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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/5

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/5

CA: In California, a million English learners are at risk of intractable education loss

latimes.com

More than 1.1 million students in California, nearly 20%, are considered English learners. By almost every measure of academic success, these students rank among the lowest-achieving groups—and that was before the pandemic forced campus closures. One year later, this massive population of students is at great risk of intractable educational loss, experts said.

HI: New CDC guidance paves the way for Hawaii to implement vaccine passports

civilbeat.org

Guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives Hawaii the green light to modify the program that lets arriving travelers avoid a 10-day quarantine by showing proof of full vaccination. But key details, including how to verify that the travelers have been vaccinated, still must be worked out.

WA: The clock is ticking as Washington lawmakers consider new drug possession law

seattletimes.com

Following the state Supreme Court’s decision in February that struck down Washington’s drug possession statute, some Republicans, joined by a handful of Democrats, have put forth bills to restore the felony drug-possession statute in a way that might pass constitutional muster.

FL: Florida's pop-up vaccine clinics at country clubs raise concerns

heraldtribune.com

For some lucky Floridians, vaccination was as easy as hopping in a golf cart. Pop-up clinics offering exclusive access sprouted at country clubs across the state. 

SD: South Dakota law makes it more expensive for women to make maiden name middle name

rapidcityjournal.com

A new South Dakota law passed with overwhelming support from lawmakers compels women who want their maiden name to become their middle name after getting married to pay more than $70 in fees, publish the change in a newspaper and appear in court.

IL: Ballot drop boxes and curbside voting are now allowed for all Illinois elections

chicagotribune.com

A bill that would allow secure ballot drop boxes and curbside voting to become permanent fixtures in Illinois elections was signed into law by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The measure, which takes effect immediately, passed both chambers of the General Assembly last month.

OR: Oregon lawmakers could strip state of unilateral power to conceal COVID-19 data

oregonlive.com

Oregon legislators could force the state’s leading health agency to be more transparent by neutering a law that allows officials to conceal health information. Sen. Michael Dembrow, a Democrat, said Oregon has far too often erred on the side of secrecy in its application of the law.

WI: Wisconsin governor includes millions of dollars in climate change initiatives in budget

jsonline.com

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is hoping to fight back against the effects of climate change on Wisconsin through millions of dollars for initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy and help communities prepare for extreme weather events. 

CO: Colorado health officials explore idea of vaccine passports

denverpost.com

As of now, there is no Colorado vaccine passport program. But local public health experts said it’s likely they’ll see such initiatives in the coming months.

NV: Nevada bill would help individuals who were incarcerated reintegrate into society, starting with ID cards

lasvegassun.com

A Nevada bill calls for the Department of Corrections to work with the Department of Motor Vehicles to hand out standard ID cards or driver’s licenses before prison sentences expire. Without identification, finding work is virtually impossible.

TX: More Texans face eviction

texastribune.org

Texans behind on their rent are at risk of losing their homes despite a federal moratorium on evictions. A state court order aimed at forestalling evictions has expired.

MI: Michigan schools face virus outbreaks

mlive.com

The outbreaks are forcing Michigan schools to consider unpopular decisions such as reverting to virtual learning or pausing sports. 

IA: Iowa governor signs law allowing permitless handgun carry, purchase

desmoinesregiser.com

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a law allowing people to buy and carry handguns in Iowa without a permit, fulfilling a longtime goal of gun rights advocates.

IN: Indiana bill on wind, solar standards takes a '180 degree turn'

indystar.com

A bill that would have overridden local ordinances that restrict or prohibit wind power in Indiana has taken a “180-degree turn” after pushback from local officials. While the measure would establish statewide standards for how close wind and solar projects can be to other properties, a new amendment would allow local governments to maintain restrictive ordinances. 

DE: Delaware prisons are speeding up access to vaccines

delawarepublic.org

The Delaware Department of Correction reports all inmates over 60 who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine received one.

AZ: Arizona proposal to combat problem vacation-rental homes defeated

azcentral.com

A proposal that would have given cities and towns more tools to combat nuisance vacation-rental homes, a controversial subject in the state the past five years, was defeated by lawmakers at the Arizona Capitol. In 2016, lawmakers passed and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a measure that prohibited cities and towns from enacting additional regulation on vacation rentals offered by companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo.

KS: Kansas town claims BP gouged on gas in February freeze

kansas.com

This tiny and hard-to-find Kansas town is taking on one of the biggest energy companies on the planet, over February natural gas bills they say would bankrupt the city, the residents, or both.

ID: Idaho governor wants $80M per year to address congested roads

idahostatesman.com

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, pointed to anticipated congestion on highway systems as he toured the state last week to make a case for more transportation investments, highlighting the travel delays drivers would see if the state doesn’t act soon. Little said the current version of a transportation bill doesn’t provide the state with enough money.

MS: Mississippi's legislative session will be remembered for the bills that didn't pass

mississippitoday.org

Mississippi's just-completed 2021 legislative session might be remembered more for bills that were not passed than for those that were. Both Medicaid expansion to cover primarily the working poor and the proposed Tax Freedom Act would have been among the most impactful legislation for the state of Mississippi in decades if they had passed.

WY: Wyoming takes a second shot at pandemic assistance

trib.com

The Wyoming Community Development Authority distributed just 11.5% of the money it received to help renters and mortgage holders erase debts in 2020. The Department of Family Services will now run a wider-reaching version of the program.

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