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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/25

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/25

VA: 7 Virginia school boards sue to stop mask-optional order

washingtonpost.com

The school boards argue that Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s order, which seeks to leave masking decisions to parents, violates the state constitution. Some parents brought children not wearing masks to school and picketed outside.

GA: Georgia judges greenlight special grand jury for Trump probe

ajc.com

A panel of Fulton County judges cleared the way for a special grand jury to be used for Democratic District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation of former President Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

MI: Michigan GOP packs canvassing boards with people who embrace Trump's lies
freep.com

freep.com
In counties across Michigan, the GOP is filling election canvassing boards responsible for tallying the vote count with people who have embraced falsehoods and misinformation about fraud in the 2020 election.

TX: Texas law spells chaos for primary voters

texastribune.org

Barely started down the path toward the first elections conducted under voting restrictions enacted last year by Republican lawmakers, Texas voters and local election officials have found themselves enveloped in a fog of errors, delays and miscommunications as they navigate new rules for casting votes by mail.

US: Mayors move to tackle racial disparities

route-fifty.com

At an annual meeting, mayors from across the U.S. highlighted plans to tackle racial disparities as they spend billions of dollars of federal pandemic aid. Dozens of them signed onto a compact acknowledging that cities have contributed to structural racism.

NJ: Court does what New Jersey lawmakers didn't: limit long prison sentences for youth crimes

northjersey.com

In a momentous policy change this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court quietly spread hope to incarcerated individuals serving lengthy sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles that they could be released from prison sooner than expected.

UT: Utah legislative leaders, governor would get to sign off on school closings under bill

sltrib.com

Under a bill approved by Utah lawmakers, a school that reaches the state’s threshold for a COVID-19 outbreak would first have to appeal to the district’s local school board, asking that students be allowed to learn remotely, and eventually get approval from the governor and legislative leaders.  

PA: Omicron has likely peaked in Pennsylvania; hospitals still strained

inquirer.com

The omicron surge has likely peaked in Pennsylvania, but many hospitals remain full or strained—and officials said it is not yet time to relax as the state continues contending with the most intense surge of the pandemic to date.

ND: Petitioners fall short on North Dakota marijuana ballot measure

bismarcktribune.com

Supporters of a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana through North Dakota's constitution have, for a second time, fallen short of signatures needed for a public vote.

OR: Closures, staffing shortages make pharmacies less accessible in Oregon
oregonlive.com

oregonlive.com
Between closures and pandemic-related staffing shortages, pharmacies are becoming less accessible to many Oregonians at a time when their services are in greater demand than ever.

WI: Appeals court reinstates drop boxes for Wisconsin's February primary

wpr.org

A state appeals court has temporarily blocked a judge's order that would have banned the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin. Assuming the decision stands, it would mean drop boxes can continue to be used for Wisconsin's Feb. 15 primary. 

MN: Minnesota foster care system perpetuates legacy of racist boarding schools, Native mothers say

startribune.com

Native parents and experts in Native child welfare in Minnesota say that many of the underlying beliefs about Native families that fueled the boarding school systems are perpetuated by the state's modern child welfare system, with devastating effects.

ID: Idaho Supreme Court hears challenge to new congressional districts

idahocapitalsun.com

Idaho Supreme Court justices heard arguments over whether the new congressional boundaries drawn by the state’s bipartisan redistricting commission should be declared illegal and thrown out. With just five weeks to go before the candidate filing period opens ahead of 2022 primary elections, the case took on a new sense of urgency.

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