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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/1

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/1

US: Federal government relaxes rules on feeding low-income students

nytimes.com

The U.S. Agriculture Department, under pressure from Congress and officials in school districts across the country, said it would allow schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to any child or teenager through the end of 2020, provided funding lasts.

GA: Judge rules Georgia ballots mailed by Election Day must be counted

ajc.com

A federal judge extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be returned in Georgia, ruling that they must be counted if postmarked by Election Day and delivered up to three days afterward.

LA: Louisiana governor wary of COVID-19 spike as displaced Laura victims scatter

shreveporttimes.com

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said he is wary of a spike in coronavirus cases as displaced Hurricane Laura victims scatter across the state and first responders and volunteers flow into the most damaged areas to help.

MD: Maryland extends moratorium on utility shutoffs

baltimoresun.com

The Maryland Public Service Commission has extended the moratorium on terminating residential gas, water and electric services through Nov. 15, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The moratorium, authorized by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, was set to expire on Sept. 1.

CA: Bill to require minority seats on corporate boards goes to California governor

sacbee.com

The California legislature sent Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, a bill that would direct public corporations headquartered in California to appoint minority or gay representatives to their boards of directors. Companies that don’t comply with the law could face fines between $100,000 and $300,000, according to the bill.

PA: Highway stop and frisk: How Pennsylvania state troopers conduct illegal traffic searches

spotlightpa.org

A review by The Appeal and Spotlight PA of five years of cases that arose from traffic stops in the south-central region of Pennsylvania found while state police say pretextual stops and searches effectively uncover drugs and weapons, many are conducted illegally and eventually get thrown out of court.

FL: Florida's sidelined employment chief resigns

orlandsentinel.com

The chief of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity made official what was implied in April when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis removed him from overseeing the state’s beleaguered unemployment system. The department head came under fire in March and April as the state was inundated with unemployment requests.

IA: Democrats sue Iowa secretary of state over absentee ballot directive

desmoinesregister.com

Democratic groups are suing Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, arguing that he illegally acted in blocking county auditors from sending voters pre-filled ballot request forms.

KY: Kentucky child care centers can raise class sizes and resume ‘limited’ tours

kentucky.com

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said he is offering Kentucky’s collapsing child care industry several relief measures, including a loosening of two state restrictions enacted in June to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

WV: Dozens of inmates at West Virginia prison test positive for COVID-19

apnews.com

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ website, 138 inmates at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex were confirmed as having the virus while 187 tests at the prison are pending.

NV: Nevada governor extends residential eviction moratorium

reviewjournal.com

With Nevada facing a potential eviction crisis, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that the state’s eviction moratorium will be extended an additional 45 days.

CT: After extension, Connecticut governor will have emergency powers until February

courant.com

Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced that his coronavirus-related emergency powers to close businesses and limit gatherings will be extended until early February 2021. Legislative leaders will have until later this week to nullify the extension.

RI: Most Rhode Island school districts given the OK for full in-person opening

providencejournal.com

Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said all school districts, except Providence and Central Falls, have the green light from the Department of Health to reopen for full in-person learning on Sept. 14. It is acceptable for them to phase in their reopening over four weeks, she said, but full in-person learning must be in place by Oct. 13.

MN: Minnesota GOP lawmakers decry governor's ‘threatening tone’ in COVID-19 rule enforcement

startribune.com

Republican lawmakers urged Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to “reassess the tone and approach” as Minnesota regulators step up enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing at bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

WI: Wisconsin legislative session on policing policies ended after seconds

jsonline.com

As tensions simmered over a police shooting and the killing of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Republican state legislative leaders convened a special session on policing policies for less than 30 seconds and gave no assurances they would eventually act.

ME: Maine businesses look for ways to extend outdoor service into the colder months

pressherald.com

The onset of colder weather usually prompts a shift to doing business indoors in Maine, but this year there is a strong incentive to put it off for as long as possible.

CO: Colorado capital downtown empties out amid pandemic, protests

coloradosun.com

Denver, Colorado’s normally bustling downtown has taken on a different character thanks to a pandemic that shut down businesses and emptied office buildings, recent protests over racial injustice and swelling homeless encampments.

VA: Virginia to provide more legal aid lawyers for tenants facing eviction

richmond.com

With a temporary freeze on evictions scheduled to end and thousands of cases mounting on court dockets around the state, Virginia is steering $4 million toward legal assistance for tenants at risk of losing their homes, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam announced.

SC: University of South Carolina students line up for COVID-19 testing as virus spreads

thestate.com

The University of South Carolina has seen a spike of COVID-19 cases on campus since students returned two weeks ago. The school’s president warned the board of trustees the rise in cases could become “unsustainable,” and promised students could face suspension if caught violating quarantine or hosting house parties.

NY: Wealthy New Yorkers pay for quicker test results

nytimes.com

Standard COVID-19 tests in New York City can take days. Wealthier people are turning to concierge services and small laboratories to get results in as little as 24 hours.

MI: Michigan to reopen gyms, theaters

freep.com

Fitness centers and theaters in Michigan, ordered closed for more than five months, are expected to get the OK to reopen after the Labor Day holiday. They will be subject to social distancing and sanitary requirements as well as contact tracing rules.

KS: Kansas reports three more college coronavirus clusters

kansas.com

Three more coronavirus clusters have been identified at Kansas colleges as public health officials report fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wichita.

NH: New Hampshire private schools see uptick in interest during pandemic

nhpr.org

The pandemic is creating major problems in public schools in New Hampshire. But the picture for private schools is different.

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