Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/23

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/23

NM: New Mexico threatened with federal police

santafenewmexican.com

President Donald Trump announced the deployment of federal law enforcement agents to New Mexico, saying the city of Albuquerque was "too political" to ask for help. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham warned she would call for prosecutions if they committed any civil rights abuses in New Mexico.

IA: Outbreak at Iowa pork plant was larger than state reported

apnews.com

The first confirmed coronavirus outbreak at an Iowa meatpacking plant was far more severe than previously known, with more than twice as many workers becoming infected than the state Department of Public Health told the public, newly released records show.

KS: Kansas Board of Education rejects governor order delaying schools opening to stem virus

kansas.com

Top education leaders rejected an order by Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly delaying the start of school until after Labor Day to buy time to bring the spread of the coronavirus under control.

MS: With COVID-19 cases doubling in Mississippi Coast counties, local hospitals ‘stressed’ about beds

sunherald.com

Mississippi Coast hospital beds, including in intensive care units, are still available for COVID-19 patients, but that could change if cases continue to increase at current rates. COVID-19 cases are doubling at alarming rates in four of six South Mississippi counties.

CA: One in 96 Californians infected

sacbee.com

More than 413,500 Californians — about 1 in 96 state residents — have been infected by the coronavirus. Of those, 7,870 have died as of Wednesday morning. And more Californians are currently in the hospital than at any other time during the pandemic.

ID: Idaho appears to fail Stage 4 yet again

idahostatesman.com

Idaho has failed to meet the criteria to exit Stage 4 for a third time, according to an analysis of data published by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. For the first time, the state exceeded its threshold for emergency room visits per day, along with continued struggles with health care work infections and testing positivity rates.

HI: Hawaii readies for all-mail election

civilbeat.org

More than 700,000 ballots have already gone out as Hawaii prepares for its first all-mail election. Ballot drop boxes will be rolling out soon, and elections officials have implemented social distancing measures at their facilities and have set aside federal dollars for safety equipment. Hawaii expects to learn important lessons from the Aug. 8 primary and recalibrate accordingly.

MN: Minnesota governor unveils statewide mask order to stem COVID-19

mprnews.org

Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, announced a statewide order requiring Minnesotans to wear masks in restaurants, stores and other public indoor gathering spaces to stem the spread of COVID-19 and put the state on a path back to normalcy.

OH: Ohio governor issues statewide mask order

dispatch.com

Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine had resisted a statewide order, although mask use recently was mandated in public places in “red” counties where coronavirus cases were on the rise.

IN: As Indiana sees rise in coronavirus cases, governor requires face masks

indystar.com

Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that starting next week everyone over the age of 8 will be required to wear a mask both indoors and outside wherever social distancing is not possible.

AL: Amid legal fight in Atlanta, more Georgia cities pass, ponder mask mandates

ajc.com

More Georgia cities have passed or discussed a mandate on face masks amid a legal battle over similar orders between Atlanta and the state.

DC: District of Columbia mayor to sign order requiring people to wear masks

wamu.org

Democratic District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said she will sign a new executive order requiring people to wear masks whenever they’re outside of their homes. It will mandate mask-wearing while waiting for the bus, ordering food at restaurants, sitting in cubicles in open offices and walking dogs, among other activities.

UT: Utah county says face mask mandate is working

sltrib.com

Salt Lake County, Utah’s daily count of new coronavirus cases has flattened or even dropped a bit since the mask mandate went into effect in June. The numbers have been climbing elsewhere in Utah.

OH: Ohio issues out-of-state travel advisory for states with a test positivity rate of 15% or higher

cleveland.com

People traveling into Ohio from one of these states or returning Ohioans should self-quarantine for 14 days.

MA: On Massachusetts school buses this fall: masks, opened windows, and one student per seat

bostonglobe.com

While Massachusetts students might find it luxurious to have an entire seat to themselves — in an effort to maintain at least 3 feet of social distancing — the inability to assign two or three students per bench means ridership levels will shrink by more than half, leaving most buses with only a third of their capacity.

OR: Oregon governor announces new restrictions on businesses

oregonlive.com

Oregon indoor venues such as restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and houses of worship must limit occupancy to 100 people, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown announced. Restaurants and bars will have to close by 10 p.m. instead of midnight in counties that are in Phase 2 of reopening.

FL: Florida governor offers back-to-school choice

mypanhandle.com

Amid widespread doubt about reopening Florida schools, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis offered a softer message focused on giving families and teachers the choice to return. Districts can delay opening "a few weeks" and parents will have the option to keep children home longer, DeSantis said.

TX: Unemployed and undocumented, Texas immigrants lose shelter

texastribune.org

The undocumented are vulnerable people who keep the Texas economy humming. But their fear of the legal system and lack of access to government aid prompt many to self-evict, or prematurely leave the property if they fall behind on rent.

