Top State Stories 9/13
AL: Alabama limits teen COVID vaccination options after legislators complain
The Alabama Department of Public Health has limited teen vaccine availability in some school clinics after legislators complained about teens getting COVID-19 shots without parental permission.
CA: False election claims in California reveal a new normal for GOP
In an echo of 2020, Republicans are pushing baseless allegations of cheating in California’s recall race even before Election Day.
MN: Minnesota starts sending pandemic tax refunds
Tax refunds are starting to go out for Minnesotans who collected unemployment insurance or businesses that received federal loans at the height of the pandemic. More than 540,000 Minnesotans are eligible under a measure lawmakers passed in the state’s budget agreement.
TX: Texas sues 6 school districts that defied governor’s mask mandate ban
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, sued six school districts for requiring students, teachers, school employees and visitors to don face coverings, rules that he dubbed “unlawful political maneuvering.”
PA: Incarcerated people with mental illness face longer sentences in Pennsylvania county
Delaware County in Pennsylvania has been jailing people with mental illness for alleged offenses resulting from their disabilities—then keeping them in jail for months or even years because county probation and jail mental health staff have not made housing or treatment arrangements.
MT: Montana revises marijuana advertising rules
Under new rules, Montana dispensaries will be able to promote their business via advertising and market their brand. However, dispensaries may not specifically advertise marijuana products except in online ads.
DE: Delaware spent millions on in-school virus testing that is mostly going unused
Delaware spent million to offer weekly on-site coronavirus testing at over 300 schools. But enrollment numbers in the testing program are underwhelming and some districts aren’t participating in the program at all.
WI: Many long-term care staff in Wisconsin reject COVID vaccines, despite risks
As of late August, Wisconsin’s rate of nursing home employees who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 was around 60%. Despite federal mandates, some Wisconsin nursing homes are not requiring staff to be vaccinated, a spot check of facilities by Wisconsin Watch showed.
KS: Kansas agrees to .9M for attorneys who fought voting law
Kansas appears likely to pay .9 million to attorneys who succeeded in getting the federal courts to strike down a state law requiring new voters to show papers documenting their U.S. citizenship when registering. Attorneys for the state and lawyers for Kansas residents challenging the law in two federal lawsuits agreed to the amount during negotiations.
FL: Court sides with Florida governor, reinstates school mask mandate ban
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration won approval to reinstate a hold on a circuit court judge’s ruling that the state could not enforce a ban on strict mask mandates in schools, as the court battle continues. A three-judge appellate panel pointed to “serious doubts” about a parent-led lawsuit that contends the governor overstepped his authority.
CT: Connecticut lawmakers prepare for special session to extend governor’s emergency powers
With Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency powers scheduled to expire Sept. 30, lawmakers will be holding a special session in the coming weeks to debate whether to extend the powers for a sixth time.
WA: Washington employees union ratifies vaccine deal with state
Members of the Washington Federation of State Employees union approved a tentative agreement with the state over Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
NY: New York bill would allow taxpayers to contribute to state abortion access fund
New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, a Democrat whose district includes the Bronx and Westchester County, has introduced a bill that would allow taxpayers to contribute to a state abortion access fund on their income tax returns. The money would go to charities to help people—both New Yorkers and out-of-state residents—afford access to abortion.
MI: Michigan governor vetoes measure to curtail COVID emergency alerts
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, vetoed legislation that would have prevented her administration from using the public threat alert system to send out notifications regarding new mask rules, gathering restrictions or similar health and safety orders.
OK: When it comes to some types of oil field radiation, Oklahoma law is silent
Oklahoma does not regulate the management or disposal of technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material, known as TENORM. Several oil-producing states, including Texas, Kansas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, have strict regulations on the disposal of radioactive oil and gas waste.
MD: Maryland sports gamblers still can’t place bets
Maryland gamblers still can’t place a bet on whether local teams win their games, even though state voters gave the go-ahead for sports gambling in 2020.
CO: Colorado health department recommends masks for everyone inside schools
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has updated its COVID-19 protocols to recommend mask mandates for everyone inside K-12 schools. Previously, the agency recommended that districts and local health agencies “consider” masking rules, including just for unvaccinated people.
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