Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/29

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/29

NV: Hacker releases information on Nevada students

wsj.com

A hacker published documents containing Social Security numbers, student grades and other private information stolen from a large public-school district in Las Vegas, Nevada, after officials refused a ransom demanded in return for unlocking district computer servers.

CA: Nearly 50,000 facing evacuations as fires besiege California wine country

latimes.com

Another series of wildfires stormed California’s wine country as flames destroyed numerous homes and other buildings in Napa and Sonoma counties and forced tens of thousands to flee. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom stressed the importance of following evacuation orders.

PA: GOP leaders ask US Supreme Court to halt Pennsylvania voting extension

post-gazette.com

The two top Republicans in Pennsylvania's Senate petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to put a halt to the three-day extension for counties to receive and count mail-in ballots this November.

FL: Florida cases dropped as schools reopened

usatoday.com

Teachers and families feared a spike in COVID-19 cases when Florida pushed to reopen schools in August with in-person instruction. But the state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July.

TX: Federal appeals court temporarily blocks ruling that reinstated straight-ticket voting in Texas

texastribune.org

A federal appeals court put a temporary hold on a lower court’s ruling last week that reinstated the practice of straight-ticket voting, again casting into uncertainty whether Texas voters will have the option in the Nov. 3 election to vote for every candidate of a political party with one punch.

WI: Wisconsin high court to hear voter case

jsonline.com

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether to remove more than 100,000 people from the Wisconsin voter rolls because they may have moved, but no one is sure how accurate the list is. State officials have said they know the list contains errors.

MI: In Michigan, racial disparities of virus have diminished

apnews.com

Michigan reported that Black residents are no longer being disproportionately infected and killed by the coronavirus, after they accounted for a staggering 40% of deaths through much of the pandemic. For the last two available weeks of data, African Americans represented 10% of COVID-19 deaths and 8% of cases.

ND: Hospitalizations due to virus hit new high in North Dakota

apnews.com

Hospitalizations due to illness from the coronavirus reached an all-time high in North Dakota with 105 people receiving treatment in medical centers, state health officials reported.

NE: Some Nebraskans receive voter disqualification notices in error

journalstar.com

The ACLU of Nebraska recently looked into disqualification notices mailed by election officials in the state after a number of people questioned them and found numerous cases where people had received the notices in error.

NY: New York governor extends eviction, foreclosure protections to 2021

timesunion.com

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he will extend New York state’s eviction moratorium — set to expire Oct. 1 — to next year, continuing protections for tenants as well as homeowners who have been unable to pay rent and mortgage during the public health crisis.

AL: Hospitals, doctors urge governor to extend Alabama mask rule

apnews.com

Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey should extend the statewide rule requiring face masks in public, which health officials credit with stemming the spread of COVID-19 in the state, said the head of the Alabama Hospital Association and a doctor’s group.

CT: Connecticut rescinds order barring nursing home visitors 

courant.com 

Connecticut’s Department of Public Health rescinded its emergency order barring visitors to nursing homes, opening the door for families to visit loved ones that some haven’t seen in nearly six months. 

OR: Oregon faces questions about botched emergency alerts

statesmanjournal.com

Oregon has more questions than answers about why evacuation orders for wildfires weren't issued sooner, why emergency plans didn't account for power and internet outages, why cell phones didn't wake residents in the night with blaring alerts, and how the system will be improved before there's another disaster in the state.

NY: Warnings issued as virus cases rise in New York

nytimes.com

Clusters of cases have emerged in Brooklyn and New York City’s northern suburbs in areas with large Orthodox Jewish communities. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said that he would make 200 rapid testing machines available to schools and local governments in areas where rates were rising.

NJ: New Jersey lawmakers greenlight $4.5B in debt to shore up budget

apnews.com

New Jersey legislative leaders gave final approval to $4.5 billion in new state debt they and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy sought to plug budget holes stemming from the virus outbreak.

DC: Some students will be able to return to District of Columbia public school buildings 

washingtonpost.com 

Thirteen schools in the District of Columbia’s traditional public-school system will bring small groups of students to campuses for in-person learning in the coming weeks — the first time that the school system will have students in its buildings since schools closed abruptly in March. 

