Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/28

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/28

IA: Iowa physician groups urge governor to order public to wear masks

desmoinesregister.com

Groups representing thousands of Iowa physicians and other medical professionals urged Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to require mask-wearing to help slow the coronavirus pandemic.

KY: Kentucky governor orders bars to close, restaurants to reduce capacity

courier-journal.com

After a series of COVID-19 case spikes, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday ordered all bars to close for the second time since the pandemic hit Kentucky and all restaurants to reduce seating capacity to 25% to stem the spread of the virus. 

MO: Missouri lawmakers launch special session on crime, but not police reform

stltoday.com

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson, like President Donald Trump, has pivoted to crime as a campaign issue after the economy began sinking amid the pandemic, and called a special legislative session. But Black lawmakers decried the lack of reforms to policing that have sparked protests across the nation.

OR: More federal agents being sent to Portland, Oregon

washingtonpost.com

The Trump administration is sending more federal agents to Portland, Oregon, as officials consider pushing back harder against protesters. The U.S. Marshals Service decided last week to send more deputies, and the Department of Homeland Security is considering sending an additional 50 U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, The Washington Post has learned.

SC: South Carolina will require masks on school buses this fall

thestate.com

All South Carolina public K-12 students will be required to wear masks on school buses once school starts, a top official said. The mask requirement applies to students, bus drivers and faculty/staff. School buses will be limited to 67% of capacity.

TN: White House recommends Tennessee close all bars, but governor says no

tennessean.com

Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee maintains authority over the health departments in 89 of the state’s 95 counties. Mayors can close businesses without his support in a few metropolitan areas only.

NJ: Teachers, parents kick off 'week of action' to oppose school reopening in New Jersey

northjersey.com

The education advocacy group NJ21 United kicked off a week of demonstrations and lobbying calling for New Jersey schools to remain closed until authorities can assure it’s safe to return. Last week, education leaders and school nurses cited a long list of health and safety concerns in an online meeting of the state Assembly Education Committee.

PA: Pennsylvania school leaders to state: We need more help

apnews.com

Pennsylvania’s existing reopening guidance for schools is too vague, and superintendents and school boards need more specifics from the state Department of Health about how to do it safely, a superintendents group said following a call with officials from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf administration.

NH: In New Hampshire, pandemic brings surge of interest in homeschooling

nhpr.org

The uncertainty over school reopening plans has more parents in New Hampshire exploring the option of homeschooling for the first time.

WY: Wyoming will pass out 500,000 face masks to school districts

wyomingnewsnow.tv

The cloth face coverings are washable and will help Wyoming’s school districts meet safety needs for reopening schools this fall. According to current state public health orders, face coverings are required in schools when 6 feet of physical distancing is not practical.

AZ: Arizona hospitalizations continue gradual decline

azcentral.com

Arizona reported more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases on Monday as hospital numbers continue gradual declines. Public health experts have noted signs Arizona's COVID-19 outbreak may be moderating, but more time is needed to know for sure.

UT: Few restroom options for homeless residents of Utah city

sltrib.com

With the closure of many public buildings across Salt Lake City, Utah, there are just 10 public spaces where unsheltered people can use the restroom — a reality that has implications for human rights, public health and criminal justice, as some people have few choices but to find a place to relieve themselves on the streets.

MO: Missouri slowing free community virus testing, says counties can do it if they choose

stltoday.com

Missouri’s health director said the state had deemphasized free community COVID-19 testing and encouraged counties to spend their federal stimulus dollars on such events. 

VA: Virginia postpones fall high school sports

richmond.com

The executive committee of the Virginia High School League made official what had been suspected for weeks, that there will be no public high school sports in Virginia this fall. The committee voted 34-1 to play all sports between December and June, canceling the fall football season and altering the schedules of every sport.

AK: Alaska was just back from the recession when the pandemic hit

alaskapublic.org

Despite uncertainty, a University of Alaska economist has laid out a forecast that shows the state’s economy returning to 95% of what it was pre-pandemic, by the end of 2022. That is, considering a number of factors that are susceptible to change, or may not happen at all.

ME: Maine businesses say survival may hinge on more help

pressherald.com

Maine business owners say the federal Paycheck Protection Program loans helped them weather what they hope was the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they remain unsettled and worried about the future.

