What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/6
GA: Polls open for US Senate runoff on Election Day in Georgia
Polling places opened for the Georgia runoff for U.S. Senate between Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, the last undecided Senate race in the country.
HI: New Hawaii governor takes over a state with chronic problems, but money to address them
Democrat Josh Green was sworn in as Hawaii’s ninth governor since statehood in an inauguration ceremony where he called on the audience to join him in caring for all residents as “one ohana, one family.”
MI: Michigan election board slams recounts as ‘frivolous,’ allows them to proceed
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers allowed recounts targeting two ballot proposals to go forward despite concerns the efforts amounted to a “fishing expedition” aimed at advancing unproven claims of election fraud.
MA: Massachusetts approval of dental ballot measure could revolutionize insurance for teeth
The ballot measure, which was approved by voters, will impose financial reporting rules for dental insurers in Massachusetts and require them to devote at least 83% of premiums they collect to patient care, or rebate the difference. It is the first of its kind in the nation.
MN: Minnesota brings back its popular ‘Name a Snowplow’ contest
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is again accepting snowplow name suggestions; last year, it received more than 11,000, with “Betty Whiteout” the runaway winner. The agency also hopes the contest will remind motorists to drive carefully when encountering plows on the road.
MO: Missouri Senate renews push to limit foreign ownership of farmland
A push to ban foreign companies from buying farmland in Missouri may be gaining momentum. At least four members of the state legislature have introduced measures calling for a prohibition on the further acquisition of acreage by foreign entities.
MS: Mississippi expands higher education welfare fraud suit
The University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation is one of 10 parties the Mississippi Department of Human Services is seeking to sue in an expanding lawsuit that it hopes will recoup millions of dollars of welfare funds lost in the largest public fraud in state history. Southern Miss is linked to the alleged fraud scheme via one of its most notable alums, pro football hall of famer Brett Favre.
AK: Prepare to wait weeks, or even months, before a majority forms in Alaska House
Interviews with nine current and newly elected Alaska House members indicate that it will almost certainly be weeks — if not months — before the chamber merges into a new majority of 21 or more legislators.
WI: Outside groups spent record $93M on Wisconsin elections
Outside groups poured $93 million into trying to elect candidates for state office this fall, according to a report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The latest total is a 50% increase compared with the previous record of $61.86 million spent on Wisconsin's 2018 midterm elections.
CA: California restaurants gather 1M signatures to challenge new fast-food labor law
A restaurant business coalition announced that it has gathered enough signatures to challenge a new California law that would create a state-backed labor council to set pay and working conditions for the fast-food industry.
NY: Attorneys sue New York for the first pay raise in 18 years
People earning low incomes and children who go through family court are being harmed by the lack of quality legal representation because of stagnating pay rates for their court-appointed attorneys, a state lawyer’s association contended in a lawsuit filed earlier this week against the state of New York.
SD: Tree mistake haunts South Dakota’s Black Hills
When foresters replanted trees decades ago after a wildfire in the Black Hills of South Dakota, they made a mistake planting a species of ponderosa pine that was not native to the area. As a result, thousands of acres are covered with deformed, stunted trees.
NM: New Mexico state labor leaders decry back-to-office policy
The head of New Mexico’s State Personnel Office said the presence of state workers at office sites is important to serving the public, but labor union officials contended the move to rescind the policy could prompt scores of workers to leave their jobs.
TX: Texas lawmakers ask state agency to delay power market redesign until after 2023 legislative session
In a hearing, Texas lawmakers questioned whether a Public Utility Commission proposal to redesign the state’s electricity market would lead to the building of more natural-gas-fired power plants. Regulators say it would.