By: - May 4, 2021 12:00 am

CA: California coronavirus cases keep ‘falling like a rock’

There is growing optimism that California remains in recovery mode as coronavirus cases continue to fall dramatically along with related deaths. California has continued to do better than any other state, with the lowest per capita coronavirus case rate in the nation over the last week.

RI: Rhode Island high schools host student vaccine clinics

High schools across Rhode Island have scheduled vaccination clinics for their students over the age of 16, starting this week. Students can get a shot without parental authorization, the state Department of Health said.

OK: Oklahoma medical providers would have to post cash prices under bill headed to governor

Medical providers would have to publicly post cash prices for common procedures under legislation sent to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt by the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The price lists would not include additional charges for complications or “exceptional treatment,” nor would they affect rates negotiated through insurance plans.

AZ: Arizona will reinstate job-seeking requirements for unemployed

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey rescinded a March 2020 order that suspended those job-search requirements during the pandemic. The order was to avoid forcing people who were infected with COVID-19 or were caring for others with the virus to go out looking for jobs during the pandemic.

WA: Earthquake alerts debut in Washington

For the first time, Washington residents will be able to get alerts on their cellphones seconds before the ground under their feet starts shaking—enough time, hopefully, to get to a safe spot and avoid injury. For Washington’s biggest seismic threat—a megaquake on the offshore Cascadia Subduction Zone—Seattle, Tacoma and other cities on Puget Sound could get nearly a minute’s notice before the ground begins to heave.

TX: Texas lawmakers see civics bills as a rejection of ‘woke’ philosophies

The Texas Senate passed wide-ranging legislation that would ensure social studies teachers focus on “traditional history” and refrain from discussing certain concepts related to race and racism. Teachers and civics education advocates worry the measure could have a chilling effect on classrooms and hamper efforts to encourage students to be effective citizens.

NH: Over the weekend, two-thirds of New Hampshire’s Johnson & Johnson vaccines went unused

About two-thirds of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines offered at state-run sites went unused this weekend, raising concerns that the 10-day pause recommended by U.S. health agencies has exacerbated hesitancy in New Hampshire. The state hoped to vaccinate 4,500 people when it opened up appointments last week but only about 1,589 were administered at the three state-run locations.

DE: A rising conservative movement is targeting Delaware school board elections

The conservative group Patriots for Delaware has turned its sights toward school board seats, endorsing candidates up and down the state with platforms dedicated to hot-button issues such as fully reopening schools and keeping concepts such as social justice and lessons about race out of classrooms. Shifting their attention to local races and securing school board seats would be the first step toward the conservative group gaining political influence in blue Delaware.

TN: Tennessee Republicans want to withhold funding from schools teaching critical race theory

Members of the Tennessee House Education Administration Committee, which had previously closed for the year, returned to amend and advance legislation intended to prohibit schools from teaching lessons about inequality and racial and gemder privilege. The three Democrats present—all of whom are Black—were the only legislators on the committee to vote against the measure, which passed 12-3.

AR: Arkansas has a glut of abandoned oil wells

Nearly 80% of Arkansas’ more than 47,300 oil and gas wells sit spent and abandoned, data shows. Professors and students at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, have found that these unused well lands, along with thousands like them around the U.S., are leaving billions of dollars on the table.

AL: 12 Alabama counties are now under a burn ban

To protect air equality, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management said 12 counties in the state are under a burn ban that prohibits burning of wood, tree trimmings, brush and debris generated by construction activities. The ban expires in October.

LA: Louisiana paid prisoners millions in unemployment benefits by mistake, audit claims

A report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office said that more than 1,000 people who are incarcerated received a total of .2 million in state and federal unemployment benefits despite being ineligible.

ID: Idaho’s transgender sports ban faces a huge legal hurdle

A landmark case stemming from an Idaho law passed last year—the nation’s first transgender sports ban—asks: Do transgender women and girls have a constitutional right to play on women’s sports teams? That question was argued before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

MS: Mississippi investigates drug service provider on allegations it cheated taxpayers

The Mississippi state auditor and attorney general are investigating Centene, a Medicaid drug service provider that received more than .1 billion for pharmacy services from the Mississippi Medicaid program over four years. State Sen. Becky Currie, a Republican, said if Centene is “cheating in the pharmacy area, what else are they doing? We don’t know because we’ve never bothered to look.”

MI: Michigan reaches 50% vaccine milestone

Michigan hit a new milestone in the race to end the pandemic: 50% of residents ages 16 and older—about 4 million people—have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Health leaders have said it will take at least 70% of the population to be fully vaccinated to stop widespread outbreaks and protect the most vulnerable.

AK: Younger, unvaccinated patients strain Alaska hospital

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital’s capacity is being strained by high COVID-19 rates, and the Alaska community should be more alarmed, say medical workers. The patients admitted in the last weeks are younger and not fully vaccinated.

FL: Florida governor signs bill banning vaccine passports, issues order canceling local COVID rules

Declaring Florida’s pandemic emergency over, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID-19 orders and signed into law a bill that bars businesses, schools and government entities across Florida from asking anyone to provide proof of a vaccination.

KS: Kansas lowers concealed carry age to 18

The Kansas legislature overturned Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a bill lowering the minimum age to carry a concealed weapon in the state from 21 to 18. The bill also makes it easier in some cases for felons convicted of violent crimes to reacquire their rights to possess and carry firearms.

MA: Massachusetts governor will close some mass vaccination sites, shift to regional centers

Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, said Massachusetts plans to close four of its seven mass vaccination sites by the end of June, as the state is currently outperforming the rest of the country on COVID-19 shots, with nearly 4 million residents either fully or partially inoculated against the virus.

NY: New York governor announces ‘major reopening’ of businesses by May

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, said the state will completely lift capacity limits on a host of businesses—including bars and restaurants, hair salons, gyms, offices, retail stores, museums, entertainment centers, theaters and others—on May 19.

WV: West Virginia governor signs fossil-fuel-friendly bills; solar bills take effect with no signature

West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice has signed into law bills designed to help the coal, oil and gas industries while letting a solar-friendly bill become law without his signature. Justice signed a bill that requires coal-fired power plants owned by public electric utilities to keep at least 30 days of coal supply under contract for the lifespan of those plants.

GA: Governor signs Georgia adoption laws offering free tuition and protections

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed six bills into law that are designed to promote foster care and adoption by increasing legal protections, lowering parent age limits and offering free college tuition. The bills are the latest in a series of efforts to make it easier for children to find families and homes.

ME: Maine considers new protections for domestic violence victims

The Maine legislature is set to consider a proposal designed to prevent housing and employment discrimination against domestic violence victims. The proposal would amend the Maine Human Rights Act to make sure that domestic violence victims who seek protection from abuse via court are not discriminated against when they seek housing and employment.

OH: Ohio nursing-home staff no longer need weekly coronavirus tests if they’re vaccinated

Fully vaccinated staff at Ohio nursing homes and assisted-living facilities will no longer be required to be tested weekly for the coronavirus, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced.

MT: In Montana, emergency election changes will now require lawmakers’ consent

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill requiring a majority of lawmakers in both the House and Senate to approve of any emergency suspensions of Montana election laws. If the legislature isn’t in session at the time, the new law requires the secretary of state to poll lawmakers on the proposed change in election laws within three days of the governor’s request.

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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.