Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/24

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/24

WI: Trump to send federal agents to Wisconsin city in anti-violent-crime effort; Move opposed by some state, local officials

jsonline.com

Wisconsin will see a surge in federal resources to address violent crime in coming weeks, President Donald Trump announced. The influx of federal officers will coincide with Milwaukee hosting a scaled-back, mostly virtual Democratic National Convention and ongoing protests against police brutality and racism.

FL: Trump cancels Florida GOP convention

jacksonville.com

It was a stunning announcement just six weeks after President Donald Trump chose Florida because of a rift with North Carolina’s governor over a packed convention planned for Charlotte. The president said the convention will do a “relatively quick” event in North Carolina Aug. 24.

WA: Washington governor puts tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants

seattletimes.com

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, announced tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants, fitness centers, weddings and funerals as new confirmed cases of the new coronavirus rise. The announcements are the most sweeping rollback so far to the governor’s original four-phase reopening plan.

UT: COVID-19 hospitalizations hit new record in Utah

sltrib.com

With seven new Utah coronavirus deaths reported Thursday and the highest number of patients concurrently hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic, the effects of the spread of the virus continue to be felt even as new cases remain slightly lower than last week.

CO: Colorado bolsters testing strategy amid federal backlog

9news.com

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said the Colorado state lab is adding a third shift to process tests, and health officials are now partnering with private labs and hospital systems. The state also found a Korean manufacturer to provide novel coronavirus testing materials.

AZ: Arizona virus death toll tops 3,000 as governor mulls bar reopening

apnews.com

Arizona topped 3,000 deaths from the coronavirus Thursday as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey faces a deadline to decide whether bars and gyms he ordered to close again a month ago can reopen safely.

OR: Opponents sue to invalidate Oregon's mask requirement

oregonlive.com

A group that advocates for limited governmental powers has filed a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s authority to require Oregonians to wear face coverings in public. The Freedom Foundation argues that Brown and the Oregon Health Authority didn’t follow legal procedures in mandating masks.

ID: Idaho governor urges mask-wearing as reopening plan stalls

idahostatesman.com

Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, announced that Idaho would remain in Stage 4 of the state’s reopening plan, and he opted not to implement further restrictions or open the economy more as COVID-19 cases rise. Little repeatedly pleaded to Idahoans to wear masks and face coverings, asking everyone to work to prevent the spread of the virus.

HI: Hawaii reports record number of new cases

civilbeat.org

Fifty-five new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by Hawaii health officials, along with another COVID-19-related fatality. It is the highest number of COVID-19 infections verified by state officials in one day to date.

UT: Utah teachers rally for masks, stronger protections in schools

sltrib.com

More than 150 educators joined a Utah rally to call for more safeguards for schools when they reopen this fall. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s directive to public K-12 schools to welcome students back starting next month has touched off a massive debate across the state.

CA: California state senator calls for re-imposition of lockdown

sacbee.com

As the coronavirus surges through California, which now has the highest number of cases in the country, state Sen. Steve Glazer, a Democrat, said it’s time for most counties in the Golden State to return to a strict stay-at-home order. “It’s clear that we have lost control of the coronavirus fight,” Glazer said during a Zoom news conference.

TX: Pandemic holds up Texas paroles

texastribune.org

Thousands of Texas prisoners approved for parole remain locked up during the public health crisis. The coronavirus has delayed pre-release programs and kept people set to go home inside infected prisons. 

MI: Michigan casino workers about to lose health insurance

freep.com

Thousands of furloughed casino workers in Michigan are poised to lose their employer-sponsored health insurance as Detroit casinos remain closed. Some of the 24 tribal casinos in Michigan have reopened, but the state hasn't given the green light for the Detroit casinos, which employ about 6,000 people.

NM: New Mexico delays school opening as cases spike

lcsun-news.com

New Mexico will delay in-person learning at public schools through at least Sept. 7 as cases hit a new daily high. Online learning will still begin in August but hopes of a hybrid model for the start of the new school year have been squashed for now.

AK: Trump administration approves mining road through Alaska national park

alaskapublic.org

The federal Bureau of Land Management has approved the proposed route for the Ambler Road Project in Alaska. The road would span 211 miles from the Dalton Highway and cross Gates of the Arctic National Park to get to the Ambler Mining District in Northwest Alaska.

