What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/18
GA: Turnout on first day of Georgia early voting breaks midterm record
The first day of early voting in Georgia set a new midterm turnout record, with nearly 123,000 in-person voters casting their ballots, an early sign of strong interest in this year’s elections.
MN: Minnesota secretary of state pins reelection hopes on confidence in voting systems
Minnesota's typically sleepy secretary of state race has been thrust into the spotlight this election cycle, with millions pouring into the state to defend incumbent Democrat Steve Simon. An avid backer of early and expanded voting access, Simon's bid for a third term is seen as a test of voters' trust in their election systems amid a tense national debate over the results of the 2020 presidential race.
NC: North Carolina providers ask judges to lift restriction on who can perform medication abortions
To alleviate some of increased demand on North Carolina’s 14 clinics, abortion rights groups are asking a panel of judges to lift a restriction under state law that prevents physician assistants, certified nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners from providing medication abortions.
CA: California governor will end COVID state of emergency after more than 2 years
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he plans to lift the state of emergency declaration on Feb. 28, 2023, phasing out the final 27 of nearly 600 directives he established by the proclamation and other executive orders signed during the pandemic.
TX: Texas governor amasses unprecedented amount of campaign cash
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s robust campaign treasury has allowed him to scare off potential opponents, bulldoze those who dare to challenge him, whip a legislature keen on passing his agenda, fund a sprawling grassroots organization and generally reshape Texas politics in his image.
VA: Virginia governor to ask legislature for funds to beef up law enforcement
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he will ask the legislature for $30 million to mount an aggressive push to recruit police from other states, part of a broader effort to beef up law enforcement at a time of surging violent crime.
WI: Wisconsin nursing schools struggle to graduate enough students amid nurse shortage
As the demand for nurses grows across Wisconsin, nursing education programs are struggling to churn out enough graduates — but not for lack of applicants. Instead, schools are facing dwindling numbers of faculty and limited classroom space, forcing them to turn away prospective students.
IL: Illinois no longer requiring masks in health care facilities
Illinois will no longer require masking in all health care facilities, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced. But don’t expect masks in hospitals and doctors’ offices to disappear overnight. Individual health systems can still choose to require masks if they wish.
LA: Amid crisis, Louisiana auditor urges insurance regulators to scrutinize undervaluing of property
The Louisiana legislative auditor is urging insurance regulators to dig deeper into why nearly a dozen insurers folded as they struggled to pay claims after four powerful hurricanes made landfall in the state.
DE: Delaware investing $1M on new school maps for emergencies
The Delaware Emergency Management Agency is investing $1 million into new school maps to improve safety. Most school maps are outdated, some drawn and highlighted with magic markers, leaving first responders with a confusing picture in the event of an emergency.
OR: Oregon measure would remove slavery, involuntary servitude provision of state constitution
The Oregon Constitution prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, unless it is a punishment for a crime. If passed, Measure 112 would remove that exception. Prisons and other carceral settings operate off the labor of those who are in custody, and in the case of the Oregon Department of Corrections, pay people in custody as little as $8 per month.
MI: Michigan governor vetoes latest GOP attempt to curb executive emergency authority
Arguing that they did not “grapple with the real threats that sometimes necessitate swift action,” Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed eight bills that would have either curtailed or limited executive branch emergency powers. The eight bills are part of a package of legislation introduced in response to Whitmer’s use of executive orders during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WY: FBI warns of increasing 'sextortion' cases in Wyoming
The FBI is warning of increased cases in Wyoming of what it calls "sextortion," or an adult coercing a minor to send them explicit images or perform explicit acts over a webcam. A more recent trend, according to officials, is offenders asking for a monetary payment from the minor in exchange for not releasing explicit images.