Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/30

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/30

OR: Oregon’s governor announces phased withdrawal of federal officers from Portland

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, announced that federal officers will start pulling out of Portland in a phased withdrawal and state troopers will arrive instead to help safeguard the federal courthouse downtown that has become a national symbol of political conflict. Brown described the federal officers as “an occupying force” that has “refused accountability and brought strife to our community.”

FL: Florida to pause testing for impending storm

tampabay.com

State-run COVID-19 testing sites in Florida will close Friday because of the approaching tropical system in the Caribbean Sea. Testing centers will reopen Tuesday assuming no significant damage from what forecasters predict will soon be Tropical Storm Isaias.

CO: Coronavirus is No. 3 killer in Colorado this year

coloradosun.com

So far this year, Colorado has recorded more than 24,000 deaths. The coronavirus was a factor in at least 1,377 of those, according to the data, making it the third-leading specified cause of death in the state this year, behind cancer and heart disease.

AL: Alabama governor pushes return to classroom, warns of ‘slide’ by keeping kids at home

al.com

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republicn, is pushing schools to move ahead with in-person learning warning of a “slide” that is likely to occur if students stay home for too long.

TX: Texas will force schools to reopen

texastribune.org

After weeks of confusion and conflicting signals, Texas has settled into policies that effectively compel schools to reopen their classrooms this fall. State education officials reversed an earlier decision by announcing they will not fund school districts that keep classrooms closed.

WA: Half of Washington state students live in counties where health experts have warned against reopening school buildings

seattletimes.com

Health experts in Washington’s most populous counties cautioned against reopening school buildings, which means that nearly half of the state’s 1.1 million students could be learning online in the fall. County health officials and researchers from the Bellevue-based Institute for Disease Modeling all came to the same conclusion based on the data at hand: Transmission rates are too high to safely bring students back to classrooms.

OK: Oklahoma governor ignored White House coronavirus guidance, U.S. House panel chair says

oklahoman.com

The leader of a U.S. House subcommittee said Oklahoma GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt ignored recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force to stop the spread of the virus and asked him to produce documents about guidance his administration received. The Democratic chairman sent similar letters to the governors of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

GA: Voter registrations rise in Georgia before major 2020 elections

ajc.com

The number of registered voters in Georgia is approaching an all-time high, with over 7.4 million people signed up as the state’s primary election runoff approaches.

NH: State epidemiologist urges New Hampshire voters, poll workers to wear masks at fall elections

nhpr.org

New Hampshire's state epidemiologist is urging both poll workers and voters to wear masks at all times inside the state's polling places during in-person balloting for this fall's elections.

MT: Montana clerks call for general election by mail

billingsgazette.com

With fewer than 100 days until Montanans cast ballots, the clerks who run the state's elections are asking the governor to allow counties the option to conduct the vote by mail.

ID: Laid-off Idaho workers skimped as state held up their money

idahostatesman.com

Tens of thousands of Idahoans lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic only to see their unemployment compensation claims stuck in bureaucratic purgatory. Documents and interviews suggest that Idaho could have taken steps to solve it faster and with more attention to what applicants were asking.

HI: Hawaii's economic 'cliff' is almost here and a second one is looming

civilbeat.org

Hawaii faces a precipitous economic cliff at the end of this week, with federal money that’s provided some $1.3 billion to unemployed workers in Hawaii over the past several weeks set to run out by month’s end. The first drop comes when the state loses that chunk of money, which has provided $600 per week extra on top of normal state unemployment benefits, and the second when the rest of the CARES Act funding runs out.

MA: Massachusetts House unanimously passes health care bill

masslive.com

Massachusetts House lawmakers unanimously voted to take another pass at infusing additional cash into financially strapped community hospitals, a key feature of a health care bill that collapsed two years ago.

MS: ‘An issue of life or death’: Mississippi governor weighs statewide mandate on school reopening

mississippitoday.org

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, the only Mississippi official who can issue a statewide mandate that postpones school or forces virtual learning, finds himself in a tough political position as schools across the state are just days from resuming in-person instruction.

TN: Despite governor’s push to reopen in person, about 1 in 4 Tennessee students likely to start school online

tennessean.com

Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee unveiled the state's plan for reopening schools, which includes protocols for quarantine periods for those with coronavirus symptoms and when to close classrooms or schools, health and safety supplies for teachers, and millions in grant money to help fund technology.

