By: - July 15, 2020 12:00 am

LA: Pence urges school reopening in Louisiana amid virus surge

Vice President Mike Pence insisted the country’s schools should reopen to in-person instruction for students, making the point in Louisiana as the state has re-emerged as one of the nation’s hotspots for the coronavirus months after signs pointed to a successful outbreak response.

MS: Coronavirus outbreak at Capitol leaves Mississippi government in limbo

Dozens of Mississippi legislators and staff  were infected in a coronavirus outbreak at the state Capitol as lawmakers ended, for now, their 2020 legislative session. Many lawmakers were eschewing face masks and social distancing.

WA: Washington governor pauses relaxing restrictions

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, announced he would pause counties further relaxing restrictions as confirmed cases of the new coronavirus climb around the state. The pause would prevent counties from advancing to any new phase in the governor’s four-part plan through at least July 28.

NY: New York flags four more states for mandatory travel quarantines

New York officials added Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin to the state’s mandatory quarantine list and removed Delaware. After the latest changes, travelers to New York from 22 states must quarantine for 14 days.

CT: Connecticut reports ‘unprecedented numbers’ of black bear complaints

State environmental officials say they are receiving “unprecedented numbers” of complaints about black bears and that Connecticut is on track to have triple the number of cases of bears entering homes this year as compared to the prior two. There were 17 cases in June alone, according to officials.

CA: California governor says whether kids go to school in the fall depends on the district

Without a definitive statewide decision on whether schools should reopen their physical doors this fall, each California district is pursuing its own path. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said a statewide approach doesn’t work in a state with more than 1,000 districts serving more than 6 million children.

MD: Maryland governor calls for crackdown on bars and restaurants

With cases surging among young adults in Maryland, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is pressing local health officials to more strictly enforce regulations aimed at bars and restaurants. More than 100 new cases a day have been reported among people ages 20 to 29 in Maryland over the past week.

GA: As Georgia’s COVID-19 cases grow, governor faces decision on new restrictions

Two weeks ago, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, took a step that he hadn’t since late April: He signed an executive order that extended – but didn’t roll back – coronavirus restrictions he put in place earlier this year.

NJ: New Jersey governor says legalizing weed ‘incredibly smart’ to offset budget woes

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said legalized marijuana sales could boost New Jersey’s struggling economy, which needs new revenue sources to weather damage from the coronavirus outbreak. Lawmakers voted last fall to pose the question to the people on this November’s ballot.

MS: Mississippi physicians call for statewide mask mandate

Mississippi’s doctors are calling for a statewide mask mandate after an increase in coronavirus cases that they say is hampering the ability of hospitals to provide emergency care for patients.

MD: Maryland teachers, parents call for virtual-only start to school

The Maryland State Education Association, the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Maryland PTA called on state officials to start the academic year in an online-only setting as the coronavirus pandemic continues. But the proposal clashes with that of those who say the benefits of in-person learning outweigh the possible risks.

VA: Virginia to step up enforcement of pandemic restrictions

Virginia plans to step up enforcement of its COVID-19 restrictions following a surge of new cases largely concentrated in the state’s eastern region, including Hampton Roads, a hotspot for beach tourism.

NC: North Carolina governor announces school reopening plan

North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school students will return to school in August, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced, but it will be in a world where many children attend in-person classes every other day or every other week.

CO: New Colorado law entitles workers to six days paid leave

Effective Jan. 1, the new law will require every Colorado employer to offer up to 48 hours of paid sick leave to their workers — that’s six eight-hour days off — who will accrue this benefit at a rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours on the job.

NV: Nevada bars sue over public health order

Plaintiffs representing 37 Clark County bars have gone to court to block Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s latest order closing alcohol-serving establishments to stem the spread of COVID-19, claiming they are being unfairly singled out. Bars in seven counties with elevated virus transmission rates were closed under the directive.

AZ: Arizona Medicaid enrollment hits record

Arizona’s Medicaid rolls hit a record-high 2 million people this month, and some experts predict the numbers will continue to rise. The latest numbers show 27% state residents are covered by the government health insurance program for low-income people.

AZ: Photo shows Arizona governor at a party with no social distancing

A photo of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey attending a party in June without donning a mask or practicing social distancing is circulating on social media, raising questions about how closely the Republican leader is following his own COVID-19 prevention advice.

UT: Inmates sue Utah jail to allege inadequate virus response

Six people charged with federal crimes and held at Weber County Jail in Utah filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court, asking for more inmates to be released to home confinement and additional health measures, such as mandating masks and providing hygiene supplies.

