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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/12

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/12

GA: Georgia suspends state gas tax amid Colonial Pipeline outage

ajc.com

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order that will suspend the state’s gas tax through Saturday after the shutdown of Colonial Pipeline’s network led to a rise in fuel prices and shortages in some parts of Georgia.

AZ: Arizona governor signs divisive election bill

azcapitoltimes.com

A bill that could potentially remove thousands of registered voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List passed the Arizona Senate on a 16-14 party-line vote, following a roller-coaster few months in the legislature that saw it appear to die twice. It took Republican Gov. Doug Ducey less than one hour to sign what some are calling the most controversial bill to reach his desk in six years.

CT: Connecticut governor calls on National Guard for help with a potential nursing home strike

courant.com

Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont is asking the National Guard to help ensure the safety of residents in the face of a possible strike by workers at 33 nursing homes later this week. The showdown pits an industry devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic against the low-wage employees who have had to provide care as the virus raced through their workplaces.

FL: Florida families will get more school vouchers

miamiherald.com

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a $200 million school choice plan that will pave the way for about 61,000 new students to become eligible for taxpayer-funded vouchers that will help families pay for private tuition and other education expenses.

CA: California governor wants to spend billions to fight homelessness

sacbee.com

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, proposed spending $12 billion on affordable housing units and prevention services to help solve homelessness as part of his $100 billion COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

VA: Virginia declares state of emergency after Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

nbcwashington.com

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order addressing gas supply distribution after a cyberattack shut down the Colonial Pipeline system, which is the primary fuel source for many Virginia gas stations.

SC: South Carolina governor says schools, local governments may no longer impose mask mandates

thestate.com

In a decision with wide-ranging political and public health implications for jurisdictions across South Carolina, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order preventing school districts and local governments from requiring students and residents to wear facial coverings.

WA: Washington won't mandate vaccines in schools

seattletimes.com

Washington officials who oversee the state’s immunization policies in schools won’t consider a requirement to mandate COVID-19 vaccines in schoolchildren until a vaccine is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

NV: Nevada governor pitches state infrastructure bank, $75M investment

mynews4.com

Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak pitched Nevada lawmakers on his plan to create a state infrastructure bank and allocate $75 million to kickstart new projects.

AK: Alaska House passes budget

alaskapublic.org

The Alaska House of Representatives passed the state’s operating budget bill, which includes most of what Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed for state agencies but doesn’t include funding for permanent fund dividends. It appears Alaska will receive roughly $200 million less in federal COVID-19 relief this year than House members planned, raising a potential new budget problem.

US: 19 GOP governors sign letter blaming Biden for border crisis

sltrib.com

Nineteen Republican governors have signed a joint letter blaming the Biden administration for the crisis at the southern border and calling for immediate action. The letter comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported a surge in border crossings, with some 172,000 people taken into custody in March.

WI: Wisconsin receives $700M less than expected from federal stimulus

jsonline.com

An estimate from the Congressional Research Service at the time of the American Rescue Plan's passage projected that Wisconsin would get $3.2 billion in state recovery funds. But under the allocation announced by the U.S. Treasury Department, Wisconsin will receive $2.5 billion in funds—and the money is set to be sent in two payments one year apart, news Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin called "problematic."

MI: Michigan Senate approves billions in budget bills

freep.com

Michigan senators supported a series of bills that would allocate billions of dollars toward dozens of state departments and agencies. In total, all of the measures would dole out about $900 million less combined than the roughly $67 billion budget suggested by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.

NH: New Hampshire Supreme Court rules state violated rights of mentally ill boarded in emergency rooms

unionleader.com

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that the state violated the rights of a psychiatric patient when it missed deadlines written into state law that guarantee rights of people who are admitted to psychiatric hospitals against their will.

TX: Number of Texas foster children without placement rises

dallasnews.com

As the number of Texas foster children without suitable placements keeps spiraling, the state’s lead contractor in San Antonio has quit and the top leader at Child Protective Services is telling lawmakers something they don’t want to hear—state foster care rates are “insufficient.”

OH: New Ohio law allows falconers to use owls for hunting

cleveland.com

Ohio falconers will soon be allowed to use owls to hunt for small game, under legislation signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine. Under the law, which takes effect in 90 days, the 110 or so Ohioans with a state-issued falconry permit can use owls for hunting animals such as rabbits and squirrels.

AL: Alabama broadband grants could be ‘game changer’ for families, businesses

al.com

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, announced that the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund awarded 36 grants worth $17 million to expand broadband access to rural areas throughout the state.

TN: Tennessee governor opts out of $300 federal unemployment supplement, other programs

tennessean.com

The decision by Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Lee comes as many Republicans argue that federal aid has dissuaded many low-wage workers from going back to jobs. Tennessee also is ending its participation in federal programs that have allowed those who don't usually qualify for benefits, such as the self-employed, to receive them.

PA: Pennsylvania COVID restrictions ease everywhere except Philly

inquirer.com

Pennsylvania will lift its coronavirus mitigation measures on Memorial Day, state officials announced, marking a milestone in the pandemic recovery and freeing businesses and patrons to prepare to fill restaurants, bars and stores for the first time in more than a year. Philadelphia, however, will not follow suit.

LA: Louisiana bill would create fund to support the socioeconomic well-being of rural areas

theadvocate.com

The Louisiana House Appropriations Committee passed a bill that would create the Rural Development Fund to support the health, education and infrastructure of the rural population. The fund would expand the work of The Office of Rural Development by adding components to its program including broadband connectivity, water quality and sewer treatment.

CO: Real estate frenzy prices out locals in Colorado mountain towns

coloradosun.com

Homes in Colorado’s resort communities are selling for eye-popping prices. Ultra-wealthy buyers, flush with 2020 stock market millions and the recognition they don’t need to be in an office, are flocking to mountain communities. Prices are at all-time highs while supplies of homes are at all-time lows.

UT: Thousands of Utahns miss their 2nd COVID vaccine doses

sltrib.com

More than 70,000 Utahns have missed their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine, state health officials said. Patients who shared their reasoning for skipping shots with The Salt Lake Tribune said they were concerned about the side effects of the vaccines. 

MO: Missouri governor says pandemic jobless benefits will end next month

stltoday.com

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson said the state will stop participating in all federal pandemic unemployment programs, including one offering a $300-per-week boost to regular state benefits, after the week ending June 12. Programs that extended benefits to gig workers and the self-employed will also end.

 

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