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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/9

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/9

MI: Abortion rights will be on the ballot in Michigan, court rules

detroitnews.com

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered a proposal onto the November ballot that seeks to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. The high court overruled a deadlocked Board of State Canvassers, discarding arguments that spacing issues in the petition initiative were enough to disqualify the measure.

SC: Unable to pass total abortion ban, South Carolina Senate votes to tighten existing law

thestate.com

Unable to get enough votes to support a near-total abortion ban, the South Carolina Senate passed legislation that would build on the state’s six-week law but limit the procedure for sexual assault victims up to 12 weeks.

NY: New York governor’s donor got $637M in state payments for expensive COVID tests

timesunion.com

New York purchased about 52 million COVID-19 tests from Digital Gadgets for an average of $12.25 each, compared with $7.80 or less from three other companies. The CEO of the company and his family members have donated nearly $300,000 to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s campaign.

OR: 40,000 at risk of power shutoff as Oregon wildfire danger grows

oregonlive.com

Over 40,000 customers in Oregon are expected to lose power in planned shutoffs, as strong winds threaten to worsen wildfire conditions across the state. If there is no damage to its equipment, Portland General Electric said it would start restoring power Sunday morning, with customers expected to have power back by Monday night.

ID: Idaho landmarks have new names after feds remove slur

idahostatesman.com

Sehewoki’I Newenee’an Katete is the new name for a peak near Emmett, Idaho, after the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it has removed slurs from 72 geographic features across 21 Idaho counties. The department this week changed the titles of nearly 650 U.S. geographic features that included the word “squaw.”

MA, NH: Electricity costs rise unevenly across New England

wbur.org

Electricity price spikes are occurring across New England, but consumers’ bills are rising more in some places than others. Some ratepayers in New Hampshire saw the price of electricity double this summer, resulting in bills up to $70 higher, while many in Massachusetts are only paying an extra $11 per month.

IA: As enrollment recovers, Iowa Board of Regents eyes more state aid

iowacapitaldispatch.com

As Iowa’s college enrollment numbers improve following a dip due to the pandemic, the Iowa Board of Regents is considering raising its budget request to match inflation and increased costs at the state’s public universities.

NE: Nebraska governor suspends background checks for health care workers

journalstar.com

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts temporarily waived a state requirement that Nebraskans get a criminal background check from the FBI before getting some health care jobs. The Nebraska legislature passed legislation this year amending the screening requirements for health care workers, but the FBI has yet to approve it, holding up licenses for needed workers. 

OH: Ohio judge: State attorney general should apologize for doubting 10-year-old rape victim's story

dispatch.com

A Hamilton County judge did not rule in a challenge to Ohio's abortion ban, but did suggest Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost should apologize for casting doubt on the story of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and then traveled to Indiana for an abortion in June.

TX: Head of Texas state police denies allegations of racial profiling

dallasnews.com

The head of the Texas state police is disputing allegations of racial profiling in Operation Lone Star traffic stops and of coziness with White nationalists who flocked to the Texas-Mexico border last year. Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, also is disputing claims that officers have little guidance on when to chase fleeing vehicles.

LA: Head of Louisiana board overseeing security guards ousted after drug and weapon arrest 

theadvocate.com 

The Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners voted unanimously to immediately terminate the head of the agency after she was arrested on gun and drug charges earlier in the week. 

WA: Washington's COVID state of emergency will lift on Oct. 31

seattletimes.com

After more than two years, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is declaring an end to Washington’s COVID-19 state of emergency. Most of the specific restrictions under the governor’s emergency powers — including mask mandates and limits on large gatherings and business openings — had been lifted long ago.

MI: Starting this week, bivalent COVID boosters are available in Michigan

michiganadvance.com

“This is great news as we go into the fall and winter when we expect cases of COVID-19 to increase,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive. “The bivalent booster will help fight the Omicron subvariants.”

AK: Alaskans to receive $3,284 each, Alaska governor announces

alaskapublic.org

This year’s Alaska Permanent Fund dividend will be $2,634. Including a $650 energy relief rebate approved by the legislature this year, eligible Alaskans will be receiving a total of $3,284 starting Sept. 20.

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