MS: Mississippi governor not impressed with some COVID-19 school plans

sunherald.com

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, will wait until after July 31 to make any broad rulings on the return of students to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he was clear again that he expects school districts to get creative in their plans for the 2020-21 school year.

MA: Doctors uneasy about uptick in Massachusetts coronavirus cases

bostonglobe.com

The reported rate of positive COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts has crept up over the past week, heightening an uneasiness among some doctors who fear that they might be seeing a return of the virus that has spread so quickly around the nation this summer.

OK: Survey: Oklahomans have conflicting feelings for masks

oklahoman.com

A national survey of coronavirus beliefs and practices found that many of the Oklahomans studied believe that while wearing a mask could be beneficial to preventing the spread of COVID-19, many still choose not to wear one.

NV: Some Nevada agencies won’t release pandemic plans

reviewjournal.com

Nevada’s largest public school system’s pandemic plan was last updated in 2009, and some key agencies have refused to release plans for public review, so it’s unclear how prepared officials were for the coronavirus.

MI: Michigan will spot-check bars, restaurants

 mlive.com

In response to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, Michigan's occupational safety administration will conduct spot checks of high-traffic businesses. Major issues with COVID-19 compliance could lead to $7,000 fines.

AL: ‘This is a mess, man:’ Alabama bar owners react to early cutoff

al.com

Among Alabama bar owners reacting to a state agency’s new ruling that fixes “last call” at 11 p.m., a mix of frustration and resignation seems to dominate. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted unanimously on a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

WA: Kids desperate for inpatient psych care have few options in Washington

crosscut.com

Thirty-two Washington children are currently on the official waitlist for long-term inpatient psychiatric care. Those on the waitlist have jumped through many hoops just to get there, and they then typically spend three to six months or more waiting for the bed.

CA: Protesters chain themselves to California governor’s home

sacbee.com

The California Highway Patrol arrested about a dozen protesters who chained themselves together in front of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Fair Oaks home, imploring him to release prison inmates and halt inmate transfers from prisons to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

MN: Minnesota's mask mandate challenged last weekend

startribune.com

State health officials appealed for more mask wearing and social distancing after receiving more than 80 complaints of noncompliance last weekend and a few reports of defiance to Minnesota's new mask mandate.

GA: Georgia governor and Atlanta mayor feuding on two fronts

ajc.com

The battle between Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is extending along two fronts as they race to respond to both the coronavirus pandemic and recent protests in the name of racial justice.

HI: Hawaii dodges Hurricane Douglas

civilbeat.org

Hurricane Douglas narrowly skirted Hawaii as the storm passed just north of the islands. The National Weather Service lifted its last hurricane warning, for Kauai, as the storm stayed far enough away to not cause damage.

LA: Grant program opening for Louisiana virus-harmed businesses

apnews.com

Louisiana small businesses that have been hammered by the coronavirus outbreak and haven’t received federal aid can start applying for grants up to $15,000 to cover pandemic-related expenses, under a program created by state lawmakers.

CO: Colorado resort towns see flood of second-home buyers

coloradosun.com

Inventories are dwindling, prices are soaring and resort-town schools in Colorado are seeing enrollment climb as second-home owners and newcomers settle in places like Vail, Telluride and Aspen. The current flight from cities has similarities to the spike in mountain homes sales that followed 9/11.

WI: As other states mandate masks, Wisconsin's path remains unclear

wpr.org

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, hasn't ruled out a statewide mask mandate, but Republicans have warned against it.

DE: Delaware rejects plan to have fans at Dover NASCAR races in August

wdel.com

Dover International Speedway's six August NASCAR races will be run without spectators after their attendance plan was rejected by the state of Delaware.

TX: Texas ranches brace for climate change droughts

texastribune.org

Texas could face the driest conditions it has seen in the last 1,000 years, according to a new study. Climate change will lead to more megadroughts, and higher temperatures will cause more evaporation, while the state's population continues to grow and demand more water.

ID: New Idaho GOP chairman seeks party unity

apnews.com 

Republicans in Idaho have an opportunity to unite by focusing more on what they have in common and less on their differences, said the new state GOP Chairman Tom Luna. The “liberal, socialist agenda” of Democrats in Boise is going to be a “rallying cry” for Republicans across the state, he claimed. 

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