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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/9

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/9

US: Four state attorneys general launch inquiry into party fundraising tactics

nytimes.com

State attorneys general from Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota and New York have begun looking into the online fundraising practices of the two major political parties, specifically seeking information about the use of prechecked boxes to enroll contributors in recurring donation programs that spurred a wave of fraud complaints and demands for refunds last year. 

CA: Governor asks all Californians to voluntarily reduce water usage

latimes.com

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking Californians to voluntarily cut back on water consumption by 15% compared with last year as drought conditions worsen and temperatures continue to rise across the West. The governor also expanded his regional drought state of emergency to apply to 50 California counties, or roughly 42% of the state’s population.

MI: Michigan attorney general will investigate people peddling election lies

freep.com

Michigan’s chief law enforcement officer, along with state police, will launch an investigation into people who have allegedly peddled disinformation about the state’s Nov. 3 election for their own financial gain.

PA: A Pennsylvania Republican’s push for another vote audit is a ‘disgrace,’ governor says

inquirer.com

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf called it a “disgrace to democracy” that a Republican state lawmaker is trying to launch what he calls a “forensic investigation” of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election, similar to the widely criticized partisan review in Arizona.

TX: Texas power companies seek to pass storm prep costs onto consumers

houstonchronicle.com

In recent filings with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, several large electric generation companies have said that residents should cover the cost of weather-proofing their equipment to meet the requirements of a new state law intended to strengthen an energy grid that failed during a week of sub-freezing temperatures.

OR: Oregon adopts emergency rules to protect workers in extreme heat

oregonlive.com

Oregon will require employers to provide workers with cooldown breaks and better access to shade and cold water on hot days under new emergency workplace rules. 

ID: 3 Idaho health care providers will require COVID vaccines of workers

apnews.com

Three of Idaho’s largest medical care providers will require COVID-19 vaccines for eligible employees. 

LA: State university board asks Louisiana to require COVID vaccines for public school students

theadvocate.com

The Louisiana State University board of supervisors approved and submitted a resolution to the state health department that requires students to get a COVID-19 vaccine before attending public schools, colleges and universities. The board added language that informs students of their rights to reject the vaccines.

WV: Fearing delta variant, West Virginia COVID czar urges more vaccinations

wvgazettemail.com

West Virginia’s COVID czar warned residents it is a matter of when, not if, the more virulent delta variant of COVID-19 will hit the state.

MO: Missouri governor says door-to-door vaccine campaign is not welcome

kansascity.com

As federal officials arrive in Missouri at the state’s request to combat a surge of aggressive COVID-19 variant cases, Republican Gov. Mike Parson has warned them not to go door-to-door urging vaccination. 

IA: Iowa has given out only 2% of rental aid and won’t seek more

desmoinesregister.com

Rushed into effect and hampered by what state officials said were technical and regulatory problems, the program that was supposed to provide immediate emergency rental and utility assistance to Iowans affected by the pandemic so far has delivered only a fraction of the $195 million provided by the federal government.

OH: Ohio will allow overpaid unemployment benefits to be waived for victims of scammers

cleveland.com

Thousands of Ohioans who were overpaid unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic will soon be able to apply for a waiver to avoid having to repay the money, the head of the state’s unemployment system said.

MS: Broad band disparity persists in Mississippi

clarionledger.com

As federal officials debate pouring billions of dollars into broadband access, data suggests many of Mississippi's schoolchildren and adults who preferred to work from home spent the pandemic with subpar access to high-speed internet, particularly in the state's poorest counties. In about half of Mississippi’s 82 counties, 9% of households have high-speed internet access.

AZ: Arizona judge questions secrecy of Cyber Ninjas’ audit records

azcentral.com

An Arizona judge asked an attorney for the state Senate why the public should not have access to records involving Cyber Ninjas, the tech firm reviewing the 2020 Maricopa County presidential election.

HI: Hawaii lawmakers amend bills in response to governor request

apnews.com

Hawaii lawmakers passed amendments to several bills as requested by Democratic Gov. David Ige, including one that uses general funds to repay debt instead of federal COVID-19 relief funds.

CO: Colorado’s pandemic state of emergency ends

denverpost.com

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis lifted Colorado’s health emergency declaration nearly 16 months after it began. Polis issued more than 400 executive orders since a state of emergency was first declared and extended the disaster declaration 26 times.

UT: Utah officials say drought recovery could take years

fox13now.com

With 98% of the state now in extreme or exceptional drought conditions, Utah officials said it’s unlikely there will be enough rain this summer to recover in 2021, and possibly much longer.

MT: Montana looks to Yellowstone River for economic boost 

montanafreepress.org

Montana has launched a $4 million plan to expand access along the eastern stretches of the longest undammed river in the Lower 48, in hopes of drawing tourists and tapping into the river’s economic potential.

IL: New Illinois bill would more clearly define consent in date rape cases

chicagotribune.com

A bill passed by both houses in the Illinois legislature will more clearly define consent in date rape or drug-facilitated sexual assault cases. The measure awaits Democratic Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s signature. 

ME: New Maine law prohibits offshore wind farms in state waters

pressherald.com

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, has signed into law a bill prohibiting offshore wind farms in state waters, in a compromise aimed at siting such projects farther from Maine’s heavily used inshore waters.

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