Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/20

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/20

MN: Half of Black workers in Minnesota have lost work during pandemic

startribune.com

Nearly 1 in 2 Black workers in Minnesota have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March. For white workers, it is about 1 in 4, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

MI: Michigan warning worries auto workers

freep.com

With new cases on the rise, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned the auto industry that she could shut down factories if residents ignore mask requirements. The auto industry pushed back, saying no major outbreaks are tied to auto plants and workers need their jobs there.

MS: Mississippi is a COVID-19 ‘red zone.’ Close bars and mandate masks, White House task force says

sunherald.com

As one of 18 states in the “red zone” for COVID-19, Mississippi needs to broaden mask mandates now in force in all counties, close bars and gyms in high-risk counties, and increase testing and contact tracing, according to a White House Coronavirus Task Force document.

OH: As coronavirus surged, Ohio hospitals lost billions in revenue

dispatch.com

A slowdown caused by COVID-19 cost Ohio hospitals billions of dollars since early March. Columbus hospitals lost more than a combined $810 million so far.

ME: Black people make up 2% of Maine’s population but almost a quarter of coronavirus cases

washingtonpost.com

Black Mainers — many of them immigrants — have been infected at disproportionate rates, accounting for approximately 23% of the cases in a state where they are less than 2% of the population.

MA: Massachusetts House leaders unveil sweeping policing change bill

bostonglobe.com

The 129-page bill, released late Sunday night by the House’s budget committee, lays out sweeping changes to how police would be trained and held accountable in Massachusetts, and follows a wide-ranging bill passed last week by the state Senate.

TN: Tennessee braces for possible flood of bankruptcies

tennessean.com

Enhanced federal unemployment payments are set to phase out at the end of this month and many economic analysts are braced for a deluge of bankruptcy filings in Tennessee because of ongoing business shutdowns. 

GA: Wrong absentee ballots mailed to over 700 Georgia voters

ajc.com

More than 700 Georgia voters incorrectly received nonpartisan absentee ballots instead of Democratic or Republican ballots for the state’s upcoming primary runoff election, the secretary of state’s office said.

PA: Pennsylvania county's elected officials blast governor over withholding of millions in CARES Act funding

ldnews.com

Lebanon County's four state elected officials strongly condemned Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, in a letter over the withholding of millions in CARES Act funding from the county, calling the move "petty tyranny."

CA: Military members sent to California hospitals with staffing shortages

latimes.com

Active-duty U.S. Air Force doctors, nurses and other medical providers are being sent to work in California hospitals to assist with a steep rise in coronavirus cases that has strained some health care systems across the state.

OR: Furloughed Oregon teachers now receiving jobless benefits

oregonlive.com

Most Oregon educators furloughed last spring have begun receiving their jobless benefits after many weeks of delay. Several districts furloughed teachers and other staff one day a week last spring to save money in anticipation of fall budget cuts triggered by the nascent coronavirus recession.

CT: Connecticut governor will make it easier for essential workers to get workers’ compensation

courant.com

Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he will soon issue an executive order that will make it easier for frontline workers who contract COVID-19 to qualify for workers’ compensation payments. Essential workers will receive the benefit of the doubt that they contracted the virus while working.

VA: Rise in Virginia virus cases fueled by spikes by the beaches

richmond.com

Virginia’s eastern region, outlined by the state’s beaches, has seen an explosive spread of the coronavirus in recent weeks as trends for the rest of the state have seen slight upticks.

NC: North Carolina governor says state budget might not recover until 2023

newsobserver.com

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is asking the federal government to help North Carolina deal with a projected $5 billion decline in local and state revenue because of the coronavirus and resulting economic shutdown.

SC: South Carolina governor refuses to order statewide mask mandate

thestate.com

As South Carolina surpassed 60,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 1,000 deaths last week, Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, continued his push to reopen the state against growing alarm from health experts, educators, parents and local leaders alike. McMaster said he won’t be closing businesses back down or requiring South Carolinians to wear masks.

MN: Young adults drive new Minnesota COVID-19 cases, and some are getting very ill

startribune.com

Among all age cohorts, people in their 20s have emerged as the single largest group testing positive for COVID-19 in Minnesota. They accounted for about 20% of new cases in May, but nearly one-third of new cases — more than 3,400 — from early June to early July.

MN: Minnesota hospital group urges governor to require masks to slow COVID-19 spread

twincities.com

The Minnesota Hospital Association is asking Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, to mandate the wearing of face masks in public statewide to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

FL: Democratic challengers emerge as Florida governor sinks in polls

tampabay.com

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ standing slides under the immense scrutiny of his coronavirus response, potential challengers are stepping out to criticize the Republican leader. DeSantis entered this year as one of the country’s most popular governors.

