Top State Stories 9/8
TX: Texas governor calls 3rd special session for redistricting, 4 other items
Hours after signing a restrictive new voting bill, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called Texas state lawmakers back for a third special session on Sept. 20 to begin the hyperpartisan job of redrawing legislative and Congressional districts. Abbott added four other items to the agenda, including how to distribute federal pandemic aid and whether local governments can mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees.
ID: Idaho on verge of rationing medical care as hospitals buckle under COVID
Idaho has moved into “crisis standards of care” for the first time in the state’s history. The official declaration that Idaho is at crisis standards helps to protect doctors, nurses and hospitals from liability when they can’t respond as well to patients or have to make tough decisions about which patient is most likely to survive.
MO: Missouri Republican will push anti-abortion bill similar to Texas
One of Missouri’s leading anti-abortion legislators, who chairs the House Children and Families Committee, plans to offer a bill similar to the Texas law the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to go into effect last week. It empowers citizens to enforce the state’s near-total abortion ban by suing providers and others who assist women in getting the procedure.
PA: In first day of masking order, many Pennsylvania schools complied; some didn’t
Day One of Pennsylvania’s mask mandate for schools and child care centers was met with pockets of resistance at some school districts. Reports came in of students being sent home for defying the face covering requirement. Some instead were held for in-school suspension or the office. Others came to school with a form signed by their parents exempting them from wearing a mask.
MT: Montana AG adds support to lawsuits challenging transgender rights
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, a Republican, has signed on to two lawsuits involving transgender rights. The lawsuits, filed in Tennessee and Arkansas, would affect transgender youths’ participation in sports and receipt of gender-affirming medical services.
GA: Judge’s ruling eases path for third-party candidates in Georgia
A federal judge has reduced the number of signatures needed for Libertarians and other third-party candidates to get on the ballot for U.S. House and other elections in Georgia.
SD: South Dakota governor restricts abortion with order
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, signed a directive restricting chemical abortion drugs and prohibiting the use of telemedicine appointments leading up to abortions.
WI: Workers with disabilities sue Wisconsin over denial of unemployment benefits
A class action lawsuit aims to overturn a state law prohibiting disabled Wisconsinites from accessing unemployment benefits after losing their job. The lawsuit was filed by a group of nine residents who have been denied unemployment benefits since 2015 because they receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments as well.
CA: California leaders say state can’t extend unemployment benefits
The unemployment benefits that ended this weekend won’t be revived anytime soon in California. In Sacramento, as in Washington, D.C., the message is the same: The economy is recovering, jobs are plentiful and lots of other help is available if needed.
NY: New York governor announces aid to workers
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state Department of Health has designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act, allowing for certain worker protections. She also signed four pieces of legislation into law to bolster workplace safety, ensure construction workers are paid what they are promised, guarantee prevailing wages for certain building workers in New York City and maximize partial unemployment payments.
KY: Kentucky governor calls special legislative session on COVID.
Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is calling for a special session of the General Assembly to address the commonwealth’s alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
MN: Poll finds majority of Minnesota voters back masks in schools, employers’ rights to mandate vaccines
The MinnPost/Change Research poll found that 54% of Minnesotans who are registered to vote either somewhat or strongly support requiring unvaccinated K-12 students to wear masks in schools, while 44% somewhat or strongly oppose such measures. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said businesses should not be allowed to require vaccines; 35% said businesses should require vaccinations if employees are working together indoors and 23% said employers should have the discretion to mandate vaccines or not.
UT: Utah parents frustrated as COVID cases rise in schools
As childhood coronavirus cases escalate throughout Utah, parents say they are encountering a chaotic process of testing delays, conflicting instructions on masks and quarantine, and frustration that their kids’ school year is getting off to such a rocky start.
IA: Iowa schoolchildren aren’t facing COVID quarantines this year
School districts across Iowa changed their guidance on quarantines last spring, and they have kept that standard this fall.
OH: Coronavirus in children is surging in Ohio
Over 70 children with the coronavirus were inpatients at Ohio’s six children’s hospitals, the highest number seen since the beginning of the pandemic, officials said. Patients are experiencing long wait times in the emergency room, and intensive care unit beds are full.
WY: Wyoming health department worries about COVID hospitalizations
Wyoming public health officials are “very concerned” about the state’s level of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and the potential effect of care availability in local communities.
AZ: Arizona AG says Tucson’s COVID vaccination mandate violates state law
Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Tucson, Arizona, cannot force its employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine and the city could lose millions in state revenue if it does not rescind or amend the policy within 30 days.
MA: Massachusetts museums to require proof of vaccination to enter
The Harvard Art Museums in Massachusetts will require all visitors to provide either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain admission, the museums announced. The new policy, which goes into effect Sept. 28, is similar to requirements already in place at Harvard University and a variety of Massachusetts performing arts organizations.
CT: Connecticut not meeting emissions goals
Connecticut is not on track to meet the greenhouse gas emission goals set by the legislature: 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, 45% below 2001 levels by 2030 and 80% below 2001 levels by 2050. Transportation emissions are the main culprit, according to the state’s annual inventory.
AL: Draft bill calls for 2 new Alabama men’s prisons, 1 for women
Alabama GOP lawmakers, alongside Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, created a draft bill to build two 4,000-bed men’s prisons and one women’s prison with at least 1,000 beds. The bill authorizes a bond issue of up to $785 million to help pay for the first phase, which includes the creation of the men’s prisons.
LA: Louisiana revokes licenses of nursing home that sent residents to warehouse during Ida
The Louisiana Department of Health announced revoking the nursing home licenses after evacuating more than 800 residents to an unsanitary warehouse during Hurricane Ida.
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