Top State Stories 10/15
TX: Texas abortion ban remains in effect after appeals court rules against Justice Department
The nation’s most restrictive abortion law remains in place for now, after a federal appeals court sided with the state of Texas. In a 2-to-1 order, the law that bars abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy and makes no exceptions for rape or incest will stay in place.
MO: Missouri governor issues legal threat against newspaper after database flaws exposed
Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson lashed out at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, two days after the newspaper informed the state of a data risk that left 100,000 Social Security numbers vulnerable to public disclosure. Parson said the Cole County prosecutor and the Missouri State Highway Patrol would investigate the matter.
FL: Florida governor vows lawsuit over Biden vaccine mandate
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed to sue the Biden administration over a mandate on businesses to vaccinate or test workers for COVID-19, but he also suggested the state might need to pass its own law to prevent businesses from imposing their own mandates.
NY: It is now illegal in New York to threaten to report someone to ICE
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law a bill that classifies threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement as extortion or coercion. Previously, such threats were treated as a crime solely in cases of labor and sex trafficking. California, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia have enacted similar laws.
MI: Michigan GOP bill to overhaul voter ID, impose restrictions on clerks heads to governor
A bill that would impose strict ID requirements on Michigan voters, as well as restrict election funding and ban election officials from mailing absentee ballots unless a voter specifically requests one, will soon land on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. Whitmer is expected to veto the legislation.
DE: Indicted Delaware state auditor refuses to step aside
With Delaware’s embattled auditor refusing calls to take a leave of absence while the criminal corruption case against her meanders through the courts, legislative leaders with the power to instigate proceedings aimed at her ouster won’t say whether they will seek to force her out.
CT: Connecticut is trying to get rid of hundreds of thousands of masks it can’t use
Not so long ago, Connecticut couldn’t get masks at any price. Now, it can’t get rid of 202,500 reusable cloth masks, leftovers from a gift of 2 million face coverings procured by the federal government from the maker of Hanes underwear.
WV: West Virginia legislators finish new congressional map; controversy swirls over state Senate district lines
West Virginia legislators completed a new congressional map, reducing the current three congressional districts to two. However, the special session of the legislature will continue into at least its fifth day, as the state Senate again postponed action on its redistricting map after a controversial new plan brought opposition from Democrats.
AL: Alabama governor calls special session over redistricting
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey called another special session for the Alabama Legislature to take up the issue of redistricting. Ivey notified legislators that she’s planning to call them back on Oct. 28.
OR: With million bump from lawmakers, Oregon set to expand hotline for bias crime reporting
Oregon’s Bias Response Hotline last year was able to answer about half of incoming calls. Callers to the hotline in 2022 will have a much better chance of reaching a person after the Oregon legislature approved a significant boost in funding for the service, which will be adding additional staff in the coming months.
WI: Wisconsin legislature doesn’t notify everyone in hearing with COVID-19 exposures
Wisconsinites who attend or testify in public hearings in the state Capitol on legislation are unlikely to be notified if someone infected with COVID-19 was present.
LA: Louisiana social studies standards put on hold again
The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to delay action again on new social studies standards amid complaints on how the benchmarks would present the nation’s racial history.
MS:Black, low-income students in Mississippi will lose thousands in college aid under proposed program
The Mississippi State Post-Secondary Board unanimously voted to recommend an overhaul of Mississippi’s financial aid programs, consolidating three programs into one that will award money based on need and merit. If adopted by the Mississippi legislature, low-income and Black students stand to lose thousands of dollars for college.
OH: Ohio districts with lower incomes struggled most to educate during coronavirus pandemic
Traditionally, Ohio school districts from more affluent communities have topped the state’s report card rankings. That trend continued during the pandemic—even more so for many districts—with those with lower income levels faring worse.
HI: Hawaii special ed students have been ‘left out’ from distance learning
Advocates say the statewide distance learning program in Hawaii does not adequately provide services for students enrolled in special education.
AZ: Migrant border encounters rise in the Arizona’s Yuma U.S. Border Patrol sector
The Yuma U.S. Border Patrol sector in Arizona has seen a continuous rise in migrant crossings this year. Along the entire border, there have been more than three times as many encounters as in 2020. In the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector, there have been nearly 12 times more.
NE: Nebraska orders relief for health care work
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, signed an order making it easier to for out-of-state health care workers to get licenses to work in the state. The order is meant to combat pandemic-related staffing shortages at hospitals.
NV: Most computer models show Nevada COVID cases continuing to fall
All COVID-19 metrics are showing marked improvement in Nevada and most models foresee new cases continuing to fall in the weeks and months ahead, a state pandemic consultant said.
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