By: - September 22, 2020 12:00 am

US: As schools go remote, finding ‘lost’ children gets harder

Around the country, teachers and school administrators are hoping that a patchwork of plans cobbled together over the summer will help address one of the most pressing challenges they face as millions of students start a new school year online: How to make sure they come to virtual class, and what balance to strike between punitive and forgiving policies if they don’t.

NJ: New Jersey budget deal hits corporations, millionaires

Gov. Phil Murphy and his fellow Democrats who lead the New Jersey legislature have agreed on a state budget deal that raises taxes on high-income earners and HMOs while extending a 2.5-percentage point surtax on corporations with over $1 million in income.

OR: Oregon governor vetoes parts of budget to preserve wildfire response money

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, vetoed 34 sections of two budget bills over the weekend. Brown said her vetoes preserve $65 million for the Oregon Department of Forestry to respond to the state’s devastating wildfire season, while still preserving a balanced budget.

NY: New York halts commercial evictions, groups demand aid for renters

New York commercial tenants are protected from evictions and foreclosures through Oct. 20 under a new executive order announced by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But attorneys for the Legal Aid Society say that the state is ignoring thousands of renters and homeowners who won’t be protected under a federal moratorium.

NH: Cool temperatures push New Hampshire restaurants to rethink outdoor dining

With the arrival of cooler weather, New Hampshire restaurateurs are worried that outdoor dining will soon come to an end, necessitating changes to indoor dining guidelines to help restaurants survive until spring.

AZ: Arizona governor targeted in new recall effort over COVID-19 actions

Claiming Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey botched the state’s response to COVID-19, a new group hopes to force a recall election against him. Adam Halleck, chairman of the group dubbed Accountable Arizona and a registered Democrat, said Ducey was late in responding and too quick to lift restrictions.

IA: Iowa teachers consider resigning instead of returning to schools while COVID-19 cases rise

Iowa teachers have contacted their local unions to ask about the option of resigning if they are required to return to their classrooms. Teachers are under contract and may have to pay thousands of dollars if they break them, along with risking their teaching licenses.

NM: In New Mexico, Fauci praises Navajo Nation COVID-19 response

When it comes to following health experts’ recommendations for reducing the spread of the coronavirus, the Navajo Nation could serve as a model, the country’s leading infectious diseases expert said to a New Mexico audience. “You’ve proven that when you do these public health measures, you can turn around a serious surge of infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

AK: Despite pandemic, some Alaska farmers are having strong years

Although restaurant demand is down, more Alaskans want to buy local, farmers say. So, they changed crops and pivoted to subscription boxes.

GA: Absentee or in-person? Georgia voters divided by political party

How Georgians vote increasingly aligns with their political preferences, with Republicans more likely to show up in-person and Democrats preferring absentee ballots, according to a new poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

WY: Wyoming public health officials say masks are key to keeping schools open

After at least one teacher and one student at a Wyoming school tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department is urging continued use of face masks among all students and staff.

CA, OR: Californians moved to Oregon for affordable housing. Wildfires left them homeless.

In the wake of wildfires that have ravaged Oregon this month, leaving at least eight people dead and nearly a million acres burned, California transplants who went north seeking affordable housing now find themselves victims of an exodus that has driven up housing costs in states that are burning: Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

WA: Washington’s guidelines to open schools are more cautious than others

States are using vastly different metrics to gauge when and how to reopen schools, and Washington seems to be among the most cautious. But the actual decision to reopen schools has been left up to each county and school district, unlike Oregon and California, where the benchmarks are legally binding.

CA: California governor wants to step up climate fight as wildfires rage. But will Californians pay up?

When Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom declared recently that “we have to step up our game” and accelerate California’s fight against climate change, it triggered a question in some voters’ minds: How much will this cost?

WI: Judge give Wisconsin voters more time with ballots

A federal judge gave Wisconsin voters an extra six days to get absentee ballots back this fall in a broad decision that also will make it easier to hire poll workers. The decision came four days after clerks around the state sent more than 1 million absentee ballots to voters.

PA: Pennsylvania governor vetoes bill on school districts making coronavirus sports decisions: ‘The virus is out to get us’

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would give Pennsylvania school districts authority to decide on school sports and crowds during the pandemic, even though many fellow Democrats in the House and Senate voted for the bill. The move sets up likely override votes in the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

LA: These local governments in Louisiana are facing huge shortfalls in revenues

Parishes will receive about $1.1 billion, or 7.5%, less than what would have been collected over the next five years, according to a Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s report. Nearly a third of the parishes will still be in the red in 2025.

