IA: Democratic National Committee will reject Iowa’s virtual caucus plan
The Democratic National Committee will reject Iowa’s plan for virtual caucuses — a decision that both complicates the Iowa Democratic Party’s implementation of the 2020 presidential caucuses and threatens their very existence going forward. The state party had proposed “virtual” caucuses allowing registered Democrats to participate over the phone.
WI: Majority of vaping-related lung disease in Wisconsin linked to THC products
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said 89% of the affected patients interviewed so far reported using e-cigarettes or other vaping devices to inhale products containing THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.
MD: Maryland’s top court upholds child pornography charge against teen who texted friends a video of herself
Maryland’s child pornography laws apply when the child is both the subject and sender of sexually explicit material, the state’s highest court ruled in a case testing how to treat teenagers who voluntarily self-produce and share their own images.
FL: After Irma deaths, 60% of Florida nursing homes still don’t have 4 days of backup power for AC
In hurricane-prone Florida, a state mandate requires all nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have backup generators or power sources for air conditioning. But as strengthening Hurricane Dorian approaches landfall, nearly 60% of the state’s nursing homes have not installed equipment in line with those new regulations.
NY: New York schools required to provide sex abuse prevention classes
Beginning next school year, New York public schools must incorporate at least an hour of instruction a year on the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch,” according to a law signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The legislation — known as Erin’s Law — requires schools to provide sex abuse prevention classes to students and their parents every year in kindergarten through eighth grade.
NM: New Mexico official: Retake state land leased to Epstein
New Mexico’s attorney general urged officials to retake state trust land that had been leased to Jeffrey Epstein’s ranch, saying the financier’s bid for the scrubby, desert acreage meant for cattle grazing should not have been granted. Epstein, 66, killed himself earlier this month in a New York jail cell while awaiting a sex trafficking trial.
NJ: New Jersey ‘red flag’ law to take effect Sunday
A significant new gun control law in New Jersey will take effect Sunday, allowing residents to ask a judge to bar a family member or loved one who is deemed to be mentally unstable and dangerous from buying or possessing a gun. The law was enacted in 2018 but implementation was delayed to give courts time to prepare.
OH: Ohio agrees to let ballots of certain purged voters count in upcoming elections
Under the settlement, some Ohio voters who were removed from the rolls this year and in purges going back to 2011 will still be able to cast provisional ballots and have those ballots counted. The settlement covers votes cast through 2022.
KY: Kentucky coal companies failed to comply with state law
Not a single coal company formed in Kentucky within the past five years has posted a bond required by state law to protect miners’ wages if the company suddenly shuts down, according to records obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
TX: Rollback of methane regulations means big changes in Texas
The Trump administration’s unwinding of requirements that oil and gas companies tamp down on climate-warming methane leaks has big implications for Texas, the nation’s petroleum king. The Obama-era rule was extremely unpopular with the Texas oil and gas industry, particularly among smaller operators with lesser means to install equipment necessary to monitor leaks.
MA: EEE risk raised to ‘critical’ in several Massachusetts communities
Four human cases of Eastern equine encephalitis, a deadly mosquito-borne illness, have been confirmed so far in Massachusetts this year, and one woman has died. State officials say the EEE risk is “critical” in four communities and at least “moderate” in 191 others.
LA: Louisiana blocks new multibillion-dollar Medicaid contracts
The state procurement office blocked Louisiana’s health department from moving forward with a new round of multibillion-dollar Medicaid contracts while protests from losing bidders move forward, over objections from health officials who said such a delay could disrupt health care for more than a million people.
HI: Health care shortage leaves Hawaii hurting
More than 2,200 job openings in Hawaii’s hospitals and health care facilities are taking as long as a year to fill. The state is facing shortages in 76 medical professions, with nearly half — 44% — of the unfilled positions in hospitals.
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