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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/19

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/19

CA: Reports of violence, abuse at California ICE detention centers rarely prosecuted

latimes.com

Since 2017, at least 265 calls made to police through 911 and nonemergency lines have reported violence and abuse inside California’s four privately run federal detention centers overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In only three cases in which detainees said they were victimized did records show a suspect was charged.

NC: Twice as many votes have been cast in North Carolina as this time in 2016

newsobserver.com

Some 828,456 votes have been cast in person across North Carolina. That total is more than double the amount of people in North Carolina who had gone to the polls at this time in the 2016 election.

TX: Texas could make it harder for people with felony convictions to get housing

texastribune.com

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs proposed that people with certain criminal convictions be blocked from housing that provides support services. Some homeless Texans would lose one of the few paths they have to social services and a stable home.

HI: Arrivals remain strong in Hawaii after testing program launches

staradvertiser.com

Airline travel to Hawaii remained strong, with 7,853 trans-Pacific passengers arriving one day after the reopening of tourism under the state’s new pre-travel testing program. On the first day of the program, 8,224 trans-Pacific passengers arrived in the islands.

CT: Lapses in planning, communication and safety left Connecticut’s nursing homes exposed

courant.com

A lack of preparation for the devastating sweep of a pandemic that would claim more than 2,500 elderly men and women at Connecticut nursing homes was evident on multiple fronts — from equipment to care protocols to communication, a Hartford Courant analysis of emails, documents, interviews and reports has found.

NJ: New Jersey veterans home leaders forced out after 190 residents died

northjersey.com

Executives of the Paramus and Menlo Park veterans’ homes where 190 residents and two caregivers died amid the pandemic were ousted along with their bosses at the state Military and Veterans Affairs Department in a major shakeup by New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

AZ: Contact tracing is saving the lives of Apache tribal members in Arizona

azcentral.com

Between 30 and 35 health care workers were trained in contact tracing for the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona. The tribe's more than 2,400 identified COVID-19 cases were traced, and anyone who may have been exposed notified. In some cases that meant 15 or more people, according to officials.

VA: Virginia begins planning for eventual vaccine distribution

richmond.com

Doses of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine are expected to make their way to Virginia just days after federal regulators clear the serum, and preparations have begun in Virginia for the massive immunization effort. More than 500 organizations with physicians on staff have already expressed interest in helping administer the vaccine.

PA: Pennsylvania governor vetoes bill to let bars and restaurants loosen coronavirus restrictions

mcall.com

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would allow restaurants and bars in Pennsylvania to loosen some coronavirus restrictions, setting up the possibility leaders in the legislature would seek an override vote.

WI: Wisconsin governor fasces third lawsuit over authority to make coronavirus restrictions

jsonline.com

The lawsuit, like others against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, argues the Wisconsin governor may not issue new emergency orders after his first one expired because the emergency — in this case the pandemic — is the same threat.

UT: Utah has worst week of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

sltrib.com

For a fifth consecutive day, Utah experienced a daily increase of at least 1,000 new coronavirus cases. The past week arguably marked the worst week yet in the state’s fight against coronavirus, which saw Utah set a record for average daily positives and then establish a new mark for active hospitalizations.

MS: Mississippi cases increase after end of mask mandate

sunherald.com

Top public health officers at the Mississippi State Department of Health are clearly dismayed because Mississippi’s COVID-19 cases are on a dangerous upward trend since Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, rescinded a statewide mask mandate a little more than two weeks ago.

AK: Alaska approaching 4 weeks of triple-digit case increases

adn.com

Alaska’s surge in cases parallels rising virus case numbers in several parts of the Lower 48. Alaska’s daily reported cases have hit triple digits for 24 straight days.

AR: Arkansas active COVID-19 cases set record for 5th consecutive day

arkansasonline.com

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 644 new COVID-19 cases. The number of active cases in the state reached a record high for the fifth consecutive day.

WY: More states want travelers from Wyoming to quarantine

trib.com

Wyomingites hoping to travel to Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island or Washington, D.C., will be asked to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.

WA: COVID-19 is taking a toll on enrollment at some Washington colleges

seattletimes.com

Students from low-income families in Washington were more likely to opt out of college this year. State educators say they’ll need to work harder to convince students whose families can’t afford college that state and federal aid is there to help — they just need to apply for it.

