By: - May 17, 2021 12:00 am

MN: Minnesota kids languish in ERs while awaiting mental health services

Scores of Minnesota children and adolescents with mental health problems are suffering in hospital emergency rooms for days or even weeks because they have nowhere to go for more intensive care. Hospital administrators and child psychologists say the situation has reached a crisis point amid rising levels of anxiety, depression and other stresses brought on by the pandemic.

CO: Colorado lawmakers aim to enact strict new rules on high-potency marijuana

Marijuana concentrate and medical marijuana would be subject to strict new regulations under a Colorado bill aimed at curbing teen use and adult overconsumption of high-potency cannabis. The measure has bipartisan support.

WI: Many Black students in Wisconsin face stark choices in paying for college

In Wisconsin, about 710,000 people owe an estimated .4 billion in federal student loan debt, with the median debt at ,323. That burden weighs on students unevenly: In Milwaukee-area ZIP codes where most residents are people of color, 21% of the loans are in default, compared with just 6% in majority-White areas.

DE: Delaware police face a hiring crisis

In 2006, 96 people took the Newark Police Department’s written test, while last year, 26 applicants completed it—a 73% decrease in 15 years for Delaware’s third-largest municipal department. In Dover, the second-largest city in the state, 339 people applied in 2012, which dropped to 221 people in 2019, and fewer than half of them took the test.

PA: Prosecutors investigating Pennsylvania’s public school pension fund look for evidence of kickbacks

Federal prosecutors investigating Pennsylvania’s billion public school pension fund are looking for evidence of kickbacks or bribery as they explore why the administrators of the plan exaggerated investment returns and spent millions to amass real estate. Subpoenas reviewed by The Philadelphia Inquirer and Spotlight PA demand information from the fund itself, its executive director and at least three other senior executives.

TX: Texas Republicans seek harsh penalties for poll workers

Republican lawmakers in Texas, following in the footsteps of their counterparts across the country, are pressing forward with a voting bill that could impose harsh penalties on election officials or poll workers who are thought to have committed errors or violations.

FL: Florida lawmakers will consider new gaming rules

Florida lawmakers are returning to Tallahassee to consider not only a sweeping gaming compact reached by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, but also a host of updates to the state’s gaming law. Legislators have been asked to implement the changes for more than a decade. 

MO: Missouri legislative session wraps up

The final, chaotic day of the Missouri General Assembly’s session ended with lawmakers not renewing a tax on medical providers that brings in billions every year to fund the state’s Medicaid program because the Senate abruptly adjourned several hours early. Legislators passed other agenda items, however, including a measure that would establish a prescription drug monitoring program and a criminal justice overhaul that would ban police chokeholds.

MT: Montana governor signs legislation shaping grizzly management

Two new laws in Montana urge delisting grizzly bears from the endangered species list. One also declares that a person who kills a grizzly bear that is attacking, killing or threatening to kill a person or livestock has an “absolute” defense against being charged with a crime.

NV: Nevada Supreme Court rules 2019 tax, fee increases unconstitutional

Two critical revenue bills that Nevada Democrats pushed through the 2019 legislative session failed to pass with the required two-thirds majority and are unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled.

CA: Undocumented workers in California face mounting debts

Many undocumented immigrants in California have gone through their life savings during the coronavirus pandemic and have mounting debts. Advocates are pushing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to step up and help as other states have.

WV: West Virginia trial puts spotlight on opioid cases

A corner of West Virginia wrenched by opioid addiction is getting the chance to argue in a courtroom that some of the corporate giants it blames for a public health crisis that left hundreds of people dead deserve to be held accountable. The city of Huntington and surrounding Cabell County sued the nation’s three largest opioid distributors.

KS: Racial disparities in infant mortality persist in Kansas

A newly released Kansas Infant Mortality and Stillbirth Report by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment shows that while the number of infant deaths reported is the lowest on record for the state, disparities in infant mortality rates among Black and Hispanic populations persist.

LA: Louisiana GOP lawmakers propose ,000 incentive for residents that decline unemployment benefits

Louisiana Republican House lawmakers passed a proposal that would give residents a ,000 incentive to go back to work if they pass up on unemployment benefits for six months.

MS: Mississippi Supreme Court overturns medical marijuana initiative

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the state’s ballot initiative process, which allows voters to pass constitutional amendments, is “unworkable and inoperative.” This ruling put six pending ballot initiatives in limbo, including the medical marijuana program, Medicaid expansion and a voting ID requirement that voters passed.

OR: Businesses are loath to become Oregon’s vaccination police

Oregon businesses that choose to offer mask-free shopping for the fully vaccinated will likely be required to inspect each customer’s vaccination card and check the dates of individual shots, the state epidemiologist said.

MI: Some Michigan restaurant owners raise pay in wake of labor shortage

Michigan restaurant owners have been pleading for workers amid a widespread labor shortage, but laborers are firing back, saying a return to work under the status quo just won’t do. A cultural shift in the industry could help with recruiting, but some restaurant owners acknowledge it needs to start with more respect for the profession from the top down, and that includes better wages and benefits.

RI: Rhode Island lawmaker calls for ban on robot police dogs

A state legislator is calling for Rhode Island to prohibit the use of police robot dogs, saying he doesn’t want to see this “dystopian technology” unleashed on working-class communities of color. Rep. David Morales, a Democrat, said he introduced the bill after hearing about the fierce backlash that New York City police received for using a robot dog in public housing in Manhattan and in responding to a home invasion in the Bronx.

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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.