Top State Stories 8/10

By: - August 10, 2021 12:00 am

FL: Florida governor will appeal injunction allowing Norwegian Cruises to require vaccines

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to appeal a preliminary injunction allowing Norwegian Cruise Line to require passengers to show proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19. A federal judge granted the company’s bid to require 100% vaccinations, saying its challenge of DeSantis’ vaccine passport law will likely prevail at trial.

WA: Washington governor announces vaccine mandate for state employees, health care workers

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, issued a sweeping order requiring most state employees—along with hundreds of thousands of health care workers—to get vaccinated soon or lose their jobs. State workers will have until Oct. 18 to get fully vaccinated, and show proof, or face “non-disciplinary dismissal” for failure to meet job requirements.

NY: Accuser of New York governor: ‘What he did to me is illegal’

Brittany Commisso, the executive assistant whom New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accused of lying about an incident in which she said he groped her breast at the Executive Mansion, revealed her identity publicly in an exclusive interview with the Times Union and CBS News. Commisso, who turns 33 in a few days, said the governor is the one being untruthful.

NM: New Mexico officials urge employers to require vaccinations

New Mexico’s Democratic governor and dozens of other elected officials are urging the state’s business community to require that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or alternatively undergo regular testing.

SC: South Carolina governor continues to oppose mask mandates, other restrictions

Despite rising coronavirus cases across South Carolina, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster reiterated he will refrain from reimposing any government restrictions or mandates, continuing to lean on “personal responsibility” as the primary antidote to the ongoing pandemic.

AL: COVID hospitalization levels in Alabama reach highest point since January

Alabama health professionals cite low vaccination rates as a reason for an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Over 2,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the state, which is the highest number of hospitalizations since January. 

MA: Massachusetts reports 100 ‘breakthrough’ COVID deaths

As of the end of July, 100 people in Massachusetts who were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus have died from the disease, the Department of Public Health said. In 73% of the cases, the patients were reported to have underlying conditions, the department said in a statement.

CO: Colorado’s bad air will get worse, experts warn

In Denver and along Colorado’s Front Range, bad air is becoming the summer norm. And this year’s pollution, which data shows is some of the worst in decades, is relatively benign compared to what scientists project.

MS: As politics get tough, Mississippi governor passes the buck on masks in schools

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said he would not issue a statewide mask mandate, leaving the decision up to local school districts.

OR: Oregon’s most populous county issues indoor mask requirement

As COVID-19 cases in Oregon surge and hospitals fill up, officials in the state’s most populous county announced they are reimplementing an indoor mask mandate. People 5 and older—vaccinated and unvaccinated—in Multnomah County will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces including stores, restaurants and gyms.

MO: Less than half of Missouri nursing home workers are vaccinated; lockdowns loom

Missouri’s vaccination rate for nursing home staff is among the lowest in the nation, according to data compiled by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

KY: Staffing shortages keep some Kentucky nursing homes from mandating vaccines, survey finds

Citing a prevailing concern over staffing, some Kentucky long-term care facilities are split on whether COVID-19 vaccines should be mandated among staff, an internal survey found.

WI: Wisconsin officials ‘strongly recommend’ schools require masks, though many won’t

Wisconsin’s top education official “strongly recommends” that schools require masks this fall, contrary to the current plans of many of the state’s districts. 

US: Police pushback doesn’t stop conservative gun law rollback

In states such as Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana, police opposed pushes to drop requirements for people to get background checks and training before carrying handguns in public, plans that came as gun sales continued to shatter records during the coronavirus pandemic. But in several conservative-leaning states, police opposition didn’t stop laws that drop permit requirements. 

MN: University of Minnesota will require student COVID vaccinations once shots have FDA approval

The University of Minnesota announced it will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 once the shots receive full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is expected in the coming weeks. The university’s vaccination mandate, which must be approved by the Board of Regents, would apply to the roughly 60,000 students on five campuses. 

TN: Tennessee governor says school boards have right to set mask mandates

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee is facing pressure from some conservative members of the legislature to quash the ability of local school districts to implement their own strict COVID-19 mitigation strategies, particularly requiring masks.

AR: Only 8 ICU beds are available in Arkansas

Only eight intensive care unit beds were available in Arkansas as the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by 103 to 1,376, the largest daily increase since the pandemic began. 

TX: Texas parents can now choose to hold their children back a grade because of pandemic disruptions

Texas has a new law that allows parents to decide if their child should repeat a grade to make up for COVID-19 disruptions. Roughly 75,000 fewer pre-kindergartners and kindergartners were enrolled in public schools in January 2021 compared with 2019, according to the Texas Education Agency.

NJ: Smith & Wesson must give New Jersey internal documents on how it markets guns, courts rule

New Jersey’s top law enforcement official is renewing a demand for Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. to turn over internal documents on how it markets guns after courts ruled against the manufacturer. The state’s request for information has drawn national attention, especially since gun companies are often shielded from liability in the United States.

MI: Private marijuana use shouldn’t disqualify Michigan residents from unemployment benefits, official argues

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, doesn’t believe legal marijuana use should be grounds to disqualify someone from unemployment benefits. At least three cases centered on the topic have landed before the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Commission.

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.

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.