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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/24

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/24

CA: California governor orders 2035 phaseout of gas-powered vehicles, calls for fracking ban

latimes.com

Emphasizing that California must stay at the forefront of the fight against climate change, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to restrict new car sales in the state to only zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and threw his support behind a ban on hydraulic fracturing.

ME: Record number of absentee ballots requested in Maine

pressherald.com

Voters in Maine continue to request absentee ballots at a record pace for the Nov. 3 election, and a large majority of them are Democrats. Democrats have asked for 57% of the absentee ballots, compared to 16% from Republicans and 24% from unenrolled voters.

MO: Missouri governor, wife test positive for COVID-19

stltoday.com

Missouri GOP Gov. Mike Parson said he and his wife, Teresa, have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting both to isolate from the public and postpone several events, including a ceremonial bill signing in St. Louis and a widely anticipated debate with Democratic challenger Nicole Galloway.

LA: Louisiana voting website down on voter registration day was 'unfortunate error'

theadvocate.com

Pilloried with angry criticism and accusations of nefarious intent, Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin had a more human reason for Louisiana’s online voter registration website being down on the evening of National Voter Registration Day. Nobody noticed that the routine maintenance had long ago been scheduled for Tuesday night. Ardoin called it “an unfortunate error for which I take full responsibility.”

ID: Organizer of Oregon rally that turned deadly plans another in Idaho

idahostatesman.com

Idaho resident Alex Kuzmenko organized the pro-Donald Trump caravan of Aug. 29 that snaked through the streets of downtown Portland, attracting counter protesters and ending with one supporter of the far-right group Patriot Prayer shot and killed. Now Kuzmenko is planning another rally in support of the president for downtown Boise to take place Oct. 17.

UT: K-12 enrollment drops in Utah due to coronavirus pandemic

sltrib.com

Some Utah parents have started home-schooling their kids. Others have opted to keep their 5-year-olds out of kindergarten for now. As a result of those and other decisions, the state’s anticipated 7,000 increase in students this fall evaporated. In reality, the school population is instead down roughly 2,000.

RI: Rhode Island business groups oppose governor’s $29M tax proposal

providencejournal.com 

Rhode Island businesses are objecting to Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s latest budget-plugging plan, which would increase some tax bills during the pandemic. Raimondo wants to restore a limit on the amount of business losses that can be deducted from state income taxes, after the federal CARES Act coronavirus relief bill eliminated it for the last three years. 

IN: Indiana to move to Stage 5 of coronavirus reopening

indystar.com 

Nearly three months after suspending Indiana's reopening plan, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state will move to the final phase, Stage 5, Saturday, as the statewide mask order remains in place indefinitely. Restaurants, bars, fitness centers and stores will now be able to operate at full capacity. 

PA: Bill that would loosen bar, restaurant limits sent to Pennsylvania governor

pennlive.com

Legislation that would eliminate most of the COVID-19 restrictions Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf placed on restaurants and taverns is on its way to the governor’s desk for enactment. Despite the bipartisan backing the bill received, the governor has indicated he would veto this bill when it reaches him.

MA: Massachusetts slightly eases COVID-19 seating rules for restaurants

boston.com

Massachusetts remains in the first step of Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan — but Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is slightly loosening restrictions on restaurants, following several weeks of consistently low statewide COVID-19 levels.

SC: Remaining South Carolina CARES Act money to go to unemployment, small businesses

thestate.com

Remaining money from South Carolina’s CARES Act dollars will go to the unemployment insurance trust fund and provide grants to minority-owned small businesses as well as nonprofits in the state. The House and Senate adopted a compromise on how to spend remaining CARES Act dollars.

NH: Small forest fires cropping up in New Hampshire as severe drought continues

nhpr.org

Fire crews are working to put out a blaze on a wooded island in the Merrimack River outside Concord as a severe drought creates high risk conditions for forest fires across New Hampshire.

AL: Alabama AG opposes former House speaker’s request for revised sentence

al.com

Alabama Republican Attorney General Steve Marshall opposes former GOP House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s request to shorten his four-year sentence for ethics violations.

MD: State lawmakers subpoena Maryland governor’s former chief of staff

baltimoresun.com

For the first time in nearly 15 years, Maryland’s General Assembly is issuing subpoenas, as lawmakers say they must have testimony from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff about a six-figure payout he received from his prior job at a state agency.

MO: With early voting underway, Missouri facing a trio of lawsuits over mail-in ballots

stltoday.com

As election authorities across Missouri begin mailing out early ballots this week for the Nov. 3 election, attorneys for the state are juggling three lawsuits that seek to make it easier to vote by mail.

WV: West Virginia stops reporting school-related COVID-19 cases

wvgazettemail.com

West Virginia no longer is reporting school-related COVID-19 cases, despite Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s pledge to do so. In his news briefings, Justice has continued to report cases in churches, prisons and assisted-living facilities, but not in schools.

CO: University of Colorado COVID-19 outbreak largest state has seen

denverpost.com

Nearly 1,200 students and 12 staff members at the University of Colorado Boulder have confirmed cases of COVID-19 in an outbreak that dwarfs any the state has seen so far. No deaths have been linked to the community outbreak.

WA: As tax collections rebound, Washington state’s projected $9B budget shortfall is cut in half

seattletimes.com

Washington’s projected $8.8 billion budget shortfall over the next three years has been slashed in half, as economic activity rebounded since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the early statewide restrictions to curb the new coronavirus. The state’s projected shortfall is now $4.2 billion through 2023.

OR: Oregon's economy is down but tax collections are up

oregonlive.com

Oregon tax revenue has continued growing during the pandemic, results state economists called "shocking." The strong revenue collections reflect a combination of factors, including federal support that has blunted the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and an unexpectedly quick economic recovery.

HI: Human service furloughs in Hawaii would ripple among those in need

staradvertiser.com

“Likely” furloughs beginning Dec. 1 at the Hawaii Department of Human Resources — which helps administer a wide range of social service programs including food stamps and Medicaid — could have “devastating” effects across the islands at a time of increasing hardship triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. DHS recipients could see service delays.

MS: Mississippi governor says he will get COVID-19 vaccine

sunherald.com

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said that he plans to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it is made available. Reeves played down concerns that President Donald Trump is pressuring scientists to rush the vaccine process.

PA: Pennsylvania State House fails to override governor's veto of school sports spectator bill

wtae.com

Pennsylvania House Republicans failed to override Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a bill that would have given school boards the ability to make decisions on sports and extracurricular activities, including how many spectators to allow.

TX: Texas Republicans seek to block governor’s extension of early voting

houstonchronicle.com

A coalition of Republicans, including Texas GOP Chair Allen West and six state lawmakers, joined activist Steven Hotze in asking the Texas Supreme Court to block Republican Gov. Greg Abbott from extending the early voting period by a week during the pandemic.

MN: Group COVID-19 outbreaks in Minnesota underscore Halloween risks

startribune.com

Minnesota health officials encourage following new federal guidance for Halloween next month that discourages parties and candy handouts while permitting no-contact goody bag giveaways and encouraging virtual costume parties.

AK: Virus infections spike across Arctic Alaska despite lockdowns

adn.com

Coronavirus infections have spiked across the Alaska Arctic in the past week, despite lockdowns in hub cities of the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs.

DE: In Delaware, still no charges in case of police who killed man in wheelchair

delawareonline.com

A review of a five-year-old, deadly shooting of a man in a wheelchair has resulted in the Delaware Attorney General's Office coming to the same conclusion: The former Wilmington police officers who shot Jeremy McDole will not be charged.

Jobless Claims Rise in Most States Polling Place Changes

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