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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/28

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/28

MN: Suburban Minnesota school board races emerge as partisan battlegrounds

startribune.com

Campaign signs have popped up in clusters and candidates are offering more pointed messaging than voters typically hear in Minnesota suburban school board races: Educate, not indoctrinate, they say. Fervent challenges to racial equity policies have turned what are sometimes sleepy off-year elections into partisan battles.

VA: GOP deploys an army of volunteer poll watchers in Virginia

washingtonpost.com

Across Virginia, the GOP “election integrity” push has largely driven the influx of election observers in this year’s gubernatorial race, according to local, state and national Republican officials.

WY: 9 of 10 Wyoming special session bills focus on Biden vaccine mandate

cowboystatedaily.com

Nine of the 10 Wyoming bills introduced referenced the vaccine mandate proposed by the Biden administration. The bills range from aiming to prohibit its enforcement to specifying that employees who quit or are fired because they are unwilling or unable to get a vaccine are eligible for severance benefits.

FL: Florida to face class action suit on juvenile solitary confinement 

orlandosentinel.com

A federal judge has cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit against the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice about the use of solitary confinement for minors, including children with disabilities. 

MD: Poll: Marylanders see themselves as Northern

baltimoresun.com

Overall, 66% of respondents considered Maryland a Northern state, and 27% dubbed it a Southern one. Maryland is south of the traditional Mason-Dixon line, but in recent years state leaders have appeared eager to cut ties to the Old South.

CO: Judge: Colorado parents can’t exempt kids from school masks

apnews.com

A federal judge has issued a restraining order against a Colorado county’s policy allowing parents to opt their children out of a mask mandate at school, finding that the rule violates the rights of students with disabilities who are vulnerable to COVID-19.

MI: Michigan redistricting commission meeting delayed after death threat

freep.com

Michigan's redistricting commission was supposed to kick off its first meeting following a statewide public hearing tour to solicit input on its draft maps, but a reported death threat delayed the meeting by more than two hours.

NC: Some North Carolina hospitals reap more in profits, provide less care for low-income patients, report finds

newsobserver.com

Some North Carolina hospitals are failing to provide sufficient care to the state’s low-income residents, according to a report released by the state treasurer.

OH: Ohio Senate passes ‘born alive’ bill with amendment that would close abortion clinics

cleveland.com

The Ohio Senate passed a bill that would require doctors to provide life-saving care to fetuses born alive during an abortion—with an amendment that could close two clinics in Southwest Ohio. It now heads to the House.

AK: Alaska tribal-recognition ballot measure gets $250K donation from dark-money group

adn.com

A Washington, D.C.-based dark money group has donated $250,000 to supporters of a new tribal-recognition ballot measure in Alaska as backers prepare to gather signatures. The measure would require the state of Alaska to recognize the state’s 229 federally recognized tribes.

SD: South Dakota governor: State workers don’t have to comply with federal COVID vaccine mandates

argusleader.com

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has signed an executive order that she says will better protect state employees' right to be exempted from any federal government vaccine mandates. 

IL: Illinois bill would remove ‘conscience’ as basis for refusing vaccine 

apnews.com

Illinois law has for more than four decades protected those who oppose providing or receiving medical treatment because of their religious beliefs. Now Democrats want an exception to allow repercussions for those who refuse vaccinations in the battle against COVID-19. 

TN: Tennessee legislature kicks off special session on COVID restrictions

tennessean.com

Tennessee lawmakers are considering bills that would forbid private entities from requiring proof of vaccination, allow those who quit their jobs due to a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to receive unemployment benefits and shrink the length of a governor-declared state of emergency.

MT: Montana responds to Missoula County over COVID relief spending

missoulian.com

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services has released more information about how much federal money it has distributed to counties across the state for COVID-19 contact tracing and other mitigation measures, saying it has $63 million available for local and tribal governments for public health, not the $143 million listed on a state website.

AL: An Alabama university won’t require employees to get COVID vaccinations

alabamanews.net

Troy University in Troy, Alabama, announced it will not require employees be vaccinated because it “does not hold federal government contracts that would have forced it to require the vaccine under orders from the Biden administration.”

MS: Mississippi lawmakers will explore restoring voting rights for people convicted of felonies

mississippitoday.org

A Mississippi House Judiciary committee will evaluate the state’s voting ban for people who are convicted of certain felonies. Under the state’s current system, the legislature can restore a person’s voting rights with a two-thirds vote from both chambers, or the governor can issue a pardon.

HI: From pools to breweries, chemical shortages are hitting Hawaii

civilbeat.org

Supply chain snafus caused by the pandemic have pinched chemical supplies, leaving Hawaii and businesses in the state scrambling for alternatives or ways to get by with less.

AR: Arkansas sues company accused of not delivering purchased COVID medical supplies

ualrpublicradio.org

Arkansas is suing Virginia-based Med-Care Health Link, LLC for failing to deliver nearly $11 million worth of personal protective equipment and ventilators. Four individuals who brokered the deal and held the money in escrow are also named in the state’s lawsuit.

 IA: Iowa AG’s office deletes short-lived tweet warning of cannabis-infused Halloween treats

littlevillagemag.com

“Make sure you check your child’s treats for these illegal cannabis products that look like popular snacks and candy,” read the tweet, since deleted, posted by the official Twitter account of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat.  The tweet linked to a news release from the Connecticut attorney general’s office, where recreational cannabis is legal. Such products aren’t sold legally in Iowa.

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