Top State Stories 8/30
LA: Louisiana power outages could last for days, if not weeks
Hurricane Ida could leave much of southeast Louisiana without power in the coming days. And while utility companies expect to restore power to the vast majority of areas pretty quickly, officials say outages in the hardest-hit places could last for a long time.
MS: Mississippi Gulf Coast hospitals, already overwhelmed with COVID, prep for Hurricane Ida
Mississippi Gulf Coast hospitals, understaffed and overrun with COVID-19 patients, are preparing for Hurricane Ida. Severe weather brought on by the hurricane could add even more stress to the already struggling health care system.
MA: Masks may soon be required at all Massachusetts day care centers
Face coverings may soon be required for children as young as 5 years old and staff members working in early education, pending a Massachusetts board’s decision on the plan by an education commissioner.
NJ: New Jersey governor creates state task force to assist Afghan refugees at military base
A newly formed state task force will coordinate efforts to receive an influx of Afghan refugees at a New Jersey military base, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said. Up to 9,500 refugees could be sheltered for up to a year at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
CA: Many California farmers have water cut off, but a lucky few are immune to drought rules
Due to decades-old agreements with the federal government, California rice farmers are relatively unscathed by unprecedented emergency water cuts to farmers this month as others face fallow fields, wells going dry and low water levels.
CO: Colorado schools grapple with a nursing shortage
The Denver school district’s shortage of nurses is about 60% worse than it was in pre-pandemic years, officials in the Colorado city said. Most nurses in the district must cover multiple schools.
IA: Iowa Supreme Court orders masks inside courthouses
The Iowa Supreme Court issued an order requiring individuals entering any courthouse to wear a face covering. Judges will have the discretion to decide whether masks can be removed in their courtrooms.
WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court won’t hear anti-mask mandate lawsuit
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has denied a request to hear a lawsuit that sought to block a new indoor face mask requirement in Dane County, which includes the state capital of Madison. The decision effectively allows the mask mandate to remain in place.
AL: 55% of Alabama’s ICU patients have COVID as bed shortage grows
The Alabama Hospital Association reported that 55% of intensive care patients in Alabama’s hospitals have COVID-19. The state currently has 1,537 staffed ICU beds but 1,601 patients in need of beds.
TN: Tennessee schools with COVID concerns can request remote learning
Tennessee classrooms and schools facing a surge in COVID-19 cases and quarantines can request a temporary shift to remote instruction if their districts can show a need, the state’s education commissioner said.
WV: West Virginia officials say they can’t be held liable for enforcing anti-transgender law
State and county education and athletic officials in West Virginia say in court documents that they can’t be held liable for an anti-transgender law they didn’t ask for and largely won’t be responsible for enforcing.
MN: Minnesota colleges begin offering degree programs to incarcerated
Minnesota’s most comprehensive effort in decades to educate incarcerated people is getting underway this fall, as four prisons host associate and bachelor’s programs through a partnership between the Department of Corrections and some of the state’s top colleges.
WY: Wyoming lawmakers will weigh film subsidy program
Wyoming lawmakers have advanced a proposal that would allow film productions to apply for up to $3 million in rebates from the state Department of Tourism for production expenses. The move follows several years of industry lobbying.
ND: North Dakota launches site aimed at sharing pandemic stories
The North Dakota Department of Health launched a project that features videos and short stories from residents affected by COVID-19. The website also is intended to serve as a memorial for those who have died due to the virus.
VA: Most Virginia colleges say they mandated COVID vaccines, but not all are enforcing their policy
Colleges throughout Virginia announced vaccine mandates this summer. But there are loopholes that allow some unvaccinated students to attend in-person classes and live in residential facilities.
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