Top State Stories 11/30
NY: New York City will reopen elementary schools, reduce hybrid learning
Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he would reopen public elementary schools, abruptly shifting policy in the face of widespread criticism that officials were placing more of a priority on economic activities like indoor dining than the well-being of New York City’s children.
FL: Florida renters evicted despite CDC order
The nationwide moratorium ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was supposed to protect renters who have lost work in the pandemic, but the federal order failed to protect renters in Florida from losing housing.
CA: California COVID-19 hospitalizations reach record high
California has more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any time since the pandemic began, an ominous sign that comes as officials warn of further virus spread after the long holiday weekend.
MO: For some Missourians, COVID-19 has paved way to new careers
An estimated million in federal stimulus money has been used to send hundreds of Missourians back to school, according to a Post-Dispatch review of state payroll records. Scores of people have received certificates to drive trucks, weld or track down cybercriminals as part of a program designed to help people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
VA: An eviction ‘tsunami’ is coming in Virginia, advocates warn
Thousands of Virginians are facing eviction as an economy crippled by COVID-19 squeezes landlords and tenants alike. Housing advocates warn of a looming eviction crisis they say could pose humanitarian, economic and public health threats, all at once.
KS: Rural hospitals in Kansas face new COVID-19 ‘tidal wave’
Smaller hospitals in Kansas are having to treat more and more coronavirus patients in house, sometimes pushing the limits of what care can be provided by the smallest health care facilities. Bigger hospitals are filling up as many parts of the Midwest see record levels of COVID-19 cases.
NC: Ban on North Carolina cities enacting nondiscrimination rules set to expire
North Carolina could face another showdown in the coming weeks, after a ban on cities enacting nondiscrimination rules for local businesses expires Dec. 1. Transgender and gay rights activists have already been pushing cities to start enacting new protections.
ID: Idaho’s K-12 workers could receive vaccinations in second wave
K-12 teachers and staff in Idaho could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines by early to mid-January, while college and university employees might have to wait until early to mid-summer. Even if things go smoothly, it could take upwards of a year before vaccine use is extensive enough to prevent coronavirus spread.
NJ: New Jersey governor wants schools open. Local officials have other ideas.
Despite Gov. Philip Murphy, a Democrat, urging New Jersey school districts to open for some face-to-face instruction, many districts announced plans to return to all-remote learning through all or part of the holidays.
WY: Wyoming steps up efforts to promote open enrollment period for health insurance
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, allocated ,000 of federal coronavirus relief money toward promoting the open enrollment period. The money has funded new navigator staff to assist with outreach and walk residents through the steps of applying for insurance.
ME: Maine’s climate action plan requires funds, commitment
Dubbed “Maine Won’t Wait, a Plan for Climate Action,” the plan, to be officially released by Maine’s Climate Council on Tuesday, aims to blunt the impacts of climate change while building the foundations of a clean-energy economy.
TX: Pandemic revives Texas voter access legislation
More than 60 election-related bills have been filed in the Texas House and Senate since the election. About half of them aim to increase voter access, which lawmakers said became a more urgent issue during the pandemic.
AL: Despite record absentee vote, continued early voting in Alabama seems unlikely
Alabamians voted by absentee ballot in record numbers this year after the state made it easier to do so. But the push to allow early voting, or no-excuse absentee voting, every year, faces an uncertain outlook in the GOP-controlled Alabama legislature.
HI: Hawaii judge blocks police union attempt to keep misconduct secret
Hawaii’s police union has lost its first legal battle in an ongoing fight to keep officer misconduct records hidden from public view.
VT: How Vermont is spending its .25B in COVID-19 funds
Vermont ski areas are receiving an infusion of cash to create outdoor dining so their guests can stay out of lodges. Small restaurants are learning how to update their e-commerce platforms, and affordable housing advocates are puzzling over how to spend million to expand housing options.
AR: Arkansas lawyers, judges fret as court cases pile up
Months of Arkansas courtroom closures and delayed trials caused by the pandemic have created a glut of unresolved cases that is likely to extend into next year, attorneys and judges said.
WA: Washington officials offer rental assistance, but funding is insufficient
Roughly 171,000 Washington tenants are behind on their rent, and state lawmakers preparing for the January legislative session are readying housing and rent-relief proposals.
NM: Women ready to lead New Mexico state House
In the New Mexico state House of Representatives, women will hold a majority of seats, 37-33, come January. Women in both major political parties are celebrating the shift.
CO: Colorado governor, first gentleman test positive for COVID-19
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and first gentleman Marlon Reis have tested positive for COVID-19. Polis and Reis are “asymptomatic, feeling well, and will continue to isolate in their home.”
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