LA: Effort to change coronavirus rules begins taking shape as Louisiana legislature begins session

theadvocate.com

As the gavel fell Monday evening, the Louisiana legislature began a month-long session specially called by Republican lawmakers to review bills on a long list of issues, the foremost of which are Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' coronavirus restrictions.

CO: Colorado school and health officials brace for youth mental health crisis

denverpost.com

The number of suicides among young Coloradans remains unchanged during the coronavirus pandemic compared to previous years, but school and health officials expect to soon see a “tsunami of need” for mental health care.

CO: Substitute teacher shortage could force some Colorado schools to close

coloradosun.com

The pandemic is making Colorado’s substitute teacher shortage worse. Kallie Leyba, president of both the American Federation of Teachers Colorado and the Douglas County Federation, says some Colorado schools will have to close to in-person learning when teacher positions can’t be covered by substitutes.

NV: Nevada approves $30M for small businesses

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada is launching a new, broad-based grant program for businesses and nonprofits that suffered pandemic-related hardship after an earlier effort to offer commercial rent assistance was able to get less than half of its funds out the door.

WY: Wyoming Education Association opposes loosening school quarantine rules

trib.com

The Wyoming Education Association came out this weekend against state health officials’ decision to limit the number of quarantines within schools, saying the move will make schools less safe and calling the change a step back in pandemic planning.

AK: Initiative proposes change to Alaska elections

alaskapublic.org

The Alaska ballot measure would mandate more transparency about who’s funding the super PAC-like independent spending groups that operate in Alaska’s elections. The initiative also would replace Alaska’s partisan primary with a single ballot open to all voters, and the top four candidates would advance to the general election.

DE: COVID-19 cases rise at some Delaware long-term facilities

wdel.com

The Delaware Division of Public Health said it is keeping a close eye on several long-term care facilities in the state in the wake of  significant ongoing coronavirus outbreaks.

MO: Missouri unveils new COVID-19 data dashboard

stltoday.com

As Missouri updated its dashboard, officials have done “quality assurance” and removed some cases that had been counted more than once or incorrectly counted as confirmed.

HI: Hawaii preschools seek to reassure parents amid enrollment drop

staradvertiser.com

Preschools in Hawaii are back in action with strict protocols to keep children and staff safe from the coronavirus, but enrollment has dropped substantially. Some parents are wary of sending their youngsters to school, many have lost jobs and are hunkering down with their kids at home, and some don’t realize preschools are open.

MS: Mississippi schools could see boost from surge in lottery tickets

sunherald.com

Sales of lottery tickets are averaging about $10 million or more a week statewide, and if that trend continues, education will get some of the proceeds from the Mississippi Lottery this fiscal year.

WA: Sex ed mandate sparks bitter Washington ballot fight

apnews.com

A coalition of Republicans and religious conservatives has launched a historic backlash to a routine sex education requirement for Washington public schools that’s led to a bitter partisan fight and an effort to overturn the measure on the November ballot.

MD: Utilities can send shutoff notices to Maryland homes starting this week

baltimoresun.com

Marylanders will have 45 days to address unpaid bills with their utility company once they receive a termination notice and will not have their service disconnected if they work out a payment plan or apply for energy assistance.

WV: Largest West Virginia county to ‘aggressively’ test for virus

apnews.com

Republican Gov. Jim Justice made an impassioned plea for as many people as possible — healthy or otherwise — in West Virginia’s most populous county to get tested for the coronavirus to slow its spread. Kanawha County, which includes the capital of Charleston, leads the state by far in active virus cases.

RI: Rhode Island plans to deconstruct 2 of 3 coronavirus field hospitals 

providencejournal.com

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s administration is taking steps to deconstruct two of the three “surge hospitals,” including the one at the Rhode Island Convention Center, built last spring to take in COVID-19 patients in the event an explosion of cases overwhelmed the state’s hospitals.

UT: Utah officials say elections will be secure

sltrib.com

Election officials from around Utah said they are confident that elections here next month will be secure, safe and fraud-free. But they’re not so confident about the rest of the nation.

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