Top State Stories 9/16
TX: Texas doctors see unprecedented numbers of pregnant patients with COVID
Recently, pregnant patients with COVID-19 have come into Texas hospitals at levels not seen earlier in the pandemic, according to some doctors. The Texas Department of State Health Services currently does not collect vaccination data on pregnant women and also does not track cases, hospitalizations or deaths among this group.
CA: Democrats go full speed ahead on overhauling California recall laws
With the wreckage of the failed recall attempt against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom still smoldering, California Democrats have reached a new consensus: They really don’t want to do that again.
MO: Missouri GOP floats state gun law as template to fight Biden vaccine rule
Some Missouri Republicans are clamoring to thwart President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, with legislators weighing proposals that echo the new state law prohibiting local enforcement of federal gun laws. But Republican Gov. Mike Parson has so far not called a special session—limiting what lawmakers could do as they gathered for the General Assembly’s annual veto session.
WI: Wisconsin health officials call attention to Black birth disparities
Black babies are three times more likely to die than White babies in Wisconsin, which is why the state leads the nation in racial birth disparities, according to the state Department of Health Services.
PA: Pennsylvania school district asks National Guard, Amazon for bus drivers
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, school district has asked outside agencies to help solve the school bus driver shortage that has plagued the district since the year started, sometimes stranding children at stops for hours.
NV: COVID vaccination rate jumps to 75% among Nevada higher education workers
Just days after the Nevada Board of Regents voted to greenlight a process that could end with a wide-reaching COVID vaccine mandate for higher education employees, the system announced that its system-wide employee vaccination rate had surpassed 75%—representing a 20-point surge from last week.
OR: Dozens of Oregon students are quarantined after latest school bus incident
About 40 children on a Portland, Oregon, elementary school bus route were told to quarantine last week after riding with at least one student infected with COVID-19, marking at least the second busing incident in the area to force dozens of kids to miss more than a week of school.
AK: COVID spike prompts Alaska hospital to convert meeting rooms into patient rooms
As hospitals across Alaska become overrun with COVID-19 cases, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital has been taking in seriously ill patients from other regions this week—and has had to convert waiting areas and conference rooms to make space for the influx.
CO: Colorado school districts scramble to find substitute teachers
Colorado school districts are facing another challenge in the return to the classroom: They can’t find enough substitutes to fill in for absent teachers.
UT: Tourists from China sue Utah over deadly tour bus crash
Chinese tourists and their families killed or injured in a 2019 tour bus crash say in a lawsuit that Utah failed to keep a remote highway safe. The lawsuit alleges the state failed to post warning signs, had a road design that left little room for error and included no rumble strip to warn drivers they were getting close to the edge.
WV: West Virginia governor talks both sides on COVID measures
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, again said he opposes issuing a face mask mandate across West Virginia—he isn’t convinced masks “help in a significant way”—but he applauded the 53 of the state’s 55 county school systems that have implemented mask requirements on their own.
MN: Minnesota debuts app for online COVID vaccination proof
Minnesota unveiled an online app for viewing personal immunization records in response to rising demand—largely because of more COVID-19 vaccination requirements by employers and organizations in response to the latest pandemic wave.
DE: University of Delaware prohibits instructors from disclosing COVID cases to classes
Late last week, with positive COVID-19 cases on the rise, University of Delaware faculty received an email notifying them that if a student says they have tested positive, the instructor may not tell the class. The university said it enacted the policy to protect students’ privacy and prevent unwanted panic.
FL: Florida leads nation in nursing home resident and staff COVID deaths
More nursing home residents and staff died of COVID-19 in Florida during a four-week period ending Aug. 22 than in any other state in the country, according to an AARP analysis.
KY: Kentucky state universities shut during COVID. Should they refund tuitions?
In eight pending lawsuits, 27 Kentucky college students say state universities owe a cumulative refund of million in tuition and mandatory fees.
IL: Illinois governor hails energy plan with ambitious climate goals, nuclear bailout
Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a sweeping energy policy overhaul that aims to set Illinois on a path to 100% carbon-free power by 2050 and also puts the state’s utility customers on the hook for a nearly million bailout of three nuclear plants.
MT: Pandemic pummels Montana leisure industry
The leisure industry was slammed the pandemic in Montana, and while there has been improvement over the past 18 months, workers are hard to come by while demand from locals and tourists continues to skyrocket.
ID: Small group of GOP Idaho lawmakers tries, fails to return to session
Sixteen conservative legislators tried and failed to establish a quorum in an attempt to bring the Idaho legislature back into session at the statehouse. The legislators encouraged their colleagues to return to the Capitol and attempt to fight President Joe Biden’s vaccine rules.
NY: Partisan stalemate halts New York redistricting effort
Facing a deadline to release a single proposed map reshaping New York’s congressional and state legislative district lines for the next decade, a 10-member bipartisan panel said they could not. Instead, Democratic commissioners proposed one plan while Republicans pitched another.
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