What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/4
TN: Tennessee sues Walgreens over 'unlawful' opioid sales
Tennessee alleges, among other things, that Walgreens did not properly train pharmacists to recognize "red flags" for patient opioid abuse; regularly sold "huge quantities" of high-risk drug combinations to patients; did not properly consider suspicious prescribers; and prescribed suspiciously high doses of the drug to patients.
KS: Driven by abortion politics, Kansas primary voters turned out in high numbers
Driven to the polls by abortion politics and unfazed by hot and humid weather, Kansas voters turned out in record numbers to vote in the August primary election. With more than 1.95 million registered voters, turnout currently sits at about 46.6%.
FL: Florida will not declare a state of emergency over monkeypox, governor says
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will not declare a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak despite more than 500 cases in the state. He said he doesn’t believe such a move is necessary, nor does he think Floridians should be fearful of monkeypox.
OR: Oregon governor declares emergency for growing fire
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Miller Road fire burning in Wasco County, declaring an immediate threat to “life, safety and property” in the area. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuation orders for some residents near the blaze and informed others to be ready to go on short notice.
MI: Michigan judge extends order preventing criminal charges under abortion ban
An Oakland County judge extended until Aug. 17 an emergency order barring prosecutors from criminally charging abortion providers under a 1931 Michigan law that largely bans the procedure. The order provides ongoing access to legal abortion in Michigan, but that status remains on shaky and challenged ground.
SD: South Dakota board extends probe of governor
An ethics board investigating complaints leveled against Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, voted to extend its probe. The complaints are about personal political use of a state airplane and interference in an application for Noem's daughter's real estate appraisal license.
WI: Demand for monkeypox vaccine outstrips limited supply in Wisconsin
With enough monkeypox vaccine to fully vaccinate only 743 people in Wisconsin, public health organizations are finding demand is quickly outpacing supply in cities across the state.
NJ: New Jersey lawmakers will begin tackling huge judge shortage that has hurt thousands
A key state Senate panel will begin to deal with New Jersey’s massive state judge vacancy problem in a rare summer meeting. There are currently 63 judicial vacancies out of 433 trial court positions, and 10 more are anticipated by the end of the year, according to Judiciary spokeswoman MaryAnn Spoto.
OH: Ohio State Highway Patrol faces staffing shortage due to retirements, recruiting difficulties
Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said his administration is considering raising the starting pay for state troopers as it tries to address a staffing shortage that’s left the state roughly 200 people short of state officials’ hiring goals.
WA:41 large polluters to get free passes in Washington carbon trading market
Washington is required by law to eliminate or offset all of its greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. But generous exemptions for more than 40 of the state’s biggest polluters in a forthcoming carbon market could push that goal beyond reach.
NY: New York governor defends bail laws opposed by NYC mayor
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul urged judges to follow the state's updated bail laws that remain under attack from law enforcement officials, many Republicans and also moderate Democrats, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams. The governor said amendments to the bail laws were intended to deter the level of burglaries, larcenies and robberies being attributed to repeat offenders.
MS: Mississippi to opt out of federal COVID-based rental assistance
On Aug. 15, the state of Mississippi will stop accepting applications for federal rental assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said at a press conference. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is part of the federal government's COVID-19 relief initiatives. Reeves said opting out would encourage people to work.
TX: Texans face delays in receiving food stamps
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has extended emergency food aid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. But many Texans are still struggling to get the help — a reflection of the toll the pandemic has taken on logistical operations and the economy.
AR: Arkansas panel rejects recreational marijuana amendment
The Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners voted not to certify a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana, saying the popular name and ballot title did not clearly specify whether there would be a certain THC limit on edibles.