By: - May 18, 2021 12:00 am

AZ: Arizona officials say state Senate is making a ‘mockery’ of county election audit

Maricopa County supervisors accused Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, of allowing a “mockery” to be made of the election process with her audit. Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are being examined and recounted by contractors working for a Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, that the Senate hired.

CT: Connecticut will pay bonuses to first 10,000 unemployed people who get jobs

With some business owners saying they are having trouble finding workers, Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced a plan to pay a ,000 signing bonus to the first 10,000 long-term unemployed people who land a job.  

NJ: New Jersey parents must send kids to in-person school this fall, governor says

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said he will not renew his executive order allowing virtual school in New Jersey during the coronavirus pandemic, officially ending the option for online learning after this academic year.

IA: Iowa Senate passes ‘Back the Blue’ bill that some say would worsen racial disparities

The Iowa bill would increase some police benefits and would provide qualified immunity to protect officers against lawsuits in some cases. It also would raise penalties for rioting and expand the definition of eluding officers. The legislation would in some case turn two-year sentences into five years, which opponents said would worsen racial disparities in incarcerations.

LA: Bill that would let college athletes profit sails through Louisiana Senate

The Louisiana Senate unanimously passed a bill that would allow college athletes to make money from their name and likeness. It now heads to the House.

CO: Colorado Senate passes .3B transportation bill

The Colorado Senate has approved lawmakers’ biggest-ever attempt at a comprehensive measure tackling roads, transit, electric vehicles and climate change. Most Republican senators opposed the bill due to its reliance on a half-dozen or so new fees and its focus on priorities besides highway improvements.

NY: New York governor is slated to earn M from book sales

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to make over million for writing “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” a significant outside payment to the state’s most influential public official. The payment was revealed on Cuomo’s tax return for 2020.

OH: Ohio’s unemployment fraud, overpayments tops .1B

Ohio paid out roughly .1 billion in unemployment benefits to fraudsters or people who received overpayments, and it’s unclear whether repayment will be demanded, state unemployment officials said.

AL: Alabama governor signs medical marijuana bill

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed a bill into law that regulates medical marijuana from the cultivation of plants to selling them in dispensaries. Doctors can recommend cannabis cards to residents, allowing them to buy products at licensed dispensaries.

MS: Mississippi legislature ponders special session after court strikes down medical marijuana, ballot initiative

Sources say Mississippi state lawmakers are discussing a potential special session after the Mississippi Supreme Court struck down the state’s medical marijuana program and ballot initiative process. If the legislature does not conduct a special session, it would take until January 2022 to implement a medical marijuana program and possibly November 2022 to reinstate the ballot initiative process.

WA: Washington governor signs climate bills, but vetoes tie to transportation package

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed into law a carbon-cap program and a clean-fuels standard, but vetoed parts of those bills requiring a new statewide transportation-funding package for the ambitious climate legislation to take effect. The governor’s maneuver could also raise questions—and potentially challenges—about whether the vetoes exceed his executive authority.

OR: Oregon fund provides M in relief to immigrants

Oregon immigrants have received more than million in pandemic relief through the Oregon Worker Relief Fund over the past year, according to the coalition of advocacy groups that pushed to establish the program. That money has gone to help more than 37,000 people who were ineligible for other public programs because they are undocumented.

AK: Rental car shortage forces travelers to reconsider trips to Alaska

Alaska’s smaller supply of rental cars and higher demand is leading to shortages, higher prices and even canceled trips. The tourism industry is expecting to see a lot of travelers this summer, and with COVID-19 restrictions still barring large cruise ships from Alaska waters, more travelers will come by plane, and many of them will need a car to rent. 

MA: Massachusetts sports venues will allow 100% capacity

Massachusetts’s largest sports venues, Fenway Park and TD Garden, will welcome fans with no capacity limit beginning May 29, state officials announced. The lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions coincides with GOP Gov. Charlie Baker’s announcement that the state is on track to vaccinate 4.1 million residents by the first week of June, and it accelerates a previously set timeline by more than two months.

PA: Nearly half of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated

About 49% of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the state health department said in its daily update. That equals about 4.2 million people, the department said. The department further said about 5.9 million Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of a vaccine, the ninth highest rate in the United States.

CA: California will wait until June 15 to adopt new CDC mask guidelines

Californians fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can go mask-free in most indoor settings starting June 15—which also is the target date for reopening the state’s economy, officials announced. Next month’s change will bring the state into alignment with recently released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

HI: University of Hawaii will require students to get COVID-19 vaccines

Students enrolled in the University of Hawaii System in the fall will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person classes or be on any of the system’s 10 campuses, the university announced.

UT: Utah will consider school mask prohibition in special session

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox called on Utah lawmakers to convene for a special session this week to consider bills involving allocating federal coronavirus relief funds and a prohibition on mask requirements in schools.

DC: DC could resume eviction filings for nonpayment of rent

The Washington, D.C., City Council will debate a proposal that would allow landlords to once again file eviction complaints for nonpayment of rent beginning July 1, if the landlord has applied for rent relief on the tenant’s behalf but the tenant still has not paid more than 60 days later. Tenants also can apply for a 15-day extension to obtain rent relief.


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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.