Top State Stories 1/24
DE: Delaware officials, hospitals plead for hundreds of volunteers
Hospital staffing issues have gotten so bad in Delaware that the state government and hospitals are—in an extraordinary and historic move—actively seeking people to voluntarily fill essential clinical and nonclinical positions.
VA: Virginia governor’s mask-optional order divides schools and parents, threatening chaos
Statewide chaos is looming for Virginia schools as new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin prepares to enforce a mask-optional mandate. Many superintendents and parents have vowed to fight it, or to uphold it, with all the ammunition they can muster.
MS: Every Black Mississippi senator walks out as White colleagues vote to ban critical race theory
Every Black Mississippi senator walked out of the chamber choosing not to vote on a bill that would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in the state’s public schools and colleges and universities.
CA: High winds topple trees and power lines, stoking fires in California
Powerful offshore winds knocked down trees and power lines around Southern California while fanning brush fires. The fires were unexpected after a series of wet storms.
NE, CO: Nebraska, Colorado at odds over irrigation plans
It seems to be a striking proposal: Nebraska could use eminent domain in Colorado and divert water for irrigation. But the idea comes with a million estimated price tag, a history of failed attempts, confusion from Colorado, the potential for lawsuits and a stream of unknown details.
SD: South Dakota moves to adopt Texas abortion law
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, is taking another step toward fulfilling her September pledge to ensure South Dakota has the “strongest pro-life laws in the books.” Two bills she’s promoting would adopt similar legislation to Texas’ Heartbeat Act.
UT: Hospitalizations exploding among Utah infants, children with COVID
Utahns under 45 are being hospitalized with COVID-19 at record-high rates. But hospitalizations have risen more sharply for infants than for any other age group.
MD: Maryland could see more abortion refugees from other states
Half the people a Maryland nonprofit has helped to get an abortion are from out of state, and some see the number rising as abortion faces its most serious legal threat in decades.
TN: Tennessee grants 7 districts permission to switch to virtual learning
The Tennessee Department of Education allowed at least seven districts to pivot all their schools to virtual learning for up to five days. Department officials had assured lawmakers for months that entire school districts could not close and pivot to virtual-only instruction.
MI: Michigan governor will call for repeal of unpopular pension tax
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, will call for the rollback of Michigan’s tax on pensions in her State of the State address, according to the Detroit Free Press. Whitmer’s administration is flush with cash because of federal stimulus funds and higher-than-expected state revenue during an election year.
CO: Colorado Democrats consider ‘rent stabilization’ for mobile home parks
State lawmakers from Northern Colorado, dismayed by changes in local mobile home parks, are proposing a sweeping new bill that would include the first statewide mandate for rent stabilization.
WY: Wyoming Highway Patrol struggles to retain staff
Wyoming Highway Patrol Association President Sgt. Duane Ellis wrote that a failure to offer competitive compensation had left the agency without enough qualified applicants and struggling to retain staff.
NV: Nevada election official departures rising amid burnout, angry voters, new requirements
By the 2024 election, new faces will make up more than a third of Nevada’s 17 top county election officials. Those leaving their positions largely agreed that the job is becoming more difficult, as they face angrier and more distrustful voters while shouldering significantly more work.
GA: Georgia sues Biden administration over health waiver
Georgia has filed suit against the Biden administration, demanding the state be allowed to impose a work and activity requirement for some Georgians to qualify for Medicaid insurance.
TX: Texas governor joins national GOP push for ‘Parental Bill of Rights’ for schools
Responding to political unrest at school boards across the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is proposing what he calls a “Parental Bill of Rights” that would expand parents’ access to a school’s curriculum and educational material and give parents the ability to veto a school’s decision to advance their child to the next grade.
AZ: Arizona’s online petition system for candidates becomes a political target
The latest punching bag in the 2022 election cycle is a state online petition system designed to make it easier for candidates in Arizona to gather signatures on the nominating petitions that qualify them for federal and state offices. The system is tangled in a web of conflicting deadlines and rules involving the Independent Redistricting Commission, county elections officials and candidate deadlines.
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