Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/2

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/2

DC: District of Columbia committee recommends stripping names of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, others from buildings

washingtonpost.com

A committee reporting to District of Columbia Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has recommended renaming dozens of public schools, parks and government buildings in the nation’s capital, after studying the historical namesakes’ connections to slavery and oppression. The honorees include President Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Graham Bell and Francis Scott Key.

PA: After waffling, governor says he can’t extend Pennsylvania's eviction ban

spotlightpa.org

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf reiterated that he does not have the legal authority to extend the state’s temporary ban on evictions. Republican lawmakers said they are looking at what options they have to extend another lifeline to tenants.

FL: Florida allows nursing home visits

tampabay.com

The decision allows visits in Florida long-term care facilities that haven’t had a new COVID-19 case in the previous 14 days. It ends a five-month ban.

US: Small businesses stay alive with local government help

nytimes.com

Across the country, local governments are sending out lifelines like grants to small businesses even though their own budgets are already devastated. City councils, mayors and governors see this help as a matter of survival — after an estimated 3.3 million businesses had to close their doors, at least temporarily, during the pandemic.

MD: Maryland to allow all businesses to reopen

baltimoresun.com

Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced that all state businesses — including movie theaters and live entertainment venues — can reopen Friday night with some limitations. However, local government officials will be able to keep more restrictive rules in place.

MT: Pandemic, meth fuel crime and domestic abuse in Montana

apnews.com

Montana’s most populous county has seen a sharp increase in violent crime since the pandemic began, driven by more domestic abuse and drug-related crimes, federal and local authorities said.

CT: Connecticut state troopers vote no confidence in leadership

courant.com

The Connecticut state police union argued in federal court against sections of a new police accountability law that could result in public disclosure of information in trooper personnel files now sealed by the union’s contract. The union said its members also voted no confidence in the state police leadership and in Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.

VT: Vermont reports ‘significant progress’ expanding child care openings

vtdigger.org

With just one week to go before the start of the school year, Vermont has made “significant progress” in building a new system of child care hubs to serve school-age children on remote learning days, the state human services secretary said.

AK: Funerals in Alaska are being delayed more than a year during COVID-19

alaskapublic.org

Travel restrictions and gathering limitations in Alaska have made it difficult to hold in-person funerals. A handful of one funeral home’s clients chose to skip funerals altogether, but many are waiting months or sometimes more than a year to hold a service.

WV: West Virginia hits new daily record for positive virus cases

apnews.com

West Virginia reported 225 confirmed cases Sunday, topping the one-day record of 180 set on July 30. Health officials also announced eight more virus-related deaths, pushing the state total to at least 222 deaths.

WI: Wisconsin is prepared for the election, even with an increase in absentee ballots

jsonline.com

Wisconsin is ready for November's presidential election, despite the pandemic and concerns over the U.S. Postal Service, according to a report from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

SC: South Carolina sets regulations for nursing home visits

thestate.com

Visits will soon be allowed in South Carolina nursing homes, but they will be limited to the outdoors and to no more than two visitors at a time, Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, said.

RI: Rhode Island will be able to run thousands of daily virus tests for students, teachers

providencejournal.com

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Rhode Island will be able to conduct more than 5,000 tests a day specifically for students and teachers when schools reopen later this month. This is in addition to the state’s existing testing capacity, she said.

DE: Delaware declares high school football, wrestling ‘high-risk’ sports

wdel.com

Unless changes are approved by the Delaware Department of Public Health, players involved in high-risk sports — which include tackle football, wrestling, ice hockey and basketball — are required to wear face coverings. Groups are supposed to be reduced to 15 athletes with shorter practice times to reduce contact time between participants.

CO: Colorado COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations plateau

denverpost.com

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 1,913 cases of the new coronavirus during the week ending Sunday, about 7% fewer cases than in the previous week. About 2.1% of COVID-19 tests came back positive over the last three days, which is well below the 5% threshold experts recommend.

UT: Utah reports five new school outbreaks

sltrib.com

Utah’s rate of new coronavirus cases was down slightly, but school outbreaks surged, with the biggest one-day rise in school cases since the fall term began. Since public schools began opening on Aug. 13, there have been 14 outbreaks in schools, affecting 76 people.

NV, CA: Heavy visitation creates new worries for the Lake Tahoe basin

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada and California state leaders expressed concern that the increase in visitor traffic to Lake Tahoe, while economically stimulating, threatens to overwhelm the local community’s infrastructure and ability to mitigate trash and pollution in the environmentally sensitive region.

NY: New York City delays start of school to ready for in-person classes

nytimes.com

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio reached a deal with unions representing teachers and principals, clearing the path for New York City to become the only major school district in America to welcome children back into classrooms this fall. The city’s 1.1 million schoolchildren will now start both remote and in-person classes on Sept. 21, 10 days later than originally scheduled.

WY: Hemp’s stumbles reveal hurdles in Wyoming’s race to diversify

wyofile.com

This growing season, a little more than a thousand acres of Wyoming farmland is licensed for growing hemp, according to the Department of Agriculture. The state issued 11 licenses to producers, 13 to operations that intend to produce and process, and three to simply process the crop.

NC: North Carolina governor eases some restrictions

newsobserver.com

Gyms, museums, bowling alleys and aquariums will be allowed to reopen Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced. Museums and aquariums will be allowed to open at half capacity, and gyms will be able to open at 30% capacity, Cooper said.

TX: With time running out, Texas launches $15M census campaign

texastribune.org

After rejecting efforts to spend state money on outreach to help ensure an accurate census count, Texas Republican leaders are now dipping into federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for a last-minute ad campaign. Texas is still far behind several other states in participation.

MA: Federal court overturns order blocking ICE arrests in Massachusetts courthouses

bostonglobe.com

A federal appeals court overturned a judge’s order that had temporarily blocked federal immigration agents from making civil arrests at Massachusetts courthouses.

GA: New report links Georgia virus surge to Memorial Day gatherings

ajc.com

Travel and gatherings over the Memorial Day weekend and a failure to wear masks and socially distance contributed to Georgia’s summer coronavirus surge, a new report said. Georgia might suffer another resurgence of COVID-19 in the weeks ahead if residents let down their guards again this Labor Day weekend, public health experts said.

MI: Michigan allows virtual driving school

freep.com

The Michigan Department of State approved virtual class sessions for driving schools for the duration of the pandemic. Virtual classes, which must be taught in conjunction with behind-the-wheel lessons, will be restricted to up to 20 students with one instructor.

OH: Ohio governor warns virus could surge again after Labor Day

dispatch.com

New cases of coronavirus jumped above Ohio’s latest three-week average on Tuesday. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said new COVID-19 cases were the state’s highest since July.

NM: New Mexico asking for 5% cuts

santafenewmexican.com

Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration is urging state agencies to cut spending again after many departments underwent budget reductions in June. A memo advises agencies to craft appropriations requests including the reduction ahead of the 60-day legislative session that begins in January.

Georgia Governor Wants Out of Obamacare Health Exchange State Park Crowding
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