Top State Stories 10/7
CA: Los Angeles to require proof of COVID vaccination at indoor restaurants, venues
The Los Angeles City Council in California approved a new ordinance that requires proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter indoor restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, hair and nail salons and many other indoor venues.
TX: Texas’ ban on abortions after 6 weeks put on hold by federal judge
A federal judge blocked a new Texas law that banned abortions after six weeks and allowed private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone who facilitated the procedure. Texas immediately appealed the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
SD: Court panel to investigate South Dakota governor
A panel of South Dakota judges will review allegations about Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s intervention to help her daughter obtain a state appraiser license. The panel will determine whether any misconduct occurred.
AR: Arkansas lawmakers OK opt-out for COVID vaccine mandates
Arkansas lawmakers gave final approval to legislation requiring employers to let their workers opt out of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, a move opposed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, business groups and hospitals.
GA: Georgia labor department spent M on free meals for employees, audit finds
A state audit found Georgia labor department employees received a daily free meal beginning in March 2020 and continuing for more than a year, violating state purchasing rules. Until it was discontinued this summer, the pandemic-long feast cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million in state and federal money, much of which was earmarked for unemployment benefits.
HI: Pandemic hardships have made Hawaii’s nursing shortage even worse
Hawaii’s COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the serious shortage of nurses in the state, with thousands departing the profession and only a relative handful arriving to replace them.
WI: Mayors of Wisconsin’s largest cities receive subpoenas in GOP election probe
Former conservative state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman, who is leading the GOP-backed investigation of the 2020 election in Wisconsin, told the Green Bay Common Council that a subpoena had been or would soon be delivered to the mayors of Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Kenosha.
MI: Michigan Republicans mistakenly join Democrats to adjourn state Senate
Michigan Senate Republicans mistakenly helped Democrats stop a controversial vote. The Senate was voting on Republican-backed bills that would make changes to voting laws when Democrats called for a vote to end session for the day, and apparently some Republicans weren’t aware of what they were voting on and joined Democrats.
FL: Struggling Floridians hit with unemployment overpayment notices
Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity is trying to claw back possibly billions of dollars in non-fraudulent unemployment claims distributed during the first 18 months of the pandemic. Thousands of residents have received stern letters warning them that they face being sent to collections if they don’t reimburse the state.
WY: Abandoned mine reclamation in Wyoming at risk
Entangled in the congressional infrastructure debate, Wyoming’s biggest source of mine cleanup funding expired last week, raising questions about the future of reclamation.
OR: 68 people killed so far this year in Portland, Oregon, amid a stunning wave of gun violence
With 68 killings this year, Portland, Oregon, continues on a pace to surpass the most violent year in its modern history—1987, when 70 people were killed. But a stunning pattern of sudden, sometimes indiscriminate shootings sets this wave apart. Fatal shootings in almost all sections of the city have followed fistfights, social media disputes and drug deals gone bad.
AK: COVID testing requirements will return to Alaska Capitol amid recent surge
Legislators and others who work in the Alaska Capitol will again be required to be tested for COVID-19 regularly. The Legislative Council, which is responsible for the Capitol, updated its COVID-19 safety policy in response to the recent surge in cases.
MO: Judge orders Missouri to begin collecting union dues from prison workers
An attempt by Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration to break the union representing Missouri’s prison guards is illegal and must be stopped, a circuit court judge has ruled.
CO: Colorado bicyclists could legally roll through stop signs under new bill
Colorado lawmakers will consider a bill next session that would allow people on bicycles and electric scooters to treat stop signs as yield signs and stoplights as stop signs. Under an existing 2018 law, local governments in Colorado can decide whether to allow the safety stop.
NE: Race is on to settle Afghans in Nebraska
Many more Afghan evacuees are expected to begin arriving soon in Nebraska from military bases, once their vetting and paperwork processes are complete. Meanwhile, refugees displaced from other countries around the world continue to arrive.
AL: Alabama bypasses bid process to move fast on prison builds
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed into law a $1.3 billion construction plan to build two 4,000-bed prisons and a new prison for women and renovate other facilities. The bill bypassed the normal bidding process because it allows the state to negotiate directly with entities.
NJ: New Jersey to require school districts to report all COVID staff, student cases, vaccinations
New Jersey will now require all schools in the state to report all COVID-19 testing and vaccination data among students and staff members to the state health department on a weekly basis regardless of where infections occurred, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced.
DE: Delaware homeowners could see cheaper flood insurance bills
Delaware homeowners can thank a new method for calculating flood risk for lowering some of their flood insurance premiums after the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced program changes.
NY: COVID vaccine prevented deaths of 2,600 New Yorkers: study
Coronavirus vaccines likely prevented the deaths of 2,600 Medicare recipients in New York from January to May, a new study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects. The study also projected that the vaccine reduced hospitalizations among New York Medicare recipients by 6,700.
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