PA: How ‘naked ballots’ in Pennsylvania could cost Joe Biden the election

The state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania last week ordered officials to throw out “naked ballots” — mail ballots that arrive without inner “secrecy envelopes.” It’s unclear how many naked ballots there will be, because this is the first year any Pennsylvania voter can vote by mail, and most counties counted them in the June primary without tracking how many there were.

VT: ‘Seal, sign, and send!’ — Vermont’s early voting period officially begins

All Vermonters can expect to receive a ballot before Oct. 7. All voters had the option of mailing in their ballot during the primary early voting period, but in the general election every eligible voter should automatically receive a ballot.

MO: Missouri governor signs bill ending police residency requirement

Missouri GOP Gov. Mike Parson signed a new state law exempting St. Louis police and firefighters from the city’s long-standing residency requirement in the first stage of a potential two-part repeal of the rule. St. Louis voters in November will decide on a proposed city charter amendment.

ME: Late summer boost helps some Maine tourist businesses

Maine’s sprawling tourism industry has survived one of the slowest and most surreal summers in living memory. A late rush of out-of-state tourists provided a needed boost, but whether it was enough to keep businesses afloat during the lean winter months remains to be seen.

CT: Substitute teachers already in high demand in Connecticut 

Less than a month into the school year, districts across Connecticut are struggling to attract enough substitute teachers to keep them afloat through teacher shortages. With at least one school shuttered already because of staffing issues, school administrators worry the problem will only get worse through the year

VA: Illegally trafficked firearms allegedly used in Virginia, Washington, D.C., shootings

Two men are facing federal firearm trafficking charges in connection with handguns used in shootings in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia, one resulting in a homicide.

NC: New North Carolina program will provide business coaching

Small-business owners in North Carolina struggling during the pandemic can receive assistance through a new coaching program which provides business and personal credit reviews, business plan critiques and assistance with business financial statements.

SC: South Carolina hits new record of under 1,000 virus cases per day

South Carolina hit a new record on Monday in its road to recovery from COVID-19. It was the 14th straight day the state has reported under 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, capping a trend of falling case numbers in recent weeks.

FL: Florida governor calls for protest law

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for felony penalties to protesters who block traffic or participate in large gatherings that result in injuries or property damage. He said such a bill should be the “focal point” of next year’s legislative session. 

NE: Nebraska man charged in protester’s death dies by suicide

The surreal and sordid ordeal involving a White Omaha, Nebraska, bar owner and a young Black Omaha man ended with a staggering development: the suicide of the bar owner in Portland, Oregon.

MD: Updated Maryland unemployment insurance portal provides little relief for some claimants

Many Marylanders who anxiously awaited the launch of a makeover of the state’s unemployment insurance web portal say it’s still not helping resolve their difficulties with claims. The new site was designed to provide a “one-stop shop” for those requesting benefits, but several claimants said the new portal looks and acts only marginally different from its predecessor.

AL: Alabama Archives faces its legacy as Confederate ‘attic’

Hundreds of memorials glorifying the Confederacy had been erected by the time Marie Bankhead Owen built what may have been the grandest: The Alabama Department of Archives and History, which cataloged a version of the past that was favored by many Southern Whites and all but excluded Black people.

CO: The University of Colorado Boulder switching to remote learning for at least 2 weeks

The University of Colorado Boulder is switching to remote learning for at least two weeks, the campus announced Monday, as COVID-19 cases among students surge and drive a county and statewide uptick in the number of people contracting the virus. Campus residence halls, dining halls and the student recreation center will remain open.

UT: Utah governor weighs new restrictions as coronavirus cases rise

As Utah’s rate of new coronavirus cases continued to rise, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said he would wait at least another day before enacting any new restrictions. But pressure to step up prevention efforts grew, with one Republican lawmaker calling for Herbert to require masks.

NV: Judge dismisses Trump campaign’s lawsuit over Nevada mail voting law

A federal district judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Republican President Donald Trump’s campaign seeking to block Nevada’s expanded mail-in voting laws for the 2020 election over a lack of standing. Judge James Mahan wrote that the conflict was ultimately a “policy disagreement” that did not require court intervention.

AZ: No charges filed against trooper in Arizona shooting death 

Prosecutors have declined to criminally charge an Arizona state trooper in the fatal shooting of a Black man during a roadside struggle nearly four months ago that inspired protests in Phoenix.

MA: Massachusetts’ emergency child care centers kept COVID-19 in check. Here’s how.

Only nine of Massachusetts’ 550 emergency child care centers reported more than a single case of COVID-19 from March through May, a feat that could provide lessons for a state still reopening.

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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.