Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/2

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/2

CA: California governor orders bars, restaurants closed again

sacbee.com

In a major rollback, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, directed 19 counties, including Sacramento and Los Angeles, to shut down restaurants for indoor dining before the Fourth of July weekend. Restaurants will still be allowed to offer food for carryout or delivery.

US: Census door knockers starting in six states later this month

apnews.com

Homes in six states across the country can expect to get knocks on their doors from census takers in two weeks as part of a soft launch of the next phase of the largest head count in U.S. history, Census Bureau officials said.

AZ: Arizona coronavirus cases shatter records

azcentral.com

Arizona reported nearly 4,900 new COVID-19 cases and 88 additional deaths Wednesday, by far the highest number of cases and deaths in a daily update provided by health officials. It was a further indication of how widespread the new coronavirus has become in the state.

US: Coronavirus surge strains municipal bond market, but investors still pile in

wsj.com

Despite pressure on state and local governments from lost tax revenue, investors are drawn by yield and relative safety. Ten municipal borrowers defaulted for the first time in May and another 10 in June, the highest for those months since 2012, when borrowers were still absorbing hits from the 2008 financial crisis, according to Municipal Market Analytics data.

GA: Georgia governor warns college football is ‘tall task’ if Georgians don't don masks

ajc.com

Wear a mask or risk no college football in Georgia this year. That’s the message Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, a die-hard Georgia fan, delivered as he launched a statewide “Wear A Mask” tour.

CT: Connecticut state employee raises take effect despite governor’s request for deferral

courant.com

With the state budget deficit increasing and the unemployment rate still high, Connecticut state employee raises have gone into effect. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont pushed for the deferral of some raises, but he lacks the power to block the raises that are being made as part of a statewide union agreement.

VA: Hundreds cheer as Stonewall Jackson statue comes down in Virginia

richmond.com

Hundreds of people gathered at the Stonewall Jackson monument in Richmond, Virginia, about an hour after crews arrived to begin taking down the statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

GA: Georgia dog tests positive for virus that causes COVID-19

ajc.com

A Georgia dog is believed to be the second in the country to test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, the state Department of Public Health said. 

NM: New Mexico to fine mask scofflaws, quarantine visitors

abqjournal.com

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, imposed a $100 fine for failing to wear a mask in public settings, and will require all out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days. The changes came as the state marked 500 coronavirus deaths.

FL: Court ruling a setback for felon voting in Florida

tampabay.com

A federal appellate court has temporarily stopped a judge’s order that granted felons the right to vote, the latest turn in Florida’s battle over felon voting rights. The decision is a setback for the hundreds of thousands of felons who were granted the ability to vote.

TX: Texas Republicans at odds over Houston convention

statesman.com

Having a big in-person Republican state convention the week after next in Houston, the epicenter of a resurgent coronavirus pandemic, is a politically fraught idea. Party leaders may want to change it but would face dissent from conservatives.

OR: Oregon governor issues ultimatum: Wear masks or businesses may close and schools might not reopen

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, issued an informal ultimatum, telling state residents to comply with new rules to wear masks in indoor public settings as part of a last-ditch effort to slow the coronavirus before more severe measures are again necessary. She said it is her “sincere hope” she does not have to shut down businesses, as she did in March through her stay-at-home order.

HI: Questions surround Hawaii's pre-travel testing program

civilbeat.org

Hopeful visitors to Hawaii eagerly await more details about a state plan that would lift quarantine rules for them if they provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Logistical details of the plan are being worked out, including whether or not to require tests be conducted within three or five days of departure.

PA: Pennsylvania mandates masks in public for most people amid coronavirus increases

spotlightpa.org

Most Pennsylvanians are now required to wear masks in public — rather than simply when they enter businesses — under a new order issued by the administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in response to the recent increase in coronavirus cases.

NC: University of North Carolina refuses to release sexual assault records

newsobserver.com

UNC-Chapel Hill refused to release disciplinary records of students found responsible for sexual assaults on campus, despite a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling.

SC: South Carolina meat packers test positive for COVID-19

thestate.com

Workers at about a dozen meat-packing plants in South Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus since the state began tracking the spread of the disease in March, according to data released by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

NY: New York officials halt indoor dining, alarmed by virus rise in other states

nytimes.com

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City would not resume indoor dining at restaurants next week as anticipated. The decision to indefinitely delay indoor dining, which was made in conjunction with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, comes as New York officials are increasingly concerned that the increase in virus cases in more than 30 states could trickle back to New York.

