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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/3

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/3

US: Trump administration sent ‘urgent’ requests to states for COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans

mcclatchydc.com

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sent a letter last week to the nation’s governors with an urgent request that they do everything in their power to eliminate hurdles for vaccine distribution sites to be fully operational by Nov. 1. The Aug. 27 letter, obtained by McClatchy, asked governors to fast-track permits and licenses for new distribution sites.

NY: New York City schools plan hinges on hundreds of thousands of tests

nytimes.com

Coronavirus testing tents will be constructed outside New York City schools and more than 10% of students and teachers will get a nose swab once a month. At $70 per test, the operation could cost the city $10 million per month.

PA: Pennsylvania House OKs changes to mail-in voting law; veto threatened

apnews.com

In the shadow of an increasingly strident presidential campaign, Pennsylvania’s House approved changes to the state’s fledgling mail-in voting law, but in highly partisan fashion.

NV: Nevada county seeks more poll workers

lasvegassun.com

Clark County, Nevada, is looking to hire about 900 more poll workers for Election Day, and county commissioners are open to paying them more. The primary, which was almost entirely mail-in, drew close to half a million ballots for one of the highest primary turnouts in Nevada history.

LA: Louisiana hospitals sent patients home to die

propublica.org

In New Orleans, Louisiana, hospitals sent patients infected with the coronavirus into hospice facilities or back to their families to die at home, in some cases discontinuing treatment even as relatives begged them to keep trying.

NY: Shootings double in New York City and murders increase by 50%

nytimes.com

New York City recorded 242 shootings in August, up from 91 last year, continuing a summer spike in gun violence that has become an issue in the presidential race.

MD: Dozens of Maryland nursing homes found with deficient infection control

baltimoresun.com

Sixty-four nursing homes in Maryland failed to take sufficient infection control measures to protect residents from the coronavirus, according to state inspection records provided to The Baltimore Sun. Ten have faced fines ranging from $70,000 to $380,000, and the rest were ordered to develop a plan to fix the problems.

OH: Coronavirus cases dropped faster for Ohio counties with mask orders

dispatch.com

The number of new COVID-19 cases declined in the weeks following GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s statewide mask mandate, data from the Ohio Department of Health showed.

GA: Georgia college leaders worry as COVID-19 cases rise before Labor Day

ajc.com

COVID-19 cases have surged on some of Georgia’s largest public campuses, affecting nearby communities and leaving school leaders worried about even more cases after the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

MT: GOP, Trump campaign sue Montana over all-mail voting option

apnews.com

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican Party sued Montana after Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock gave counties the choice to conduct the November election entirely by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic.

LA: Louisiana governor: 'Tens of thousands' remain displaced by Hurricane Laura

shreveporttimes.com

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said tens of thousands of Louisianans remain displaced by Hurricane Laura with as many as 10,000 sheltering in neighboring Texas as two more storm-related deaths were confirmed.

CA: California on alert for blackouts over the holiday weekend

sacbee.com

The manager of California’s electricity grid issued an alert for Labor Day weekend as it tries to avoid more rolling blackouts during an expected major heat wave. With temperatures in the Sacramento Valley predicted to peak this weekend at 107 degrees, the California Independent System Operator issued an order directing power generators to defer any planned shutdowns for routine maintenance.

VA: Virginia Democratic Party sues to keep Kanye West off ballot

richmond.com

A prominent lawyer for Democrats has sued Virginia elections officials in an effort to keep rapper and entrepreneur Kanye West off of Virginia's presidential ballot in November.

AZ: Lawsuit seeks to ban Kanye West from Arizona ballot

apnews.com

An Arizona resident has asked a judge to bar Kanye West from appearing on Arizona’s Nov. 3 ballot, accusing the hip hop artist of serving as an election spoiler and arguing that a law prohibits him from running in the state as an independent presidential candidate.

AK: Civil rights groups ask Alaska to drop the witness signature rule on mail ballots

alaskapublic.org

Civil rights groups are asking Alaska’s lieutenant governor not to enforce the requirement that voters get a witness to sign the envelope of their mail-in ballots. They say enforcing the requirement disenfranchises many voters.

NC: North Carolina’s Duke University stems COVID-19 cases with mass testing

newsobserver.com

As COVID-19 cases soared into the hundreds at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University this fall when students returned to campus, Duke University seems to have things under control, for now. Its robust testing strategy, student behavior and limiting campus housing and facilities are critical pieces of its success in mitigating the spread of the virus on campus.

IN: Federal judge prohibits Indiana from summarily purging voters from rolls

indystar.com 

A federal judge has ruled that Indiana’s secretary of state cannot summarily purge Indiana voters from election rolls because of a change in address. Watchdog Common Cause alleged in a lawsuit that purging them without notice violates federal protections that essentially require states to notify voters and confirm a change of address. 

RI: Rhode Island governor and teachers union disagree on her pledge to schools

providencejournal.com 

One of the state’s two teachers unions locked horns with Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, calling the state “walk-throughs” of school buildings inadequate. 

NE: Nebraska is only state not continuing emergency supplemental food assistance during pandemic

journalstar.com

Nebraska is the only state not to continue emergency supplemental food assistance beyond July. In addition, Nebraska is one of two states that have not yet opted to give unemployed workers an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment aid.

CO: Colorado pledges $2M, enlists T-Mobile to get low-income students online

denverpost.com

In addition to partnering with T-Mobile to offer Wi-Fi hotspots and data to thousands of households, the Colorado Department of Education pledged $2 million to support school districts in helping get their students online.

WY: University of Wyoming pauses return to in-person classes

trib.com

Five University of Wyoming students tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday, causing the school to pause its phased return to the fall semester.

TX: Texas court blocks Houston area mail-in ballot plan

texastribune.org

The Texas Supreme Court has temporarily blocked Harris County, home of Houston and the state’s largest county, from sending mail-in ballot applications to all its voters for the November election. County Republicans had sued to stop the plan.

MI: Court rules for Michigan farmworker testing

freep.com

A federal appeals court upheld a state order mandating coronavirus testing for all farmworkers in Michigan. The court's decision was cheered by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and immigrant advocates who say the order protects farmworkers.

PA: Nursing home COVID-19 case, death data still missing from Pennsylvania’s public reports

spotlightpa.org

During the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, the public had no way to measure which Pennsylvania nursing homes were hardest hit. Amid mounting complaints, the state Department of Health in late May began releasing the number of resident cases and deaths by facility, but those early reports were incomplete and contained errors. Six months later, the public still doesn’t have a complete picture.

MN: Minnesota university life during COVID-19 to include dorm 'stay-at-home,' curfews

mprnews.org

The University of Minnesota is moving forward with plans to allow students to live in dorms, but those dorms on the Twin Cities, Rochester and Duluth campuses will reopen under a four-step plan that, for the first several weeks, limits normal student life and imposes curfews.

SC: South Carolina legislature debates teacher leave policies

thestate.com

South Carolina lawmakers on the House’s COVID-19 Public Education Committee recommended that the state Department of Education work with schools to create a uniform policy that provides flexibility to teachers that may be exposed to the virus multiple times.

MN: As COVID-19 cases spike, Minnesota families remain locked out of senior homes

startribune.com

Across Minnesota, a spike in coronavirus cases has dashed hopes among many families that they would be able to see and hug their loved ones after months of separation. Some of the state’s largest nursing homes and assisted-living communities have yet to open their doors to visits by family members and outside caregivers, despite new state guidelines allowing such visits. Other facilities have moved to curb outdoor visits, which began in June, because of a recent surge of coronavirus cases.

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