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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/7

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/7

AR: Arkansas adopts array of abortion restrictions

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas enacted 20 additional restrictions on abortion during this year’s legislative session, more than any other state. The new laws include a ban on abortions except when the life or health of the mother is in danger—which is being challenged in court—as well as new requirements around abortion facilities, medication abortions and the reporting of rape and incest.

NJ: Senior managers at New Jersey veterans homes misappropriated COVID hazard pay

wsj.com

Eight of the nine senior managers who earned too much to qualify for pandemic-related hazard pay at New Jersey’s state-run veterans nursing homes received it anyway, according to records obtained by The Wall Street Journal. The records show that the state veterans affairs agency misappropriated federal COVID-19 relief funds.

KS: Evictions went on in Kansas despite ban

kansas.com

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order banning evictions in Kansas ended last week, but community aid and tenant advocacy groups said they don’t expect a statewide spike in evictions. That’s partially because formal and informal displacements have continued throughout the pandemic.

MT: Montana’s session reflects issues critical to conservative think tanks

montanafreepress.org

Montana GOP Republican legislators this session tackled voting rights, transgender restrictions, emergency powers and free speech—issues that groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity have pushed nationwide with model bills.

NC: North Carolina county bans Coca-Cola machines after company opposes Georgia voting law

cbsnews.com

Surry County officials in North Carolina have approved a ban on Coca-Cola vending machines in its government buildings, in protest of the Georgia-based company's recent opposition to that state's new voting law.

UT: Utah suspects have been bitten by police dogs when they appear to be surrendering

sltrib.com

The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13analyzed 39 body camera videos from the three largest police departments in Utah’s Salt Lake County. In 20% of those videos, suspects had their hands up or were facedown when they were bitten. A majority of those involved Salt Lake City police.

WA: Washington rolls out new tool to predict wildfire smoke

crosscut.com

Washington's new five-day automated smoke forecast is accessible as part of the Department of Ecology’s online smoke map. Users can anticipate average daily air quality conditions in 53 separate zones across the state, each pegged to real-time air quality monitors.

NH: Gun background check bill passes New Hampshire House

apnews.com

A bill that would eliminate New Hampshire’s role in conducting background checks for those purchasing handguns is headed to the governor’s desk. The state House approved legislation that would abolish the state police “gun line,” and instead put the FBI solely in charge of performing background checks using the National Information Criminal Background System.

AK: With pandemic shift to remote jobs, some seek Alaska's unique appeal

adn.com

While Alaska hasn’t seen the same boom as some places in the Lower 48, where remote workers flooded vacation destinations in droves, a smattering of people have found the state an ideal place to settle. The most common critique among workers was the expensive yet comparatively slow internet in Alaska.

KY: Kentucky governor announces cash, scholarship drawings for vaccinated

kentucky.com

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that three $1 million cash prizes and 15 full scholarships to Kentucky schools will be awarded by drawing to vaccinated Kentucky residents in July and August.

MO: Missouri faces 2nd lawsuit over its failure to fund Medicaid expansion

stltoday.com

Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is facing a new lawsuit in the fight over Medicaid expansion in Missouri. The two St. Louis-area residents who filed a lawsuit are asking a judge to include their litigation with a previously filed lawsuit set to get underway June 18.

FL: Florida health department ends daily COVID-19 reports

orlandosentinel.com

The Florida Department of Health is ending its daily coronavirus reports used by health experts, doctors and the media to track COVID-19 infections and deaths, turning to a weekly summary of the pandemic’s impact.

NY: Masks will remain in New York public schools—for now

timesunion.com

Despite an announcement from the New York Health Department saying masks would no longer be required in schools, the state Education Department has told school board presidents across New York that masks are still the rule—for now.

CT: Legal weed deal reached between governor, Connecticut lawmakers

courant.com

After five years, Connecticut lawmakers have reached a wide-ranging compromise on legalizing recreational marijuana that Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont will sign if passed by the legislature. Final approval, however, remains uncertain because the measure requires votes by the House and Senate as they face adjournment later this week. 

IL: Illinois governor signs into law new maps for legislature, state Supreme Court

chicagotribune.com

Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who as a candidate vowed to veto any partisan redistricting plan for the legislature, signed into law new partisan-drawn districts for the General Assembly and state Supreme Court designed to maintain his party’s control in Illinois. 

CO: Colorado lawmakers change school funding to boost resources for low-income students

cpr.org

Colorado lawmakers have proposed a permanent change in the allocation formula in the state’s annual school funding bill—it would send more money to districts to teach students who come from low-income families or who are English language learners. The School Finance Act also would restore funding to grant programs that were cut last year.

WY: Wyoming governor: No special session for COVID funds this summer

cowboystatedaily.com

There will be no special legislative session this summer for the Wyoming legislature to decide how to spend federal coronavirus funds, Republican Gov. Mark Gordon announced. Gordon and legislative leaders said that instead, they will work with a special “strike team” formed by Gordon to develop a plan on how to best spend the money.

OR: Pandemic strains Oregonians with addictions

oregonlive.com

Oregonians with drug or alcohol addictions have been particularly vulnerable to the pandemic's effects, in some cases struggling to keep up an already difficult recovery process. A spike in relapses and overdose deaths, experts say, has been the predictable outcome.

MI: Conservation corridor planned for Michigan's western Upper Peninsula

apnews.com

A conservation corridor with links to existing protected areas is planned for a remote region in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula. The expansion will create a mostly contiguous 19,000 acres of conserved forestland when combined with neighboring Craig Lake State Park.

RI: Rhode Island opens its first drive-thru COVID vaccination clinic

turnto10.com

Rhode Island took another step toward making COVID-19 vaccines even easier to get by setting up its first drive-thru vaccination clinic over the weekend. The Rhode Island Department of Health collaborated with the town of Smithfield and Fidelity Investments to set up the clinic.

Movement to Ban 'Puppy Mill' Dogs in Pet Stores Gains Steam Third-Grade Retention
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