TX: Navy deploys to Texas hotspots

texastribune.org

Medical professionals from the U.S. Navy were deployed to aid hospitals in four cities across southern Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. Nearly half the state's counties are designated as "red zones" by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

NM: New Mexico governor, lawmaker struggle over pandemic control

santafenewmexican.com

In the midst of all the other tumult the pandemic has brought to New Mexico, the coronavirus is sparking a quarrel over control between legislators and Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The most tangible division may center on how the governor has spent money to fight the virus.

IN: Indiana’s unemployment rate falls

indystar.com

Indiana's unemployment rate continued to improve in June, dropping to 11.2% from 12.3% in May, the latest employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. The state’s June unemployment rate a year ago was 3.3%.

LA: Louisiana House speaker cautions against revoking virus emergency

apnews.com

Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder sought to stall an ongoing effort by his fellow Republicans to revoke Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ coronavirus pandemic state of emergency, saying an override would have “potentially dire consequences.”

CO: Colorado governor blames private labs for slow COVID-19 test results

denverpost.com 

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis defended his statewide mask mandate and discussed Colorado’s uptick in coronavirus cases in two network TV appearances Sunday, calling the national testing system a “complete disgrace.”

AZ: Arizona culture poses barrier to mask rules

apnews.com

The message that “my mask protects you, your mask protects me,” isn’t always well-suited to the mind-your-own-business mentality of Arizona, a state that produced Barry Goldwater’s small-government conservatism and John McCain’s self-styled “maverick” persona.

UT: Utah senator draws heavily from state ‘slush fund’

sltrib.com

The law offices of Republican state Sen. Kirk Cullimore have received roughly $235,980 since 2018 from the special Utah state fund that provides grants to landlords who rent to very low-income tenants — with payments from the fund stepping up dramatically since the pandemic.

MN: In Minnesota, the pandemic doesn’t prevent seniors from being forced to leave assisted living facilities

minnpost.com

While Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, has instituted a temporary ban on most evictions in Minnesota, current law provides no way to appeal terminations of medical services at assisted living facilities, which can force people from their homes.

AL: Can Alabama’s two-week mask rule save the school year?

al.com

Alabama is making a late-summer push to tamp down its surging COVID-19 cases before schools reopen.

VT: Governor, health officials say Vermont on track to reopen schools

vtdigger.org

Vermont officials are continuing to prepare for children to return to the classroom next month, with Republican Gov. Phil Scott saying at a news conference that it is “vitally important” to reopen schools.

WI: Federal judge throws out lawsuit challenging coronavirus rules across Wisconsin

jsonline.com

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit challenging several coronavirus rules set by local health officials across Wisconsin, saying those challenging the health orders had been too scattershot with their lawsuit.

NE: Enrollment for expanded Medicaid in Nebraska starts Aug. 1, almost 21 months after voters approved it

journalstar.com

Low-income adults who have been previously shut out of Nebraska Medicaid can start applying for coverage on Aug. 1. They will be able to start getting care two months later, on Oct. 1.

MT: Montana health lab under new testing priorities as nation faces crunch

billingsgazette.com

The Montana public health laboratory is following a new testing priority while it looks to find a replacement for its out-of-state contract laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock's office said.

SD: South Dakota Medicaid expansion advocates prepare for 2022 ballot push

apnews.com 

The South Dakota attorney general filed explanations for a pair of 2022 ballot measures that would expand federal Medicaid eligibility in the state.

NV: Nevada governor announces no immediate second session

thenevadaindependent.com

Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that he will not ask Nevada lawmakers to immediately launch into a second special session after Democrats and Republicans spent the last 12 days butting heads, which created significant delays as they tried to address a looming $1.2 billion shortfall. Sisolak cited the recent uptick in coronavirus cases in making his decision.

AK: Alaska has another record count with dozens of seafood workers

alaskapublic.org

Alaska reported a record 121 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, including 36 nonresident seafood workers in the Aleutians West Census Area, according to state data. Another cluster based at a seafood processor in Juneau of 26 cases was reported Saturday, according to the city of Juneau, though only two cases were reported in Juneau in the state’s numbers. 

AK: Alaska does more testing with fewer positives than most states

adn.com

The number of new daily coronavirus cases in Alaska is soaring because of community spread, not continued high levels of testing, officials say.

WY: Wyoming town holds community listening session in private

wyomingnews.com

A listening session for residents of Cheyenne, Wyoming, especially people of color, to voice concerns about the city police department had people wait in one room and step back into another room privately with councilmembers to voice their concerns. Some people expressed their frustration because they were expecting an open forum.

DE: Long-time vendors forgo Delaware state fair because of pandemic

delawarestatenews.net

For this summer at least, the Delaware State Grange won’t serve up its signature chicken platters, complete with a wingless breast or leg quarter, potato salad, two to three tomato slices, a couple pickles and an ear of corn at the Delaware State Fair.

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