Top State Stories 6/4
CO: Colorado lawmakers launch last-minute effort to lower property taxes
Colorado lawmakers have introduced a bill that would temporarily reduce property tax assessment rates, hoping to help state residents contend with skyrocketing real estate prices and rising property taxes. The measure also would allow people to delay paying a portion of their increased residential property tax payments until they sell their property, starting in the 2023 tax year.
WA: Washington offers more than M in vaccine incentive prizes
Washington will give away more than million in prizes as an incentive for people to get their COVID-19 vaccines, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced, including a million grand prize. Those cash drawings are the biggest part of an incentive package that also includes tuition money for students and tickets to flights and sports games, among other things.
CT: Connecticut legislature approves children’s mental health bill
The Connecticut House gave final approval to legislation aimed at addressing the impact the pandemic has had on students’ mental health and education. The measure now goes to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.
NC: North Carolina House Republicans add child care money to bill that strips unemployment benefits
State House members agreed Thursday to help North Carolinians, who are heading back to work, with their child care costs. The House voted to use million in American Rescue Plan Act money to subsidize child care for qualifying children.
UT: Utah governor urges residents to pray for rain
After issuing two emergency drought declarations and encouraging water conservation, Republican Gov. Spencer Cox is urging Utahns to join him in seeking divine intervention. Cox is declaring a “weekend of prayer” from Friday through Sunday in hopes that the clouds will open.
MI: Michigan governor vetoes COVID bills related to graduations, public records
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, vetoed bills that dealt with graduation ceremonies and public record requests during a health crisis. One measure would ban health officials from issuing orders that restricted high school graduation ceremonies this spring and summer, and the second would prevent the state from extending deadlines during a declared emergency for providing records.
ME: Maine House advances bill that would expand dental coverage under MaineCare
The Maine House voted to expand dental coverage under MaineCare, a move that would provide important services to more than 200,000 residents if the Senate also backs the measure. Maine currently is one of just 10 states that covers dental care only when it becomes an emergency.
IA: Iowa auditor eyeing run for governor’s seat says Reynolds misspent funds
State Auditor Rob Sand, who is considering a run for governor next year, says GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds violated Iowa law by using federal funds to pay for a public service announcement to raise public awareness about COVID-19. Sand, a Democrat, said Reynolds violated a state law prohibiting the use of public money for self-promotion using the likeness, voice or name of the governor.
LA: Louisiana governor announces more perks for vaccinated residents
Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a list of incentives for vaccinated residents, including free admission to state parks and historic sites and a complimentary drink at restaurants.
AR: Arkansas panel recommends spending M on broadband
A steering committee formed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson to guide spending of Arkansas’ .57 billion American Rescue Plan allotment is recommending that the state spend million of the money to expand broadband internet access in rural areas.
MA: Massachusetts wraps up operations at mass vaccination sites; shifts to hard-hit communities
Massachusetts officials said the mass vaccination sites around the Commonwealth are all slated to close in the coming weeks, as authorities shift their focus to “targeted, community-based” COVID-19 inoculation efforts aimed at reaching populations that still need shots.
WV: West Virginia governor calls special session to distribute COVID relief money
The first weekend in June will begin with West Virginians registering for cash and prizes in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery and end with the legislature allocating federal COVID-19 relief money to at least two state agencies, Republican Gov. Jim Justice announced.
NJ: New Jersey is shutting down 6 mass vaccination sites
New Jersey will be shutting down its six mass COVID-19 vaccination sites as the state moves from a mega-site model to relying on about 1,800 community inoculation sites, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said.
NY: New York lawmakers pass bill to ban coal tar, a driveway sealant
New York lawmakers passed a bill that, if signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would ban the use of coal tar, an acrid-smelling goo used in domestic and commercial pavement sealing. Environmentalists say the suspected carcinogen can easily wash off into watersheds, harming aquatic life. It is also harmful to humans who have long-term exposure.
TX: Asian American, Pacific Islander super PAC pledges to invest millions in Texas Democratic Party
Varun Nikore, President of the AAPI Victory Fund, thinks Texas Democrats could follow Georgia’s lead in flipping a historically deep red state. The fund is preparing to pour “several million dollars” into the Democratic Party’s efforts in Texas throughout the next decade, starting now.
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