Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/8

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/8

Note: This story was updated Oct. 9 to describe former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as a Republican.

NY: Study: 4,200 New York children lost parents to coronavirus

timesunion.com

A new study estimates that 4,200 children in New York lost a parent or guardian to coronavirus between March and July, and 325,000 children were newly thrust into poverty or near-poverty as a result of the pandemic’s staggering job losses.

OK: State election board says poll watching illegal in Oklahoma

kfor.com

Just weeks before Election Day, the Oklahoma State Election Board is telling voters poll watching won’t be tolerated after President Donald Trump encouraged voters to keep an eye out for election fraud.

AZ: Arizona deaths have spiked 22% so far this year

azcentral.com

Some health experts say that while COVID-19 accounts for a majority of the jump in deaths in Arizona, excess deaths could be from factors related to the pandemic, including delayed medical care and a general reluctance to go to hospital emergency rooms.

CT: Connecticut education officials consider online learning in event of inclement weather 

courant.com 

Snow days could be a thing of the past in Connecticut schools this winter as the state Department of Education is developing guidelines on how students may learn online from home instead of missing class due to inclement weather. 

GA: Georgia officials back 8-foot fence around Capitol after protests

ajc.com

Citing safety concerns and the ongoing expenditure for security from the National Guard, the Georgia Building Authority’s Board of Governors approved a $5 million project that will enhance security at several major government buildings.

CA: Nearly a third of California land must be conserved under governor’s new order

sacbee.com

Citing a need to tackle the growing problem of climate change, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the order for California state agencies to conserve 30% of state land and coastal water by no later than 2030.

VA: US Postal Service offers up to $10K for information on Virginia mailbox tampering

richmond.com

Two days after six Richmond-area post offices reported tampered mailboxes, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward up to $10,000 for anyone who can provide information or evidence about the events in Virginia.

FL: Florida estimates 40,000 people registered to vote during extended deadline

tampabay.com

More than 40,000 people may have registered to vote in the amount of time the state’s voter registration deadline was extended. A federal judge pushed for details in a hearing on whether the deadline should be extended further.

AL: Judge upholds Alabama governor’s mask order

al.com

U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins has denied a motion for a temporary restraining order against Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris to block enforcement of their emergency regulations to limit the spread of COVID-19, including the statewide mask order.

OH: Ohio lawmaker not giving up longshot quest to arrest governor over coronavirus orders

cleveland.com

One of Ohio’s most conservative lawmakers isn’t giving up his increasingly quixotic fight to see Republican Gov. Mike DeWine pay a price for his coronavirus policies.

TN: Tennessee initiative launched to combat students' COVID-19 learning loss

tennessean.com

Education advocates including former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam are launching a new initiative in Tennessee to try to combat learning losses brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, during which tens of millions of students nationwide have been affected by remote learning and school closures.

IA: Water safety protocols lax in Iowa, group says

desmoinesregister.com

Over the past three years, two Iowa companies have repeatedly told the state and federal government they've exceeded the amount of pollution they can discharge into the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, yet environmental agencies have taken no action against them.

NH: Some local election officials in New Hampshire report changes in absentee ballot mail delivery

nhpr.org

New Hampshire election officials say they will work with their counterparts in the U.S. Postal Service to clear up concerns around an apparent policy change that’s causing some absentee ballots to make an extra trip through regional processing hubs, even if they’re just going from one address to another within the same city or town.

KS: Kansas nursing homes now have a COVID-19 metric

kansas.com

Kansas nursing homes now have a metric for the coronavirus pandemic that is used to determine how often staff should be tested for COVID-19.

WV: West Virginia city declares racism a public health crisis

apnews.com

Officials in the northern West Virginia city of Wheeling have unanimously approved a resolution declaring racism a health crisis. Social justice movements across the nation helped spark a vote by the Wheeling City Council, which appears to be among the first in the state.

CA: California theme parks must stay closed for now, governor says

latimes.com

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said California theme parks have to remain closed for now — a stance that has put him at odds with park owners such as Walt Disney Co. and some legislators.

DC: District of Columbia landlords must now prove tenants have been notified of eviction cases 

wamu.org

The District of Columbia Council unanimously approved a measure that requires landlords to provide photographic evidence that tenants have been given notice of eviction cases against them.

IN: Federal judge strikes down request to broaden mail-in voting in Indiana 

indystar.com

Indiana can still limit who can vote by mail in the November election after a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that the state's mail-in voting restrictions do not put residents' right to vote at risk. 

WA: Washington loosens restrictions for restaurants, movie theaters, outdoor sports

seattletimes.com

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, loosened restrictions on a range of businesses and activities, from movie theaters to restaurants to sports, under his four-part coronavirus reopening plan.

US: 6 states, District of Columbia to independently review COVID-19 vaccine

khn.org

As trust in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wavers, at least six states – California, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Oregon and West Virginia – and the District of Columbia have vowed to conduct independent reviews of any COVID-19 vaccine the federal agency authorizes.

HI: Ballots going out for Hawaii's first all-mail general election

staradvertiser.com

Some 458,000 ballots were mailed to registered voters in Honolulu as officials kicked off Hawaii’s first all-mail general election.

MS: Case numbers climb in Mississippi

sunherald.com

One week after Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, lifted a statewide mask mandate, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs has taken a look at rising COVID-19 numbers and said in a tweet: “Our equilibrium is unraveling.”

SC: South Carolina Supreme Court rules governor can’t spend COVID-19 funds on private schools

thestate.com

The 5-0 decision was a high-profile defeat for Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who earlier this year announced he was designating $32 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to go to pay one-time tuition grants of up to $6,500 per student for about 5,000 private school K-12 students across the state.

VT:  Some unemployment checks in Vermont bouncing

vtdigger.org

Vermonters are still complaining about the application process and about poor service from the call centers hastily set up to handle thousands of new calls. Some say the checks they’ve recently received from the Department of Labor are bouncing.

 CO: Colorado health officials ask judge to stop 600-person religious conference

denverpost.com

State and county health officials asked a Colorado judge to stop Andrew Wommack Ministries from continuing with an in-person conference this week in an ongoing legal battle over whether Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ restrictions on large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic violate religious freedoms.

NV: Nevada governor tests negative for COVID-19

apnews.com

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has tested negative for the coronavirus a day after a positive COVID-19 test came back for one of his staff members working at his office in the state Capitol in Carson City.

AK: Alaska warns of virus testing fatigue

adn.com

There are growing numbers of people in Alaska who simply don’t want to get tested and are discouraging others from doing so, top health officials say. Maybe they’re suffering from “COVID fatigue” or believe fewer positives will lead to reopened schools and businesses.

WY: Wyoming hospitals say CARES Act distributions taking too long

wyomingnews.com

With less than three months left to spend Wyoming’s share of federal coronavirus relief money, the president of the Wyoming Hospital Association told lawmakers that the process for hospitals statewide to get funding has been “cumbersome” and “taken way too long.”

WI: Wisconsin plans first field hospital

jsonline.com

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will open a 530-bed field hospital to help Wisconsin hospitals cope with a surge of COVID-19 patients that is leaving some facilities with just a few open beds. 

NJ: USPS worker charged after New Jersey ballots found in trash

northjersey.com

A 26-year-old New Jersey postal worker faces federal charges after nearly 2,000 pieces of mail, including ballots, were found discarded in dumpsters. He had resigned from his job earlier in the day and admitted to dumping the mail though there was “no indication that there was any political motive.”

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