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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/26

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/26

FL: Many Florida schools are mandating masks, defying governor

apnews.com

Just over half of Florida’s 2.8 million public school students now face mandates to wear masks in classrooms as a courtroom battle continues over efforts by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to leave such decisions up to parents. 

MS: Mississippi hospitals are running out of ICU beds

mississippitoday.org

At least 22 hospitals in Mississippi had no open intensive care unit beds as a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations pressed the state’s health care system.

IN: Gerrymandering dilutes Black vote in Indiana

indystar.com

Ten years ago, Indiana election leaders drew maps that helped usher in Republican supermajorities in the statehouse and win seven of nine congressional seats.

TX: US Supreme Court sides with Texas over asylum policy

houstonchronicle.com

The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a Trump-era policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico. It was the second time this month that courts have sided with Texas as the GOP-led state challenges Biden’s immigration policies.

AR: Arkansas detention center uses animal dewormer on COVID patients

arkansasonline.com

Ignoring federal warnings, a detention center in Washington County, Arkansas, has been using the anti-parasite drug ivermectin to treat incarcerated people with COVID-19.

US: Era of easier voting for the disabled could end

theatlantic.com

Thanks to absentee ballots, drop boxes and curbside voting, people with disabilities turned out in record numbers in the 2020 election. That’s likely to change.

KS: Kansas governor orders state workers back to remote work

kansas.com

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is sending state employees back to working remotely as COVID-19 cases rise and hospital capacity is once again strained.

MD: Maryland seeks to close youth vaccine gap

baltimoresun.com

Though adolescents have been eligible for COVID-19 shots for months, they continue to have the lowest vaccination rate in Maryland and across the country.

MT: Montana governor offers mild COVID vaccination pitch

montanafreepress.org

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, insists he’ll enact no state COVID-19 mandates to address climbing cases. Some public health advocates would like a stronger message on vaccines and masking. 

IA: Nursing home COVID outbreaks increase in Iowa

iowacapitaldispatch.com

Five Iowa nursing homes are now in COVID-19 outbreak status, according to state officials, and four of the five are in Trump-supporting counties with low vaccine acceptance rates.

UT: Utah mulls school mask order

sltrib.com

Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said he plans to issue an executive order allowing local education officials to require masks for students and staff in schools. Some school officials pushed back. 

CO: Colorado voters will decide marijuana taxes

coloradosun.com

A Colorado initiative would impose a new 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana. Advocates are touting the measure as a solution to education funding gaps. 

MN: Minnesota law creates sharp split in of worker claims

minnpost.com

Under an emergency law, some Minnesota workers were presumed to have been exposed to COVID-19 on the job, resulting in 96% of workers’ comp claims being accepted. Everyone else had to prove exposure at work and were denied 72% of the time.

WI: GOP election review in Wisconsin will cost $680K

jsonline.com

Wisconsin lawmakers will spend hundreds of thousands to review the 2020 presidential election and will soon issue subpoenas as part of their effort. 

CA: Law disrupts California school reopenings

calmatters.org

As classes resume, a new California law governing independent study is worsening staff shortages and threatening school budgets. 

GA: More Georgia schools mandate masks

apnews.com

More than half of all Georgia public school students are now required to wear masks in class, as many systems clamp down in the face of roaring COVID-19 infection rates. 

DC: DC jail’s transgender policy faces scrutiny

washingtonpost.com

In Washington, D.C., the Department of Corrections changed its gender housing policy in response to a lawsuit, but the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the new protocol is just as egregious. 

PA: Pennsylvania governor asks GOP-led legislature for school mask mandate

inquirer.com

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is calling on the Republican-led legislature to mandate masks in K-12 classrooms and child care centers.

RI: Rhode Island venues announce vaccine, mask requirements

providencejournal.com

Some top Rhode Island performance venues and organizations are now requiring vaccinations and masks for audiences at indoor events. 

NH: New Hampshire governor signs juvenile diversion bill

nhpr.org

A new state law allows police to refer New Hampshire minors to needs assessment without first arresting them and initiating law enforcement proceedings. 

OH: Ohio postpones Medicaid rollout

dispatch.com

Ohio pushed back its projected launch date of its revamped and reformed Medicaid managed care system to next summer.

NM: New Mexico governor joins US conservation challenge

apnews.com

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made New Mexico the latest Western state to join an ambitious effort to conserve nearly one-third of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

Top State Stories 8/27 Majority-Minority Counties
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