What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/23
TN: Deaths mount from rural Tennessee floods
Torrential rain pummeled Humphreys County and other parts of central Tennessee, knocking over trees, obliterating store fronts and starting fires. Muck covered yards, streets and the hands of residents as they sifted through what was left of their lives.
NM: New Mexico inmates face high COVID infection, death risk
New Mexico prisons have seen much higher rates of COVID-19 infection and death than most states. COVID-19 cases were 40% more likely to be fatal in a New Mexico prison.
TX: Texas doctors turn to antibodies for COVID patients
The infusions are more available and accessible to Texans than ever before. New criteria for who can receive antibody treatment have led more doctors to prescribe it as they struggle to slow a COVID-19 hospitalization surge.
WA: Tolerance for homeless camps ends in Washington, elsewhere
In cities and suburbs nationwide, including Washington, tolerance for homeless camps is over. After pulling back from almost all encampment removals in 2020, Seattle has conducted at least 33 since March.
IN: Pandemic pushes backyard chicken trend in Indiana
More Indiana residents are raising chickens as pets and egg providers. The fad is linked to extra time at home and pandemic worries about food supplies.
RI: Henri pulls its punch but knocks out power in Rhode Island
Thirty years after a hurricane last made landfall in New England, the region was spared another direct hit when Henri was downgraded to a tropical storm.
FL: School funds tied to mask mandates polarize Florida
Florida legislators, who control the purse strings over public education, are just as polarized over whether it is right for state officials to withhold money for violating Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order as they are over whether schools districts can require students to wear masks.
US: Cities could add housing by narrowing streets, study says
New research highlights how city streets that are too wide can take up valuable space that could be used to build more homes.
CT: Hopes dim for a public option in Connecticut
Connecticut Democrats’ efforts for a public option health plan failed for a third time. Opposition from the insurance industry and Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont sunk the bill.
MD: Maryland reaches 80% COVID vaccination rate; governor gets booster
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican and cancer survivor, received a COVID-19 booster shot. State health officials announced that 80% of adult residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
MO: Missouri will lift limits on Sunday booze sales
Missourians will be able to buy beer, wine and liquor earlier in the morning on Sundays as part of a revamp of state liquor laws.
ME: Maine lawmaker who reportedly lost wife to COVID attends anti-mandate rally
Maine state Rep. Chris Johansen, a Monticello Republican who reportedly contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and lost his wife to the virus, attended an anti-mandate rally in Augusta.
NJ: New Jersey parents ask for more virtual school
A group of parents wants New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to remove the ban on virtual learning for the 2021-22 school year and provide a permanent remote learning option for K-12 schools.
NY: New York governor’s resignation is effective today
Outgoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is expected to resign. He issued two weeks' notice for his job as the state's chief executive last week, amid mounting scandals.
PA: Pennsylvania will hire 100 contact tracers to replace 1,000
Pennsylvania will hire at least 100 contact tracers as it rebuilds its depleted team, a dramatic workforce reduction compared with earlier this year and a number well under what experts estimate Pennsylvania needs to contain the spread of COVID-19.
WV: Federal initiative to invest in West Virginia coal communities comes with hurdles
Southern West Virginia is the area of the country most in need of focused federal help because of its high dependence on coal and coal power-plant jobs. But some communities hardest hit by the coal industry’s decline might not be prepared to capitalize.
CA: California recall election is ill-timed for Democrats
California Democrats sped up the recall election for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to avoid crises such as wildfires that typically peak later in the year, but the disasters happened anyway.
WI: Wisconsin poll captures deeply sour political mood across parties
Asked in a recent poll whether they think government in Washington is “working as it was intended” or “broken,” 84% of Wisconsin voters said broken. A smaller majority also thought government in Wisconsin was broken.
MN: Minnesota wilderness is closed to visitors amid wildfires
Superior National Forest officials have closed the entire Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota to visitors for at least the next week, amid increasingly volatile wildfire conditions and concerns about limited resources to keep people safe.