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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/11

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/11

CA: California governor promises additional stimulus checks and $5B toward rental assistance

latimes.com

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks to hasten California’s recovery from the pandemic, hoping to expand the payments to include middle-class families as well as low-income residents, and noting that doing so would ensure benefits for 2 out of 3 state residents.

FL: Florida governor broadens ban on local gun regulations

tampabay.com

Amid a legal battle that could be decided by the Florida Supreme Court, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure that will ratchet up a ban on local gun regulations. The measure, which will take effect July 1, will broaden a 2011 law that can make local governments pay as much as $100,000 in damages if they are sued for imposing gun regulations.

NC: North Carolina governor declares state of emergency, halts vehicle fuel regulations

wlos.com

In light of the recent cybersecurity attack that temporarily shut down one of the largest pipelines in the United States, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina.

US: US schools fight to keep students amid fear of dropout surge

apnews.com

U.S. educators are doing everything they can to track down high school students who stopped showing up to classes and to help them get the credits needed to graduate, amid an anticipated surge in the country’s dropout rate during the coronavirus pandemic.

NJ: Get ready for a ‘Jersey style’ fight if New York City enacts plan to tax drivers, legislators warn

nj.com

A “Jersey-style” fight that federal and state legislators threatened against New York City’s congestion pricing plan—that would charge drivers a fee up to $3,000 in addition to tolls to drive in lower Manhattan—looks like it’s on. Three New Jersey state lawmakers vowed to introduce legislation that would tax out-of-state drivers entering the state on Port Authority bridges and tunnels.

TX: Texas House OKs bill that would curb governor’s and local leaders’ powers in a pandemic

dallasnews.com

The Republican-led Texas House voted 92-45 to curb the governor’s power during a pandemic and to limit both state and local leaders’ ability to shutter businesses or mandate face coverings. The sweeping legislation still needs a final vote in the chamber before going to the Senate. 

TN: Tennessee scraps $123M prison contract

tennessean.com

Tennessee will abandon a $123 million contract that would have provided mental health care in prisons after evidence surfaced that a top state official privately shared internal documents with the winning bidder. The decision was announced more than a month after the Tennessean first disclosed private emails between the state official and the health care giant Centurion.

ME: Maine Republicans eye 5-year mandatory COVID-19 vaccine ban

apnews.com

A proposal from a group of Maine Republicans that would ban mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for five years is up for consideration by a legislative committee this week.

CO: Colorado Democrats shelve effort to impose a gun-purchase waiting period

coloradosun.com

The legislation was set aside so that Colorado lawmakers could focus on other pending gun-control bills at the Capitol. They were also still working out the bill language and didn’t feel there was enough time left in the 2021 lawmaking term to finalize the policy.

WA: Washington's new capital gains tax faces legal test

spokesman.com

In the past century, the Washington Supreme Court ruled an income tax unconstitutional, and voters have continued to strike down proposals to implement one. Opponents of the capital gains tax say it is a type of income tax, and therefore unconstitutional, but supporters say the final capital gains proposal will hold up in court.

GA: Georgia governor nixes ‘state labor officer’ measure aimed at speeding up jobless claims

ajc.com

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp vetoed a measure that would have weakened the state labor commissioner by creating a new post tasked with prodding the department to speed up processing unemployment benefit requests from jobless Georgians.

MI: Michigan hits first vaccine benchmark in reopening plan

freep.com

Michigan met its first vaccination benchmark in the plan that ties rolling back COVID-19 restrictions to residents getting their first dose of a vaccine. Michigan remains the worst COVID-19 hot spot in the country, but all workplaces will now be allowed to resume in-person work on May 24. 

ND: North Dakota governor announces end to federal employment aid

apnews.com

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, is one of the latest state leaders to announce an end to the federal government unemployment programs on June 19. Burgum said ceasing participation in the programs will help address the ongoing workforce shortage. In April, the state had more than 16,000 job openings, about 50% higher than the same period in 2020.

RI: Rhode Island sees $300M revenue windfall

providencejournal.com

Rhode Island, like many state governments emerging from the pandemic, is flush with cash. Even before accounting for the more than $1 billion in federal pandemic aid, state fiscal analysts revised state revenues upward for this year and next by more than $300 million.

DC: Washington, DC, will remove capacity, activity restrictions for most businesses by May 21

washingtonpost.com

Restrictions on bars and nightclubs, large entertainment venues and sports arenas in Washington, D.C., will remain in place another three weeks, but will be lifted June 11, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference. Masks will still be required indoors.

NY: New York State universities will require COVID vaccines for all students in the fall

timesunion.com

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said State University of New York campuses will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students starting in the fall semester. The policy will also apply to the City University of New York, and Cuomo said he would encourage private colleges to adopt it as well.

MS: Mississippi governor announces end to $300 unemployment stipend

mississippitoday.org

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves announced the state will end the pandemic-related unemployment program in early June after the state House speaker called on Reeves to enforce job-search requirements or end the program.

UT: Utah’s former budget chief gets $350,000 in state funds, plus teaching position

sltrib.com

The former head of an influential Utah budget office has landed more than $350,000 in public funding to launch a new program—and has carved out a full-time position for herself—at the University of Utah. A university spokesperson said the funding wasn’t on the school’s initial list of state funding requests for the lawmaking session. 

WI: Wisconsin judge keeps in place ruling that blocks GOP contracts with redistricting lawyers

jsonline.com

A Wisconsin judge kept in place his decision barring Republican lawmakers from hiring attorneys in anticipation of a lawsuit over congressional and legislative districts. A Dane County circuit court judge late last month dissolved two contracts between legislators and their lawyers after he found state law did not allow them to hire the attorneys yet because no redistricting lawsuit has been filed.

AL: Alabama will end pandemic-related unemployment programs

al.com

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, announced the state will cease federal pandemic unemployment programs on June 19, citing a labor shortage.

Cash Transactions $350B Heads to States Cities for COVID Relief
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