Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/17

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/17

US: U.S. blows past coronavirus record with more than 70,000 new cases in one day

washingtonpost.com

There was a time in the United States when 40,000 coronavirus cases in a day seemed like an alarming milestone. That was less than three weeks ago. Now the number of new infections reported each day is reaching dizzying new heights.

GA: Georgia governor seeks to block Atlanta mask mandate in court

ajc.com

GOP Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration went to court seeking to block Atlanta from enacting coronavirus restrictions and requiring residents to wear masks, setting up a legal showdown between the state and local governments over efforts to contain the disease.

KY: Kentucky AG asks judge to block governor’s COVID-19 orders

wdrb.com

Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is asking a judge to block Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear from enforcing any coronavirus orders in the state, a move that comes as new infections have been rising.

FL: Supreme Court won't intervene for Florida felon vote

miamiherald.com

The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to weigh in on Florida’s fight over felon voting, choosing not to overturn a lower court’s decision to keep hundreds of thousands of felons from joining the voter rolls ahead of this year’s elections.

OK: Tribes, Oklahoma reach agreement on criminal, civil procedures on reservations

oklahoman.com

The Five Tribes and Oklahoma leaders have reached an agreement aimed at clarifying jurisdiction on criminal and civil matters in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that upended a legal system in operation for more than a century.

LA: Assistance available to Louisiana renters affected by virus

apnews.com

Louisiana will offer $24 million in emergency rent assistance to low-income residents faced with the threat of eviction because their paychecks have taken a hit from the coronavirus outbreak, a program announced by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

TN: Tennessee doctors’ group: Reopening schools now ‘insane’

wjhl.com

A group of Tennessee doctors is warning that reopening schools while the coronavirus is spreading rapidly through the state is “insane.” The group continues to urge Republican Gov. Bill Lee to issue a statewide mask mandate and to let science guide policy with regard to the virus.

PA: Pennsylvania lawmakers want voters to weaken governor’s emergency powers, boost their own

spotlightpa.org

The constitutional amendment process is a lengthy one with no guaranteed outcome, but it has a major benefit for Pennsylvania lawmakers — it doesn’t require Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s approval.

CO: Colorado governor issues statewide mask order

denverpost.com

Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has issued an executive order requiring everyone 11 and older to wear a mask or other facial covering while in public indoor spaces, including all retail stores. The order follows four straight weeks of rising COVID-19 cases in Colorado, including a 40% increase last week.

MN: Court hears legal challenge to Minnesota governor's emergency powers during COVID-19 pandemic

startribune.com

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has made extensive use of peacetime emergency powers under Minnesota law to rapidly respond to the coronavirus pandemic, issuing 79 emergency orders since March. His actions, including school, church and business closings, have spurred eight cases in state and federal courts.

AR: Arkansas governor orders residents to wear masks

ky3.com

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, announced an executive order requiring masks statewide. Arkansans must wear a mask when they cannot social distance up to six feet. It involves both indoor and outdoor settings. The mandate requires anyone older than 10 to wear a mask.

NY: New York governor cracks down on outdoor drinking at bars

nytimes.com

New York’s restaurants and bars, struggling to stay afloat with skeleton staffs and reduced to takeout, delivery and outdoor dining, suffered another blow when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned the sale of alcohol to customers who do not also buy food.

OR: Oregon hits record high in new case numbers

oregonlive.com

The Oregon Health Authority reported a record-high 437 new coronavirus cases and two deaths. It’s the third consecutive week that state officials reported a record-breaking daily total.

HI: The pandemic is changing how Hawaii gets its food

civilbeat.org

As Hawaii residents scramble to ride out the financial storm of COVID-19, a staggering number of people now find themselves facing food insecurity; Hawaii spends up to $3 billion a year importing about 90% of its food, and half of all households say they are either not confident at all or only somewhat confident in their ability to afford food through early August.

ID: Idaho governor leaves mask decisions to health districts, where some commissioners call COVID-19 a hoax

idahostatesman.com

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, has left decision-making on mask mandates to local entities, deferring to the state’s seven health districts or individual cities. Commissioners on the district's health boards have expressed confusion or skepticism about best scientific practices related to the coronavirus, while some have gone as far as suggesting the pandemic is a hoax.

WA: Washington governor limits gatherings in some counties

seattletimes.com

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, announced a limit of 10 people at social gatherings in Washington counties that are further along in the reopening process as the state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases.

MN: Minnesota unemployment fell to 8.6% in June

mprnews.org

Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped last month as more businesses and restaurants began to reopen following the end of the stay-at-home order.

WI: Wisconsin Democrats propose package of bills to address backlog of unemployment claims

madison.com

Wisconsin GOP leaders quickly rebuked the package of eight bills, which comes amid mounting criticism from state Republicans directed at the Department of Workforce Development and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers over the state's ongoing struggles to manage the onslaught of unemployment claims caused by the pandemic.

PA: As Pennsylvania state prisons ease coronavirus-related restrictions, county detainees remain in lockdowns

papost.org

PA Post contacted nearly a third of Pennsylvania’s county jails and found that while the majority of smaller county jails have eased lockdown rules, hundreds of inmates and detainees at other jails continue to be kept in their cells.

