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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/21

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/21

MA, FL: Massachusetts immigrant advocates sue Florida officials over Martha’s Vineyard aftermath

bostonglobe.com

Lawyers for migrants and their advocates filed a federal class action civil rights lawsuit in Massachusetts against Florida officials and others involved in the plan to fly almost 50 Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week with no notice to island officials, court records show.

MN: 48 charged in 'brazen' $250M COVID spending fraud centered in Minnesota

mprnews.org

Federal authorities charged 48 people in what they described as the country’s largest COVID-19 funding scam, alleging an elaborate Minnesota-based operation stole at least $250 million meant to feed needy children but went instead to buy cars, luxury goods, jewelry and property in Kenya, Turkey and the United States.

GA: Surveillance video surfaces of fake elector inside Georgia county elections office

ajc.com

One of Georgia’s fake electors for then-President Donald Trump can be seen on a video spending hours with a group of computer analysts after she welcomed them into the Coffee County elections office to copy nonpublic election data Jan. 7, 2021.

CO: Will Coloradans vote for $300M annually for a new affordable housing program?

denverpost.com

Coloradans will vote on an affordable housing measure for the first time this November, one that would divert nearly $300 million in annual funding toward a first-of-its-kind program. The measure would support eviction defense, down-payment assistance, new housing development, the purchasing of land for future use and direct payments to renters.

MT: Montana health agency will allow gender change on birth certificates

montanafreepress.org

The Montana state health department said it now intends to comply with last week’s district court order in which a judge instructed the agency to reinstate a process for allowing transgender Montanans to update the sex on their birth certificates. The announcement represents a shift from the department’s response to an oral bench ruling last Thursday.

PA: Pennsylvania considers cost-of-living raises for state retirees

inquirer.com

With inflation topping 8% this year for the first time since 1981, Pennsylvania officials are mulling what to do about state and public-school retirees’ demands for the first pension cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) since 2004.

NJ: New Jersey minimum wage to increase to more than $14 an hour next year thanks to inflation

nj.com

The minimum wage in New Jersey will increase more than previously planned next year, going up to $14.13 per hour for most workers, the state Labor Department announced this week.

WA: More Washington adults are registered to vote, but younger voters are lagging

kuow.org

About 80% of Washington adults are registered to vote, compared with about 75% a decade ago. But as older voters increase, the generations behind them have not made up the gap.

OR: Oregon tuition-free preschool delayed by weeks or months

oregonlive.com

Thousands of Oregon families who expected their children to start tuition-free state-provided preschool at the beginning of September have been told those plans are on hold and remain confused when their children will start school. The delay was caused by understaffing in the Early Learning Division, which has overseen the Preschool Promise program since its launch in 2016.

MI: Detroit claims US Census Bureau miscounted population in new lawsuit

freep.com

Detroit filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau, claiming the agency missed thousands of residents including many African American and Hispanic people, in its 2021 population estimate. Democratic Mayor Mike Duggan said the city is challenging the annual estimates, claiming the census left out more than 7,000 residents in the 2021 count, which may reduce federal funding for Detroit.

WY: Film financial incentive under consideration in Wyoming

trib.com

Painfully for Wyoming's Park County, “Yellowstone” — a series named after the area’s primary attraction — films in Montana. State Rep. Sandy Newsome, a Republican, and others attribute the lack of film and television productions in Wyoming to the lack of a statewide financial incentive for such productions. He's proposing to fund a film incentive program with $3 million in statewide lodging tax dollars every two years.

OK: Oklahoma Supreme Court rules school districts, not governor, should decide mask mandates

oklahoman.com

The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the governor’s influence over school mask mandates, ruling in favor of doctors and parents who challenged a state law that at one point effectively blocked masking requirements in public schools.

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