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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/24

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/24

CA: As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water

latimes.com

California has declared that all residents have a right to clean, safe and affordable drinking water, but officials have yet to make good on that promise.

WV: West Virginia governor says no COVID vaccine requirements for students

wvpublic.org

West Virginia won’t require children to receive the COVID-19 vaccination for school enrollment, according to Republican Gov. Jim Justice. About 20% of West Virginia kids ages five to 11 are fully vaccinated as are 40% of those 12 to 15, according to state health department data.

SD: South Dakota could be first state to legalize cannabis twice

pressherald.com

Recreational marijuana is back on the South Dakota ballot and faces strong opposition after a previous voter-approved law was reversed.

NY: New Yorkers to vote on historic environmental bond act

timesunion.com

New Yorkers will vote Nov. 8 on a $4.2 billion bond act that promises a significant investment in clean water and climate resiliency — the first such act in nearly 30 years.

KS: Kansas legislators threaten to defund regulators as missed deadlines pile up

cjonline.com

Saying they were irritated by state regulators’ inability to complete regulations authorized by law, Kansas lawmakers of both parties threatened to defund their jobs. They cited 48 cases of Kansas laws passed since 2015 that have not gotten supporting rules and regulations.

MO: Missouri prisoner deaths have spiked in 2022

kansascity.com

The Missouri Department of Corrections has seen a 25% increase in prisoner deaths this year. As of Oct. 17, 107 prisoners have died in Missouri prisons. It’s more than the total number of annual deaths in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

WA: Washington governor's $1K COVID booster bonus largely unpopular

seattletimes.com

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to offer $1,000 to state workers who get their omicron-specific COVID-19 booster was met with widespread skepticism among Washingtonians, with 57% unsupportive of a financial incentive in general, a new statewide poll shows.

TN: Tennessee farmers struggle to get crops to market as drought drains Mississippi River

tennesseelookout.com

With drought strangling transportation on the Mississippi River, many Tennessee farmers are being forced to leave crops in the field and pray for rain to fall anywhere and everywhere but above their harvest-ready crops. The river last week reached its lowest levels ever recorded.

FL: Mail voting nears 1.2 million in Florida with more than two weeks to midterms

sun-sentinel.com

Nearly 1.2 million Florida voters have already cast their midterm election ballots. It reflects a continuing desire by many to vote from the comfort of their homes, rather than lining up at an early voting center or Election Day polling place.

WY: Wyoming to pilot teacher apprenticeship program this spring

trib.com

The Wyoming Department of Education reached an agreement with the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board and U.S. Department of Labor finalizing guidelines for a new paid apprenticeship program that aims to address statewide teacher shortages. The program, which recruits and trains people who want to become teachers, will be piloted in three school districts this spring.

DC: DC mailed incorrect ballots to more than 500 voters

washingtonpost.com

The District of Columbia Board of Elections mailed incorrect ballots to 574 voters, due to mistakes matching residents to their new electoral districts after the city completed its decennial redistricting process several months ago. The city is mailing a new, correct ballot to each of the voters.

HI: Department of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiary advocates blast $600M spending plan

staradvertiser.com

Two advocacy groups for existing and future Hawaiian homesteaders are challenging a tentative state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands plan to spend $600 million to help beneficiaries.

NE: Small Nebraska towns announce plans for funding

nebraskaexaminer.com

Five Nebraska towns, including two with only 100 or so residents apiece, have been awarded a total of about $2 million to develop projects ranging from sprucing up Main Street to building a center for seniors.

VA: Virginia Department of Elections awards contract for new voting information system

richmond.com

Following registration and mailing issues this month, along with letters from a concerned state senator, the Virginia Department of Elections announced the award of a contract in a yearslong plan to replace its current voting technology.

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