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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/28

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/28

CA: California permanently becomes a vote-by-mail state

sacbee.com

California will now mail ballots to voters in all elections, making permanent a practice temporarily adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus at polling locations.

DE: Delaware health system fires 150 employees for not complying with COVID vaccine mandate

delawareonline.com

ChristianaCare, the largest private employer in Delaware, has fired 150 employees for not complying with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement, the health system announced.

NC: North Carolina governor blocks GOP attempt to transfer powers from executive branch to legislature

newsobserver.com

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the Republican-controlled state legislature’s latest attempt to transfer executive branch powers—this time, the attorney general’s—to itself.

KY: Kentucky lands its largest economic development project ever—5,000 jobs and $5.8B investment

kentucky.com

Kentucky has landed the single largest economic development project in its history, a $5.8 billion investment by Ford Motor Corp. and South Korea-based SK Innovation to build two battery manufacturing plants that are expected to employ 5,000 people.

KS: Kansas lawmakers begin strategizing to thwart Biden’s vaccination effort

kansas.com

Top Kansas lawmakers approved a special committee to investigate how to fight President Joe Biden’s proposed COVID-19 vaccine rules—a cheaper alternative to a long-shot effort by conservatives to call a special legislative session.

AL: Lawmakers begin special session on building new Alabama prisons

al.com

The Alabama legislature met to discuss a plan to build two prisons costing $1.3 billion. Bills have been filed to address construction, funding and changes to sentencing.

MN: Split Minnesota communities plead to become whole in new redistricting maps

startribune.com

More than a dozen communities across Minnesota were split between two congressional districts during the last round of redistricting. For smaller communities, the lines have become a headache, zigzagging through city streets or cutting across farm fields, causing confusion and extra costs. 

WV: West Virginia governor’s companies, family offer $300M to settle outstanding loans

wvgazettemail.com

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, confirmed that his family's coal company had offered Credit Suisse $300 million, and half of the value of the Justices' coal companies, to settle about $740 million in outstanding loans with the company.

PA: To avoid Pennsylvania governor’s veto, GOP proposes voter ID amendment vote

spotlightpa.org

Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are advancing a proposal that would give state voters the opportunity to significantly change how elections are run while bypassing Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and his veto pen. They are advancing a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to present “valid identification.” The term was not defined.

OR: House Republicans show up at Oregon Capitol, suggesting vote likely on new district maps

oregonlive.com

After all but one Republican member of the Oregon House stayed away from the Capitol last week, denying Democrats the 40-member quorum needed to advance their proposed redistricting maps, 16 House Republicans returned to the chamber, suggesting they will likely cooperate with Democrats to pass new maps.

MI: Ballot drive will ask Michigan residents to decide presidency by popular vote

freep.com

Two prominent political operatives—one a Democrat and one a Republican—announced they are launching a ballot drive to have Michigan join a movement among states to have the presidency decided by the nationwide popular vote.

UT: Utah health leaders say COVID politics have damaged public’s trust

sltrib.com

As Utah struggles with the surging delta variant, testing backlogs, a vaccination rate hovering just over 50% and continuing political divisions, current and former state officials are hoping to rebuild trust with Utahns—and pushing Republican Gov. Spencer Cox’s administration to reinvest in public health.

CO: Denver, Colorado, police officers sue the city over COVID vaccine requirement

cpr.org

Seven Denver police officers are suing the Colorado city over its COVID-19 vaccine requirement, alleging Mayor Michael Hancock, Police Chief Paul Pazen and the Department of Public Health and Environment cannot legally enforce the order.

WY: Wyoming ranchers face difficult choices after brutally hot, dry summer

wyofile.com

Prolonged drought conditions intensified by record-breaking heat have prompted Wyoming cattle ranchers to either buy supplemental feed at higher-than-normal prices or cull their herds.

HI: Can urban farming solve Hawaii’s food crisis?

civilbeat.org

High-tech farming is costly and limited in what it can grow, but such techniques could help Hawaii with its dependency on food imports. 

CT: Several school bus routes are delayed as Connecticut drivers protest vaccine mandate

courant.com

Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said that the worst-case scenario of hundreds of school bus drivers failing to show up for work had been averted. 

IL: Some Illinois lawmakers, advocates want to restore voting rights to people behind bars

chicago.suntimes.com

Illinois lawmakers hope to bring up legislation that would restore voting rights to incarcerated people next month during a veto session, but opponents of the bill, including the state Board of Elections, argue the proposed measure is unconstitutional.

NJ: New Jersey will offer $500 ‘return-to-work’ bonuses, up to $10K for businesses to train new hires

nj.com

As businesses continue to struggle with labor shortages, New Jersey plans to offer $500 return-to-work bonuses for unemployed residents in their first paycheck, and plans to make employers eligible for up to $10,000 in wage subsidies to hire and train new workers, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

OH: A third redistricting lawsuit asserts Ohio Statehouse maps dilute Black, Muslim votes

dispatch.com

Recently approved Ohio Statehouse maps dilute the votes of Black Ohioans, Muslims and other minorities in the state, according to a third lawsuit filed at the Ohio Supreme Court. Two prior lawsuits made that same argument.

Towns Refuse COVID Relief Vaccinated Student-Athletes
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