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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/4

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/4

NC: North Carolina legislature sends governor $1B COVID-19 relief bill

newsobserver.com

The North Carolina legislature passed and sent to the governor a nearly $1 billion spending bill that would use the rest of the state’s share of federal COVID-19 relief money and give all households with parents of children 17 and younger a $335 stimulus check to help offset costs associated with remote learning at schools.

IA: More than 100 Iowa schools have reported coronavirus cases

desmoinesregister.com

At least 107 Iowa schools have reported cases of COVID-19, according to a new tracker launched this week by a teachers union.

TX: Texas considers Austin police takeover

texastribune.org

If passed, a legislative proposal could consolidate Austin's police department under the Texas Department of Public Safety. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he was looking at a strategy that would stop city officials’ efforts to shift resources away from police departments and into other social services.

ME: Maine hits snag in effort to distribute pandemic aid to seafood industry

pressherald.com

Maine’s plan to distribute the $20 million in COVID-19 relief earmarked for the state’s seafood industry is facing unexpected opposition from federal regulators who say individual recipients, not the fishery as a whole, must demonstrate a 35% revenue loss this spring before they can qualify for assistance.

WI: Wisconsin police officers could no longer be required to be U.S. citizens

wpr.org

Two Republican state lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow legal residents to become police officers and sheriff's deputies in Wisconsin. Currently, those roles are open only to U.S. citizens.

AK: Few evictions, but a lot of struggles to pay rent, in Alaska

adn.com

So far, eviction actions in the Alaska court system have stayed relatively low. But landlords and aid organizations say eviction numbers aren’t telling the full story: As the pandemic drags on, many Alaskans are struggling to make rent.

CA: Fraud concerns over California’s unemployment benefits

apnews.com

Concerns are growing about possible widespread fraud in California’s unemployment system following numerous reports of people receiving unsolicited letters, some with debit cards, from the state’s jobless agency, and a suspicious number of claims involving independent contractors.

MI: Michigan sports can resume

detroitnews.com

Gyms can reopen at limited capacity and organized sports can resume in Michigan under new executive orders from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The orders conflict  with guidance from the state health department recommending against contact sports, including football, soccer and wrestling.

LA: Louisiana governor asks judge to widen absentee balloting for elections

apnews.com

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking a federal judge to order Louisiana’s elections chief to broaden the use of absentee-by-mail voting for the fall elections because of the pandemic.

US: Bar and medical exam delays keep graduates in limbo

nytimes.com

Many recent graduates can’t practice their professions without passing a licensing exam, but those tests have been disrupted for months by the coronavirus pandemic.

VA: Virginia judge kicks Kanye off the ballot

richmond.com

A circuit judge ruled that state elections officials should bar rapper and entrepreneur Kanye West from Virginia’s presidential ballot. The judge found that 11 of the elector oaths West submitted “were obtained by improper, fraudulent or misleading means” or are otherwise invalid because of notary violations and misconduct.

PA: Pennsylvania inspector general reviewing legality of state police traffic stops

spotlightpa.org

The Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General is conducting a review of whether state police troopers are following the law when initiating traffic stops and searching vehicles, following a request from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

CT: Connecticut sets up data system to track student participation during pandemic

courant.com

Connecticut education officials plan to set up a required weekly collection of data from districts about what learning model they are currently using — in-person, hybrid or remote. They also plan to track on a weekly basis whether students, especially those learning remotely, are connecting to their lessons.

NM: New Mexico to ease quarantine rules

abqjournal.com

New Mexico’s 14-day quarantine mandate for most incoming travelers, one of the strictest orders of its kind in the nation, is getting a facelift. The mandate is being lifted for those arriving from the remaining “lower-risk” states — including Colorado.

CA: California state workers will not get payroll tax deferral

sacbee.com

California state workers will not get the payroll tax deferral being offered by President Donald Trump, the state’s Human Resources Department said. The reason is that employees would be subject to double withholding in 2021, the department said.

AL: Labor Day events pose risk of worsening virus in Alabama

apnews.com

With Labor Day events meant to attract crowds planned from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee Valley, health officials fear Alabama’s coronavirus outbreak, which is worsening after weeks of improvement, could be exacerbated by gatherings over the long holiday weekend.

NV: Nevada governor asks for patience with COVID-19 recovery plan

thenevadaindependent.com

Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak told reporters he wanted Nevada to begin revisiting certain restrictions — including limits on church attendance, youth sports and maximum capacity at certain venues — but said he did not want to take any actions that would reverse the progress made over the last month.

UT: Unemployment claims in Utah drop to lowest level in six months

sltrib.com

New weekly unemployment claims in Utah continue to fall, hitting six month lows, as the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic appeared to solidify. New data shows that Utah’s metro areas are faring far better.

AZ: University of Arizona reports daily high for positive COVID-19 tests

azcentral.com

The University of Arizona announced its highest number of COVID-19 cases among its faculty, students and staff in one day, with 126 positive tests. University officials said for the most part, cases are asymptomatic.

GA: Georgia lieutenant governor shelves plan to study systemic inequality

ajc.com

As politicians and governments across the country respond to protests over racial injustice, Georgia’s lieutenant governor’s office said budget constraints and lack of interest stopped it from appointing a panel that in the coming months would have studied systemic inequality.

MA: Massachusetts governor announces new campaign aimed at cities with persistently high COVID-19 rates

boston.com

Massachusetts officials announced a new public messaging campaign ahead of the Labor Day weekend to combat the spread of coronavirus in five communities with persistently high transmission rates.

SC: South Carolina officials predict COVID-19 surge after Labor Day

thestate.com

Health experts project that South Carolina could see a coronavirus resurgence as students go back to in-person classes and travelers enjoy the Labor Day weekend.

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