By: - May 19, 2020 12:00 am

OR: Oregon Supreme Court leaves governor’s orders intact for now

The Oregon Supreme Court stepped in to put a hold on a dramatic decision by an eastern Oregon judge that declared not only Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s restrictions on church gatherings but all her stay-at-home emergency orders “null and void.”

WI: Sweeping lawsuit seeks Wisconsin election changes

A disability rights group and others sued Wisconsin election officials in federal court to try to ensure the state has enough poll workers and guarantee that voters who want absentee ballots receive them.

FL: Florida university campuses to reopen in fall

A task force will announce reopening guidelines for Florida public universities later this month. In June, the 12 schools will announce individual plans.

NC: Some North Carolinians wait two months for unemployment checks

Slightly more than half of the people who have filed for unemployment in North Carolina have started getting paid, state data shows. Officials say that typically, people shouldn’t wait more than 14 days, but some are waiting more than two months.

US: Governors support return of pro sports

The prospects for the nation’s professional sports leagues to resume operations were boosted when the governors of New York, California and Texas announced their support for pro sports returning in their states.

CA: Undocumented immigrants can begin applying for California coronavirus relief

Undocumented Californians may begin applying for disaster assistance payments of $500 a person and up to $1,000 a household. The state government has made available $75 million to help a projected 150,000 undocumented immigrants weather the coronavirus crisis.

NH: New Hampshire governor’s political allies sometimes benefit from relief money

Recently disclosed New Hampshire state contracts show that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has authorized several no-bid, retroactive deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to political benefactors, without the traditional outside approval.

CT: Connecticut delays opening of salons, barbershops as businessowners cite risks

Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont delayed until early June reopening beauty parlors and barbershops as businessowners insist the coronavirus is too grave a threat to workers who stand inches from their customers. Lamont and his advisory committee had established guidelines for a much anticipated opening this week.

NV: Nevada lawmakers drain rainy-day fund

The Nevada legislature’s Interim Finance Committee has approved the transfer of all $401 million in the state’s rainy-day fund to the state’s general fund to help offset the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus. 

GA: Error leads to dip in Georgia’s COVID-19 case count

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s published count of statewide COVID-19 cases declined because the agency corrected a data coding error. The agency mistakenly had logged the results of 231 tests that check for COVID-19 antibodies.

LA: Louisiana releases full list of nursing homes with coronavirus

Louisiana released the names of all adult nursing homes that have reported at least one case of the new coronavirus. The release is the first time in more than six weeks that the state has confirmed which facilities have cases.

AL: Alabama lawmakers approve governor’s plan for .8B in federal aid

The Alabama plan for the CARES Act money does not list specific expenditures but directs the money into categories, such as reimbursements to state and local governments for coronavirus expenses, delivery of health care and related services to citizens, and support for citizens, businesses, nonprofits and faith-based organizations.

GA: Emergency rule allows Georgia absentee ballots to be opened early

Election officials can begin opening absentee ballots eight days before Georgia’s June 9 primary, according to a State Election Board rule approved to deal with a deluge of mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.

HI: Hawaii Medicaid applications soar amid widespread job losses

Applications to Med-QUEST — Hawaii’s version of Medicaid — have spiked 40%, with more than 21,000 applying since early March. So far, state officials seem confident that they will be able to afford the higher costs associated with more enrollment.

OK: Oklahoma governor vetoes bill to cut affordable housing tax credit

GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed legislation that would cut in half an affordable housing tax credit offered to developers, from $4 million to $2 million annually. He said it could negatively affect projects currently under contract for this year.

SC: South Carolina governor signs deal to keep state funded

Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, signed a more than $155 million COVID-19 relief package that will help provide statewide virus testing and keep South Carolina’s government operating before a new budget is adopted in the fall.  

WA: Washington relied on Chinese firm for supplies; they’re weeks behind

Washington state officials ordered $227.5 million worth of supplies — mostly masks — from a Chinese automotive conglomerate. Of those orders, three-quarters are weeks behind schedule, while more than a million masks the company delivered are idling in a state warehouse awaiting federal regulatory approval.

CO: Colorado’s unemployment fund could run out of money next month

Unemployment insurance premiums paid by employers will rise sharply in order to refill Colorado’s fund used to pay jobless workers — at least 54% and as much as 86% more per employee for a company of five workers, according to an example offered by the state Department of Labor and Employment.

MO: Missouri to prioritize testing in long-term care facilities

Missouri officials said long-term care facilities where there have been positive tests for COVID-19 will be asked to test all residents and staff members.

