Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/20

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/20

FL: Rapid rise in COVID patients leads Florida hospitals to limit visitors

miamiherald.com

A spike in patient admissions for COVID-19 has put Florida hospitals on high alert. Miami-Dade’s Jackson Health System announced that it would suspend visitations at many of its facilities.

IN: Federal court rules in favor of Indiana University's vaccine requirement

wthr.com

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana has ruled in Indiana University's favor, upholding its vaccine requirement for students, faculty and staff.

OR: Officials in Oregon call for outside help as extreme weather fuels fires

apnews.com

The threat of lightning has prompted officials in fire-ravaged Oregon to ask for help from outside the Pacific Northwest to prepare for additional blazes. Many resources are already devoted to a massive fire in the state that has grown to a third the size of Rhode Island.

TX: Texas Supreme Court extends state program to help tenants avoid eviction until Oct. 1

texastribune.org

A state eviction diversion program launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended, according to a new emergency order from the Texas Supreme Court. The voluntary diversion program was set to expire on July 27. The new order extends it until Oct. 1.

MA, NH: As Massachusetts landfill space dwindles, New Hampshire is new dumping ground

bostonglobe.com

In the rolling hills along the edge of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, beside a nearly century-old state park and a serene lake, a waste management company plans to build New England’s first new landfill in decades. Protests abound, and not just because most of the waste would come from Massachusetts.

CT: Connecticut launches “one-stop shop” older adult justice hotline

apnews.com

A coalition of Connecticut state agencies and organizations launched a new older adult justice hotline to provide a “one-stop shop” to help older people navigate state services, for everything from age-based discrimination to neglect issues.

TN: Internal report: Tennessee vaccine program has 'critical gaps'

tennessean.com

The departure of two Tennessee Department of Health employees has left “critical gaps” in the agency’s vaccination program, according to an internal report obtained by The Tennessean.

KY: Kentucky governor recommends return to indoor masking for some

kentucky.com

Fully vaccinated Kentuckians who work in jobs with “significant public exposure” should consider wearing a mask again in indoor public spaces, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear recommended, citing rising case numbers and the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19.

AL: Alabama governor says ‘no’ to masks in schools despite recommendations

al.com

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, said she doesn't think a mask mandate is necessary for schools to reopen, despite recommendations from pediatricians that urge children over the age of 2 to wear masks in schools.

KS: Kansas county urges schools to mandate masks for unvaccinated

apnews.com

The health department in Kansas’ most populous county urged its public schools to require students and staff who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks indoors when classes resume for the fall.

ME: Maine lawmakers pass $983M in COVID relief spending in party-line vote

bangordailynews.com

A $983 million proposal regarding the use of COVID-19 relief funds from Congress passed on a majority vote without Republican support and was signed by Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, capping the end of a complicated legislative session.

MO: Competing groups pursue marijuana legalization in Missouri

stltoday.com

Frustrated by Missouri’s medical marijuana program, and separated from the campaign behind its passage, a group is moving forward with a ballot initiative to fully legalize cannabis—one that is expected to rival a push to end prohibition led by established industry players and others. 

CA: Law enforcement unions donate to California Democrats ahead of police misconduct vote

sacbee.com

California law enforcement unions are contributing tens of thousands of dollars to influential Democratic lawmakers as the legislature advances a controversial police overhaul bill that would allow departments to strip badges from officers with serious misconduct records.

GA: Anti-crime bills will be part of fall special session in Georgia

apnews.com

Republican leaders are promising quick legislative action to fight violent crime in Atlanta as the state House begins hearings on crime in Georgia’s largest city.

HI: Deaths in Hawaii prisons and jails are on the upswing this year

civilbeat.org

People in Hawaii prisons and jails are dying at a higher rate thus far this year than at any time in the past decade, a pattern being fueled in part by six deaths related to COVID-19 at the state’s largest prison.

NY: Police no longer seize marijuana at New York airports

timesunion.com

Police are no longer seizing marijuana, making arrests or issuing tickets for low-level possession for travelers passing through Albany International and other airports across the state, highlighting the softening rules for cannabis as New York and dozens of other states have legalized it for adult recreational use.

ND: North Dakota must pay attorney fees, expenses in tribal voter ID lawsuits

bismarcktribune.com

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a May 2020 order that requires North Dakota to pay more than $450,000 in a legal battle over state voter identification requirements, which tribes argued created voting barriers for Native Americans who live on reservations where street addresses are hard to come by.

NV: Nevada mining oversight board has no members despite governor’s vow

thenevadaindependent.com

The mining oversight board, set up by the legislature in 2011 and modeled after the Gaming Commission, held its last recorded meeting in December 2015. Since then, it has struggled to maintain a quorum, and today, all seven board seats on the commission are vacant.

ID: Idaho wolf hunting law will cause grizzly, lynx deaths, groups say

apnews.com

Environmental groups have notified Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, and other state officials of their intent to file a lawsuit over an expanded wolf-killing law they argue will result in the illegal killing of federally protected grizzly bears and lynxes.

MT: Environmental groups challenge Montana over water pollution permit

apnews.com

Environmental groups are challenging the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for permitting wastewater disposal into the groundwater for a new development in Big Sky that they say could degrade water quality in the Gallatin River downstream from Yellowstone National Park.

IA: Iowa broadband expansion raises questions about affordability, access

iowacapitaldispatch.com

Iowa’s new broadband expansion program is already generating interest from providers, but the mapping of broadband and affordability of the service remain in question as the process moves forward.

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