MI: Michigan plans furloughs, cuts

freep.com

Michigan will use savings from employee furloughs, cuts to a range of state agencies, a shift from the rainy-day fund and an injection of federal relief money to eliminate a $2.2 billion deficit. The Republican-controlled legislature is expected to quickly approve the plan.

IL: Illinois reports most new cases in a month

wgntv.com

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, called a steady rise in new COVID-19 cases in Illinois “very concerning” as state health officials reported the highest number of new infections in over a month.

LA: Louisiana sees largest single-day increase in coronavirus-related deaths since May 1

nola.com

More than 3,500 people have died of coronavirus in Louisiana since the pandemic hit the state four and a half months ago. The Louisiana Department of Health reported 60 additional deaths, bringing the total to 3,558.

NV: Nevada ties daily record with 28 more reported COVID-19 deaths

reviewjournal.com

Nevada matched its largest increase of daily reported deaths since the start of the pandemic. More than 1,100 cases of the coronavirus were reported Wednesday, and the number of deaths tied Tuesday’s count.

WA: Washington officials worried about COVID-19 numbers

apnews.com

Health officials in Washington reported 838 additional COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths in the state. “Washington’s numbers aren’t looking great right now,” state health officials said in a news release.

AL: 57 coronavirus deaths, highest 1-day total yet, as Alabama passes 70,000 case mark

al.com

Alabama added its largest number of deaths in a single day — 57 — according to the latest coronavirus information from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

WI: Wisconsin governor orders $250M in state budget cuts amid coronavirus downturn

wpr.org

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, has ordered state agencies to cut $250 million from their budgets, a step he says was made necessary by declining revenue brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes just three months after Evers ordered a $70 million cut to state agencies, the majority of which was borne by the University of Wisconsin System.

PA: Pennsylvania county files suit over withholding of CARES Act funding

ldnews.com

Lebanon County is petitioning the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to order Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to release $12.8 million in federal coronavirus relief money. Wolf withheld the pandemic relief after county leaders sought to reopen against state orders.

AZ: Teachers across Arizona stage 'motor marches' to protest school reopenings

azcentral.com

Educators got behind the wheel to participate in "motor marches" across Arizona. The community marches signify a new teacher movement rising, as they protest reopening schools for in-person classes as the number of COVID-19 cases remain high in Arizona.

NV: Nevada’s largest school district will start the year with distance education

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada’s Clark County School Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a full-time distance education plan for the start of the new school year. It’s unclear how distance learning will remain the operational model, but trustees will be reviewing the situation, including the health dynamics playing into it, every 30 days. 

VA: Virginia senators push for state gun laws to become law in U.S.

richmond.com

U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, introduced the Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violence Act to enact most of Virginia’s new gun control legislation nationally, including the state’s new “red flag” law, a one-handgun-a-month law and the required reporting of lost and stolen guns.

SC: South Carolina court temporarily blocks governor’s plan for private school vouchers

thestate.com

A South Carolina circuit judge has temporarily blocked Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, from spending $32 million in federal coronavirus aid on tuition vouchers for private school students. The suit alleges the spending would violate a state law barring public tax dollars from being spent on students attending religious or other private schools.

NC: North Carolina NAACP asks judge to ban certain voting machines

newsobserver.com

Citing health and security concerns, North Carolina’s NAACP asked a Wake County judge to block the use of touchscreen voting machines in Mecklenburg and other counties.

LA: Reformers seek reversal of past non-unanimous crime verdicts in Louisiana

apnews.com

Petitions have been filed in nearly 30 Louisiana criminal court cases to reverse convictions of people found guilty of serious crimes by non-unanimous juries, a criminal justice reform group said.

MS: New Mississippi welfare agency director considers increase to welfare benefits, expanded eligibility

mississippitoday.org

The new director of Mississippi’s welfare agency says the state should look at increasing benefits and expanding eligibility for TANF cash assistance. But first things first: making sure contractors aren’t misspending it.

SD: South Dakota budget analysts predict revenue shortfall

apnews.com

The South Dakota budget could see revenue shortfalls between $16 million and $40 million during the next year because of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers were briefed.

RI: Medical-pot sales in Rhode Island set new annual record

providencejournal.com

As Rhode Island begins taking applications this month to run six additional medical marijuana dispensaries, figures show the existing three dispensaries enjoyed another record year for sales. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the dispensaries together sold about $59.7 million worth of medicinal marijuana, reports the state Department of Business Regulation.

ND: Signature shortfall sets back North Dakota marijuana legalization group

bismarcktribune.com

Supporters of legalizing marijuana through North Dakota's constitution are looking to restart a proposed ballot measure after coming up short on signatures.

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