VT: Vermont to begin campaign to encourage mask-wearing

apnews.com

The state of Vermont is set to begin a campaign to encourage people to wear masks to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, Republican Gov. Phil Scott said. The governor said the goal of the program is to get people in Vermont to wear masks willingly. In other parts of the country, efforts to require masks have not always been successful and those efforts have caused friction between people.

PA: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sides with governor in dispute over emergency powers

papost.org

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court sided with Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, in a dispute with the legislature over the extent of his emergency powers, bolstering the governor’s authority to manage the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and curtailing the effect of what the Republican-controlled legislature saw as its best possible check on executive authority.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court narrows possibility of voter roll purge before November

wpr.org

The Wisconsin Supreme Court won’t hear a case that could remove up to 129,000 people from voter rolls in Wisconsin until this fall, narrowing the likelihood a purge of voter names could happen before the November election.

MN: Pharma group sues to stop Minnesota's new insulin aid program

startribune.com

A pharmaceutical industry group is suing the state of Minnesota over its new insulin affordability program, which took effect Wednesday. The suit says the program takes drugmaker property without compensation.

IN: After months of refusing, Indiana will identify nursing homes with outbreaks

indystar.com

Indiana officials will release facility-level data for COVID-19 in nursing homes, a drastic departure from previous policy, which shielded that information from public view. For weeks, family members of residents, lawmakers, advocates and journalists have repeatedly called on the government to identify the homes.

IL: Illinois adds more business development centers in response to pandemic

chicagotribune.com

Illinois will invest $11.5 million to open seven small-business development centers, including five in Chicago, to support businesses hurt by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis and damaged during widespread civil unrest in early June.

IA: Protest at Iowa Capitol turns aggressive, multiple protesters arrested

desmoinesregister.com

At least five people, including Black Lives Matter organizers, were arrested at the Iowa State Capitol after a series of altercations broke out between police and protesters. Demonstrators were trying to get Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to restore felon voting rights by signing an executive order.

NH: In final day of session shaped by pandemic, New Hampshire lawmakers pass raft of last-minute bills

nhpr.org

The New Hampshire legislature wrapped up business for the 2020 session, marking the end of perhaps the most unusual legislative session in history, with the State House essentially closed since March and lawmakers conducting much of their work remotely.

ME: Maine governor exempts three more states from quarantine, testing requirements

pressherald.com

Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills said visitors from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey would not have to quarantine or prove they recently tested negative for COVID-19 because of low rates of positive tests and virus prevalence in those states.

CO: Colorado Supreme Court rules against governor on signature gathering

denverpost.com

The Colorado Supreme Court unanimously rejected Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order suspending the requirement that campaigns collect signatures in person to make it easier to get voter initiatives on the ballot during the coronavirus pandemic.

UT: Utah governor still plans to reopen schools

sltrib.com

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, said the state has done pretty well addressing the pandemic even as he acknowledged the recent spike in infection rates. He said “we certainly plan on” schools opening on time in August. 

AZ: Unemployment fraud a growing issue in Arizona

azcentral.com

The amount of money Arizona distributed in unemployment benefits slowed last week, even as tens of thousands of new applications for assistance came in. Officials say they have seen payments slow as they deal with a sharp increase in fraud.

NV: Nevada defends church attendance cap in court

apnews.com

Lawyers for the state of Nevada say the 50-person cap placed on worship services because of the coronavirus doesn’t infringe on constitutional protections of religious freedom because it doesn’t target anyone’s ideology or opinion.

NY: Pay raises for New York state workers deferred another 90 days

timesunion.com

Raises for an estimated 80,000 New York state government employees are being deferred for at least another 90 days, through Oct. 1. The first deferral was announced at the end of March by the administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo  as the coronavirus pandemic was peaking in New York.

MD: Maryland board approves $413M in budget cuts

baltimoresun.com

The Maryland Board of Public Works approved $413 million in state budget cuts that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said were necessary because of the economic crisis — and the governor signaled more cuts may be needed. Hogan said his administration was deferring more than $200 million in additional cuts that he had proposed.

VT: More than 1,100 Vermont immigration employees get furlough notices

vtdigger.org

In calling for Congress to pass emergency funding, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said his office learned that of the 13,400 notices U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent out, 1,111 of them went to Vermonters.

AL: Alabama church leaders plead with governor to expand Medicaid

montgomeryadvertiser.com

Some of the longest-serving faith leaders in Alabama said they have met with Republican Gov. Kay Ivey about expanding Medicaid as the coronavirus pandemic tests a strained state health care system.

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