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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/22

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/22

NY: 1st polio case in a decade is discovered in New York

nytimes.com

A case of polio has been identified in an unvaccinated adult in Rockland County, New York. Officials confirmed that the infection was transmitted from someone who received the oral polio vaccine, which has not been administered in the United States since 2000.

LA: Judge finds Louisiana abortion laws vague; enforcement still on hold

lailluminator.com 

A Louisiana judge ruled that the state’s abortion laws are vague and therefore cannot be enforced. His decision keeps the state attorney general and the health department from shutting down the state’s three abortion clinics for now.

OK: Oklahoma City library releases guidelines on patrons seeking abortion information

oklahoman.com

Oklahoma City-area library employees were told to steer clear of offering any advice about abortion to patrons seeking information about the procedure. It's unclear whether library employees would face lawsuits under Oklahoma's laws that allow private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who "aids or abets" someone in getting an abortion.

MA: Massachusetts police want more mental health coordinators, but there’s a shortage

wbur.org

Orlando Taylor III, 23, of Springfield and Miguel Estrella, 22, of Pittsfield — both men of color — were killed in separate incidents by western Massachusetts police this year. Each was having mental health issues, but at the time of the incidents, there were no health professionals available to respond.

CA: California parks want to bring more Latino visitors outdoors

sacbee.com

California State Parks Director Armando Quintero says he hopes to see more people use the state's 280 park units under new programs that allow easier access.

NJ: New law requires police in New Jersey to get a license

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation creating a police licensing system in New Jersey, making the Garden State the 47th in the country to allow for the licensing of police officers and the decertification of those who abuse the badge.

CT: Only half of eligible households have claimed Connecticut’s child tax rebate

ctmirror.org

A $250-per-child state tax rebate for as many as 350,000 lower-income and middle-class families is the latest Connecticut pandemic relief plan struggling to hit its mark.

IL: Illinois governor asks federal health officials to ramp up monkeypox vaccination efforts

chicagotribune.com

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is calling on the federal government to ramp up its monkeypox response as cases continue to climb in Chicago. Pritzker also is sending 4,600 more vaccine doses to Chicago.

CO: Denver area homeless population grew by 12.8% in 2 years

coloradosun.com

The number of people experiencing homelessness was up 12.8% in 2022 compared with 2020, before the pandemic, according to preliminary data from the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative point-in-time survey.

PA: After paring the number of Pennsylvania colleges, officials want to grow enrollment by 20%

post-gazette.com

Pennsylvania consolidated 14 state universities into 10. Nonetheless, the chancellor is advocating major growth — 20% more enrollment, including 11,500 additional undergraduates, 3,400 graduates and 3,000 students seeking non-degree credentials. Officials say those numbers are needed to meet job requirements in the state.

MT: Montana governor focuses housing task force on regulatory relief

montanafreepress.org

While acknowledging that housing affordability is a complex issue without a single-bullet answer, GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte argues that a key piece of the solution is to make it easier for private-sector developers to build Montana out of its housing crisis.

ID: Idaho librarians prepare for continued efforts to ban books

idahoednews.org

Librarians across Idaho are revamping their policies and processes in anticipation of more attempts to ban books. In the face of public distrust, librarians are also working on building strong community relationships.

IA: Iowa attorney general calls for legalizing fentanyl test strips

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, hopes to introduce legislation next year that would legalize fentanyl test strips, which are used to determine whether the powerful opioid is present in a pill. He also wants to further expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone in the state.

MO: Missouri Lottery chief lands job with gambling company

stltoday.com

The outgoing director of the Missouri Lottery has taken a job with a lottery contractor to head up government relations and legislative affairs. State records show the company has received about $10 million in state payments for work it has done for the lottery during the director’s tenure. 

KS: Kansas megaprojects may be exempt from open records law

cjonline.com

A provision was added during a major rewrite of a law creating tax incentives for the Panasonic project in Kansas — and potentially future programs — that could shield records associated with deals on major infrastructure projects from the state's public records law. Lawmakers contacted by The Capital-Journal said they were unaware of the item, making it difficult to determine the legislature's intent.

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