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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/8

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/8

US: 36 states, DC sue Google for alleged antitrust violations in Android app store

politico.com

A group of 36 states and Washington, D.C., sued Google in an antitrust case challenging the company’s control over its Android app store—opening a new front in regulators’ attempts to rein in the search giant.

OH: New Ohio law could be used to block state voter-outreach programs, activists fear

cleveland.com

A new law signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine could be used to block Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose or his successors from partnering with private groups for routine voter-outreach programs, voting-rights activists fear.

HI: Hawaii’s travel rules are ending but restrictions on other businesses persist

civilbeat.org

Hawaii moved a step closer to reopening by letting tourists sidestep COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements by showing proof of vaccination, but numerous businesses are still suffering from restrictions designed to stop the spread of the virus.

GA: Judge rejects attempt to stop parts of Georgia voting law

ajc.com

A federal judge denied an effort to invalidate parts of Georgia’s voting law, the first court ruling upholding new rules passed after last year’s elections.

CO: New data privacy law lets Coloradans choose whether companies collect information

denverpost.com

The new Colorado law will allow people to opt out of data collection on websites and require companies to make clear three things: what data they collect, what they do with the data and how long they keep it. There are some exceptions for financial institutions, and regulations will differ depending on the size of the company.

AZ: Arizona argues unsigned ballots should be invalid

azcapitoltimes.com

An attorney for Arizona asked a federal appeals court to let the state refuse to count early ballots that voters forgot to sign initially and did not fix by election night. The current law allows ballots to be corrected up to five days after the election.

MO: Missouri governor signs limits on pandemic lawsuits into law

stltoday.com

Against the backdrop of a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases in Missouri, Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed a law designed to shield businesses and churches from pandemic-related lawsuits. The legislation exempts business owners from criminal or civil liability unless they intentionally expose people to a contagious illness such as COVID-19. 

MT: Federal spending drives Montana budget

montanafreepress.org

Montana state lawmakers approved $16 billion in spending this year. More than half is coming from federal coffers.

OR: Oregon governor orders agencies to stop watering lawns

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, issued an executive order directing state agencies to stop watering the lawns and washing the windows at their offices and facilities amid an ongoing drought emergency.

MI: Thousands of vaccinated Michiganders miss out on $5M sweepstakes

freep.com

People who volunteered for clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines and got their first dose before Dec. 1 are out of luck when it comes to Michigan's new MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes. That's because the rules of the contest say only Michigan residents who got the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 1, 2020 or later are eligible.

NY: Inspector general won’t reopen leak case against New York governor

timesunion.com

Despite recent statements appearing to confirm that information was illegally leaked to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state inspector general’s office is declining a request by commissioners on a state ethics panel to reopen an investigation into the matter.

PA: A funding boost for the office that exposes Pennsylvania puppy mills stalled again

inquirer.com

Partisan divides are stymieing legislation that would boost funding for the Pennsylvania bureau tasked with exposing puppy mills and handling dangerous dogs, potentially endangering the state’s ability to enforce tougher animal cruelty laws.

TX: Texas governor outlines special legislative session agenda

texastribune.org

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the agenda for the special legislative session, asking Texas lawmakers to prioritize 11 issues that largely appeal to conservatives who wanted more out of the regular session. This includes voting restrictions, critical race theory and rules for transgender student athletes.

WY: Wyoming governor plans to offer support to governors of US-Mexico border states

trib.com

Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, announced Wyoming is working toward offering support to the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona “in their efforts to secure the United States-Mexico border.”

KS: Kansas attorney general will appeal ruling blocking ban on abortion procedure

kansascity.com

As he works to attract Republican voters ahead of the August 2022 gubernatorial primary, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced that he will appeal a recent decision striking down a ban on a specialized abortion procedure.

WA: Washington court rules in favor of conservation groups in fight over cattle lots and groundwater

knkx.org

It’s back to the drawing board for state regulators, after the Washington Court of Appeals ordered the Department of Ecology to rework permits for confined animal feeding operations. A panel of judges ruled that current waste discharge permits don’t adequately protect groundwater and don’t take climate change into account.

WV: West Virginia kids can get hunting, fishing licenses at reduced cost

apnews.com

Lifetime hunting and fishing licenses for West Virginia residents ages 15 and younger are now available at a reduced price. The new tiered pricing program was made possible by legislation signed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice.

NH: New Hampshire courts will upload records to cloud

unionleader.com

Picking up where the COVID-19 pandemic left off, the New Hampshire court system announced it will move to a cloud-based system to handle documentation, including evidence, in court hearings.

IA: Iowa COVID hospitalizations tick up as officials warn of delta variant

desmoinesregister.com

The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 is ticking up, though the raw numbers are close to what they were at the start of the pandemic last year. The uptick in hospitalizations comes as public health officials warn that the more transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading in Iowa.

US: USDA offers $307M for rural water projects for states

apnews.com

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue up to $307 million in grants and low-interest loans in an effort to modernize rural water infrastructure, officials announced. The programs are aimed at towns with less than 10,000 people in 34 states and the territory of Puerto Rico.

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