Top State Stories 9/10
US: GOP governors threaten to fight Biden’s vaccine mandate
A number of conservative governors are threatening to fight President Joe Biden’s newly announced vaccine mandate plan, which will require businesses with more than 100 employees to require inoculation or weekly COVID-19 testing.
TX: Justice Department sues Texas over 6-week abortion ban that empowers legal ‘vigilantes’
The Biden administration went to federal court hoping to block Texas’ ban on abortion as early as six weeks, blasting the state for deputizing legal “bounty hunters” to deter a procedure that remains legal, technically, under state law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
PA: Pennsylvania Republicans start ‘forensic investigation’ of 2020 election
Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers jumpstarted what they’re calling a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election—but they didn’t detail how the review will actually work.
NM: New Mexico announces M plan to recruit more teachers
In response to educator shortages in New Mexico, the state has launched a million program intended to support careers in education. The program will fund 500 new educational assistants and offer them tuition subsidies.
CA: California moves to outlaw ‘stealthing,’ or removing condom without consent
The California state legislature approved a measure that would make the state the first to outlaw stealthing, the act of removing a condom during sex without a partner’s consent. Similar bills have been introduced in New York and in Wisconsin, but neither has passed.
UT: Businesses that mandate vaccines should be liable for side effects, Utah lawmaker says
State Sen. Kirk Cullimore, a Republican, is working on a proposal that would make Utah businesses requiring COVID-19 vaccinations liable if an employee or even a customer suffers an adverse reaction from the vaccines. Last year, Cullimore sponsored legislation to protect businesses from lawsuits related to an individual contracting COVID-19 on their property.
CO: Nearly 800 Denver, Colorado, employees have asked for vaccine exemptions
Nearly 800 Denver employees have filed paperwork to be exempted from Denver, Colorado’s vaccine mandate. The clock is running out on the Sept. 30 deadline that Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock set for all of the city’s more than 10,000 employees to be fully vaccinated.
WV: West Virginia Democratic lawmakers oppose special session to prohibit vaccinations, masks
West Virginia Senate Democrats voiced strong opposition to calls for a special session to pass legislation that would prohibit businesses, school systems, colleges and universities from requiring vaccinations or other COVID-19 mitigation measures.
NV: All Nevada counties will be subject to indoor mask mandate
All 17 counties in Nevada will be subject to an indoor mask mandate by the end of the week, health officials said.
WA: Washington governor announces mask requirement for outdoor gatherings of 500 or more
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, announced the state’s current requirement for indoor facial coverings will be expanded to include outdoor events with 500 or more attendees. The state has a record level of hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients.
MI: Michigan hospitals approach capacity amid staffing shortage
Michigan’s hospitals face a critical staffing shortage that has neared a crisis point as they also struggle to manage a growing number of patients with COVID-19. Hospitalizations have reached about 1,400 statewide—just under one-third as high as they were during the biggest coronavirus surge in the spring—and hospitals are approaching capacity.
KS: Former Kansas lawmaker indicted on 19 federal charges of COVID relief fraud, money laundering
Former Kansas state Rep. Michael Capps, a Republican, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 19 counts of COVID-19 relief fraud and money laundering. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas claims Capps bilked federal, state and local agencies for more than ,000 in COVID-19 business recovery funds.
SD: South Dakota lawmakers consider impeachment of attorney general
A bipartisan group of South Dakota lawmakers called for a special session to consider impeachment of the state’s attorney general. Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican, was convicted on misdemeanor traffic charges after a fatal vehicle crash.
NE: Nebraska offers the public 2 redistricting plans
The Nebraska legislature put out two redistricting plans for public comment next week. The action delays a decision on whether to split off a heavily Democratic section of Douglas County into a Republican district.
OR: Oregon legislature’s Democratic majority would gain power under redistricting plans
The initial redistricting proposals by Oregon Democrats, who already hold supermajorities in the state House and Senate, would generally expand the party’s power in the statehouse by creating more districts with a solid Democratic voting edge. Republicans, who are in the minority, pitched their own redistricting proposals, which face long odds.
NY: New York lawmakers want federal help for higher unemployment payments
Unemployment insurance benefits are too low, and the federal government should provide New York with the funds to raise the payouts, state Democratic assembly members said. The call for raising the maximum amount comes days after a extra weekly federal pandemic benefit expired for people collecting unemployment insurance.
FL: Federal judge temporarily strikes down anti-riot law touted by Florida governor
A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of Florida’s new anti-riot law, saying it is too vague and could lead to selective enforcement by police. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has touted the new law as evidence of his support for law enforcement.
HI: Hawaii landlords can now evict their tenants. But not many cases are being filed—yet
The Biden administration has called on states to enact eviction moratoriums, but Democratic Gov. David Ige doesn’t plan to revive Hawaii’s.
MT: Lawsuit by Montana youth groups calls new GOP election laws a ‘cocktail of voter suppression’
A trio of groups advocating for young Montanans are challenging several changes to election laws enacted by the legislature, calling them “a cocktail of voter suppression measures that land heavily on the young.”
WI: Wisconsin home lead investigations rarely test water amid focus on paint
Since 2016, when the Flint, Michigan, water crisis was declared a disaster, Wisconsin has replaced about 20% of known service lines made of lead or other materials that might contain lead, according to a Wisconsin Watch analysis of state data. Despite that, Wisconsin does not require local governments to test drinking water during home lead hazard investigations.
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