What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/14
US: How election lies took over the Republican ticket nationwide
They include candidates for the U.S. House and Senate, and the state offices of governor, secretary of state and attorney general — many with clear shots to victory, and some without a chance. They are united by at least one issue: They have all expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the 2020 election. And they are the new normal of the Republican Party.
CA: California Coastal Commission OKs desalination plant in Orange County
Less than six months after rejecting a proposal for a major desalination plant in Huntington Beach, the California Coastal Commission approved plans for a different, smaller project in Orange County that could serve as a model for future projects.
NJ: Key New Jersey lawmakers want to force gun owners to buy liability insurance
New Jersey lawmakers want to require gun owners to have liability insurance for concealed carry and add to the list of places firearms will be banned in public. Senate President Nicholas Scutari and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, both Democrats, announced the bill in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June decision that struck down New York’s concealed carry law.
NC: GOP wins legal challenge over political observers at North Carolina polling places
The rules governing observers at polling places this year should be relaxed, a North Carolina judge ruled, over objections from the State Board of Elections. The Republican Party lost a separate legal challenge, attempting to move the deadline earlier for mail-in ballots.
CT: Connecticut governor’s office ordered to take training on open records law
The Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission has ordered the staff of Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s office to attend mandatory training sessions on the state’s Freedom of Information Act after they failed to release emails, text messages and other records related to the pandemic for more than two years.
MO: New Missouri voter ID law survives legal challenge
A Republican-backed law requiring Missouri voters to present a photo ID at their polling places survived a court challenge with less than a month to go before the general election.
GA: Georgia elections director: Voter challenges barred in polling places
Georgia’s election director told county election officials that challenges to voters’ eligibility can’t be filed with poll workers when voters are trying to cast their ballots.
WY: Development reveals shortcomings of Wyoming wildlife migration protections
The flurry of development in a mule deer migration path highlights shortcomings in Wyoming’s policy, an executive order from GOP Gov. Mark Gordon that’s been held up as a national gold standard in the emerging field of migration conservation. The order incentivized but did not mandate protections.
FL: Florida governor issues order adjusting election rules for counties hit by Hurricane Ian
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order giving Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties flexibility in handling the November election in the wake of Hurricane Ian. It allows for consolidated polling locations, lets voters request mail ballots for an address not already on file, extends early voting and waives certain training requirements for poll workers.
OH: Ohio voters to decide whether to bar non-citizens from voting in local elections
Ohio voters will be asked Nov. 8 whether to approve a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit local governments from allowing non-citizens to vote in elections for local candidates.
ID, NM: Idaho resumes radioactive nuclear waste shipments to New Mexico
Shipments of nuclear waste from the U.S. Department of Energy’s site in eastern Idaho to a nuclear waste repository in New Mexico have resumed following three episodes that caused New Mexico officials to suspend them.
NY: New York’s home care workers get pay increase
Some of the lowest-paid health care employees in New York are getting a raise, courtesy of the state's budget agreement this year that included a multiyear, $7.7 billion investment to boost the minimum wage for home care workers. The minimum wage for home care aides increased by $2 an hour, to $15.20 an hour for upstate New York and to $17 an hour in New York City, Long Island and Westchester.
MD: Maryland conservative group plans to challenge November ballots
In a move that elections experts say could further erode confidence in the voting process, a group of Maryland voters aligned with Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox’s campaign plans on challenging the legitimacy of ballots across the state immediately after Election Day in November.
TX: Inflation and drought are making it harder to feed Texans in need
Nearly 4 million Texans struggle with hunger and food insecurity, according to Feeding Texas, a nonprofit organization that partners with 21 food banks to provide food across the state. The problem is especially prevalent in rural areas, where access to grocery stores and healthy food is limited.
MI: Michigan’s public universities have lost 45,000 students since 2011. It’s about to get worse.
The drop in enrollment at Michigan’s 15 public universities over the past decade totals more than 45,000 students, a 15% decline from the enrollment peak in 2011. It is almost certain to get worse, since the number of high school graduates is projected to drop steadily.
KS: Kansas teacher staffing crunch intensifies
A staffing crunch continues for Kansas K-12 schools as superintendents and principals struggle to staff classrooms. Vacancies surged from 1,253 to 1,628 from fall 2021 to fall 2022.