Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/27

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/27

LA: Hurricane Laura batters southwest Louisiana

nola.com

First responders in Louisiana are discovering how much destruction Hurricane Laura inflicted on coastal communities after making landfall around 1 a.m. Hurricane Laura made landfall in Cameron Parish as a Category 4 storm, bringing with it screeching winds, blistering rain and crashing storm surge. 

WI: Wisconsin governor doubles National Guard presence in Kenosha

wpr.org

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has authorized 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops to deploy to Kenosha in response to three nights of violence and unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday. It's unclear if the governor has also accepted an offer from President Donald Trump for additional federal law enforcement support as well.

IA: Iowa counties can’t set up drop boxes for absentee ballots, secretary of state says

desmoinesregister.com

The office of Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate says Iowa county auditors cannot set up drop boxes to accept absentee ballots this fall — something several auditors say they did during this year’s primary election.

PA: ‘You’ve got to do something’: Pennsylvania rehabs buckle, begin to close under COVID-19 strain

spotlightpa.org

Faced with the financial burdens of COVID-19 and a lack of state support, drug and alcohol treatment facilities in Pennsylvania could begin closing at an alarming rate, even as overdose deaths rise and the need for treatment is expected to grow. In a hearing before lawmakers, treatment providers, advocates and state officials warned that the industry has not received dedicated coronavirus relief funding, nor has it been prioritized for state-provided protective gear or testing supplies.

GA: COVID-19 cases among children surge in Georgia

ajc.com

The number of Georgians under the age of 18 diagnosed with COVID-19 has jumped 65% in the past month, with more than 21,000 testing positive since March.

MN: Minneapolis, Minnesota, police to reduce allowable use of force under new policy

startribune.com

Minneapolis police will adopt a new and more stringent policy in hopes of reducing the amount of force officers use and restoring trust with the community, said Mayor Jacob Frey, a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party. At a news conference, Frey said the changes are being made with the goal of limiting force to "circumstances where it is necessary to keep people safe."

NH: New Hampshire charter schools warn of financial fallout from pandemic

nhpr.org

The New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools says its members need more money to handle costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike traditional schools, charters get most of their support through a mix of state funding and private sources rather than local property taxes.

ME: Key panel recommends all Maine high school sports can be played this fall

pressherald.com

The Sports Medicine Committee of the Maine Principals’ Association recommended that the fall season move forward for all high school sports, including football and soccer. Even then, local districts will have the final say on whether a high school competes in interscholastic athletics this fall during the pandemic.

MT: US high court denies bid to restore Greens on Montana ballot

apnews.com

The U.S. Supreme Court denied an attempt by the Montana secretary of state to restore Green Party candidates to the November ballot — striking a blow to a Republican-bankrolled effort that threatened to siphon votes from Democratic candidates.

MD: Maryland fines nursing homes for lackluster infection control

washingtonpost.com

Maryland has levied six-figure fines against three nursing homes for infection control deficiencies that inspectors say placed residents in “immediate jeopardy” during the coronavirus pandemic. All three facilities were faulted for failing to properly isolate potentially contagious residents, including new admissions.

CT: Connecticut officials will not alter COVID-19 testing approach despite sudden changes recommended by CDC 

courant.com 

Connecticut will not alter its approach to coronavirus testing, state officials said, despite a sudden switch in guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC, which has recently rolled back several guidelines, said this week it would no longer recommend testing for individuals who had been exposed to the disease but were not experiencing symptoms. 

IN: Indiana's mask mandate extended

indystar.com 

Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has extended the statewide mask mandate for another 30 days. The policy came at a time when reports of new coronavirus cases continued to trend higher than in months prior. 

CA: California lawmakers seek $2.5B to protect homes from wildfires, thin forests

sacbee.com

A group of California legislators is pushing a bill to spend $2.5 billion on wildfire prevention, with the costs borne by utility ratepayers. With the legislative session winding down and wildfires burning more than 1.3 million acres in California in the past week, the bill would dedicate funding for battling climate change and accelerating the thinning of forests. 

VA: Judge’s ruling means Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia to remain until at least October

richmond.com

The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, which was erected on Monument Avenue in 1890 and has become the focal point for anti-racism protests, will continue standing until at least October. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to take down the monument, calling it a racist symbol. But nearby residents filed a lawsuit to keep it in its place, and a judge ruled that the suit will proceed to trial Oct. 19.

US: DOJ seeks data on care home deaths in 4 Democratic-led states

apnews.com

The U.S. Department of Justice sent letters to the governors of New York and three other Democratic-led states, seeking data on whether they violated federal law by ordering public nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals — actions that have been criticized for potentially fueling the spread of the virus.

NJ: All New Jersey gyms may reopen soon under new rules

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy plans to announce New Jersey gyms may soon be allowed to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. They will be required to operate at 25% of indoor capacity and follow other safety guidelines. The new rules go into effect on Sept. 1.

MO: Missouri House passes bill ending penalties for giving children guns

apnews.com

The Missouri state House passed legislation to end the misdemeanor crime of giving guns to children without their parents’ permission. Republican Gov. Mike Parson had asked lawmakers to do the opposite — increase penalties for giving guns to minors — when he called them back to the Capitol for a special summer session on crime. 

FL: Florida opts for limited nursing home visits

miamiherald.com

After five months of keeping Florida’s most vulnerable elders isolated from visitors, state regulators recommended family visits for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The visits must be socially-distanced, and hugs will require permission.

TX: Texas says $300 unemployment checks are temporary

dallasnews.com

Texans receiving an additional $300 in weekly unemployment help through a Trump administration program will only receive them three weeks at a time, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. After that the state must request more funding every week.

NM: New Mexico eases restaurant restrictions

abqjournal.com

New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office announced it would be lifting a ban on indoor dining and making other changes to a state public health order. Dine-in restaurants and breweries can reopen Saturday at 25% capacity.

AK: The machine that’s a microcosm of Alaska’s COVID-19 testing problems

alaskapublic.org

Alaska’s use of a type of rapid testing machine, the Cepheid, offers a window into both state and national successes and failures when it comes to COVID-19 testing. The machines are scattered widely across the state, and some have been essential in protecting communities from an influx of summer workers and visitors — but many other Cepheids are going unused because of an extremely tight supply of the testing cartridges needed to run them.

WY: Budget cuts to force Wyoming state worker layoffs for the first time since ‘80s

trib.com

Roughly 20 to 30 Wyoming state workers will lose their jobs as a result of state budget cuts. The layoffs mark the first time since the 1980s that state workers will lose their jobs because of budget reductions. Past rounds of cuts were managed by eliminating vacant positions or by shuffling workers between agencies.

DE: Delaware looks to tackle racial inequities

delawareonline.com

A 27-person task force, comprising members of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus and leaders from state agencies, will divide into at least four subcommittees to study inequities in Delaware education, health care, housing, business and economic development, community empowerment, the environment, community violence and criminal justice.

NY: New York agency warns of doomsday subway cuts without federal aid

nytimes.com

Facing a staggering financial crisis and a stalemate in Washington, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority threatened to adopt a doomsday plan if it did not receive as much as $12 billion in federal aid, including slashing subway and bus service in New York City by 40%.

CDC Keeps New Testing Guidelines Despite State Backlash Unemployment Claims Fraud

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