Top State Stories 1/12
MI: Michigan bans firearms in Capitol
The open carry of firearms inside the Michigan Capitol is banned effective immediately after a unanimous vote by the state’s Capitol Commission.
WI: Wisconsin governor activates National Guard to protect Capitol
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers activated the Wisconsin National Guard to protect the state Capitol and ordered the building’s ground-floor windows be boarded up after federal investigators revealed armed protests were being planned at statehouses across the country.
AK: 40% of incarcerated Alaskans contract COVID-19 despite visitation bans
Several Alaska facilities are hearing from inmates and their families about inconsistent or improper mask use contributing to the spread of the disease across the prison system.
CO: Colorado lawmakers will get access to COVID-19 vaccine ahead of thousands of others
Colorado lawmakers will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine for the 2021 lawmaking term that begins Wednesday, moving them ahead of hundreds of thousands of others in the state’s second inoculation phase. Legislators are expected to receive two vaccine doses by Feb. 16.
MN: Minnesota governor, GOP clash over safety threats, claims of election fraud
In one of Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s sternest public rebukes of his GOP colleagues to date, he described how the Minnesota State Patrol removed his son from their home last week and took him to a safe location. The 14-year-old had to leave the governor’s residence as President Donald Trump’s supporters, protesting the presidential election, threatened Walz during a rally at the state Capitol on the same day as the insurrection in Washington.
GA: Georgia governor calls for photo ID for absentee ballots
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, strongly endorsed adding photo ID requirements for absentee ballots at the start of a legislative session that’s sure to be shaped by a debate over voting laws after epic turnout helped Democrats flip Georgia in the race for president and sweep the Senate runoffs.
VT: Armed rally planned at Vermont Statehouse
Vermont law enforcement officials are preparing for possible armed rallies at the Statehouse. Vermont authorities say flyers are being circulated about armed rallies on Sunday, Jan. 17, three days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
VA: Virginia capital city considering tax amnesty for businesses to help with pandemic
The city of Richmond, Virginia, is preparing another amnesty period for taxes on real estate, meals, lodging and admissions to ease the burden on businesses and property owners financially struggling as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
AZ: Arizona opens 24/7 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium
The immunization site in the State Farm Stadium parking lot will vaccinate thousands of first responders, teachers, law enforcement officers and Arizonans 75 and older in the Phase 1B group.
AR: Arkansas Senate rejects mask proposal
The Arkansas Senate rejected a proposal from Democratic Sen. Stephanie Flowers to require senators who don’t wear masks in the Senate and adjacent areas to forfeit their per diem for that day. Under the proposal, future violations would have caused senators to be excluded from the next Senate meeting.
NV: Nevada governor announces revisions to vaccination guidelines
Nevada has revised its COVID-19 vaccination plan to put frontline and essential workers and the general public on concurrent paths, a rollout that would deliver more doses to more senior Nevadans sooner, starting after the initial vaccinations of health care workers are completed, perhaps by the end of this month.
MD: Maryland State Police prepare for armed protesters at Statehouse next week
The Maryland State Police is preparing for the possibility of violence at the Statehouse in Annapolis next week, after officials received an FBI bulletin that warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
NC: Police on alert in North Carolina capital as lawmakers return to session
After insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, officials in Raleigh, North Carolina, are watching for further signs of violence as threats of armed marches continue to circulate and state lawmakers come to town.
ME: Maine steps up security around the Statehouse
Maine is among the states that has begun to beef up security around the Statehouse and other government buildings in Augusta following the insurrection by President Donald Trump’s supporters at the U.S. Capitol last week. Maine’s Department of Public Safety confirmed that it has increased security and will continue to make adjustments in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
CA: FBI, Sacramento-area law enforcement prepare for possible violence at California Capitol
FBI field offices nationwide have been alerted to the possibility of violence through Inauguration Day and have set up command posts to interact with state and local law enforcement, including the California Highway Patrol, which has jurisdiction over the state Capitol.
UT: Utah state troopers are increasing security at the Capitol
About 40 Utah Highway Patrol troopers are staying in the state instead of traveling to Washington, D.C., to provide security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, as law enforcement prepares for anticipated protesters at the Capitol in Salt Lake City.
KY: Armed rallies rumored this weekend; Kentucky allows guns at its Capitol
As law enforcement across the nation prepare for the possibility of armed rallies at state capitols this weekend, Kentucky has not made a move to change its policy allowing firearms on its own Capitol grounds.
OK: Oklahoma agency struggles with explosion of callers scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations
The Oklahoma State Department of Health recommended that those without internet access or a computer request help from tech-savvy acquaintances or call 211 for help to schedule vaccinations. The call center of roughly 15 community-referral specialists fielded more than 9,600 calls in one day.
WA: Washington faces ‘tsunami’ of evictions when moratorium ends
Washington renters have found temporary relief from the third extension of the state eviction moratorium. But they are also staring down continually amassing debt, and advocates for the homeless and housing attorneys are scared that many of the estimated 175,000 people behind on rent in Washington state will be part of a “tsunami” of evictions.
OR: Oregon legislature swears in a record number of people of color
A record number of people of color were sworn in as new and returning members of the Oregon legislature at the Capitol. With the addition of a Vietnamese American, a Latina, a Latino and a Somali immigrant, the legislature now includes 12 people of color.
ID: Idaho governor proposes M in tax relief, M for public health
Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, unveiled a .2 billion state budget that increases spending while also promising to provide the state’s residents with million in tax relief. Little’s budget includes million in public health infrastructure.
HI: Gaps in Hawaii eviction moratorium leave some renters scrambling for housing
Hawaii’s eviction moratorium has loopholes; landlords can move back into their units or sell their properties. However, the state’s rental vacancy rate has actually gone up, as thousands of people have left Hawaii amid skyrocketing unemployment.
TN: Tennessee’s legislature begins session amid FBI investigation and COVID-19 crisis
Tennessee’s General Assembly convenes as a maelstrom of uncertainty sweeps the legislature following FBI raids of multiple House Republicans’ homes and offices last week.
NY: New York governor to hire more COVID-19 staff
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled proposals to fortify the health care vulnerabilities laid bare by the pandemic, vowing to provide incentives for the manufacturing of medical supplies in New York to diminish reliance on China. The governor also announced the creation of a state public health corps of 1,000 fellows and a program to train 100,000 residents as health care emergency volunteers, among other measures.
IA: Iowa lawmakers open session with limited virus rules
Iowa lawmakers began their legislative session with no mask requirements, and many members opted not to wear face coverings even as rates of coronavirus infections rise in the Des Moines area and much of the state.
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