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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/24

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/24

LA, TX: Judge allows Louisiana, Texas to stop Planned Parenthood funding

apnews.com

A federal appeals court ruled that Louisiana and Texas can cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics, a move supported by opponents of legal abortion and opposed by advocates who pointed out it affects a variety of non-abortion health services for low-income women. The case is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

AK: State urges COVID-19 positive Alaskans to do their own contact tracing

adn.com

State health officials issued a new alert urging Alaskans who test positive for COVID-19 to notify their own close contacts due to a surge in new cases that’s strained the state’s ability to keep up with public health contact tracing.

US: DOJ projects to focus on missing, murdered Indigenous peoples

apnews.com

Six states will participate in pilot projects to better coordinate investigative efforts surrounding cases of missing or murdered Indigenous peoples. The U.S. Department of Justice projects created protocols for federal, state and tribal investigative agencies to work together and with victims’ families when jurisdictional boundaries are crossed. The states include Alaska, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon.

IL: Workers strike at 11 nursing homes in Illinois, demanding higher wages and COVID-19 hazard pay 

chicagotribune.com

Nearly 700 nursing home workers went on strike at 11 facilities in Illinois, seeking higher pay and greater protections from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OR: Oregon man foiled in attempts to steal 108 rolls of toilet paper

oregonlive.com

The fear of running out of toilet paper has returned to Oregon and some are turning to nefarious means to secure a share. Exhibit A is what Walla Walla County sheriff’s officials are calling “The Great Toilet Paper Caper of 2020,″ in which they said an Oregon man was thwarted in his attempt to make off with a large amount of TP.

WA: New shutdown expected to cost Washington restaurants $800M

apnews.com

Washington's four-week shutdown of indoor service at restaurants and bars is expected to cost the industry some $800 million. Anthony Anton, chief executive of the Washington Hospitality Association, urged lawmakers from both parties to begin figuring out ways to support restaurants as well as hotels and other hospitality businesses.

MN: Minnesota community colleges losing students during pandemic

startribune.com

Minnesota’s community colleges are bleeding students during the COVID-19 pandemic, a reversal of what has typically occurred during economic downturns. In previous recessions, many who lost their jobs pursued two-year degrees to improve their skills and quickly re-enter the workforce. The pandemic has played out differently, however, with community colleges suffering the most among higher education institutions.

NC: North Carolina governor issues more mask mandates; says state is in ‘dire’ situation

newsobserver.com

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced a new set of mask requirements, calling them the state’s “best weapon” against a “dire” spread of COVID-19. The new guidance says masks should be worn all the time when indoors in public places.

CT: Connecticut legislators expect virtual start to 2021 session 

courant.com

Connecticut’s incoming House speaker said that in the first quarter of the 2021 legislative session, the General Assembly will continue to have Zoom hearings and plenty of social distancing, but by the second quarter, he envisions the legislature could resume normal operations. 

DC: District of Columbia adds tougher coronavirus restrictions as infection rates rise 

washingtonpost.com

District of Columbia Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser announced bans on indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and outdoor groups of more than 25 people. The order, which takes effect Wednesday, also will prohibit live entertainment and indoor exercise classes, although gyms can stay open. 

RI: Staffing shortages hit Rhode Island hospitals as COVID-19 surges 

providencejournal.com

Faced with staffing shortages related to the pandemic and a Dec. 1 target date for the Rhode Island Convention Center field hospital to be ready for possible use, the state’s largest health care system is imploring retired doctors and nurses, medical residents and students, and others to join the cause. 

PA: Pennsylvania counties start to certify election results, despite disinformation

inquirer.com

Pennsylvania counties rushed to certify their results from the Nov. 3 election, even as President Donald Trump and his Republican allies continued their increasingly longshot legal effort to disrupt the cementing of the state’s final vote tally.

NH: Public school enrollment in New Hampshire drops during pandemic

nhpr.org

Fewer students in New Hampshire are attending their neighborhood public school this year, according to new data from the state Department of Education.

ME: New cases in Maine outpace contact tracing efforts

pressherald.com

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that in response to steadily increasing COVID-19 cases, the agency will no longer keep in touch with new positive cases beyond initial contact. Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah explained the pace of new infections is happening faster than they can add staff.

HI: Native Hawaiians among those hardest hit by COVID-19

staradvertiser.com

No ethnic group has been hit harder by the corona­virus pandemic than Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. A group of 10 ethnic and cultural organizations has formed a collective to try to stop the spread of the virus in the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

MS: Mississippi unveils vaccine plan

sunherald.com

Mississippi’s draft plan calls for about 156,500 paid and unpaid workers in health care settings with potentially infectious patients to be vaccinated first. Vaccinations would follow for first responders; food packaging and distribution workers; public school employees and students and those at increased risk from grave illness due to age or underlying medical conditions.

CO: Colorado sees rise of superintendent turnovers

apnews.com

Three of the largest school districts in Colorado are searching for superintendents, which may reflect nationwide struggles to manage parent expectations and teacher concerns amid shrinking budgets exacerbated by the pandemic.

WI: Wisconsin governor, attorney general sue lawmakers over lame-duck laws

jsonline.com

Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul sued Wisconsin lawmakers, bringing a new challenge to a set of lame-duck laws Republicans passed two years ago to curb the two Democrats’ powers. The latest case focuses on a requirement that the legislature’s budget committee sign off on some court settlements negotiated by Kaul.

NY: New York attorney general sues Buffalo diocese over sheltering abusive priests

timesunion.com

New York State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for allegedly covering up systemic child sexual abuse, marking the first major step in her office's two-year investigation of sexual abuse within the Catholic church in New York.

MD: Maryland to step up enforcement of coronavirus restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving

baltimoresun.com

Maryland State Police will send out “high visibility compliance units” to bars and restaurants in selected areas and will work with local police and health officials to enforce pandemic restrictions, which include capacity limits, physical distancing requirements and rules that patrons must be seated to be served.

VT: Vermont college invites high schoolers to design outdoor classrooms

vtdigger.org

Norwich University in Vermont is sponsoring a contest for high school students: Whoever can design the best outdoor classroom will win an $8,000 scholarship to Norwich.

New Life for Obamacare Top State Stories 11/23

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