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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/16

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/16

MN: Violent crime rose nearly 22% in Minnesota last year vs. 2020, state says

startribune.com

Violent crime in Minnesota rose by nearly 22% last year compared with 2020, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension disclosed, while property crimes such as burglary showed a slight drop. The report found that aggravated assault saw the biggest year-over-year increase (34%) among the violent crime categories, which also include murder, rape and robbery.

WI: University of Wisconsin System announces tuition waiver program for low-income students

wpr.org

Some University of Wisconsin System students from low-income families will have their tuition and fees waived under a new initiative. The Wisconsin Tuition Promise will waive remaining costs not covered by financial aid for students from families with incomes below $62,000 per year beginning in fall of 2023.

CO: Colorado Department of Corrections to review COVID-19 vaccine mandate

coloradosun.com

Colorado Department of Corrections officials are revisiting a policy requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees as the department scrambles to fill nearly 1,800 open positions. Vacancies have swelled to nearly one-quarter of the 8,000-person workforce.

US: Deadline looms for Western states to cut Colorado River use

apnews.com

Cities and farms in seven U.S. states are bracing for cuts this week as officials stare down a deadline to propose unprecedented reductions to their use of the water, setting up what’s expected to be the most consequential week for Colorado River policy in years.

GA: Giuliani named a target of Georgia investigation, attorney says

ajc.com

Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutors informed Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney to former President Donald Trump, that he is a target of the ongoing criminal investigation into Georgia’s 2020 elections.

NJ: Nearly $80M in New Jersey legal weed was sold in first 10 weeks

nj.com

Adult recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey generated $79.7 million in total sales between April 21 and the end of the fiscal year June 30, according to numbers released by the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

LA: Louisiana charter schools not enrolling enough students from low-income families, audit shows 

theadvocate.com

Charter schools have improved their enrollment of children from families with low incomes but more than 1 of 5 failed to meet admission rules at least once during the past six years, according to a report issued by Louisiana’s legislative auditor. 

WA: Washington activates alerts for missing Indigenous people

kuow.org

Washington state is the first in the nation to create a new missing persons’ alert specifically for Native Americans, but the first use of this new system reveals how complicated some missing persons’ cases truly are.

OR: Oregon’s chief justice fires public defense commission amid crisis

oregonlive.com

Oregon’s chief justice took the extraordinary step of firing the Public Defense Services Commission days after its members failed to oust the embattled director of the state’s public defense agency. Chief Justice Martha Walters informed the nine-member commission of her decision by letter.

MI: US Army Corps of Engineers opens review of controversial pipeline between Michigan's peninsulas

michiganadvance.com

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers formally published a notice of intent for its forthcoming draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on the embattled Line 5 tunnel project. Both the current pipeline and its proposed replacement are opposed by environmental organizations and tribes in both Michigan and Wisconsin; proponents for both include the Canadian government and oil and gas groups.

AK: Tundra burns helped make the 2022 Alaska fire season one of the biggest since 1950

alaskabeacon.com

Alaska is closing out what is likely to be the state’s seventh-biggest wildfire season since 1950, wrapping up a summer notable for record-breaking fires in the tundra of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in the southwestern part of the state. In all, more than 3 million acres have been burned by wildfires this year, according to the federal-state Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

KS: Rise in child sex abuse cases went unreported to Kansas lawmakers

cjonline.com

Kansas abortion providers have reported more than 100 cases of child sex abuse cases to state child welfare officials over the past six years, but the numbers apparently went unreported to lawmakers. The Kansas Department for Children and Families is responsible for issuing a mandatory annual report of the abuses but hadn’t done so for the past six years until asked about it by The Topeka Capital-Journal.

MD: Maryland seeks quicker vote counts

baltimoresun.com

Maryland state election officials voted to ask for court permission to allow local election officials to begin counting mail-in ballots earlier. Such a change could reduce delays seen in last month’s primary.

MT: Montana lawmakers considering special session for tax rebates

kpax.com

The Montana Secretary of State’s Office has sent out a ballot to each lawmaker. They have until Sept. 14 to vote on the special session proposal. If 76 of them — a majority of the 150 senators and representatives — approve, the special session will move forward.

ID: Idaho colleges have little freedom to change health policy in a post-Roe world

idahoednews.org

The Idaho Legislature made it illegal in 2021 for public colleges and universities to dispense emergency contraception under a law preventing the use of public money for “abortion-related activities.” The law applies to all public schools in Idaho, from large universities to two-year community colleges. The law also made it illegal for public schools to refer students to abortion providers.

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