Top State Stories 8/11
WI: Wisconsin governor vetoes 6 GOP-backed election bills
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said the proposals would have put up too many additional barriers to voting. The bills were part of a package of proposals unveiled in February that were largely in response to Republican criticism of the 2020 election.
OR: Oregon will resume statewide indoor mask mandate
Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, announced that Oregonians will be required to start wearing masks in all indoor public spaces regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status—a move that comes as the pandemic spirals out of control.
TN: Tennessee’s federal rental aid funds remain largely unspent
In March, Tennessee’s housing agency launched a statewide program, fully funded by federal dollars, that was expected to help 20,000 to 30,000 families remain in their homes for up to 12 months. But as of this week, the agency had distributed only .7 million of the .4 million it received, helping only 2,400 families.
KS: Kansas makes a deal with advocates to move people with mental illness out of ‘warehouses’
The multiyear agreement says it will be a priority to move people out of Kansas’ 10 mental health nursing homes. The facilities can hold more than 600 people, many over age 50, and are based largely in the eastern part of the state.
UT: Utah ballot initiative could upend elections
A proposed Utah ballot initiative would create a nonpartisan primary election system. The top five finishers in that primary election would advance to the November general election, and the winner of the general election would be determined by ranked-choice voting.
WV: Unvaccinated students will have to pay fee at West Virginia college
West Virginia Wesleyan College says it will charge a fee to students who aren’t vaccinated for COVID-19 for the fall semester.
NY: Cuomo resignation will install first woman governor of New York
After decades in politics, Kathleen Hochul, a Democrat, will become New York’s first woman governor following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bombshell resignation announcement.
OH, MI: Group charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan governor also discussed targeting Ohio governor, prosecutors say
Federal prosecutors say that a group of men charged with planning to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year also considered targeting Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, according to a new court filing.
CA: California correctional officers union will fight new COVID vaccine mandate
The union representing California state correctional officers plans to fight vaccination requirements for its members. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association said in the emailed note to members that it would use “all the tools at its disposal,” including legal appeals and labor negotiations, to fight two recent efforts to mandate vaccinations.
HI: Hawaii doesn’t have enough quarantine rooms for COVID patients
The delta variant is driving record-high coronavirus cases on Oahu and Hawaii, but neither island has enough designated rooms to quarantine COVID-19 patients who want to prevent their loved ones from getting sick.
PA: Pennsylvania governor orders vaccines for state health care workers
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said state employees working in health care facilities and “high-risk congregate care facilities” will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 7. Anyone not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly testing, and all new hires must be vaccinated before they can begin their employment.
VT: Vermont will require COVID vaccines for some state employees
The state of Vermont is going to require that state employees who work with vulnerable populations be vaccinated against COVID-19, Republican Gov. Phil Scott said.
CT: Connecticut Republican legislators outline proposals to reduce juvenile crime
Arguing that Democrats have offered only distortions and excuses in the face of a juvenile crime surge, Republican legislative leaders in Connecticut outlined a multipronged approach to curbing car thefts and related offenses. They again called for a special session of the General Assembly to address the issue.
NJ: Justice Department, New Jersey agree to monitor for women’s prison
To protect people incarcerated in New Jersey’s sole women’s prison from sexual abuse, the U.S. Justice Department and the state Department of Corrections reached an agreement to install an independent monitor, among other changes, officials said.
FL: Schools in Broward County, Florida, require students to wear masks, defying governor
In defiance of Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and directives from two state agencies, the school board of Broward County voted 8-1 in favor of a mask mandate. The board also agreed to pursue legal action challenging state rules that allow parents to ignore mask mandates for their children.
SC: South Carolina AG says city school mask ordinance is against the law
Republican South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has written a letter to the Columbia City Council saying he believes the city’s recent emergency ordinance requiring masks in elementary and middle schools is against state law.
MO: Enrollment for expanded Missouri Medicaid must begin with no further delay, judge rules
Missourians with low incomes who are newly eligible for Medicaid under a constitutional amendment approved by voters last year can no longer be denied coverage, a circuit court judge ruled.
DE: Masks will be required in all Delaware schools and state buildings
Following federal guidance and conversations with school districts, Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney announced a mask mandate for all K-12 schools, public and private, as well as child care centers. It takes effect Aug. 16.
CO: More Colorado colleges will require masks indoors
The University of Colorado Boulder and Front Range Community College in Colorado will require masks in indoor public spaces starting this week due to the delta variant, both institutions announced.
MI: Michigan Democrats announce B plan for water infrastructure, climate investments
Several Democratic lawmakers from the Michigan House and Senate proposed spending billion on infrastructure upgrades to storm and wastewater filtration systems, as well million in immediate assistance to residents.
AK: Alaska’s breakthrough COVID cases meet expectations
Since Feb. 1, 8.6% of COVID-19 cases in the state have been in vaccinated Alaskans. Health officials say that means vaccines offer quite a bit of protection—especially since studies have shown that vaccinated individuals are much less likely to have serious symptoms or die from the disease.
IN: Federal court strikes down some Indiana abortion curbs
A federal judge struck down several Indiana restrictions on where abortions can be performed and by whom, while upholding others challenged by providers in a 2018 lawsuit.
RI: Rhode Island governor announces state health workers must be vaccinated or face regular testing
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, a Democrat, announced that health care workers at facilities licensed by the state will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1 or else be tested twice a week and continue to wear a mask.
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