Top State Stories 6/8
MO: Missouri will become the final state with a medication database to combat opioid misuse
Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill that will make Missouri the final state to adopt a prescription drug monitoring database aimed at flagging possible opioid misuse.
TX: Texas governor signs bill that punishes businesses that require COVID-19 vaccination for patrons
Texas businesses that require customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be denied state contracts and could lose their licenses or operating permits, under legislation Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law.
DE: Delaware gives business grants to encourage vaccinations
Democratic Gov. John Carney announced the first round of Delaware businesses receiving grants to encourage folks to get vaccinated. Carney says the program mostly supports small businesses, giving them a one-time ,000 grant to offer discounts, free food and other gifts to vaccinated folks.
CO: COVID lockdowns in prisons test Colorado’s solitary confinement rules
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Colorado Department of Corrections isolated people in single-person cells nearly all day, sometimes for weeks or months on end. In some cases, people spent longer in isolation or quarantine than what is widely considered the maximum amount of time allowed under the Department of Corrections’ solitary confinement policy.
PA: Philadelphia joins the COVID shot lottery parade
Philadelphia will hold drawings with cash prizes for residents who have received a coronavirus vaccine, Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney announced, as the city joined a growing number of state and local governments offering incentives for vaccination. The city’s “Philly Vax Sweepstakes” will include three drawings with top prizes of ,000.
IA: Will cutting benefits bring people back to work in Iowa?
All eyes will be on Iowa and other Republican-led states these next few months to see whether an early exit from federal unemployment benefits truly nudges people back to work.
MA: Massachusetts GOP governor says state party leadership is out of touch with base
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said the leadership of his own state party is out of touch with the “vast majority” of Republicans’ beliefs and ramped up pressure on party chair Jim Lyons to more forcefully denounce a fellow GOP leader for making anti-gay comments.
ID: Infighting grips Idaho Republicans as state lurches further right
Idaho’s rightward political lurch has immersed the state’s Republicans in an internal fracas that now extends all the way from the grassroots to the executive mansion.
MS: Mississippi returned nearly 872K COVID vaccines due to low demand
Though Mississippi has increased COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and accessibility, people are declining the shots. The state has sent back almost 872,000 vaccination shots.
WA: Washington launches program to limit vaccine waste
Washington recently unveiled a new program called Vaccine Marketplace that creates a streamlined process for transferring COVID-19 vaccines between different vaccine providers in the state. Similar to Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, the new program allows providers who have extra doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to share the information with other providers in order to reduce waste.
LA: Louisiana lawmakers back decriminalization of marijuana; bill heads to governor’s desk
Louisiana lawmakers have agreed on a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, a sharp change in the state’s historically hard stance against the drug, and the latest indication of shifting attitudes surrounding pot at the State Capitol. The bill now goes to the governor.
MT: Montana judge extends temporary order blocking campus carry law
A Montana district court judge extended a temporary order blocking the implementation of a campus carry law passed by legislators earlier this year. The Montana Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s university system, argues the legislature overstepped its authority by passing a law expanding the carrying of firearms on campuses.
WI: Wisconsin resumes in-person prison visitations
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections will resume in-person visits at state prisons beginning July 6. Visitations will start with precautions in place, including modified visiting rooms that allow for physical distancing, cleaning protocols and COVID-19 screenings for visitors.
RI: Rhode Island governor signs bill banning child marriage
Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Daniel McKee signed into law a bill meant to ban child marriage in the state. The legislation eliminates language in state law allowing youths under the age of 18 to obtain a marriage license with parental consent. Rhode Island law previously allowed 16-year-olds to marry with the permission of their parents or guardians.
FL: Governor signs laws to combat ‘Chinese influence’ at Florida universities
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law designed to combat foreign influence in Florida’s universities from countries deemed hostile to the U.S., especially China, and crack down on theft of trade secrets and intellectual property.
DC: DC mayor announces public safety grants to help stem gun violence
Under the ,000 grant program, Washington, D.C., officials plan to distribute grants of up to ,000 to people who create activities that promote public safety. Grants of up to ,000 will go to organizations or groups to create programs to help reduce gun violence—including restorative justice initiatives, neighborhood restoration and community engagement.
NY: New York governor promises normalcy if vaccinations reach 70%
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that he’ll lift many pandemic-related health restrictions if New York’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, currently at 68.6% statewide, reaches 70%. “We hit 70%, we will be back to life as normal,” Cuomo said.
OR: Oregon will lift workplace mask, distancing rules when state hits vaccine target
Oregon’s workplace safety agency said it will lift face covering and distancing rules for businesses and other institutions when 70% of Oregon adults are at least partially vaccinated. That means most employees in public workplaces, such as stores, and private ones, such as offices or factories, could take off their masks and work in close quarters—assuming employers don’t maintain their own mask or distancing rules.
CO: Colorado governor, Democrats reach deal on greenhouse gas emissions proposal
A deal reached between Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and Democratic state lawmakers in an effort to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been finalized, with much of the proposal staying intact despite weeks of protracted negotiations and a veto threat.
AZ: Ban on ‘biased teaching’ provision is added to stalled Arizona budget as House prepares to resume
Among dozens of amendments intended to win Republican lawmakers’ support for a stalled billion state budget package is one that would ban “biased teaching.” The provisions come from a bill that died 10 days ago in the Senate that would fine teachers up to ,000 for discussing “controversial issues of public policy or social affairs.”
NM: New Mexico files lawsuit against baby food makers over claims of toxic ingredients
The attorney general’s office filed the complaint on behalf of New Mexico children, claiming negligence and false advertising after a congressional investigation found that products from Walmart, Kroger, and other brands contained high levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals.
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