AK: COVID-19 cases on the rise among Alaska’s young adults

The more pervasive the virus becomes, the more likely it is to spread to more vulnerable Alaskans, such as those in long-term care facilities who are more likely to become critically ill or die from the virus. State officials don’t know for sure what’s behind the increase in cases among younger Alaskans.

WY: Wyoming extends public health orders through July 31

“Wyoming residents only need to look at what Texas, Florida and Arizona are experiencing to see how much damage being careless, not wearing a mask, and failing to social distance can cause to our state’s economy, our citizens’ health and our health care system,” said GOP Gov. Mark Gordon.

MT: Montana care home refused free tests. Now, nearly everyone has the virus

It was meant to be a last line of defense to protect the most vulnerable as the coronavirus spread across the United States: Montana officials offered free testing in May for staff and residents at assisted living and long-term care facilities.

AL: Alabama coronavirus deaths reach new highs

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 40 new coronavirus deaths in the state, the most ever in a day. Since March, 1,136 people have died of the virus in Alabama, 210 of them in July. The 7-day average for deaths in the state is 18.4 a day, a new record.

AL: Alabama city bans use of chokeholds by police

The mayor of Alabama’s largest city banned the use of chokeholds by police following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

WI: Wisconsin sets new coronavirus record, as health official urges residents to ‘double down’ on precautions

Wisconsin’s top health official urged residents to “double down” on precautions, as new data again painted a dire picture of the COVID-19 spread through the state.

WI: Wisconsinites on disability benefits are blocked from pandemic unemployment benefits

A new form of unemployment assistance is being denied to Wisconsinites with disabilities — and Wisconsin is the only state in the nation denying those benefits to its disabled residents during the pandemic.

WI: Wisconsin governor says he’s unlikely to block schools from in-person classes this fall

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signaled he won’t block in-person school this fall and cast doubt on a Republican proposal to give loans to people who have waited months for unemployment benefits.

PA: Pennsylvania House passes constitutional changes that would limit governor’s emergency powers

The move represents the latest battle between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania legislature over his disaster emergency declaration during the coronavirus pandemic. GOP lawmakers were upset by Wolf’s unwillingness to ease pandemic restrictions in the early months of the outbreak.

OK: Legislative leaders file lawsuit against Oklahoma governor over gaming

Leaders of the Oklahoma legislature filed a new lawsuit against GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt, again accusing him of exceeding his gubernatorial authority by signing tribal gaming compacts that violate state law.

MO: Despite state guidance, Missouri governor goes maskless, calls coverings ‘dang masks’

Missouri officials are urging the public to wear masks when possible — even though GOP Gov. Mike Parson has appeared ambivalent, saying over the weekend, “If you want to wear a dang mask, wear a mask.” While his administration has encouraged mask-wearing, Parson has declined to issue an order requiring masks in public places.

OR: As COVID-19 surges again, people of color in Oregon continue to be the harder hit

In Oregon, where the population is 75% white, roughly two-thirds of new cases were found among people of color. That comes long after the state acknowledged racial disparities and pledged to do better.

ID: Idaho health care leaders call for mask mandates

Several of Idaho’s largest health care providers joined together to call for mask mandates to help stop Idaho’s rapid rise in COVID-19 cases. They asked Idahoans to be more vigilant in wearing masks, and to ask government and public health leaders to implement a mask requirement.

FL: South Florida mayors ask governor for urgency

The bipartisan group of Florida municipal leaders told Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis he needed to convey the urgency of the health crisis facing the Miami area. At a meeting where DeSantis touted the promise of high school football, mayors told him families are fearful about putting their kids back in the classroom.

MI: Cellphone alert on masks angers Michigan Republicans

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a statewide emergency alert to Michigan residents informing them of the new requirement to wear masks.Republican lawmakers plan to introduce bills to limit what the emergency alert system can be used for.

NM: New Mexico suspends permits for defiant restaurants

The permit freeze marks the latest salvo in an escalating feud between Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration and restaurants.  Restaurant owners said they feel unfairly targeted by the decision to cease indoor dining just weeks after restaurants were allowed to reopen.

MA: Massachusetts asks schools to prioritize in-person instruction this fall

Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley has asked schools to prioritize in-person instruction this fall and not announce any final plans about reopening until early August.

TN: Most Tennessee residents in nursing homes won’t be able to vote absentee in August primary

Although a recent legal opinion expanded Tennesseans’ access to absentee ballots, state officials contend the ruling does not apply to residents in long-term care facilities.

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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.