Top State Stories 12/2

By: - December 2, 2020 12:00 am

NJ: Nearly a third of New Jersey’s small businesses have closed this year

By several estimates, roughly three out of every 10 small businesses that were open in New Jersey at the beginning of 2020 have closed as the coronavirus pandemic—and vast restrictions to fight it—have taken a big bite out of the economy. Business leaders are worried those numbers could worsen.

CO: Final Colorado report concludes more than 200 children were abused by priests

Fifty-two Catholic priests who served in Colorado during the last half of the 20th century victimized more than 200 children in that time, according to a sweeping final report on priest sexual abuse released by state officials.

CA: California got .3B in wildfire relief. Victims have received nothing, prompting outrage.

California has received more than $1.3 billion in federal aid to rebuild after the 2017 wine country wildfires, the 2018 Camp fire in Butte County and other disasters from those years. But disaster-affected homeowners and renters have yet to receive a single penny.

ME: Incoming climate envoy Kerry praises Maine governor’s climate plan

Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, announced she would submit legislation aimed at doubling the number of clean energy jobs to 30,000 by 2030, and further advancing cost-effective renewable energy. The governor’s plan drew the attention of President-elect Biden’s climate envoy, former Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Maine could set an example for the nation if the plan is approved by the legislature.

VT: Vermont drug overdoses are up during quarantine

Nine months into the pandemic, Burlington, Vermont, is still reporting high numbers of overdoses, after a particularly sharp rise in the spring. And the trend is consistent across the state.

MA: Divided Massachusetts legislature passes police accountability bill, sending measure to governor

A divided Massachusetts legislature passed a sweeping police accountability bill that would subject thousands of officers to licensing standards for the first time and holds the potential to reshape law enforcement statewide.

NY: New York City officials ask older people to limit outdoor activities

With COVID-19 hospitalizations climbing, older New Yorkers and people with medical issues were urged by city officials to limit activities outside their homes.The “notice” is not an order and it does not advise at-risk people to avoid traveling to work, school, grocery stores or pharmacies.

FL: Florida hospitals struggle as state reaches 1M cases

Florida eclipsed 1 million COVID-19 cases, the third highest tally in the nation behind Texas and California. Some of the state’s largest public hospital networks have brought in out-of-state nurses to help manage the late fall resurgence.

OH: Rural Ohio hospitals stretched thin by COVID-19 patient surge

With an influx of new coronavirus patients slamming rural Ohio hospitals, many report they are nearing capacity and short-staffed, and some are close to having to ration care.

TX: Texas sees college enrollment decline

Just 24% of Texas high school seniors have filled out federal financial aid forms, a nearly 15% decline from the same time last year. It’s a sign the pandemic is still disrupting many students’ pathways to college.

AZ: Enrollment plummets at Arizona community colleges

Enrollment at the Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona is down 14.5% this fall, with every one of the system’s 10 colleges seeing a drop. The decline affects the colleges’ bottom lines and means thousands of potential students sat out the semester and may not attend college.

ND: Some opposition brews against North Dakota legislature mask mandate

North Dakota lawmakers who disregard a proposed legislative mask mandate could be removed by state troopers, charged with a misdemeanor or even expelled from the legislature.

NE: ACLU of Nebraska closes federal civil rights lawsuit over prison overcrowding, citing some progress

Advocates announced they are closing down a federal lawsuit challenging conditions in Nebraska’s overcrowded and understaffed prison system. Attorneys for the ACLU of Nebraska and for the state filed a joint motion to dismiss the case after negotiating dismissal terms.

NH: Gathering of GOP New Hampshire lawmakers leads to unknown number of COVID-19 cases

State health officials say a recent gathering of Republican members of the incoming New Hampshire House of Representatives has led to several cases of COVID-19.

KS: Before Kansas’s 911 system failed, audit warned risk of outages hadn’t been eliminated

The disruption—which encompassed the southern half of the state—is at least the third major failure of Kansas’s 911 system in four years and comes after a 2018 audit warned that the system’s design hadn’t eliminated the risk of outages affecting multiple emergency departments.

MD: Maryland governor announces new measures to address hospitalization surge

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Maryland is establishing a program to recruit people to work at state hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites and vaccination clinics. Maryland colleges and universities are being asked to develop emergency procedures to award academic credit to students for health care work during the pandemic.

MS: Mississippi’s top doctor says local leaders need to encourage mask use

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says local leaders need to step up and urge their citizens to protect themselves by wearing masks and avoiding social gatherings where the disease is spreading.

WI: Trump sues to try to reverse Wisconsin’s election results

The Republican president filed his suit against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin election officials a day after the governor and the head of the state Elections Commission certified President-elect Joe Biden had won the state’s 10 Electoral College votes. 

SC: South Carolina Chamber of Commerce calls for passage of hate crimes legislation

South Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce called on the state’s governor and lawmakers to pass hate crime legislation. As one of the three remaining states without such a law, South Carolina “should not be the last state in the nation to depend on federal laws to prosecute the crimes that occurred” during the mass shooting at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015, the Chamber of Commerce’s statement read.

LA: Louisiana ‘swingers’ event spread coronavirus

At least 41 people who gathered at a New Orleans hotel to get intimate in a socially distanced world have tested positive for the coronavirus. Organizers said they regretted not canceling the event.

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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.