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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/13

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/13

FL: Florida governor wants $8M to remove ‘unauthorized aliens’ 

miamiherald.com

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis wants $8 million to create a new program that would allow the state to contract with private companies to transport “unauthorized aliens” out of Florida. The governor wants to pay for the proposed program with interest accrued from federal funds.

CA: California governor calls for assault weapon restrictions similar to Texas abortion ban

latimes.com

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is directing his staff to work with the state attorney general and legislators on a new law that would allow private citizens to sue manufacturers or distributors of assault weapons as well as ghost gun kits or parts.

IL: Illinois governor signs measure aimed at giving millions to violence prevention groups 

chicagotribune.com

At the end of a year with more than 4,000 shooting victims in Chicago, Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker approved a measure aimed at providing millions of dollars to community organizations that focus on violence prevention. The law comes a little over a month after his administration declared gun violence a public health emergency. 

WI: Rural Wisconsin hospitals report losing 2% of workers over COVID vaccine mandates

wpr.org

A survey of dozens of rural hospitals in Wisconsin published this month by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health found hospitals with a COVID-19 vaccine requirement reported between 0% and 4% of staff had resigned rather than get the shot. The median figure was 2% and included non-health care staff such as cafeteria or janitorial staff as well as health providers.

NE: Nebraska schools see pandemic-related behavior problems

omaha.com

A Nebraska State Education Association survey found student behavior problems on the rise across the state. Teacher stress is up, and staffing shortages are compounding the problem.

MN: As winters warm, Minnesota lakes are losing ice

mprnews.org

As Minnesota’s lakes warm due to climate change, they are losing ice cover. Data shows ice cover on Minnesota lakes has declined an average of 10 to 14 days over the past 50 years, state environmental officials announced.

HI: Proposal to charge environmental fee to come to Hawaii gaining support

staradvertiser.com

There is growing momentum for the idea of charging tourists an environmental fee to come to Hawaii. It had been debated for decades prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that put a pause on tourism. More than a dozen other world destinations already charge green fees, including Palau and Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.

NV: Nevada redistricting commission ballot question filed again for 2022

thenevadaindependent.com

After setbacks in 2020, backers of the initiative to create an independent redistricting commission have refiled their measure and hope to get the question taking redistricting power out of the hands of lawmakers onto the 2022 ballot.

AL: Proposed Alabama abortion bill would be similar to Texas law

alabamanewsnetwork.com

A group of Alabama lawmakers has proposed legislation similar to a Texas law that would ban most abortions and allow anyone to file civil lawsuits against violators and collect damages. The bill was filed ahead of the 2022 legislative session.

MA: Massachusetts governor derides ‘red tape’ in bill to pay bonuses to essential workers

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker bemoaned what he called “a lot of red tape” in a $4 billion spending package currently on his desk, raising questions about the state’s ability to quickly distribute bonus checks to front-line workers that are being promised by March.

NY: New York indoor mask mandate takes effect

timesunion.com

New York’s indoor mask mandate for businesses or venues that cater to unvaccinated patrons goes into effect today. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul instituted the mandate because she said the state must fight against the holiday surge of COVID-19. The mandate is scheduled to run through at least Jan. 15.

WA: Barriers stop Washingtonians from finding a therapist

seattletimes.com

In Washington state, even those who are well-prepared to seek mental health care can spend crucial months struggling with barriers related to therapist availability and insurance before finding the right match. In general, too few people are working as mental health providers: Only 12% of Washingtonians live in a place where the public’s mental health needs can be met.

OR: Oregon's population is booming. Not so for kids.

oregonlive.com

Even as Oregon added more than 400,000 adults from 2010 to 2020, resulting in an overall population spike of 10.6%, the number of children remained virtually unchanged. Oregon’s population is aging, a slow-motion phenomenon that could have major ramifications for the economy and society at large.

MI: Michigan redistricting commission gears up for final vote, potential lawsuits

freep.com

Michigan’s redistricting commission plans to meet the last week in December to adopt new congressional and legislative districts, capping months of marathon mapping sessions and possibly kicking off what might be the next phase: an onslaught of litigation challenging the commission’s work.

MO: Missouri funeral home board ousted amid inspections conflict 

apnews.com

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s office appointed four new members to a state board that oversees funeral homes amid complaints that the previous members had beefed up inspections too much after one crematory was found in such disrepair that body fluids were leaking onto the floor. 

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