OR: Oregon was among the slowest at paying jobless benefits after pandemic hit

oregonlive.com

Oregon moved more slowly than most states addressing the deluge of jobless benefits claims during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, with tens of thousands of laid-off workers routinely waiting weeks or months for their money. The state was often less than half as likely to pay claims within the standard, three-week federal benchmark for timely payments than the national average.

ID: The pandemic has killed hundreds of Idahoans beyond deaths reported from COVID-19

idahostatesman.com

Since the coronavirus arrived in early 2020, hundreds more Idahoans have died than in a normal year. The state estimates that 861 more Idahoans died between January and September this year than died on average during those months in the past three years; only 447 of the deaths in that time were attributed directly to COVID-19.

VT: Vermont aims for careful Halloween; fright industry adjusts

vtdigger.org

For Halloween this year, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, said Vermonters should expect “some sense of normalcy,” with the understanding that it’s not going to be exactly like last year. The governor called on Vermonters to celebrate the holiday by using common sense to prevent the spread of the virus — though Scott didn’t call off trick-or-treating.

NV: Nevadans stand in line to vote early

thenevadaindependent.com

Droves of Nevada voters came out to the polls for the first day of in-person early voting in a divisive election that some characterized as one of the most important of their lifetimes. In the last few weeks, 132,560 ballots have been returned, or about 7% of those mailed out to active registered voters. 

RI: Rhode Island poll workers in short supply as momentous Election Day nears 

providencejournal.com 

With concerns about the coronavirus — and the prospect of having to wear a mask for 15 hours — a growing number of veteran poll workers across Rhode Island are sitting out the election this year, leaving some cities and towns scrambling to make sure they have enough people to staff the polls next month. 

DE: Delaware National Guard cybersecurity team to help in elections

wdel.com

The Delaware National Guard will help with providing advice to the Delaware Department of Technology and Information to prevent, protect and defend against cyber incidents, monitor and analyze risks and threats, offer technical support, respond to any incidents and provide training after the election.

OH: Could battleground Ohio be decided by which ballots are tossed out for breaking the rules?

dispatch.com

With polls showing Ohio emerging as the most competitive state in the 2020 presidential election, the role of rejected mail ballots is taking on exaggerated importance in who wins this bellwether — and possibly the White House.

NH: Some New Hampshire voters worry they spoiled their absentee ballots

nhpr.org

“Sharpie-gate” underscored a question on the minds of lots of New Hampshire voters who are, for the first time, filling out their ballots at home rather than at the polling place: Does it matter what kind of writing utensil you use to cast your vote?

FL: Florida signatures could be 2020's hanging chads

tampabay.com

In a normal Florida election year, these ballots rarely take center stage. In 2020, if the presidential election stays as close as polls indicate and there is a recount, uncounted ballots may play a significant role.

MO: Missouri redistricting fight is bitter, partisan and expensive

npr.org

The GOP-controlled state legislature placed a measure on the general election ballot known as Amendment 3 that seeks to undo a state-level redistricting system, widely known as Clean Missouri, that passed with more than 60% of the vote in 2018. 

CO: Cameron Peak fire grows to largest in Colorado history

denverpost.com

The over 200,000-acre Cameron Peak fire has surged past the second-largest fire in Colorado’s recorded history, which also happened this year. The Pine Gulch fire burned about 139,000 acres.

IA: August derecho that slammed Iowa was most costly thunderstorm in U.S. history

desmoinesregister.com

It’s estimated that August’s multi-state derecho — which has left wide swathes of Iowa devastated — resulted in $7.5 billion in damages and counting, according to updated data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NY: SNAP benefits extended to low-income college students in New York

timesunion.com

Nearly 75,000 low-income college students in New York will be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) under an expansion of the food stamp program announced by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The state also will roll out a simplified application process to encourage greater enrollment among older adults and people with disabilities, the governor said.

MD: Maryland governor allowing up to 10% capacity at 2 NFL stadiums

apnews.com

Maryland will allow up to 10% capacity at the two stadiums in the state that are home to NFL teams, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said, meaning several thousand fans could attend games. The announcement affects M&T Bank Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens play, and FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, where the Washington Football Team plays.

New Hampshire Sues Massachusetts Over Remote Income Taxes Pollution and COVID-19
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