CA: California salon owners ask governor to let them work outside

sacbee.com

California’s new coronavirus closures have shut hair salons again and a group of owners is asking the governor to let them work outside. A state regulation prohibits outdoor operations for salons, but it could be waived by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the salon owners said.

VA: One lawsuit challenging Virginia’s removal of Lee statute is dropped

richmond.com

A Virginia hearing that could have decided the fate of Richmond's Robert E. Lee monument was canceled after six Richmond residents dropped their lawsuit challenging the statue's planned removal. Another lawsuit contesting Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's plan to take the statue down is still pending.

NC: University of North Carolina has new policy to rename buildings with Confederate monikers

newsobserver.com

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees voted to adopt a policy for renaming campus buildings and public spaces. That set in motion the process of considering the renaming of the Daniels Building, Carr Building, Ruffin Residence Hall and Aycock Residence Hall, whose namesakes are tied to white supremacy and racism.

SC: South Carolina school districts scramble with new opening plans

thestate.com

School districts across South Carolina are scrambling to adjust their reopening plans for the fast-approaching fall semester after new guidance from Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican. McMaster announced that all public schools are urged to restart in-person classes after Labor Day. Earlier, the schools were considering hybrid plans.

DC: District of Columbia says it wants students back but will wait and watch

washingtonpost.com

District of Columbia officials announced that they will wait until July 31 to announce whether schools will be allowed to reopen in the fall, or if they will need to go all-virtual.

IN: Virus downturn knocks Indiana surplus down

apnews.com

Plunging tax collections caused by the pandemic have delivered a $850 million hit to Indiana’s state budget reserves, and a top state official said he anticipates possibly steep spending cuts in the coming years.

RI: Rhode Island nursing homes sound alarm on testing delays

providencejournal.com

Coronavirus testing delays are putting staff and residents of already-battered nursing homes at risk, the head of a Rhode Island industry association said. About three-quarters of the nearly 1,000 deaths in the state from COVID-19 have been nursing home residents.

NV: Nevada health investigators overwhelmed by ‘avalanche’ of COVID-19 cases

reviewjournal.com

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases has overwhelmed public health investigators in Nevada’s Clark County, home to Las Vegas, who are now forced to prioritize who among those testing positive will be notified by a phone call and interviewed about their contacts.

AZ: Arizona outbreak data shows ‘some encouraging signs’

azcentral.com

After weeks of case spikes, it's possible daily case counts in Arizona may be flattening, but it will take time to see if this trend continues given test results reporting lags.

UT: Utah Transit Authority foresees permanent ridership drop

sltrib.com

Utah Transit Authority officials said that after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, revenue from fares will be significantly smaller — down maybe 15% — and it may take the agency several years to work back even to that lower plateau. Ridership currently is about 70% below normal.

MS: A Mississippi lawmaker was on a ventilator with COVID-19 after legislature outbreak

sunherald.com

A Republican Mississippi lawmaker is suffering from COVID-19 in the intensive care unit but seems to be improving. The Mississippi State Department of Health has reported at least 30 legislators and 11 others recently working at the state Capitol in Jackson have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of the legislators were hospitalized.

MS: Mississippi sets single day record for new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations and deaths spike

mississippitoday.org

The state health department reported 1,230 new cases of COVID-19, the most reported in a single day for Mississippi.

FL: More Florida layoffs coming as businesses brace for lockdowns

sun-sentinel.com

As COVID-19 cases surge across Florida, many businesses are starting to give up hope they can rebound with their pre-pandemic work forces, permanently laying off more workers. Faced with thin cash reserves and the prospect of more government lockdowns, many are positioning themselves to be leaner.

TX: Texas governor defends mask mandate to frustrated Republicans

texastribune.org

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began the state party convention by addressing head-on the growing discontent with his orders to contain the pandemic. The coronavirus has surged in recent weeks across the state, and Abbott sought to impress upon the delegates how dire the situation has become.

MI: Michigan bans youth restraints after death

freep.com

Months after a Black teen died as a result of staff at a Michigan youth center pinning him to the floor for throwing a sandwich, state health officials have banned the use of similar dangerous restraints. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced stricter rules for how staff at youth institutions can physically restrain children.

AZ, NM: Arizona coronavirus patients sent to New Mexico

abqjournal.com

Arizona coronavirus patients are being transferred to New Mexico hospitals due to shortages of staffing and bed space at the same time that some New Mexico hospitals’ intensive care units are at or nearing capacity.

WY: Wyoming survey shows support for mask ordinance, rising anxiety

trib.com

A majority of Wyomingites surveyed earlier this week by University of Wyoming researchers say they would support a mask ordinance for indoor settings, while overall anxiety about the coronavirus has climbed over the past month.

NY: New York state releases school reopening guidance

timesunion.com

From opening windows to limiting visitors to turning all desks in the same direction, the New York State Education Department released guidance on precautions schools should take when planning how to reopen this fall.

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