SC: South Carolina governor issues targeted mask rule

thestate.com

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, ordered that all remaining businesses that closed as the coronavirus started spreading across the state can reopen starting Monday. But, in a reversal, McMaster ordered that masks must be worn inside those businesses, which include movie theaters, concert venues and spectator sports facilities.

MO: Missouri tagged as federal COVID-19 'red zone'

stltoday.com

A report this week by the White House Coronavirus Task Force added Missouri to 21 states considered in the "red zone" for new COVID-19 cases and urged leaders to consider more restrictions in virus hot spots.

OH: Ohio pharmacy board bans coronavirus treatment touted by Trump

dispatch.com

Hydroxychloroquine will now be prohibited as a treatment for COVID-19 in Ohio. It has been touted by President Donald Trump as a way to treat and prevent the coronavirus.

MN: As Minnesota hospitalizations climb, a plea to 'do the right thing'

mprnews.org

Ending the COVID-19 outbreak depends on individual Minnesotans acting responsibly to stem the spread, the state’s infectious disease director said as hospitalizations and intensive cases continued to climb.

MI: Michigan to tighten rules for parties, bars

mlive.com

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign an order tightening restrictions on social gatherings and closing indoor bar service in northern Michigan. The northernmost regions currently have looser restrictions than the rest of the state.

ME: Maine loosens restrictions, will allow 100 people at outdoor gatherings and events

pressherald.com

The limit on indoor gatherings remains at 50 people, but Maine officials said a growing body of research indicates outdoor activities are safer than previously thought when it comes to COVID-19.

NE: Nebraska lawmakers reject push for meatpacking restrictions

apnews.com

Nebraska’s meatpacking plants won’t have to worry about any new safety restrictions this year, despite outbreaks of the coronavirus among their workers, after a state lawmaker failed to secure enough support for the idea.

IL: Illinois governor sets limits on youth sports

patch.com

Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new restrictions on youth sports in the state — including at the high school level — that will be broken into risk levels depending on the competition. The news came as the Illinois High School Association is meeting to discuss the future of the fall sports season.

VA: Virginia lawsuit claims absentee voting system violates disabilities act

richmond.com

A group of disability advocacy organizations and voters is suing Virginia over its absentee voting rules in advance of the November election. Five state residents and members of groups representing the blind say in the lawsuit that they are unable to independently mark a paper ballot because of their disabilities, including blindness, and that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

LA: Louisiana getting $17M in federal dollars to assist students during pandemic

theadvocate.com

Louisiana is getting $17 million in federal dollars to help students navigate public school issues during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education announced.

NJ: Federal judge dismisses lawsuit filed by New Jersey counties challenging limited ICE cooperation

northjersey.com

A  federal judge in New Jersey dismissed claims filed by Cape May and Ocean counties that challenged an attorney general directive that limits when state, county and local law enforcement can assist federal immigration authorities.

IA: Iowa’s public universities take $65.4M budget cut

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa’s three public universities will take a $65.4 million hit this budget year as a result of declining enrollment amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on top of an $8 million cut in state funding approved by the legislature last month.

NV: Reopened Nevada casinos report winnings down 45.5%

apnews.com

Gambling and travel have been slow to recover since Nevada casinos began reopening June 4, according to monthly reports showing Las Vegas airport passenger numbers down nearly 77% in June compared with a year ago and a key casinos house winnings index down 45.5%.

VT: Vermont sees unexpected revenue boost after July tax filings

vtdigger.org

Vermont saw more revenue than expected after residents and businesses filed their 2019 tax returns this month, which will help the state as it weathers the economic strain and budget woes accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic.

UT: Utah portal will help workers find training programs

sltrib.com

A Salt Lake City company has teamed with several top Utah universities to offer new online help for workers who’ve lost their jobs in the pandemic and want retraining. Users can find links to training programs, job resources, career mentors and assistance with financial aid in acquiring new skills on the portal.

CA: California attorney general wants crackdown on triple-digit lending interest rates

sacbee.com

A year after California passed a law to crack down on lenders charging triple-digit interest rates, Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a lawsuit against a federal agency to block a new rule that would let certain banks and lenders avoid the state cap.

NC: North Carolina cancels the state fair

newsobserver.com

For the first time since World War II, North Carolina has pulled the plug on its biggest show of the fall. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced that the 2020 State Fair, scheduled for Oct. 15-25, is canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevada, Virginia See Unemployment Spikes COVID-19 in the Heat
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