Top State Stories 8/26
FL: Many Florida schools are mandating masks, defying governor
Just over half of Florida’s 2.8 million public school students now face mandates to wear masks in classrooms as a courtroom battle continues over efforts by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to leave such decisions up to parents.
MS: Mississippi hospitals are running out of ICU beds
At least 22 hospitals in Mississippi had no open intensive care unit beds as a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations pressed the state’s health care system.
IN: Gerrymandering dilutes Black vote in Indiana
Ten years ago, Indiana election leaders drew maps that helped usher in Republican supermajorities in the statehouse and win seven of nine congressional seats.
TX: US Supreme Court sides with Texas over asylum policy
The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a Trump-era policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico. It was the second time this month that courts have sided with Texas as the GOP-led state challenges Biden’s immigration policies.
AR: Arkansas detention center uses animal dewormer on COVID patients
Ignoring federal warnings, a detention center in Washington County, Arkansas, has been using the anti-parasite drug ivermectin to treat incarcerated people with COVID-19.
US: Era of easier voting for the disabled could end
Thanks to absentee ballots, drop boxes and curbside voting, people with disabilities turned out in record numbers in the 2020 election. That’s likely to change.
KS: Kansas governor orders state workers back to remote work
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is sending state employees back to working remotely as COVID-19 cases rise and hospital capacity is once again strained.
MD: Maryland seeks to close youth vaccine gap
Though adolescents have been eligible for COVID-19 shots for months, they continue to have the lowest vaccination rate in Maryland and across the country.
MT: Montana governor offers mild COVID vaccination pitch
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, insists he’ll enact no state COVID-19 mandates to address climbing cases. Some public health advocates would like a stronger message on vaccines and masking.
IA: Nursing home COVID outbreaks increase in Iowa
Five Iowa nursing homes are now in COVID-19 outbreak status, according to state officials, and four of the five are in Trump-supporting counties with low vaccine acceptance rates.
UT: Utah mulls school mask order
Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said he plans to issue an executive order allowing local education officials to require masks for students and staff in schools. Some school officials pushed back.
CO: Colorado voters will decide marijuana taxes
A Colorado initiative would impose a new 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana. Advocates are touting the measure as a solution to education funding gaps.
MN: Minnesota law creates sharp split in of worker claims
Under an emergency law, some Minnesota workers were presumed to have been exposed to COVID-19 on the job, resulting in 96% of workers’ comp claims being accepted. Everyone else had to prove exposure at work and were denied 72% of the time.
WI: GOP election review in Wisconsin will cost K
Wisconsin lawmakers will spend hundreds of thousands to review the 2020 presidential election and will soon issue subpoenas as part of their effort.
CA: Law disrupts California school reopenings
As classes resume, a new California law governing independent study is worsening staff shortages and threatening school budgets.
GA: More Georgia schools mandate masks
More than half of all Georgia public school students are now required to wear masks in class, as many systems clamp down in the face of roaring COVID-19 infection rates.
DC: DC jail’s transgender policy faces scrutiny
In Washington, D.C., the Department of Corrections changed its gender housing policy in response to a lawsuit, but the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the new protocol is just as egregious.
PA: Pennsylvania governor asks GOP-led legislature for school mask mandate
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is calling on the Republican-led legislature to mandate masks in K-12 classrooms and child care centers.
RI: Rhode Island venues announce vaccine, mask requirements
Some top Rhode Island performance venues and organizations are now requiring vaccinations and masks for audiences at indoor events.
NH: New Hampshire governor signs juvenile diversion bill
A new state law allows police to refer New Hampshire minors to needs assessment without first arresting them and initiating law enforcement proceedings.
OH: Ohio postpones Medicaid rollout
Ohio pushed back its projected launch date of its revamped and reformed Medicaid managed care system to next summer.
NM: New Mexico governor joins US conservation challenge
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made New Mexico the latest Western state to join an ambitious effort to conserve nearly one-third of America’s lands and waters by 2030.
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