What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/3
KS: ‘No’ prevails: Kansas votes to protect abortion rights in state constitution
The right to an abortion will remain in the Kansas Constitution. In the first ballot test of abortion rights in a post-Roe America, Kansas voters turned out in historic numbers to overwhelmingly reject a constitutional amendment that would have opened the door for state lawmakers to further restrict or ban abortions across the state.
IL: Abortions in Illinois for out-of-state patients have skyrocketed
Hundreds more out-of-state patients are having abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics in Illinois and wait times to schedule the procedure in the southern part of the state have spiked during the first month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
TX: Texas youths face desperation and danger in juvenile prisons
Inspectors who visited Texas’ severely understaffed youth prisons between November 2021 and this past April saw suicide attempts without intervention, water bottles being used as makeshift toilets and a rash of possibly gang-related fights.
WA: Washington task force releases first recommendations regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women and people
Washington’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force shared their initial recommendations to address systemic causes behind the high rate of disappearances and murders of Indigenous people. They include creating a new cold case unit specifically for missing and murdered Indigenous people, improving communication for family members and helping law enforcement to better coordinate with local, state and tribal health and social services.
CT: Connecticut announces new testing, masking policies for upcoming school year
The Connecticut Department of Education released new guidelines for the 2022-23 school year that are heavily focused on keeping students in-person, including a new masking and testing strategy that allows students with mild symptoms to attend school under certain circumstances.
DE: Pandemic emergency housing program in Delaware to run out of funding
Delawareans living in motels as part of a pandemic-era emergency housing program received letters informing them that the program will end on Aug. 31. Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services says that 436 households — more than half of them families with children — remain in motels.
IN: Indiana lawmakers add health protections to anti-abortion bill
An Indiana House committee passed wide-ranging changes to the proposed near-total abortion ban. The changes include broader language to protect the health of the mother than the state Senate had passed.
OR: Oregon sees year’s first unhealthy air day, as research tracks dramatic rise in wildfire smoke
Wildfires in Oregon have been burning more acres than usual in recent years, causing longer stretches of poor air quality in the state, new research finds. Right now, the Oregon cities of Jacksonville and Malin fall into the unhealthy category, caused by smoke from the McKinney fire burning in Northern California.
MI: Threats force Michigan GOP to cancel Election Day event
The Michigan Republican Party canceled a primary election celebration in Lansing after receiving multiple death threats and other promises of violence, a party spokesman said.
SD: South Dakota gets disaster declaration for June storms
South Dakota will receive more help from the federal government after severe weather wreaked havoc across six counties in June. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will assist counties where storms brought a tornado, straight-line winds, flooding and hail.
MA: Massachusetts House speaker accuses governor of withholding tax information from lawmakers
A day after Massachusetts lawmakers failed to pass a sweeping tax relief package, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives accused Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration of keeping lawmakers in the dark about the potential of the state triggering a 1980s-era tax cap law that could require it to send $3 billion back to taxpayers. Baker’s office denied the charge.
PA: Pennsylvania mail voting law is constitutional: state Supreme Court
Pennsylvania’s mail-voting law is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled, upholding the 2019 measure that allows any voter to use mail ballots and removing a cloud of uncertainty heading into the midterm elections.
MD: Maryland joins anti-robocall task force
Maryland is joining a nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force to investigate and take legal action against companies responsible for foreign spam calls.
WV: West Virginia governor promotes vaccinations
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, continued to advocate for vaccinations and boosters during a regular COVID-19 briefing. Justice renewed his calls for people to get vaccinated and boosted against the virus. His focus was on older residents.