What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/7
DC: District of Columbia votes to eliminate bus fares
The District of Columbia will become the nation’s most populous city to offer free public transit after the Washington, D.C. Council voted to waive fares for Metrobus rides. The D.C. government will subsidize bus rides within the city limit starting July 1, allowing passengers to board free.
CA: First-ever California offshore wind auction nets $402M — so far
The first auction for leases to build massive wind farms off California’s coast netted bids reaching $402.1 million, signaling the beginning of a competitive market for a new industry producing carbon-free electricity.
US: Justice Department subpoenas Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin officials in Trump Jan. 6 probe
Special counsel Jack Smith has sent grand jury subpoenas to local officials in Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin — three states that were central to President Donald Trump’s failed plan to stay in power following the 2020 election — seeking any and all communications with Trump, his campaign and a long list of aides and allies.
GA: Georgia Senate election sends devout pastor to Congress
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who won reelection to keep the U.S. Senate under Democratic control, has likened voting to a “prayer for the world we desire,” and called democracy the “political enactment of a spiritual idea,” that everyone has a divine spark. He performed strongly in Atlanta’s racially and ethnically diverse suburbs, and secured support from some Georgians who voted for Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican.
WA: No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state
Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year. The northern giant hornet is native to Asia and has been the target of eradication efforts after hornets were discovered in the Pacific Northwest in 2019.
MS: Mississippi auditor report says state misspent stimulus funds
A new report from Mississippi State Auditor Shad White shows hundreds of millions of dollars of federal stimulus funds were misspent in the state, and the auditor's office is hearing similar stories from states throughout the nation.
TN: Proposed Tennessee bill could block access to non-criminal death records
A Tennessee bill would limit access to death records, investigative reports and 911 calls if law enforcement determines the death was not the result of a crime. The bill comes amid pressure from the family of the late Naomi Judd to keep details of her death from public view.
TX:Maternal death report was ready for publication when Texas officials shelved it
Texas health officials had completed a long-awaited report on maternal deaths and were preparing talking points about the findings just days before it was shelved until after the November midterms. The messages suggest that the agency was moving toward a required Sept. 1 release of the state’s first updated count of pregnancy-related deaths in nearly a decade.
NY: Budget deficits threaten New York state universities; lawmakers call for state funding
State University of New York faculty and area state legislators are warning that cutbacks could be coming at state colleges and universities that have built significant operating deficits this year. To ward off the potential cuts, the faculty and legislators are asking for $350 million in new state funding to address deficits facing SUNY schools across the state.
CT: Connecticut corrections officers abused pandemic hotel program, audit says
A special program designed to shelter Connecticut corrections officers in hotels during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, using millions of dollars in federal pandemic relief funding, was repeatedly abused by prison workers, according to an ongoing state investigation.
MO: Bipartisan effort underway to extend health coverage for new moms in Missouri
Missouri lawmakers are set to consider plans to extend Medicaid coverage for new moms and their babies after a similar idea fell short earlier this year. Five bills have been introduced in the Missouri House that would extend insurance coverage for mothers with low incomes.
ID: Idaho school safety assessments have slowed during pandemic
Idaho state inspectors try to get out into every school once every three years for a safety assessment. They didn’t come close to staying on schedule in 2021-22 — because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted K-12 operations across the state. All told, the state assessed 152 schools last school year, just one-fifth of Idaho’s 735 schools.
SD: South Dakota governor asks for $7.2B budget
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, plans to cut the state sales tax on groceries, create paid family leave and update prisons in her 2023-24 budget.
WV: National Guard in jails ‘not sustainable,’ says West Virginia corrections official
The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation can’t sustain the cost of using West Virginia National Guard members to work as corrections officers amid a shortage of staff.