically ill patients is dropping across Georgia as COVID-19 hospitalizations soar past previous highs, raising alarms that time is running out to slow the spread of the virus before medical facilities reach crisis levels.

WA: Washington’s jobless claims fall, but state’s unemployed may soon lose $600 pandemic benefit

seattletimes.com

Four months after the first big COVID-19 layoffs, Washington state has yet to hit bottom in pandemic-related job losses, even as federal benefits are set to expire and health concerns slow the reopening of the economy.

OR: Oregon tries to avoid future testing shortage as national demand soars

oregonlive.com

As case numbers skyrocket in many states, Oregon officials are worried the state might face a future testing shortage as states drastically up their demand for supplies.

ID: Hospitalizations climb in Idaho

idahostatesman.com

Leaders of Idaho’s largest hospital systems warned this week that more and more patients are arriving with COVID-19, and health care institutions fear an impending crisis.

MS: Mississippi governor issues COVID-19 mask mandates for 13 counties

sunherald.com

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, is mandating masks and limiting social gatherings by early next week in Harrison, Jackson and 11 other counties with high spread of COVID-19, he said. 

HI: Hawaii to shut down restaurants and bars flouting COVID-19 precautions

staradvertiser.com

The Hawaii Department of Health Food Safety Branch will issue red placards, temporarily suspending the operations of restaurants, bars and other eateries that do not comply with rules that include physical distancing and the wearing of masks.

TX: Texas counties trim polling locations after virus spike

texastribune.org

As Texas continues to report record coronavirus infections, a lack of workers willing to run polling sites is forcing election officials in two major counties to scale back plans for the July 14 primary runoff elections. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to not require voters to wear masks is driving some poll workers away.

MI: Michigan governor threatens stricter mask laws

clickondetroit.com

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is threatening to impose stricter mask laws amid a spike in Michigan coronavirus cases and mounting evidence that some residents aren’t taking precautions seriously.

CO: Colorado governor tells residents to ‘wear a damn mask’

coloradosun.com

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said Coloradans need to be better about limiting their exposure to other people as he announced that the incidence of coronavirus is growing in the state.

UT: Utah governor requires masks for all in K-12 schools this fall

sltrib.com

As Utah reports 601 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and four new deaths, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert announced his decision to expand his limited mask mandate to include students, faculty, staff and visitors at K-12 schools.

NV: Nevada lawmakers consider more than $200M in health care budget cuts

thenevadaindependent.com

State officials presented $233 million in proposed cuts from the health care budget that will slash key programs for low-income Nevadans and significantly pare back mental health services to ease a budget crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

MN: Majority of Minnesota parents are OK with school reopening, disliked distance learning

startribune.com

A Minnesota Department of Education survey found that while the largest share of parents would send their children back to school, one-third are uncomfortable with or unsure about schools reopening.

MO: Inconsistencies in official Missouri COVID-19 numbers point to need for standard data reporting

stltoday.com

In the four months since Missourians learned that COVID-19 had arrived in the state, it has become easier for residents to find out whether their community’s cases are rising, flat or declining. But many still are noticing inconsistencies in the numbers, as health departments struggle to gather and report information in real time.

NY: Independence of New York's nursing home report faces scrutiny

timesunion.com

When New York released a study absolving the state as well as nursing homes and other health care facilities of blame for the more than 6,000 COVID-related nursing home deaths, health care industry leaders quickly confirmed the state’s findings. But many of those leaders have close ties with the administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

CT: New figures show massive increase in deaths in April in Connecticut

courant.com

A new tally released by the Connecticut Department of Public Health shows that the coronavirus is the likely cause of nearly twice as many deaths in April of this year compared to 2019. A total of 4,870 residents died in April of 2020, by comparison last April there were 2,663 deaths.

IN: Federal appeals court reverses order that halted Indiana's ban on smokable hemp

indystar.com

A federal appeals court overturned a lower court's order halting a 2019 Indiana law that criminalizes smokable hemp. Indiana legislators last year passed a law legalizing the commercial production of hemp and setting up a regulatory process; they also banned smokable hemp.

KS: Settlement could take Kansas foster care from ‘shockingly broken’ to model for nation

kansas.com

Kansas foster children will no longer sleep overnight in offices or be shuttled from home to home and, for the first time, will receive mental health screening when they enter care.

ME: Maine community colleges to reopen in fall with blend of online, in-person learning

pressherald.com

Plans for Maine’s seven-campus system also include limited access to single-occupancy dorm rooms and a delay until at least January in fall and winter sports.

AR: Arkansas pushes back date for start of school

4029tv.com

Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state would move back the start for the 2020-21 school year. The move comes as the number of coronavirus infections has been rising.

OH: Ohio now requires masks at religious services in some counties

dispatch.com

Everyone attending religious services in Ohio’s hardest-hit COVID counties must wear a mask except the “officiant,” under a new state health order.

KY: Kentucky governor mandates masks statewide

kentucky.com

The wearing of masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19 will be mandatory in Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear announced after noting the state’s new number of infections has lifted out of its plateau and is on the rise.

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