Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/31

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/31

FL: Third record day in a row for Florida deaths

miamiherald.com

Florida’s Department of Health confirmed 253 resident deaths, breaking a fatality record for the third day in a row. The statewide resident death toll is now at 6,586.

WI: Wisconsin governor issues a statewide mandate to wear masks indoors through the end of September

jsonline.com

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, is requiring all Wisconsin residents to wear face masks while indoors until the end of September. The order takes effect Saturday and makes Wisconsin the 32nd state to require face coverings — a tool health experts say can substantially reduce transmission of the coronavirus, which can cause serious illness and death and has no vaccine.

WA: Washington's attorney general prepared to sue if Trump delays election

buzzfeednews.com

In March, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, directed lawyers in his office to draft a memo analyzing how President Donald Trump might try to claim legal authority to change the date of the election, and how they could sue to stop it. “I have no doubt that if the president actually tries to move the election, my team would be ready to file a legal challenge in 24 hours," Ferguson said.

TX: Support workers fear reopening of Texas schools

texastribune.org

Texas schools employ almost as many support staff members as they do teachers, often in hourly or part-time jobs with low pay. The state has offered limited guidance on how to protect them on the job.

MN: 'Localized' Minnesota school plan sets thresholds for reopening

startribune.com

Minnesota school districts will be granted some flexibility in their reopening decisions, depending on the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, under a plan released by Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat. The governor said the state is taking a “localized, data-driven approach” to reopening schools amid the global pandemic, setting thresholds that must be met — both in terms of the spread of the virus and schools’ ability to meet health and safety standards — if schools are going to open their doors to students.

IA: Iowa governor announces back-to-school guidance

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds released guidance saying that Iowa schools would have to see a coronavirus positivity rate of at least 15% in the county where they are located before they could request to transition a school building or district to fully online learning.

OH: Former justice replaces Ohio House speaker

dispatch.com

In a 91-0 vote, House members removed the newly indicted Republican, Larry Householder, from one of the most powerful government posts in Ohio.

OR: Oregon State Police take over Portland protest duty

oregonlive.com

Oregon state troopers will soon be stationed outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland wearing their standard police uniforms and iconic campaign-style hats, not riot or tactical gear. They will stand in sharp contrast to federal tactical officers, many of whom responded to the protests dressed in camouflage fatigues and tactical gear.

CO: Four of Colorado’s largest ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks are in prisons, jails

denverpost.com

Two of Colorado’s largest outbreaks are in state prisons, and the downtown Denver detention center and Jefferson County jail also reported significant numbers of cases.

GA: Hate-crimes victims spark law change in Georgia, but pain remains

ajc.com

Ahmaud Arbery’s death at the hands of three white men prompted Georgia lawmakers in June to pass a hate-crimes law, which strengthens the punishment of those who commit crimes against certain people based on bias.

UT: Utah students can still go to school after direct exposure to COVID-19

sltrib.com

Utah students will be allowed to go to school even if they’ve been directly exposed to COVID-19, so long as they’re not showing any symptoms and no one in their immediate household has tested positive, according to state health department guidelines.

LA: Looser Louisiana coronavirus restrictions are unlikely in the coming weeks, governor says

theadvocate.com

Despite Louisiana’s coronavirus trends showing signs of improvement, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signaled the state will likely remain in its modified Phase 2 of reopening, in which masks are mandatory and bars are largely shuttered.

MS: Worried about ‘hospital crisis,’ Mississippi governor extends mask mandate and adds 8 counties

sunherald.com

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, announced he is extending his Safe Return executive order by two weeks and adding eight counties to his mask mandate.

KY: Once seemingly insulated, Kentucky's Appalachian counties scramble to stop COVID-19 outbreak

courier-journal.com

The crush of cases — enough to "overwhelm any rural health department," said Harlan County, Kentucky, Judge-Executive Dan Mosley — has driven home the reality that even the most isolated pockets of rural America aren’t likely to escape the virus. 

NV: Nevada lawmakers sign off on $20M commercial rent payment assistance program

thenevadaindependent.com

Small Nevada businesses struggling to pay rent during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may soon have a lifeline: a new state-run, federally funded commercial rent assistance grant program that will pay up to $10,000 to help prevent evictions.

ID: White House document recommends Idaho significantly increase actions to fight coronavirus

idahostatesman.com

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has delivered a report to Idaho that calls for a significant increase in restrictions and other actions to control the state’s coronavirus outbreak. The document, obtained through GOP Gov. Brad Little’s office, classifies Idaho and the Boise area as being in the task force’s “red zone.”

MT: Montana seeks ways to slow spread in hotspots

billingsgazette.com

The state is working with local health officials to examine hotspots for the novel coronavirus in Montana and evaluate whether additional measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease there.

AK: Alaska just had its worse COVID-19 week yet

alaskapublic.org

Alaska state health officials predict the number of infections will double every 23 days if people don’t take more preventive measures.

SD: South Dakota officials report 61 COVID-19 cases from camp

apnews.com

South Dakota health officials reported that 61 people have COVID-19 after an outbreak at a summer camp in Keystone.

HI: Hawaii visitor arrivals dropped 98% in June

civilbeat.org

According to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Tourism Research Division, visitor arrivals were down 98.2% compared to a year ago.

WY: Wyoming House speaker suggests using federal aid to cover tuition

wyomingnews.com

The Speaker of the Wyoming House has sponsored draft legislation that would provide $116 million to cover most of the costs of college tuition in the state. Existing federal stimulus funds would pay for the program.

ME: Maine governor to double rental assistance, fund efforts to address COVID-19 racial disparity

pressherald.com

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced a $5 million infusion into Maine’s rental assistance program, allowing for a doubling of the monthly payments, as well as an additional $1 million aimed at addressing the massive racial and ethnic disparity in COVID-19 cases.

OH: Ohio Board of Pharmacy withdraws hydroxychloroquine ruling after governor’s request

nbc41.com

The decision came after Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requested they reconsider their decision. The rule would have prohibited pharmacies from selling or dispensing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for use as a coronavirus treatment without approval from the board’s executive director.

OK: Oklahoma governor puts $10M toward school PPE, promises teacher testing

oklahoman.com

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that Oklahoma would distribute 1.7 million reusable masks, 42,000 face shields, 1.2 million gloves and 1.2 million gowns to schools statewide, using $10 million from the federal CARES Act. He also said schools are expected to test teachers monthly for COVID-19.

NJ: New Jersey legislature votes to make Juneteenth a state holiday

nj.com

New Jersey lawmakers voted to designate Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery, a state holiday. The legislation establishes the third Friday in June as Juneteenth Day, and must be signed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to become law.

PA: Pennsylvania lawmaker mimics top health official’s call for transgender acceptance to defend not wearing a mask

spotlightpa.org

One day after Pennsylvania’s top health official forcefully denounced transphobic attacks against her, a Republican lawmaker co-opted her call for acceptance to address “hateful and intolerant comments directed towards the unmasked community.”

DE: Delaware residents warned of decreased unemployment payments

wdel.com

The outgoing payments from Delaware's Division of Unemployment Insurance are about to decrease significantly as the federal pandemic stipend expires.

NH: Judge’s ruling makes it easier for libertarians to get on New Hampshire ballot

nhpr.org

A federal judge has lowered the threshold for libertarian candidates to get on the November ballot in New Hampshire. Libertarians sued the governor and secretary of state on the grounds that the ballot access requirements were too burdensome during a time of coronavirus restrictions.

MO: Missouri prosecutor reopened Michael Brown case but won't charge shooter

stltoday.com

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell said he will not charge the former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014.

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