Top State Stories 9/17
CA: California could forfeit millions of dollars meant for struggling renters, auditor warns
California must step up its effort to distribute federal funds to renters struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic or the state risks forfeiting millions of dollars in assistance, the state auditor warned.
ID: All of Idaho is now under crisis standards of care
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced that it has activated crisis standards of care, developed in July 2020, for the entire state. When crisis standards are activated, health care providers prioritize the patients who are most likely to survive.
OH: Ohio reaches settlement agreement with opioid distributors
Three major opioid distributors who were sued over their role in the opioid crisis have signed off on a massive settlement deal with the state, Ohio Republican Attorney General Dave Yost said.
FL: Florida governor criticizes Biden administration’s takeover of certain COVID treatments
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis lambasted the federal government’s decision to control the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, replacing the system under which a small number of states—including Florida—were gobbling up large shares of the supply.
CO: Colorado governor and long-time partner marry in small, private ceremony
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and his long-time partner, Marlon Reis, tied the knot at the University of Colorado in a traditional Jewish ceremony. The couple’s daughter served as the flower girl and their son was the ring bearer.
HI: Hawaii’s pandemic crisis care plan raises legal and ethical concerns
Hawaii stood by its decision to use age as a tiebreaker if needed in treatment decisions, according to the latest version of its plan for allocating resources if the pandemic overwhelms the state’s health care system, despite criticism that the plan may discriminate against older patients.
MD: Maryland lowers flags for COVID deaths
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan ordered Maryland state flags to be lowered to half-staff in remembrance of 10,011 people who have died statewide from the coronavirus.
WI: Wisconsin parents could opt kids out of school lessons on sexual orientation under GOP bill
Republican lawmakers are advancing legislation that would allow parents to remove their children from school and classroom programs that discuss sexual orientation or gender to avoid lessons that “normalize behaviors,” the bill author said. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers won’t sign the bill, a spokesperson said.
TX: Texas Republicans will begin redistricting with less federal oversight
The 2021 redistricting cycle will mark the first time in nearly 50 years that a Texas legislature with a lengthy record of discriminating against voters of color will be able to redraw political districts without the federal oversight designed to keep harmful maps from immediately going into effect.
WY: Wyoming will petition for removal of federal protections of grizzly bears
Wyoming will petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal protections from grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Republican Gov. Mark Gordon said. Since grizzlies were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, the region’s population has climbed from 136 to more than 1,000.
MO: Governor fends off veto override attempts amid GOP infighting in Missouri Senate
Republican Gov. Mike Parson successfully fought off attempts to override many of his summer vetoes, with the Missouri Senate killing the efforts following heated GOP infighting.
IL: Demand, logistics delay COVID saliva testing in Illinois schools, officials say
Most Illinois schools have not yet started weekly COVID-19 saliva testing despite being several weeks into the school year—a situation that officials blame on the logistics of getting testing off the ground as well as a crush of demand.
OR: Staffing crisis at Oregon veterinary clinics leaves pet owners scrambling to find care
Pet owners across Oregon are finding months-long waits to see veterinarians, and many clinics are flat-out refusing to take on new clients. Vet practices are still working through a backlog from the pandemic’s early months, and a staff shortage in the industry, particularly among veterinary technicians, has worsened.
MN: Minnesota Supreme Court rules Minneapolis policing measure stays on ballot
Minneapolis residents will decide the future of policing for the first time since George Floyd’s death, after the Minnesota Supreme Court cleared the way for their votes to be counted. The decision hours before the start of early voting cleared the stage for campaigns to refocus their efforts on persuading residents to vote in a race that is drawing national attention.
MT: Montana governor welcomes Afghan refugees
GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte said Montana will welcome those seeking “freedom and safety” after fleeing the Taliban. Of the roughly 37,000 Afghans being resettled in the United States, 75 are coming to Montana.
SC: COVID vaccines, mask mandates set to take center stage when South Carolina Senate reconvenes
While legislative leaders want to limit what’s up for discussion, the South Carolina Senate session could easily get bogged down in a debate over whether to undo the legislature’s budget ban on school mask mandates and whether employers can require COVID-19 vaccinations.
VA: Virginia launches COVID vaccine QR codes for employers, businesses
Virginians with smartphones can now show they’re vaccinated without a card by displaying a QR code when employers or businesses require proof.
KY: More than 10% of Kentucky COVID deaths since June were under age 50—a fivefold increase
Younger Kentuckians are dying more frequently from COVID-19 as the state’s supply of intensive care unit beds dips below 100 for the third time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.