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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/20

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/20

AR: Arkansas parents sue district over mask mandate

arkansasonline.com

Three parents filed a lawsuit against the Bentonville, Arkansas, school district to stop a requirement that students and teachers wear masks at school. The plaintiffs argue the district exceeded its authority and that its decision violates personal liberties guaranteed by the U.S. and Arkansas Constitutions.

CA: California faces unprecedented dangers as record heat, dryness combine with fierce winds

latimes.com

With more than a million acres burned fairly early in the fire season, California is entering uncharted territory as the record dry conditions that have fueled so much destruction will soon combine with seasonal winds that fire officials fear will bring unprecedented dangers.

OR: Oregon will require vaccinations for all teachers this fall

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, announced that every teacher in the state must be vaccinated against COVID-19, a reversal from her earlier assertions that superintendents and individual districts must decide on that requirement for themselves. The rule goes into effect this fall and applies to other school staff and volunteers.

AK: Alaska inspectors intercept more than 3K fake vaccination cards

alaskapublic.org

Inspectors in Anchorage recently discovered more than 3,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in a shipment from China to the Port of Alaska, according to a written statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The blank cards closely resemble those printed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CBP said.

FL: More Florida school districts challenge state over masks

sun-sentinel.com

More school districts around Florida are deciding that the state’s lenient rules on mask wearing pose a danger to students as COVID-19 rages. Four of the state’s five biggest districts have voted to require masks except for medical reasons. Their actions defy state rules championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that allow parents to decide whether their children wear masks.

GA: Georgia governor bars local officials from requiring businesses to adopt virus restrictions

ajc.com

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order that bars local governments in Georgia from forcing private businesses to enact vaccine requirements, indoor capacity limits and mask rules aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

TN: Tennessee has few open ICU beds

tennessean.com

As the coronavirus continues to sweep through Tennessee, all intensive care unit beds are currently full at most hospitals in every major metropolitan area in the state, according to the Tennessee Hospital Association. Since July 1, the number of Tennesseans hospitalized by the virus has jumped from about 200 to nearly 2,500.

MS: COVID cases in children are rapidly increasing in Mississippi

mississippitoday.org

An analysis by Mississippi Today showed an 830% increase in the number COVID-19 cases in Mississippi children for the first two weeks of school in 2021 compared to the first two weeks this data was reported last August.

HI: Hawaii mayor asks governor to reinstate coronavirus testing for visitors

hawaiitribune-herald.com

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth has urged Democratic Gov. David Ige to immediately reinstate pretravel testing requirements for all trans-Pacific passengers, regardless of residency or vaccination status, as the county struggles amid a surge of COVID-19 cases.

NV: Nevada lieutenant governor to resign, accept White House post as advisor to governors

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, a Democrat, formally announced that she will resign and accept a position with the Biden administration. Marshall will become the White House’s senior adviser to governors within the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, but will continue to serve as lieutenant governor until her transition sometime in the late fall.

NJ: New Jersey governor will announce mandatory COVID vaccinations for teachers, sources say

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce within days that New Jersey will require teachers to be vaccinated for the coronavirus. New Jersey would be the third state behind California and Washington to enact such a mandate.

MO: Missouri will let some state employees work remotely

stltoday.com

Three months after ordering thousands of state employees back to their offices after nearly a year of working from home, Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson said plans are underway to allow some to resume working remotely. He said members of his cabinet are in the process of drafting plans for a more permanent remote workforce.

IN: Indiana may get more train service in infrastructure plan

indystar.com

Amtrak has shared new details about its proposal for Indiana, drastically increasing the frequency of rail service to Indianapolis and neighboring cities.

WA: Unvaccinated patients are creating a 'deeply frustrating' situation in Washington hospitals, doctors say

seattletimes.com

People not vaccinated against COVID-19 are getting sick, filling Washington hospital beds and putting pressure on hospitals and their staff, doctors said at a news briefing. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are the highest they’ve ever been.

MI: Misinformation was rampant at Michigan hearing on vaccine mandates

freep.com

New legislation championed by some Michigan House Republicans and others spreading misinformation would prevent employers from requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other diseases, to wear masks in the workplace or to disclose their vaccination status. During a legislative committee meeting, the bill was bolstered by a series of speakers who offered a string of conspiracy theories about vaccines and the pandemic.

 

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