Top State Stories 11/5
TN, KY, OH: State attorneys general file lawsuit challenging vaccine and testing mandate for federal contractors
Tennessee, joined by Ohio and Kentucky, filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate for federal contractors. The state attorneys general, all Republican, argue that the potential workforce loss among federal contractors presents a significant concern for the economies of their states and could exacerbate ongoing supply chain issues.
US: Republican governors lead attack on Biden vaccine and testing mandate for private businesses
Republican governors are expected to sue to stop the Biden administration’s requirement that nearly 2 million employers get workers tested or vaccinated for COVID-19, saying it tramples civil liberties. Florida will join the governors of Alabama and Georgia to file suit, and Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska also vowed to challenge the move in court.
MI: Michigan governor signs bill ending tampon tax
Making feminine hygiene products more affordable can help millions of people, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said during a news conference, where she signed a bill exempting these products from Michigan’s 6% sales tax.
CA: California tries to close the gap in math, but sets off a backlash
Proposed guidelines for math education in California public schools would de-emphasize calculus, reject the idea that some children are naturally gifted and build a connection to social justice. Critics say math shouldn’t be political.
TX: Biden administration sues Texas over new voting restrictions
The Biden administration sued Texas over new election laws, targeting provisions surrounding mail-in voting requirements and voter assistance, which the U.S. Justice Department argues violate federal civil rights protections.
AL: Alabama lawmakers considering employee exemptions for COVID vaccine mandate
The Alabama legislature is debating a bill that would prohibit employers from firing an employee who refuses a COVID-19 vaccine and claims a religious or medical exemption.
CT: Connecticut governor eases COVID quarantine restriction for students
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced a new policy that will ease some quarantine requirements for students after potential exposures to COVID-19. Masks still will be required, however.
UT: Utah considers how to help families afford child care
Utahns could receive a nonrefundable individual income tax credit for children up to age 5, ranging between to per child, per year, if legislators move forward with a proposal outlined in a recent meeting of the legislature’s Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee.
CO: Rural Colorado students sue to block law demanding 26 schools shed their Native American mascots
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court challenges the constitutionality of a new Colorado law requiring public schools to get rid of Native American mascots, logos and imagery by next summer or face massive fines.
WA: Washington State Patrol replaces longtime psychologist after concerns raised over hiring bias
Bowing to criticism about its hiring process, the Washington State Patrol has temporarily replaced its longtime staff psychologist with an outside contractor to screen trooper candidates. The switch comes about a month after a Seattle Times and public radio Northwest News Network investigation documented years of red flags around the agency’s psychological evaluations, including recent evidence they may disproportionately reject applicants of color.
WI: Wisconsin’s largest utility company plans to drop coal by 2035
Wisconsin’s largest utility company, WEC Energy Group, plans to drop coal from its power mix by 2035, moving the state closer to carbon reduction goals. The company, which owns We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service, expects coal to make up less than 5% of its power mix by the end of the decade.
IA: Review of Iowa drinking water finds dozens of contaminants
The Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C., concluded that most of Iowa’s 1,084 utilities produce drinking water that has unsafe levels of multiple contaminants, many of which are byproducts of the water treatment process.
MO: Missouri proposes easing rules on weed sales events
Missouri cannabis regulators have proposed loosening restrictions on advertising medical marijuana sales following pushback from industry leaders and patients.
MS: Mississippi reports no new COVID deaths for first time in four months
The Mississippi Department of Health reported zero new COVID-19 deaths, making Nov. 3 the first day since June 30 without a pandemic-related death in Mississippi.
MN: Renters advocates cheer Minnesota cities’ approval of rent control measures
It’s now illegal in St. Paul, Minnesota, for residential landlords to raise their rent by more than 3% a year, after voters approved a rent control measure that’s among the strictest in the country. Opponents spent .3 million to fight the measure in St. Paul and a similar one in Minneapolis that voters there likewise approved.
MT: Three Montana counties pass marijuana taxes
Three Montana counties passed measures enacting local taxes on marijuana sales by large margins, while Billings rejected a measure to permit recreational cannabis sales within city limits.
DE: Delaware governor unveils climate action plan
Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, unveiled a new state climate action plan, outlining the state’s goals to combat rising temperatures and sea levels.
AK: There’s a shortage of troopers in Western Alaska
Alaska State Troopers in Western Alaska are understaffed. A study published found trooper posts in the region were, together, understaffed by about 22%. One of the study’s authors said that troopers in Western Alaska get more calls than they can respond to with the number of officers they have.
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