Alaska will become the first state in the country to open COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 16 and older, capping a swift rollout of the shots that’s capitalized on tens of thousands of extra doses shipped to and administered by tribal health care providers. The change is effective immediately, and anyone who lives or works in Alaska is eligible.
Pandemic-battered New Yorkers owe $1.14 billion in unpaid gas and electric bills, suggesting that the statewide moratorium on cutoffs will likely have to continue for the foreseeable future. As of December, there were approximately 1.4 million accounts in arrears, or more than 60 days past due.
A bill that would make Hawaii’s income tax the highest in the nation passed the full Senate by a near unanimous vote. The measure would impose a 16% tax on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year, up from 11%, along with increases to the capital gains tax, corporate tax and taxes on high-end real estate sales.
Oklahoma’s GOP-controlled legislature this year is doubling down on its support for local law enforcement. Some Republican legislators have also introduced measures to limit protests, including several bills that seek to protect drivers who hit protesters.
Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a near-total ban on abortions that will allow the procedure only to protect the life or health of the mother. The decision to sign enshrines one of the most-restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation and is virtually assured to prompt a legal challenge.
A pilot program between Florida and the federal government to boost the number of minority and low-income people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations may not be reaching the people it was designed to help—and it is exposing limitations in Florida’s vaccination eligibility restrictions.
California is making it easier for people to get COVID-19 vaccines by volunteering at COVID-19 vaccine clinics. The state launched a volunteer page on its My Turn vaccination scheduling system last week to streamline the process for medical providers and the general public to volunteer.
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan eased several coronavirus restrictions in the state, including lifting all capacity limits at restaurants and opening large indoor and outdoor venues at 50% capacity, while keeping in effect the state’s mask mandate.
Officials from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said that starting no later than March 15, the vaccine will be available to people ages 55 to 64 for a two-week period, and vaccine eligibility will then open no later than March 29 to people ages 45 to 54 for a two-week period.
With Alabama trailing most of the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations, National Guard troops will begin work later this month administering doses in at least 24 rural counties, the state said.
Time and again from testing to reporting confirmed cases, and now vaccine administration—Pennsylvania health authorities have taken a reactive approach to collecting race and ethnicity data, rather than ensuring and enforcing collection from the start.
Washington lawmakers are considering a climate change package that would give Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, greenhouse-gas policies that have eluded him in his first two terms in office. This could include a clean fuels standard, a cap-and-trade program and funding for transportation.
Democratic lawmakers are preparing to introduce a substantial energy policy bill that would mark one of Nevada’s largest investments in electric vehicle infrastructure by requiring NV Energy to spend $100 million over the next three years to construct charging stations throughout the state.
Colorado’s Democrat-controlled House has advanced legislation that would require firearms to be securely stored to prevent unauthorized youth and other persons from accessing them. The 40-25 vote, virtually along party lines, came after Democrats rejected efforts by Republican lawmakers to modify the measure.
A bipartisan bill aimed at increasing police accountability and enacting criminal justice reform advanced with unanimous support from a key Indiana Senate committee. The state House passed the measure unanimously last month.
Republicans in the Arizona Senate approved a measure that would require voters to include identification paperwork with their mailed ballots, insisting their motives aren't racist as Democrats contended the measure would have an outsized impact on voters of color.
An organization representing Iowa’s Hispanic voters filed a lawsuit challenging new restrictions on voting in the state, a day after Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the measure into law.
Restaurants and bars would be allowed to continue to sell alcohol via curbside pickup and to deliver it to customers’ homes under a proposal in the Vermont House. The bill would extend a provision in Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s emergency order that allows vendors to sell alcohol for “off-premises consumption.”
Retail stores selling marijuana for recreational use could begin dotting the landscape across Rhode Island by April 2022, if a Senate bill introduced Tuesday is passed. The measure also would create a new Cannabis Control Commission that would oversee all aspects of this new economy.
Lobbyists’ spending in New Jersey topped $105 million, up 3.4% from 2019, which set the previous record. Jeff Brindle, executive director of the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission, connected the spending to the coronavirus pandemic, pointing out that about 40% of the bills lawmakers took up last year centered on the virus.
The Wyoming House of Representatives defeated a bill that would have legalized online sports wagering and fantasy sports contests. While the effort could have begun to regulate a market the Wyoming Gaming Commission estimates could be as large as $449 million, some legislators argued that legalizing online sports wagering could damage people’s lives.
In another sign of a return to normalcy in Massachusetts public schools, thousands of middle school students will be back in class for full-time learning at the end of next month, the state’s top education official announced.
The bill, which cleared a Tennessee House subcommittee, would require public schools to accommodate students unwilling or unable to access multi-occupancy bathrooms, locker rooms, shower rooms and sleeping quarters for any reason.