Top State Stories 11/22
MI: Black Michigan residents are disproportionately accused of obstructing police
In Michigan, the charge of resisting and obstructing police carries harsh potential penalties and disproportionately affects the state’s Black residents. Black men are nearly six times more likely to be charged with the crime than White men; Black women are three and one-half times more likely to be charged than White women.
AK: Numerous complaints filed with Alaska State Medical Board over doctors, COVID misinformation
The Alaska State Medical Board has opened complaints on nine medical providers licensed in the state involving concerns about misinformation surrounding COVID-19 treatments. The complaints involve seven physicians, one physician assistant and one advanced practice registered nurse.
TN: Tennessee governor’s aide warned new COVID law was illegal
Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s office warned lawmakers that their sprawling bill limiting COVID-19 restrictions would violate federal law that protects people with disabilities and put the state at risk of losing federal funds, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. The Republican-controlled legislature passed the bill anyway, and Lee signed it into law.
OH: Attempted breach of Ohio county election network draws FBI, state scrutiny
Federal and state investigators are examining an attempt to breach an Ohio county’s election network that bears striking similarities to an incident in Colorado earlier this year, when government officials helped an outsider gain access to the county voting system in an effort to find fraud.
MN: Minnesota COVID surge creates dangerous ER bottlenecks
COVID-19 hospitalizations have taken a sharp turn upward in Minnesota, and staff shortages are contributing to a lack of available hospital beds. Patients coming in with non-COVID health issues—such as strokes or heart attacks—are waiting hours and sometimes days in the ER while doctors scramble to find space for them at hospitals that can give them higher levels of care.
NY: Assembly report on Cuomo contains grounds for impeachment, lawmaker says
An investigation by the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee has found that former Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration “materially misrepresented” the extent of deaths that occurred in nursing homes in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an assemblyman who reviewed the report.
WA: Many Washington schools remain vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis
In Washington, which long has lagged the rest of the West Coast in school seismic safety and earthquake preparedness, the idea of raising the construction bar for schools has yet to catch on.
MA: Road safety advocates push Massachusetts lawmakers to pass bills
Road safety advocates asked lawmakers to act to on a slate of bills designed to reduce traffic crashes in Massachusetts. One bill would require side-guards, convex mirrors, back-up cameras and other measures on trucks. Another would pave the way for red-light cameras.
OH: Ohio governor approves congressional map over objections of voting rights groups, Democrats
Despite pleas from Ohio Democrats and voting rights groups for a veto, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a congressional redistricting map that will likely face court challenges.
DE: Delaware hospitals got only a third of the M sought to address staffing issues
Delaware hospitals, all together, sought about million in federal aid from the state, hoping it would help cover staffing and retention costs for the rest of the year. Hospitals received only about one-third of what they requested.
MT: Montana’s unemployment rate hits 14-year low
A record number of Montana residents are working, and the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached a 14-year low in October. Montana’s unemployment rate was 3.1% in October, compared with the national rate of 4.6%.
IA: Iowa’s rape shield law won’t protect young victim from testifying about past case
Iowa’s rape shield law cannot be used to protect a 10-year-old victim from cross-examination about her past relationship with a second abuser, the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled. The justices said the purpose of Iowa’s rape shield law is to protect the privacy of victims and limit evidence of their other sexual behavior, but that the law can be trumped by a defendant’s rights to confront adverse witnesses at trial.
WI: Sexual assault kit bills arrive at Wisconsin governor’s desk after bumpy political road
Two bills that would change how sexual assault kits are processed in Wisconsin have reached Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ desk after several years of partisan strife. The measures, which received final approval from the state legislature, would set sexual assault kit collection, processing and storage timelines in state law, as well as create a kit tracking system that would be accessible to victims.
AR: Plan to modify Arkansas’ tax rates making rounds
A draft bill that would cut Arkansas’ top individual and corporate income tax rates and consolidate low-income and middle-income tax tables is being circulated among state lawmakers. The authors of the bill say they are aiming to get most legislators to sign up as co-sponsors, which would enable Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson to call a special legislative session to consider it.
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