Top State Stories 1/11

By: - January 11, 2021 12:00 am

SC: South Carolina governor: Don’t let ‘one day’ of insurrection outweigh Trump’s ‘good things’

South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster defended President Donald Trump, urging people not to let “one day” or one event overwhelm all the “good things” Trump did throughout his presidency. But the governor side-stepped any comment on whether he would welcome Trump back to the Palmetto State to help with his 2022 gubernatorial run.

AK: Few Alaska pharmacies, providers are choosing to offer COVID-19 vaccines

A limited number of Alaska health care providers are opting to offer the vaccine, as many others have been deterred by the complex enrollment process. Issuing vaccines entails extra training and tests, complicated logistics so that the vaccines don’t warm up and become unusable, and a lot of data entry. 

MS: Mississippi will double vaccine sites after distribution mess

Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, acknowledged the slow vaccine rollout in Mississippi and said the state will speed up delivery as older adult residents clamor for shots. Reeves said the state will double the number of vaccine sites and extend the site’s operating hours, taking the state’s maximum possible appointments from 8,000 to 30,000.

OK: Only the ‘sickest of the sick’ COVID-19 patients are admitted to Oklahoma hospitals

Some Oklahoma hospitals are putting patients in hallways, renovating conference rooms into ERs, converting entire wings into COVID-19 units, limiting nonemergency procedures and surgeries, and admitting only the “sickest of the sick” COVID-19 patients, according to health experts. In rural Oklahoma, some medical professionals are performing treatments with which they aren’t familiar or comfortable.

HI: Hawaii police department spent CARES Act funds on robot dog

A police department in Hawaii used ,045 in federal funds intended to respond to the pandemic to acquire a robot dog named Spot. The four-legged device purchased by the Honolulu Police Department can walk on various terrains, open doors, record video and even dance.

KY: Armed protesters gather outside Kentucky Capitol, rail against senators and governor

Days after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, dozens of heavily armed people gathered outside the Kentucky Capitol building to rail against socialism, communism, Republican U.S. Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

MO: Bill to ban police chokeholds pushes ahead in Missouri

A proposed ban on police chokeholds is gaining traction in the Republican-led Missouri legislature despite years of inaction on police accountability following Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. Republican state Rep. Shamed Dogan said he’s partnering with a top state Senate Republican, Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, and Democrats to outlaw police chokeholds.

ID: Idaho food plant workers could be next to get vaccines

As Idaho continues to vaccinate health care workers and nursing home residents, the state’s food plant workers are scheduled to be among the next essential workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, starting as early as February. Outbreaks at meatpacking and food processing plants fueled the spread of the coronavirus across Idaho last year.

NY: After unused vaccines are discarded, New York governor loosens rules

Now, medical providers in New York can administer the vaccine to any of their employees who interact with the public if there are extra doses in a vial and no one from “the priority population can come in before the doses expire,” the new guidelines read. A pharmacy’s “store clerks, cashiers, stock workers and delivery staff” could qualify, the guidelines said.

MD: Inequities exposed by pandemic drive agenda for Maryland lawmakers

Leaders of the Democrat-dominated Maryland General Assembly say they want to protect tenant sat risk of eviction and expand access to high-speed internet, especially for disadvantaged communities. They’ll look for ways to improve the state’s unemployment system and debate whether essential workers should have more protections, such as enhanced pay and the right to refuse dangerous work, in health emergencies.

WV: West Virginia delegate who stormed US Capitol resigns after arrest

West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans, a Republican, resigned one day after federal authorities charged him in last week’s breach of the U.S. Capitol. Evans livestreamed himself as part of a crowd of people pushing forward into the Capitol, eventually screaming, “Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”

CA: A day before the US Capitol attack, another pro-Trump crowd stormed a meeting, threatened officials in rural California

In California’s rural, conservative northern counties—where people have long wanted to split from California and form a new state called Jefferson—the kind of anger and distrust of the government that President Donald Trump has fomented is on full display.

IA: How hundreds of Iowa police complaints stay secret

The Des Moines Police Department’s policies leave Iowa taxpayers on the hook but in the dark about complaints made against officers.

KS:GOP seeks to take control from Kansas governor

The Republican-controlled Kansas legislature is set to convene its annual session with GOP leaders seeking to wrest control of policy from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly amid their ongoing disputes over how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

PA: Pennsylvania lawmaker who marched to US Capitol faces calls to resign

Democrats in the Pennsylvania legislature are calling for the state Senate to investigate a Republican member who attended a Trump rally in Washington and marched to the U.S. Capitol steps before insurrectionists attacked the building.

DE: Delaware will use a hub system for vaccine distribution

Delaware plans to create hubs across the state to speed up its distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

NJ: New Jersey opens mega-sites planned to vaccinate thousands

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy toured what’s being called a vaccine mega-site at a former Sears store in Morris County where health officials hope to vaccinate more than 2,000 people per day.

AR: Arkansas prisons’ vaccine effort leaves out inmates

As Arkansas began rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to staff members in the state’s prison system, one group remained left off the priority list: inmates. Advocates for placing inmates as a priority for vaccines say they are vulnerable because they live, eat and sleep in confined areas. The state says that it’s the staff—guards, office workers and others—who carry the virus in.

IL: Illinois governor proposes quashing tax breaks for businesses

Illinois’ .9 billion budget shortfall was expected to take a back seat during the General Assembly’s 6-day lame-duck session, but Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker thrust the state’s finances into the spotlight with a proposal his office says would prevent the state from losing million in tax revenue from businesses. He wants to block a change to the federal tax code from applying to state tax bills.

WA: Washington hunting groups worry the sport is under attack

Stricter regulations passed in recent years, a new lawsuit and the appointment of two fish and wildlife commissioners have hunters in Washington state up in arms. Kim Thorburn, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife commissioner, points to a recently filed lawsuit looking to outlaw spring bear hunting and last year’s ban on coyote-killing contests.

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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.