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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/11

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/11

US: States challenge Biden’s vaccine mandate for health workers

apnews.com

A coalition of 10 states sued the federal government to try to block a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers, marking a new front in the resistance by Republican-led states to the pandemic policies of President Joe Biden’s administration.

CO: Colorado governor prepares to expand hospital capacity, push vaccine requirements for large indoor events

coloradosun.com

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said he is preparing to expand the state’s hospital bed capacity, urge cities to require that attendees of large indoor events are vaccinated and speed up the distribution of coronavirus vaccine boosters as COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations in the state reach what he called a “crisis.”

TX: Texas schools can again set their own face mask rules after judge overrules governor’s ban

texastribune.com

A federal judge ruled that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting mask mandates in Texas schools violates the Americans with Disabilities Act—freeing local officials to again create their own rules.

NJ: New Jersey governor accelerates plans to fight climate change

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced he’s “fast-tracking” New Jersey’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect the state from climate change. Murphy has set a lofty goal of creating a 100% clean-energy economy in the Garden State, with an 80% reduction in state-generated greenhouse gases, by 2050.

MI: Federal judge in Michigan gives final approval to $626.25M settlement in Flint water crisis

freep.com

A federal judge gave final approval to a $626.25 million settlement of civil claims against the state of Michigan and a handful of other parties resulting from the lead poisoning of Flint's drinking water, in what is one of the largest civil settlements in state history.

TN: Tennessee governor plans to sign sweeping COVID legislation

tennessean.com

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee said he plans to sign a sweeping legislative package curtailing the authority public schools, local health agencies and businesses to enact COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates and vaccine mandates.

MA: Massachusetts governor files bill to prosecute drugged drivers like alcohol DUIs

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said his team has re-filed a bill to make it easier to prosecute drugged drivers. Baker said it would strengthen the state’s impaired driving laws by “equalizing alcohol and marijuana and giving law enforcement more tools to keep our roads safe from impaired drivers.”

UT: Workplace COVID vaccine exemption bill passes Utah Senate

abc4.com

The Utah Senate approved a bill that would give working Utahns exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates and prevent their employers from firing them for not getting vaccinated.

FL: Florida governor proposes pay increase, bonuses for teachers 

apnews.com

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is again proposing to hike teacher wages and to provide another round of bonuses. His education budget proposals, which still need to be approved by the legislature, includes $600 million to raise teacher salaries. He also wants to hand out $1,000 bonuses to the state’s nearly 177,000 teachers and principals. 

ND: North Dakota lawmakers pass redistricting plan that could boost Native American voting power

dickinsonpress.com

Both chambers of the North Dakota legislature have passed a proposal for redrawing the state's political boundaries. The House and Senate each spent considerable time debating the merits of including subdivided House districts around two Native American reservations before narrowly approving the idea.

WV: COVID cases continue to rise in West Virginia; officials plead for more boosters

wvgazettemail.com

Fearing another COVID-19 surge as cases spike, West Virginia leaders reiterated their call for people to get boosters. Coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said the state's mix of unvaccinated and “very vulnerable” people needing boosters is causing him “substantial anxiety” with cold weather looming.

GA: Georgia House passes political map that safeguards Republican majority

ajc.com

The Georgia House voted to remap the state’s 180 legislative districts in a way that protects a shrinking Republican majority and adds new metro Atlanta districts to accommodate population growth.

WA: COVID trends plateau in Washington state as other respiratory viruses gain steam

seattletimes.com

As COVID-19 trends in Washington state plateau at high levels—with some “mild” decreases —state health officials said there’s growing concern more patients are becoming sick with other respiratory viruses now that colder weather is nearing.

AK: Alaska hospital leader hopeful about virus hospitalizations

apnews.com

The leader of Alaska’s hospital association cited a recent decline in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 as a possible turning point following a prolonged period in which resources at health care facilities in the state were stretched thin.

WI: Wisconsin Senate Republicans issue subpoena for Madison election documents

madison.com

Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Senate subpoenaed the city of Madison seeking absentee ballot certificates returned in the 2020 election—documents the city refused to hand over to a nonpartisan election audit conducted earlier this year.

DE: Delaware governor extends school mask mandate until February

delawarepublic.org

Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney’s mask mandate was set to expire on Dec. 10, but the governor along with the Department of Education chose to extend the deadline until Feb. 8.

AR: Arkansas highway department to change inspection program leadership, procedures

arkansasonline.com

An Arkansas Department of Transportation investigation into how the structural fracture that led to the months-long closing of the Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River was overlooked has led to a recommendation to overhaul the agency's heavy-bridge maintenance section and the retirements of its top leaders.

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