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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/1

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/1

UT: Utah governor asks 22K state employees to fill in as schools face staffing crisis

sltrib.com

State employees can now use leave time from their jobs to fill in as substitute teachers while Utah schools continue to face a staffing crisis because of the pandemic. The allowance comes through an executive order issued by Republican Gov. Spencer Cox.

NY: New York redistricting plan would cut GOP representatives from 7 to 4

timesunion.com

The New York congressional lines drawn by the legislature's Democratic majority would reduce the Republican representatives in the state from seven to four. New York also would lose one congressional district because of population decline.

WV: West Virginia legislature passes bill lifting restrictions on nuclear power plant construction

wvgazettemail.com

The West Virginia House overwhelmingly approved a Senate bill that would lift state restrictions on nuclear power plant construction, sending it to Republican Gov. Jim Justice for his approval.

ID: Idaho governor again deploys National Guard to fight COVID

idahostatesman.com

Idaho GOP Gov. Brad Little activated 75 members of the Idaho National Guard to assist the Primary Health medical system and the Idaho Department of Correction, which are experiencing staffing shortages as many employees are out sick due to COVID-19. It’s the fourth time during the pandemic that the Idaho National Guard has been deployed.

CA: California governor gets blowback for maskless photos at NFL game

latimes.com

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other California leaders are facing criticism after they were photographed without face masks at the NFC Championship game at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium. The state requires masks at outdoor events with over 5,000 people.

WA: Washington reopens website to order free COVID tests

seattletimes.com

Washington state reopened its website that allows residents to order COVID-19 rapid tests, after running out of supplies and closing the site less than a day after its initial launch last month. The state Department of Health anticipates delivering tests to another 120,000 homes with the new batch.

CT: More than 2K Connecticut restaurants still awaiting aid 

apnews.com 

More than 2,000 Connecticut restaurants, caterers and food service operators are still waiting to receive federal COVID-19 relief funds, with many saying it’s unlikely they can remain in business without the financial assistance, according to the Connecticut Restaurant Association. 

NJ: New Jersey cannabis growers brace for layoffs, ‘destroying product’ if market doesn’t open soon

nj.com

Like many of New Jersey’s residents who voted to legalize weed for adult consumers, the state’s largest growers say they’ve been eager for the market to open. In fact, they say they’re bursting at the seams with marijuana—and now, they’re worried they’ll have to take drastic measures if things don’t speed up.

IL: Illinois governor’s budget proposal aims to ease ‘pinch of inflation’ with tax relief 

chicago.suntimes.com 

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest state budget proposal will seek to ease the “pinch of inflation” for Illinois residents by providing almost $1 billion in tax cuts, freezes and rebates while maintaining “fiscal sanity and discipline,” his top aides say. 

OR: Oregon legislators set to look at budget fixes, farmworker overtime, self-service gasoline

opb.org

Oregon lawmakers will consider proposals that would send a one-time state stimulus payment to frontline workers who were employed throughout the pandemic, change administrative rules preventing farmworkers from earning overtime, adopt campaign contribution limits and allow Oregonians to pump their own gas.

MI: Michigan unemployment agency unlawfully demanded money back, class-action lawsuit says

mlive.com

Five people are suing the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency claiming the state is unlawfully demanding thousands of dollars in benefits be paid back. The suit says the state deemed residents ineligible more than a year after benefits were paid and started collection efforts on overpayments made by state error despite pending protests.

GA: Law enforcement split on practicality of permitless carrying of handguns in Georgia

ajc.com

Georgians seeking to carry a handgun must apply for a license with their local probate court, get fingerprinted, submit to a background check and pay a fee up to $75. New legislation would get rid of that process, and current and former law enforcement officials are split over it.

NE: Truancy diversion bill fails in Nebraska

omaha.com

Despite an effort at compromise, a bill aimed at encouraging diversion for truant kids failed to overcome a filibuster in the Nebraska legislature. It would have encouraged a focus on the root causes of absenteeism instead of handling truancy in court.

IA: Iowa lawmakers reconsider statute of limitations on sexual assault cases

iowacapitaldispatch.com

Survivors of childhood sexual assault would have more time to pursue civil action against their abusers under one of several proposed changes to Iowa’s sexual assault laws. One proposal would allow survivors to bring a civil case against their abuser after the abuser is convicted on criminal charges. Iowans who experienced sexual abuse as a minor currently have one year after they turn 18 to make a civil claim.

NV: Proposed Nevada ballot measures seek voter ID, repeal of broad mail-in voting

thenevadaindependent.com

If two proposed ballot measures gather enough signatures, Nevadans may get the chance to mandate that voters show identification at the polls, and to repeal portions of a law that requires mail ballots be sent to all active registered voters unless they opt out.

WI: As Wisconsin's climate gets warmer and wetter, beloved winter activities could be in jeopardy

jsonline.com

Skiing, ice fishing and other sports face shorter seasons in Wisconsin as snowfall and lake ice cover are affected by rising temperatures.

DE: Delaware AG to crack down on human trafficking

delawarepublic.org

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings, a Democrat, is forming the state’s first dedicated human trafficking unit within the Department of Justice. The unit will include veteran prosecutors from across the state.

KY: GOP House bill would remove Kentucky State Police from governor’s control

kentucky.com

Several Republican members of the state House say the Kentucky State Police should be removed from Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s command and instead placed under a nine-member commission.

FL: Florida sets record for Affordable Care Act enrollment 

tampabay.com 

A record 2.7 million Floridians have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for 2022, a 600,000 increase from last year. 

KS: Public health advocates say Kansas isn’t spending enough to combat tobacco use

cjonline.com

Public health officials say Kansas isn't spending enough taxpayer dollars on combatting tobacco use. Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials testified before the legislature that the state scores low on health rankings in part because of smoking.

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