Top State Stories 11/10
TN: Tennessee death toll from delta surge might be higher than reported
Tennessee recorded hundreds of unexpected deaths with no known link to coronavirus during the delta surge, a possible signal that a significant number of COVID-19 fatalities were undetected or not reported on death certificates, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
MN: COVID cases surge in Minnesota as threat ‘remains very high’
Minnesota’s COVID-19 indicators continued to show a worsening pandemic with more cases and hospitalizations, including a surge of newly reported infections over the weekend that exceeded the state’s capacity for logging cases.
CO: Colorado reactivates crisis standards for hospital staffing
Colorado health officials have reinstated crisis standards of care for hospital staffing amid a jump in new COVID-19 infections and patients. The standards give hospitals and other medical providers a framework for stretching limited personnel and legal cover if the care they can provide under those standards isn’t what usually would be acceptable.
NJ: Telemedicine took off in New Jersey during pandemic, but governor just pumped the brakes on it
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has rejected a bill that would have reimbursed doctors and other medical providers in New Jersey the same rate for telehealth services as they charge for in-person appointments, saying the cost may be too steep for taxpayers and may limit opportunities for patients who prefer office visits.
CA: California workers threaten strikes from health care to Hollywood
Thousands of lecturers at the University of California, tens of thousands of health care workers at Kaiser Permanente and tens of thousands of workers in Hollywood are a few of the groups threatening to go on strike in California. With a historically tight labor market coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, more employees in the state are pushing to improve their pay and working conditions.
WA: Class-action lawsuit filed against new Washington long-term care tax
Opponents of a mandatory payroll tax to fund Washington state’s new long-term care program filed a class action federal lawsuit seeking to stop the January start of the payroll premium for most employees in the state. The suit was filed on behalf of three businesses in the state and six individuals.
AK: Infrastructure bill to bring billions to Alaska for roads, ports and broadband
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that passed the U.S. House will bring billions of dollars to Alaska to upgrade the state’s aging highways and bridges, improve the struggling ferry system and increase broadband access. On a per-person basis, Alaska will do exceptionally well when it comes to funding for hard infrastructure.
MO: Missouri governor mulling jobless benefits for workers fired for not getting vaccinated
Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson signaled he may support awarding unemployment benefits to people who are terminated from their jobs for not complying with a COVID-19 vaccine requirement. He may be seeking to join Iowa and other states that are offering support to people who are fired for not getting a shot.
MT: Outdoor recreation added .2B to Montana economy in 2020
While Montana’s outdoor recreation economy wasn’t spared the pandemic-spurred losses that swept the globe in 2020, it remained a cornerstone of the state’s economy, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Outdoor recreation accounted for 4.3% of Montana’s GDP last year—a higher percentage than any other state.
ID: Idaho health officials confirm state’s first child death from COVID
For the first time since the pandemic began, a child in Idaho has died of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health and Welfare. The infant died in October. Health officials encouraged pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant or parents with children at home to get vaccinated.
AL: Feds open investigation into Black residents’ access to sewage disposal in Alabama county
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Lowndes County Health Department—specifically the wastewater disposal and infectious disease and outbreaks programs. The DOJ will investigate whether the health departments have operated these programs in a manner that discriminates against Black residents of Lowndes County.
MS: Mississippi tax collections continue to soar as legislative leaders, governor work to finalize budget proposals
Mississippi tax revenue collections through October are about $160 million above the amount collected during the same period last year, according to the most recent revenue report by the state’s Legislative Budget Committee.
OR: Oregon Department of Transportation to get B in new funding from infrastructure package
The Oregon Department of Transportation is poised to receive $1.2 billion in new funding from the federal infrastructure package approved by Congress. The money will go toward a variety of highway, public transit and clean energy projects.
MA: 5 Massachusetts representatives banned from Statehouse for failing to disclose vaccination status
Five state representatives are barred from working out of the Massachusetts Statehouse for failing to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status. The number is down from seven last week after two state representatives who had initially refused to disclose their vaccination status opted to comply with the House’s vaccine mandate.
UT: Utah makes another attempt at changing cash bail system
Utah lawmakers are taking another crack at moving the state away from a cash bail-based system that has freed or released people based on their wealth rather than the severity of their crimes. Under the proposal, courts could still set bail but would adjust the amounts based on the person’s ability to pay.
KS: Kansas Republicans claim enough support for special session on vaccine mandates
Kansas Republicans predict they have enough support to call the legislature into special session later this month to fight COVID-19 vaccine mandates imposed by businesses and the federal government. The tentative date for the session would be Nov. 22.
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.