KY: Kentucky begins hiring hundreds to trace contacts of coronavirus patients

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said Kentucky has awarded multiple contracts to hire about 600 people in coming weeks who will work to trace the contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19 as the economy eases back open.

NY: New York governor defends record on nursing homes

An executive order Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued in March requiring New York nursing homes to accept residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 — most of them returning to their assisted-living residences after being discharged from hospitals — has faced intense scrutiny. 

NJ: New Jersey reveals multi-stage reopening plan

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy outlined a multi-stage reopening plan for New Jersey businesses, offices and activities ordered closed to slow the coronavirus outbreak and said the state has entered Stage 1, though no timeline for future stages was included.

TX: Texas bars, rodeos, tattoo parlors to open

Reopening dates vary by each Texas industry. And while the governor’s new order applies to the entire state, some counties will be delayed by over one week because of ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in those areas.

MI: Northern Michigan restaurants, bars to open

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave approval to restaurants and retail stores to reopen Friday in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The rest of the state remains under the same restrictions, but some of those could be eased in the coming days.

DE: Delaware to allow worship services at 30% occupancy

Churches, synagogues and mosques in Delaware will be able to hold services at 30% of their established fire code occupancy rates, effective Wednesday, under Democratic Gov. John Carney’s latest modification to the State of Emergency tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

MA: Massachusetts restaurants owners in disbelief at lack of reopening details

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker meant to offer some hope for Massachusetts small-business owners as he spoke of reopening industries within the state. For restaurant owners, it was what he failed to mention that evaporated any reason to hope: little new information to guide the industry forward.

NE: Coronavirus recess to end for Nebraska legislature

The Nebraska legislative session abruptly halted in March will resume July 20. The speaker of the legislature reserved the right to change the date based on the status of the coronavirus outbreak.

AK: Alaska lawmakers rush to meet safely, approve CARES Act funding

Alaska lawmakers have given themselves until Wednesday to approve CARES Act funding in the face of a resident’s lawsuit forcing the whole body to make decisions on dispersing money. Legislative staff worked over the weekend to put a series of safety protocols in place so that 60 lawmakers and some staff members can work in the same building. 

ND: North Dakota to use coronavirus aid to livestream hearings

North Dakota will use $750,000 of federal coronavirus aid to livestream legislative committee hearings at the Capitol ahead of next year’s legislative session to help ensure remote participation amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

DC: District of Columbia mayor proposes filling budget holes with pay freezes, reserves

Democratic District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed addressing $1.5 billion in revenue shortfalls from the coronavirus by freezing employee hiring and pay, using federal relief money and exhausting reserves and budget surpluses. 

AZ: Arizona House Republicans push virus liability protections

Republicans who control the Arizona House hope to rush through a bill this week protecting businesses that reopen from lawsuits by employees or patrons who contract the coronavirus. Minority Democrats object.

OH: Coronavirus boosts Ohio medical marijuana sales

Ohio’s medical marijuana industry had its best two months yet in March and April, which industry officials say is a result of the new coronavirus and recent changes to the program.

CO: Colorado governor supports statewide move to outdoor dining

“If cities value having restaurants and keeping them in business as part of their quality of life,” Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said, “it’s really important that they open their sidewalks, parking lots, and/or streets in the next few weeks to have that capacity.”

ME: Legal aid organizations expect pandemic to increase demand in Maine

More Mainers will need legal advice on evictions, divorces, protection from abuse orders and other civil matters — and fewer will be able to afford it.

ID: Self-employed Idaho residents can tap virus rescue money

Self-employed residents will be able to tap into the $300 million in grant money Idaho has set aside to help small businesses, Gov. Brad Little announced. The Republican said the state will take applications beginning May 27 for the $7,500 grants.

NM: Record number of New Mexicans voting from home

More than 139,000 New Mexicans have applied for absentee ballots this year. State election staffers say they have never seen anything like it.

VA: Virginia Beach can open by week’s end, governor says

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced he will allow the city of Virginia Beach to reopen its beaches starting Friday, with some restrictions, as the Memorial Day holiday nears. 

WI: Wisconsin governor plans to give small businesses M

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, said he would hand out $75 million to small businesses hurt by the shutdown. Leaders of the legislature’s budget also agreed to an Evers plan to give child care providers $51 million. Both plans rely on federal money.

WY: Cost may keep Wyoming county from surveying sewage for virus

A Wyoming county’s new COVID-19 sewage surveillance program may be facing a bit of a blockage. The samples sent to a lab from Teton County and processed have cost $100 each — the price of the testing kit and shipping. But in June the company is expected to increase the price to $1,200 a test.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.