Top State Stories 8/5
NJ: New law helps hard-hit New Jersey renters, but also ends eviction pause for some
New Jersey’s eviction moratorium will end early for families above a certain income threshold under a sweeping bill Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law. The measure will also provide million in aid for residents who have struggled to keep up with rent and utility payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
GA: New Georgia absentee ballot request forms require more ID
Georgia election officials released a new absentee ballot request form that requires voters to submit a driver’s license number or other ID, a change mandated by the state’s voting law. The updated absentee application, created by the office of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also adds a warning that voters face imprisonment or fines up to ,000 if they falsify information.
HI: Hawaii public high school students must be vaccinated to participate in sports
The Hawaii Department of Education imposed a vaccination mandate for all student athletes, coaches and volunteers and pushed back the start of the athletic season to Sept. 24.
CA: California governor can tie recall to Trump supporters in official voter guide, court says
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom can describe the recall effort against him as Republican-led in the official statewide voter guide, a Sacramento judge said in a tentative ruling. The decision is a win for Newsom, who for months has worked to paint the effort as a radical power grab by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
FL: Schools might fight Florida governor over student masks
Broward County Schools may be gearing up for a battle with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the issue of masks for students. The school district issued a statement walking back a previous statement indicating it would comply with DeSantis’ executive order blocking schools from requiring masks.
CO: Colorado restores mask mandate for nursing homes
Colorado health officials have reinstated a mask mandate for everyone who enters a nursing home, regardless of vaccination status. The restriction, while affecting only a limited number of people, is another hint at the worsening coronavirus situation in Colorado and across the country.
WY: Wyoming governor won’t issue another mask mandate
Republican Gov. Mark Gordon will not issue another statewide mask mandate and won’t require Wyoming school districts to implement one, he announced. Gordon said he is standing behind the authority of local school districts.
UT: Utah’s oil and gas industry is as busy now as it was under Trump
While state and industry leaders forecast doom for energy development and rural employment due to President Joe Biden’s moratorium on new leasing on public lands, Utah’s oil and gas sector is waking up from its pandemic-induced slumber.
IL: Illinois governor issues mask mandate for schools effective immediately
Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a new mask mandate for preschool through high school students and staff, and a vaccine mandate for employees in state prisons, veterans’ homes and other congregate settings.
KS: Kansas lawmaker accused of kicking boy says stress caused ‘mania’
A Kansas legislator accused of kicking a high school student in the testicles has surrendered his state substitute teacher’s license and said that “extreme” stress caused him to have “an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” in a classroom. Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel disclosed in a Facebook post that he has seen mental health professionals over the past three months.
WI: State employees in Wisconsin will be required to wear masks
Wisconsin state employees will have to wear face masks because of a surge in coronavirus cases, state officials announced. The move came shortly after the two largest University of Wisconsin schools, in Madison and Milwaukee, put mask requirements in place.
MN: Minnesota Supreme Court upholds state’s permit-to-carry law
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a state law requiring individuals to have a permit to carry a handgun in public is constitutional and does not violate the Second Amendment.
OR: Oregon health care workers must get shots or submit to weekly testing
Oregon health care workers will have to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or face weekly testing, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s office said—an apparent step to fight the state’s run-away coronavirus case numbers fueled by the delta variant.
MI: Michigan suicides declined during pandemic
While COVID-19 upended and ended the lives of thousands of Michiganders, taking a profound emotional toll, the challenges of 2020 did not seem to bring about a rise in suicides, which early data indicates dropped last year after rising significantly over the previous decade.
IA: Iowa GOP stands firm against mask mandates
Iowa Republicans said they’re sticking by their law forbidding schools and local governments from imposing mask mandates.
TX: Texas lawmaker asks attorney general to consider constitutionality of curricula covering race
A Republican lawmaker is asking the Texas attorney general to issue an opinion on whether teachings on race in public schools, universities and state agencies are unconstitutional. Depending on what Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton does next, educators and activists may have to prepare for a legal fight.
AZ: Judge refuses to grant temporary restraining order against Arizona school district’s mask policy
A new mandate by Arizona’s Phoenix Union High School District that students and staff wear masks remains in effect, at least for the time being, as do similar policies being adopted by other districts. Measures banning mask mandates adopted by the Arizona legislature do not take effect until 90 days after the end of the session. This year, that day falls on Sept. 29.
NM: Rural school board is suspended over New Mexico’s mask mandate
A rural New Mexico school board was suspended by the state Public Education Department for not going along with Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s mask mandate for children as schools prepare for classes to resume this month and COVID-19 cases rise.
TN: Tennessee’s vaccination rate nearly doubles amid spread of delta variant
The pace of coronavirus vaccinations in Tennessee nearly doubled in the past month as the delta variant sparked new outbreaks and spurred fears of a reinvigorated pandemic. However, even if this pace continues to accelerate, it will take months to catch up with the rest of the nation.
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