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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/1

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/1

MI: Michigan gridlock has blocked action on 50 gun-related bills this year bridgemi.com

Until the tragedy at Oxford High School, Michigan had avoided the kind of high-profile mass shootings that have triggered national debates about gun regulations. But legislators have offered a laundry list of ideas, introducing at least 50 firearm-related bills this year alone.

CO: Colorado COVID surge and staffing crunch mean new crisis plans for hospitals

cpr.org

Colorado’s top pandemic response board met on short notice with only one item on the agenda: amending the rules for hospitals, known as crisis standards of care, to help them deal with an ongoing coronavirus surge.

NV: Nevada defies forecasts, hits 8th straight $1B gaming revenue month

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada’s casino industry topped $1 billion in gaming revenue for the eighth consecutive month in October, tying a 14-year-old record and putting the state on pace to surpass the single-year $12 billion mark for just the fourth time.

AK: COVID bills sent $1.7B to Alaska tribes, but distribution favored the smallest

alaskapublic.org

In two major coronavirus relief bills, Congress sent Alaska tribes huge sums in direct payments. But the bounty was uneven: While the largest Alaska tribe got $6,000 per person, one tribe that reported having only three members received nearly $1 million per person.

AL: Alabama’s capital faces $25K fine for changing a street named after Jefferson Davis

cnn.com

The Alabama  attorney general issued a one-time $25,000 fine to the city of Montgomery for violating the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 by replacing the Jefferson Davis Avenue street sign with Fred D. Gray Avenue, naming the road after a local civil rights icon.

CA: US appeals court upholds California’s ban on large-capacity firearms magazines

latimes.com

A federal appeals court decided to uphold California’s ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines in a ruling that is likely to lead to the court’s approval of the state’s ban on assault weapons.

WA: Washington residents asked to remain vigilant amid latest rain event

apnews.com

Officials asked residents in northwest Washington to remain vigilant as another atmospheric river brought heavy rain to an area that experienced severe flooding earlier this month and additional flooding earlier this week. Members of the Washington National Guard were helping with sandbagging, transporting supplies and staffing road closure points.

TX: Texas Republicans want a 4th special session to pass COVID vaccine mandate ban

texastribune.org

A growing number of Texas Republicans are pushing for lawmakers to return to the state Capitol for a fourth overtime round of legislating to pass laws banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates. At least two dozen Republican lawmakers so far have called for a fourth special session.

MA: Digital vaccine passports may soon come to Massachusetts, governor says

bostonglobe.com

State-issued COVID-19 vaccine certificates may soon make their way to Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said in a radio interview. But Baker has no plans to use the certificates as mandatory vaccine passports that people would have to carry to work, travel or shop.

AR: Arkansas governor to call special session on tax cut plan

apnews.com

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’ll call the legislature back into session next week to take up a tax cut plan that would reduce the state’s top income tax rate from 5.9% to 4.9%. Hutchinson said he hoped lawmakers would not use the session to enact an abortion ban like the one in neighboring Texas.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court says it will largely keep GOP-drawn election maps

jsonline.com

A narrowly divided state Supreme Court announced it would minimize changes to Wisconsin's election maps, effectively guaranteeing Republicans will continue to maintain control of the legislature for the next decade. 

TN: Tennessee graduation rate drops for 2nd year in a row amid pandemic

tennessean.com

After a nearly decade-long climb, Tennessee’s graduation rate has dropped two years in a row with about 88.7% of students graduating on time during the 2020-21 school year, compared with 89.6% the year before.

NY: New York governor says streamlined SNAP applications will help older residents, people with disabilities

timesunion.com

New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul said applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, will be simplified to encourage more older adults and people with disabilities to enroll. Eligible older adult residents can recertify their benefits for 36 months instead of the 24 months previously set.

MS: State agencies give Mississippi lawmakers wish lists for federal pandemic dollars

mississippitoday.org

Mississippi agencies and other groups want the state legislature to use its $1.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money to fix or replace dilapidated buildings, water and sewer pipes and computer systems. They also want to expand nursing programs, hire more law officers, improve the state’s tourism marketing and workforce training, buy a helicopter and complete many other projects.

UT: Republicans confident they’ll add seats in the Utah House next year

sltrib.com

Republicans control 57 out of 75 seats in the Utah House of Representatives, and GOP leaders think they can increase that number following next year’s elections. The new redistricting maps passed by the state legislature could make that a lot easier.

CT: Connecticut lawmakers plan to prioritize children’s mental health next session 

ctmirror.org

With the pandemic taking a massive toll on children’s mental health, Connecticut legislators are beginning to plan a response to what experts have called a crisis. Some of the legislative efforts this session may focus on directing more money toward staffing and incentives to work in the mental health industry. 

IA: Iowa tests thousands of backlogged sexual assault kits

Iowacapitaldispatch.com

Iowa has cleared a backlog of thousands of sexual assault evidence kits, resulting in nearly 300 DNA matches and four criminal cases. The Iowa Sexual Assault Kit Initiative began in 2015 with the goal of testing a backlog of sexual assault evidence kits in the state.

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