Top State Stories 6/30
IA: Jobless Iowans who contracted COVID are still being denied benefits
Iowans forced out of work after being sickened by COVID-19 continue to be denied unemployment benefits by the state, while those who voluntarily quit their jobs due to the risk of contracting the virus are collecting benefits.
FL: Florida officials pledge multiple probes into condo collapse
Elected officials pledged to conduct multiple investigations into the collapse of an oceanfront Florida condo tower, vowing to convene a grand jury and to look closely “at every possible angle” to prevent any other building from experiencing such a catastrophic failure.
CA: Governor extends California’s eviction ban despite opposition from realtors and landlords
Three days before it was set to expire, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom extended the eviction moratorium in California until the end of September and boosted funding for a rent relief program, despite opposition from landlords and realtors who argued the protections have created more problems than they’ve solved.
ME: Mainers earning less than K a year could get ‘hazard payment’ checks
Maine residents who worked through the coronavirus pandemic could get a check for up to from the state this year as part of a budget proposal the legislature is expected to vote on this week.
OH: Ohio’s rich would see major tax cuts under new state budget plan
Even though Republican lawmaker have been touting what they’ve called a 3% across-the-board state income tax cut in the new state budget plan, under the bill, Ohio’s richest residents would actually see far greater cuts.
KS: Kansas Republicans challenge audit pegging COVID as leading cause of death in state
COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in Kansas during the last four months of 2020, a legislative audit found, prompting Republican lawmakers to call for more investigation of the numbers based on unsubstantiated theories.
NH: 10 members of New Hampshire governor’s diversity council quit in protest of provision barring discussions of racism
More than half of New Hampshire’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion abruptly resigned Tuesday, citing concerns that the state budget signed into law by GOP Gov. Chris Sununu silences conversations about race. The law’s language was recast as “freedom from discrimination” in schools and public workplaces, but the original bill sought to ban “divisive concepts” such as critical race theory and White privilege.
NJ: New Jersey apologizes for harassing gay bars for decades
Law enforcement leaders apologized for New Jersey’s history of surveilling and punishing bars that served gay residents and formally revoked penalties issued decades ago against more than 100 businesses.
NY: New York governor’s ‘essential worker’ monument will be relocated after facing criticism
A planned monument to pay tribute to essential workers during the pandemic is expected to move slightly after residents and lawmakers objected to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to put it in cherished open space in Manhattan’s Battery Park.
US: California bans state travel to 5 more states over anti-LGBTQ laws
California will ban state-funded travel to Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia in response to anti-LGBTQ legislation in those places. There are now 17 states under California’s ban, including Texas, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina.
CO: Democrats would keep control of Colorado statehouse under proposed redistricting plan
Colorado’s mapmakers said new proposed lines would result in 39 Democrats and 26 Republicans being elected to the Colorado House (Democrats currently control 41 seats). In the Senate, 20 of the proposed districts would favor Democrats and 15 would favor Republicans, which mirrors the current 20-15 split. The proposed maps are preliminary.
WA: Most COVID restrictions are set to lift in Washington
Most of the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place and modified several times since last spring will be lifted in Washington, meaning restaurants and bars and other businesses can resume full indoor occupancy levels and physical distancing requirements will end.
MO: Missouri House committee advances renewal of critical Medicaid tax
A Missouri House committee brought a critical tax renewal for the Medicaid program closer to passage. The Budget Committee advanced the bill to the House floor on a 27-2 vote.
WY: Governor, secretary of state invite NRA to move to Wyoming
In a letter encouraging the National Rifle Association to relocate its Virginia operation to Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon and Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, both Republicans, pointed to their state’s business-friendly tax environment, available workforce and the population’s strong support for Second Amendment rights.
DE: Delaware lawmakers pass record-setting bond bill
Delaware lawmakers passed the largest bond bill in state history, with both chambers overwhelmingly approving the .3 billion plan to invest in infrastructure and community redevelopment.
MA: Website for Massachusetts M vaccine lottery will go live soon
Massachusetts residents can soon enroll in the lottery at vaxmillionsgiveaway.com. The lottery offers five million prizes for fully vaccinated adults and five ,000 scholarships for fully vaccinated youths.
WV: West Virginia’s vaccination lottery process is slow
There’s a delay between when West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice will announce the second round of vaccination incentive sweepstakes winners and when the names were actually drawn.
UT: Blood shortage may force Utah hospitals to delay procedures
One of Utah’s largest hospitals nearly ran out of donated blood this weekend, and this week delayed at least one surgery to avoid running out again. Health experts are pleading for donors in coming weeks as blood shortages sweep the nation.
MI: New Michigan identity rule could slow background checks
A new rule that calls for dates of birth to be redacted from court records in Michigan could have implications for employers and landlords who are performing background screenings, and journalists looking up court records. The Michigan Administrator of Courts says the change is part of an overall effort to protect the public from having their identities stolen, but background check companies say it will make performing those checks “nearly impossible.”
MN: Tribes, environmentalists slam Minnesota’s decision to allow Enbridge to move 5B gallons of water
Some environmentalists and Ojibwe tribes are angered at Minnesota’s decision to allow the company Enbridge to move 5 billion gallons of water as it builds a replacement for its Line 3 pipeline—up from 510 million gallons in the company’s original permit.
OR: Oregon agency fires a prime contractor on its controversial post-fire tree removal program
The Oregon Department of Transportation has fired a contractor responsible for removing trees and clearing debris from last year’s Riverside and Beachie Creek fires. In legislative oversight hearings in late April and early May, landowners, former employees on the project and other advocates told lawmakers that the program was being badly mismanaged.
NM: Recreational marijuana is legal to possess, grow in New Mexico
It’s now legal for people in New Mexico to possess recreational marijuana and grow those plants at home. The milestone was celebrated by cannabis consumers and advocates for criminal justice reform who say poor and minority communities have been prosecuted disproportionately for using marijuana.
CT: Connecticut state and local police prepare to enforce new law on legal weed
For years, Connecticut police chiefs and officers have fought strongly against legalizing recreational marijuana, saying they have no reliable test to prove that a motorist has been driving under the influence of the drug. Now, police are scrambling to review the legislation and enforce the new law that takes effect this week.
IL: College athletes in Illinois can hire agents, be paid for endorsements under measure signed by governor
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure into law that allows college athletes to sign endorsement deals, making Illinois the latest of nearly two dozen states to enact policies allowing student-athletes to profit off the use of their names and likenesses.
WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court rules former drug smuggler can practice law
A former drug smuggler can practice law in Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court ruled. The 4-3 ruling reverses a decision from the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.