DE: Why Delaware’s COVID-19 recovery numbers don’t add up

delawareonline.com

Delaware has not had 100% participation when it comes to COVID-19 patients following up and responding to regular monitoring checks, and some have not responded to initial contacts, the Division of Public Health said.

AL: ‘Reasonable cause’ that excessive force in Alabama prisons violates Constitution

al.com

Evidence shows that Alabama state prisons do not protect male inmates from excessive use of force by correctional officers, likely violating the prisoners’ constitutional rights, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

AL: As more schools move online, access to internet presents roadblock in rural Alabama

al.com

The start of the 2020-21 school year is rapidly approaching, and school systems across Alabama are making difficult decisions about how to proceed as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

GA: Judge orders mediation in Georgia’s mask mandate lawsuit

ajc.com

A Fulton County Superior Court judge ordered Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, into mediation over their legal dispute about how to best respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

GA: Congressman wants answers about Georgia county’s elections problems

ajc.com

The highest-ranking Republican on a U.S. House committee is demanding explanations for problems with Fulton County’s elections during Georgia’s primary last month.

LA: Louisiana surpasses 100,000 case milestone

nola.com

Louisiana now has more than 100,000 diagnosed cases of coronavirus. It's the 12th state to hit that milestone.

MS: COVID-19 spreads rapidly across Mississippi as hospital capacity drops

mississippitoday.org

Three days after expanding his countywide mask mandates, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signaled new restrictions coming as COVID-19 continues to spread at a growing rate in Mississippi.

MS: ‘Terrified’ Mississippi parents beg governor to rethink opening schools during COVID-19

sunherald.com

As Republican Gov. Tate Reeves talked on Facebook Live, with COVID-19 cases deluging Mississippi, the comments rolled in one after another. Many of them were from commenters who are terrified or angry over the thought of sending children back to school.

VA: Statue of Lee to stand in Virginia — for now

richmond.com

The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, will continue to stand on the famous street after a judge declined to issue an immediate ruling in a legal challenge to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's planned removal of the statue. Judge W. Reilly Marchant chose not to rule from the bench in the closely watched case, saying he instead will issue a written opinion later.

MN: How the legislature’s policing bill gives Minnesota cities a power they may already have

minnpost.com

Some hailed the policing legislation for significantly changing law enforcement in Minnesota. But when it comes to the question of residency incentives, lawmakers may not have changed anything at all.

WI: A national forewarning: Wisconsin's high absentee volume and ballot errors

apmreports.org

An APM Reports analysis of voter data from Wisconsin’s April primary shows that slightly more than 23,000 ballots were thrown out, mostly because those voters or their witnesses missed at least one line on a form.

NV: Nevadans still have option to vote by mail in the fall

lasvegassun.com

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, reiterated this week that Nevada would conduct the November election in person. But don't expect all Nevadans to flock to polling places to cast ballots Nov. 3 or in the early voting period.

IN: Indiana AG: Governor lacks authority to mandate masks

indystar.com

Indiana’s outgoing attorney general is at odds with Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb over whether the governor can issue an executive order mandating Hoosiers wear masks. The attorney general, also a Republican, issued an advisory opinion saying Holcomb should have called a special session to ask the legislature to pass a law requiring masks.

RI: Voters’ rights groups in Rhode Island challenge mail-in ballot requirements

apnews.com

Two voters’ rights groups in Rhode Island filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s vote-by-mail witness and notary requirements, saying the rule unnecessarily puts people’s health at risk during the pandemic.

NC: No tuition refunds at University of North Carolina

newsobserver.com

With students, faculty and staff preparing to return to North Carolina universities over the next few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, University of North Carolina System officials said they will not be lowering or refunding tuition and fees, even if campuses shut down and classes move online.

KS: Kansas students sue for tuition refunds

kansas.com

Two Kansas State University graduates have filed a class action lawsuit against the school, claiming they did not get the education they paid for when the campus shut down and classes went online because of COVID-19.

OH: Northeast Ohio groups worry evictions will spike after federal moratorium expires

news5cleveland.com

As many as 713,255 Ohio renters could be in danger of eviction this year.

PA: Pennsylvania offering nonbinary gender designation option on driver licenses

6abc.com

Pennsylvania is offering driver’s licenses and identification cards with a gender-neutral designation for people who do not want to be identified as either male or female.

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