What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/10
ME: Maine announces penalties for hospitals that break vaccine rules
Maine health officials said they will take vaccines away from hospitals that violate guidelines. Some providers vaccinated contractors or donors who were not yet eligible.
CA: California prison employees resist vaccine
California prison staff have been reluctant to get vaccinated, according to testimony from a senior state official at a legislative hearing. Only half support immediate vaccination.
DE: Delaware delays vaccine rollout, focuses on second doses
More than 10% of Delawareans have received the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, putting the state among the top states in vaccine distribution. But Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, says Delaware is still not getting enough vaccines.
PA: Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout leaves out Latinos
Pennsylvania’s map of vaccine providers—which includes information on how and where to book coveted appointments—appears only in English. And a Spanish fact sheet on the vaccine hasn’t been updated since late December.
NY: Engineer builds better New York vaccine app
In less than two weeks, a software engineer created and launched a website that compiles vaccine availability data from city and state New York systems and sends the information to Twitter. It cost less than $50 to build and offers an easier way to spot appointments than official systems.
MS: Mississippi pushes to OK college athletes' earnings
Mississippi legislators are pushing proposals that would let college athletes earn money from their own names or images. Legislative leaders say the state’s universities and College Board support the proposals to help the schools compete for athletic talent.
TN: Tennessee’s economic rebound allows more rainy day savings
Tennessee's economy proved resilient as the state recorded significant growth in tax revenue over the past year, contrasting with previous projections of budgetary shortfalls amid the coronavirus pandemic.
FL: Trump’s Florida neighbors fail to evict him
Voters evicted Donald Trump from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but efforts by Palm Beach, Florida, townsfolk to prohibit him from living at Mar-a-Lago may be coming up short. A town attorney agreed he has a right to live there despite its status as a private club.
MD: Maryland manufacturers push for mass vaccinations
The manufacturers say they are working with the state health department to have mass vaccination sites ready for 3,000 industry workers after health workers and teachers are vaccinated.
KS: Kansas governor offers rival tax plan
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly denounced a Republican plan for cutting Kansas income taxes as “unthinkable” during the COVID-19 pandemic and proposed an alternative that would pay for the state’s relief by taxing streaming services.
OK: Vaccine mega-sites now in doubt for Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Department of Health said it appears unlikely the federal government will supply the additional vaccines needed to operate the clinics, which were expected to distribute at least 6,000 doses a day.
NJ: New Jersey health plan enrollment grows
Whether they came for the premium discounts or because they had lost their jobs in the pandemic-driven recession, 75,000 new New Jerseyans signed up for health coverage this year using the state’s new online marketplace.
HI: Supply shortage slows vaccinations in Hawaii
Hawaii’s mass COVID-19 immunization sites are putting the brakes on new appointments, at least for the next few weeks, as vaccine supplies remain limited across the country. The state health department anticipates 41,700 doses will arrive in the islands this week.
MI: Michigan’s top GOP lawmaker called Capitol riot a ‘hoax’
Michigan Senate Majority leader Mike Shirkey falsely claimed in a political meeting that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was “staged” and a “hoax.” Shirkey later apologized for the remark made to Hillsdale County Republican leaders.
RI: Rhode Island lawmakers again propose plastic bag ban
Legislators in Rhode Island once again have introduced a measure that aims to prohibit retailers from providing single-use plastic checkout bags to customers. Despite the lack of action on the issue at the state level in recent years, about half of Rhode Island’s population is already subject to a bag ban.
MT: Montana lawmakers eye ways to cut health care costs
Montana lawmakers are considering bills that offer residents lower-cost ways to meet their health care needs, some outside traditional, regulated insurance plans.
VT: Vermont plans to help meat processors expand
Vermont’s Department of Agriculture aims to raise capacity at slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities 25% from by 2030. Vermont beef farmers have been reporting a processing backlog for years.
NC: North Carolinians express increased willingness to get vaccinated
North Carolinians are increasingly interested in getting vaccinated against COVID-19, a recent poll shows. Still, around one-fourth are not sure.
AK: Alaska gets rent, utility help
Alaska renters can soon apply for up to 12 months of rent and utility assistance as millions of dollars in federal pandemic relief money becomes available. Three organizations received a total of more than $200 million in federal relief money for rental assistance.
GA: Bipartisan Georgia bill would narrow absentee ballot access
The deadline for Georgia voters to request absentee ballots would be moved back to 10 days before election day under a bill with bipartisan support. It doesn’t make exceptions for last-minute emergencies.
MA: Massachusetts’ vaccination efforts improve
After weeks of missteps that left frustrated residents struggling to sign up for COVID-19 shots, there are increasing signs the Massachusetts vaccination campaign is picking up speed.