Top State Stories 11/2
CA: Drug companies win in California opioid crisis lawsuit
A California superior court judge ruled for top drug manufacturers as local governments seek billions of dollars to cover their costs from the nation’s opioid epidemic. The judge issued a tentative ruling that said the governments hadn’t proven the pharmaceutical companies used deceptive marketing to increase unnecessary opioid prescriptions and create a public nuisance.
DE: Delaware deadly child abuse cases climb as doctors struggle to make reports
In the first eight months of 2021, Delaware reported 38 severe cases of child abuse or neglect. In all of 2020, there were 52 cases, a 24% increase from 2019. A report to the governor by the Child Protection Accountability Commission said that rate could rise by another 62% this year.
MN: University of Minnesota to offer free tuition to many Native American students
The University of Minnesota plans to extend financial support, including in many cases completely free tuition, to enrolled members of the state’s 11 federally recognized tribal nations beginning next fall.
US: Some states reject federal COVID funds
Political ideology and polarization around the COVID-19 pandemic have played a role in the decision of mostly conservative states to reject some federal funding meant to help locals officials battle the virus and its economic fallout.
NY: New York governor outsources fundraising to lobbyists
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has embarked on an aggressive and notable fundraising strategy: Outsourcing a significant chunk of its money hunt to Albany’s top lobbying firms, including a few featuring partners that were key witnesses caught up in past corruption cases. The move is legal, but hardly the change in Albany culture she promised.
TN: Tennessee’s new mask law could land state, schools back in court, experts say
Tennessee’s new, sweeping COVID-19 laws could be fought in court under the same federal Americans with Disabilities Act arguments that already proved successful against Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s school mask mandate opt-out order.
MO: Missouri hires credit monitoring service 2 weeks after database flaws exposed
Two weeks after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch identified an online security flaw on a state website, Missouri has hired a company to perform data breach and credit monitoring services. The flaw identified by the newspaper put the Social Security numbers of an estimated 100,000 educators across the state at risk of exposure.
MD: Maryland counties want intimidation protection for health officials
Maryland counties want to include local health officers in a law that protects public officials from intimidation. A barrage of intimidation tactics, hateful messages and threats have been directed at county health officers and commissioners.
WI: Wisconsin elections head refuses to step down
The nonpartisan head of Wisconsin’s election agency says she will not step down from her role, despite a call from at least one prominent state Republican leader for her to do so and sharp criticism from others. She called the criticism “partisan politics at its worst.”
SC: South Carolina Republicans call on school boards association to quit national organization
Nearly three dozen South Carolina lawmakers have called on the state School Boards Association to withdraw from the national group over a controversial letter to the Biden administration describing parents protesting mask and COVID-19 policies as “an immediate threat” to the safety of members serving on those boards. The association has since apologized for the letter.
OR: Oregonians are quitting their jobs in droves, often with nothing new lined up
Approximately 58,000 Oregonians handed in their notice in August, according to federal data, up 18% in a single month and near an all-time high. Many of Oregon’s quitters are leaving for other jobs, but state data for September shows that more than 11,000 of them weren’t.
IA: Iowa finished redistricting. Now incumbents have choices.
Many Iowa lawmakers find themselves in the same district as a current colleague under the new map. Members of Congress may be pitted against one another.
SD: South Dakota retailers offer k to new service workers
Labor shortages are high enough that there is now a ,000 offer for new workers to move to South Dakota. A new employee coming from out of state to work a job in retail, restaurants, hospitality, grocery, trades and other needed sectors can get the money from the South Dakota Retailers Association.
GA: White populations decline in diversifying Georgia capital suburbs
Over the past 10 years, 53 cities in Georgia became majority-minority, an indication of the state’s overall diversification. Only 10 cities statewide flipped in the other sense, from majority-minority to majority-White.
AK: Alaska’s top doctor calls out COVID misinformation
With a higher proportion of unvaccinated residents occupying hospital beds, Alaska’s chief medical officer is pointing to misinformation and distrust as major factors.
MI: Michigan governor calls for billions in auto insurance refunds
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, called on the auto insurance industry to send refunds that could total billions of dollars to all insured motorists in the state. The board of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association will consider the governor’s request, but Whitmer is asking for a refund that is both much sooner and much larger than what the law requires, said the association’s executive director.
UT: Utah lawmaker tried to obtain voters’ personal information
A former Utah Republican state representative attempted to obtain the personal information and voting history of every single registered voter in the state before he resigned last week. He has been at the forefront of pushing for a “forensic audit” of Utah’s 2020 election results similar to the partisan-fueled audit in Arizona.
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