Top State Stories 8/12
KY: Kentucky attorney general challenges legality of governor’s school mask mandate
Kentucky’s Republican attorney general is asking the state Supreme Court to reject Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s K-12 universal mask mandate, calling the emergency order an “unlawful exercise of power.”
CA: California governor orders school employees to get vaccinated or be tested regularly
California school employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to a weekly test proving they are not infected, under an order announced by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
TX: Local Texas officials defy ban on mask mandates
A growing cadre of local government officials in Texas have mandated mask-wearing in bids to slow the spread of COVID-19—defying Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. Officials in Dallas and Bexar counties successfully sued for the right to temporarily require masks in public schools and many government buildings.
TN: All Tennessee House Republicans ask GOP governor to call special session on masks
All 73 members of the Tennessee House Republican Caucus signed a letter asking GOP Gov. Bill Lee to call legislators back to Nashville for a special session to crack down on schools requiring masks for protection against COVID-19.
FL: Broward County Schools must reverse mask mandate or risk ‘sanctions,’ Florida commissioner says
Broward school leaders have until the end of the week to tell Florida whether they intend to comply with state rules on mask mandates that call for an opt-out option for parents who don’t want their kids to wear one.
OH: Biden administration nixes Ohio’s Medicaid work requirements
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told the Ohio Department of Medicaid in a letter that it cannot proceed with its plans to require some people on the health insurance program to work to keep their coverage.
AR: Arkansas legislators consider blocking employer vaccine mandates
Arkansas lawmakers are targeting businesses that require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, approving the study of a bill that would prohibit employers from requiring the disclosure of an employee’s vaccination status.
CO: Colorado attorney general argues red flag law isn’t being used enough
The vast majority of Colorado’s red-flag petitions filed in the first year were by law enforcement officers against people threatening mass shootings, suicide and intimate partner violence, according to a report issued by the state Department of Law.
UT: New Utah law changes what happens in courts when kids get in trouble
Young people in Utah who find themselves in trouble with the law are now consistently getting access to legal help—something that wasn’t happening just a few years ago.
CT: Police couldn’t stop Connecticut drivers for broken headlights under new recommendations to lawmakers
Police officers in Connecticut would be prohibited from stopping drivers for a broken headlight, displaying their license plates in their back windows and other minor violations, under recommendations approved by the state Police Transparency & Accountability Task Force.
MO: Governor vows to ‘follow the law,’ allow Missourians newly eligible for Medicaid to enroll
Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration will allow Missourians newly eligible for Medicaid coverage to enroll in the state-run program, his office said.
ME: Maine lawmakers set timeline, parameters for child protection probe
The Maine legislature’s Government Oversight Committee directed its watchdog agency to investigate the practices of the state’s child protective system following the recent deaths of several children in the system’s care.
SC: ‘I have never been more concerned,’ South Carolina’s top epidemiologist says as COVID rages on
“As your state epidemiologist, and as someone who has studied disease control and prevention for my entire career, I have never been more concerned about the health of our state than I am today,” said Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina’s top epidemiologist.
HI: Hawaii governor imposes new restrictions on gatherings as COVID caseloads mount
After a week in which Hawaii saw an average of over 500 new cases of COVID-19 each day, Democratic Gov. David Ige announced he is imposing emergency restrictions to limit many types of social gatherings, but there will be some exceptions.
GA: New COVID surge overwhelms hospitals across Georgia
A steep increase in seriously ill COVID-19 patients has pushed hospitals statewide into crisis mode again this week, prompting worries that the new surge may overwhelm facilities already struggling to find enough nurses to adequately staff emergency rooms and intensive care units.
OK: Unemployed Oklahomans seek to reinstate pandemic unemployment benefits
Pandemic unemployment programs expire on Sept. 6 when the federal money runs out, but Oklahoma withdrew early on June 27. States are allowed to leave early, but unemployed Oklahomans who lost benefits sued the state, claiming the governor didn’t have the authority to make that decision.
NM: New Mexico reduces reliance on for-profit prison operators
New Mexico is on the cusp of finalizing prison takeovers that will reduce private prison operations to 25% of inmate beds, amid a plunge in prison population numbers statewide.
MN: Minnesota governor will impose new vaccine requirement for state workers
Minnesota state government employees returning to the office must soon prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or comply with at least weekly testing, under a new requirement announced by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.
WI: Wisconsin poll shows partisan divide on COVID vaccines
A new statewide poll from the Marquette University Law School in Wisconsin shows a stark partisan divide in vaccinations, with significant majorities of Democrats and independents reporting they’d received a COVID-19 vaccine while a minority of Republicans said they had done so.
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