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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/21

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/21

CA: California attorney general asks court to order GOP cooperation in ballot box investigation

latimes.com

California Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra sought a court order to force state Republican officials to turn over information about the party’s use of private drop boxes for collecting ballots in a handful of counties across the state.

TX: Aide fired after accusing Texas attorney general of bribery

texastribune.org

The departure “was not voluntary,” said one of several senior aides who have accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, of using his office to serve the interests of a donor. Several employees in Paxton’s office brought concerns to law enforcement.

LA: Louisiana hurricane victims search for shelter

theadvocate.com

After staying in hotels for nearly two months while hurricanes roiled their southwest Louisiana residences, many evacuees are being told to go back home. That process has proved complex and at times frustrating for evacuees.

NY: New York governor exempts neighboring states from quarantine

timesunion.com

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 43 states meet the qualifications for travelers to quarantine if coming from those areas to New York, but neighboring states New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, which exceed the metrics for COVID-19 infection rates, will not be added to the travel advisory list.

MN: Early voting sweeps across Minnesota

startribune.com

As Minnesotans request a record 1.7 million absentee ballots before Election Day, it is clear early voting has transformed from being more common in the state’s sparsely populated regions to an even greater staple of political engagement during the pandemic.

HI: Renters, landlords struggle in Hawaii

civilbeat.org

Many landlords in Hawaii are grappling with the continuing eviction moratorium — an unprecedented rule that prevents private landlords from evicting people who don’t pay rent. Honolulu has more single-family homes as part of its housing stock than average, and by extension more mom-and-pop landlords who may not have the resources to withstand long bouts of missing rent.

MD: Maryland plans 2-phase distribution plan for vaccine

baltimoresun.com

In a draft plan submitted to the federal government, Maryland health officials envision a two-phase program that would first vaccinate health care workers and some of the most vulnerable state residents, and eventually turn to the general population once a vaccine becomes widely available.

RI: Rhode Island students from low-income families are most likely to be learning remotely

providencejournal.com

Rhode Island students who most need to be back in a real classroom — those from low-income families — are the ones spending more of their time learning remotely, according to a new study by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, a business-oriented research and policy organization.

IL: Illinois tightens restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings in several suburban counties

chicagotribune.com

The state is tightening reopening restrictions across a wide swath of suburban Chicago later this week as Illinois continues to see a major resurgence of the coronavirus. The two regions comprising those counties are poised to move back one phase in the state’s reopening plan after the seven-day average of their positivity rates rose above a threshold of 8% for three straight days.

NJ: New Jersey governor vetoes $30M to reimburse restaurants hurt by extended restrictions

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a bill that would have reimbursed New Jersey restaurants that lost money when he pulled the plug on the planned reopening of indoor dining this summer. Murphy said CARES Act funding is available instead.

AR: 3 Arkansas lawmakers test positive for COVID-19; budget hearings halt

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas legislative leaders shut down the legislature’s budget hearings of state agencies for the rest of the week after three lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19.

SC: Student COVID-19 cases in South Carolina surpass 1,000

thestate.com

More than 1,000 students in South Carolina schools have contracted the coronavirus almost halfway through the fall semester. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said 1,631 COVID-19 positive tests since school began include 1,143 student cases and 488 employee cases.

OH: COVID-19 hospitalizations spike across Ohio; burden on hospitals highest of pandemic

dispatch.com

More Ohioans than ever before are being hospitalized with the coronavirus after the state reported five days of new cases over 2,000.

OK: Oklahoma hits record high virus hospitalizations

apnews.com

The number of people hospitalized in Oklahoma either with the coronavirus or under investigation for infection is at a record high of 821, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported.

ID: Idaho reports record number of COVID-19 ICU patients

idahostatesman.com

Idaho once again smashed its seven-day moving average record for coronavirus infections, pushing past 700 new cases per day. Updated hospitalization data also reflected a record number of patients admitted to the ICU, reaching 61 at one point.

KY: Kentucky prepares for ‘grim’ COVID-19 surge

kentucky.com

Community spread of COVID-19 is severe enough in Kentucky that state officials have again begun “surge preparations” if hospital capacity is exhausted, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said.

CO: Colorado COVID-19 hospitalizations could return to April heights next month

denverpost.com

If the coronavirus continues spreading at its current rate over the next few weeks, more Coloradans could be hospitalized by mid-November than at the height of the virus’s spring wave, state officials said. If the virus spreads widely at Thanksgiving gatherings, the number of people who need intensive care could exceed available beds.

NV: Nevada’s average COVID-19 infection rate climbing steadily

apnews.com

Nevada’s rate of coronavirus infections is steadily rising again. But state officials are reluctant to blame relaxed guidelines and say there is no reason yet to consider stricter measures as they point to rates increasing across the country and the world.

TN: Tennessee governor doubles down against mask mandate but urges some mayors to enforce it

tennessean.com

As Tennessee in recent weeks has lost much of the ground gained on its coronavirus outbreak, Republican Gov. Bill Lee doubled down on opposing a statewide mask mandate— instead launching a new ad campaign emphasizing Tennesseans’ “choices” about wearing facial coverings.

FL: Florida governor: School closings ‘off the table’

orlandosentinel.com

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said schools “need to be open” to combat stress. He also encouraged state residents to resume getting routine health screenings to avoid long-term health issues.

NM: New Mexico to add restrictions amid virus spike

abqjournal.com

Restaurants and other businesses in New Mexico will face more stringent requirements — including the possibility of targeted closures — under new public health regulations. The changes come as COVID-19 cases reach record-breaking levels.

GA: Most Georgians won’t know who funded campaigns before they vote

ajc.com

The Georgia ethics commission has moved the deadline to file campaign reports to the eve of the Nov. 3 election, meaning voters will go to the polls having little chance to see who funded the state campaigns they are voting on.

MO: Missouri city removes Civil War marker after council vote

newstribune.com

Crews in Missouri’s capital city removed a controversial Civil War marker less than 12 hours after the Jefferson City Council voted to remove it, following four months of discussion.

VA: Virginia lottery sales surge with new games

richmond.com

The Virginia Lottery is off to a fast start in the race for sales and profits in an unprecedented era of expansion for legal gaming opportunities. The state traditionally had discouraged them.

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