Top State Stories 1/28

By: - January 28, 2022 12:00 am

TX: Omicron pushes Texas ICUs to the brink

A staffing crisis and the surge from the omicron variant have pushed the number of available Texas ICU beds to a new record low. The shortage affects not just patients with the coronavirus, but every Texan seeking serious medical care.

AL: Alabama executes man convicted of murder after US Supreme Court review

Matthew Reeves, who had been convicted of a 1996 murder in Alabama, was executed by a lethal injection. The execution was put on hold last week by a federal judge, but the state appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately struck it down. Reeves’ attorneys argued his intellectual disability should have disqualified him from being executed.

AZ: Arizona bill would let legislature overturn election results

Republican lawmakers have introduced a second wave of election-related bills in the past week that would alter the voting system, including one that would let the legislature reject the results of a state election and order a new one.

NM: New Mexico Democrats seek sweeping voting access changes

Democratic lawmakers have a lengthy wish list in New Mexico as they seek to expand access to voting: a statewide holiday on Election Day to encourage voting, automated restoration of voting rights for ex-convicts and more time to distribute and count absentee ballots.

MO: Lawmakers take aim at celebratory gunfire in Missouri

Missouri lawmakers are again clamping down on people who shoot guns in the air in celebration of the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve. The legislation would make it a felony for a person to discharge a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality. 

DE: Delaware governor proposes weighted raises for state employees

Delaware typically gives out the same increases across the board, but Democratic Gov. John Carney’s proposed weighted system could give employees between a 2% and 9% increase, with the lowest-paid employees receiving the highest increases. 

MI: Michigan redistricting descends into chaos

A meeting of Michigan’s redistricting commission saw accusations of bullying, yelling, a failed censure vote against the group’s chair and a public apology for the tense exchanges that came as the group stares down multiple lawsuits and faces the sudden resignation of its top lawyer.

KS: Kansas GOP wants to block Medicaid changes until 2026

Kansas Republicans, seeking to limit Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s authority in an election year or beyond, want to bar the state from making any material changes to its Medicaid program until 2026 and block her administration from renegotiating key contracts that expire next year.

MD: Lawsuit likely over Maryland maps

Maryland’s state lawmakers gave final approval to a new map of their own districts, over the objections of Republicans who are vowing to contest the map in court.

CO: COVID decline will continue as Colorado’s omicron immunity rises

About 1 in 19 Coloradans is contagious with COVID-19, but the state’s modeling team expects infections to decrease rapidly through February as it becomes harder for the virus to find hosts. About 80% of residents will be immune to the omicron variant by mid-February. 

NJ: Lawmakers look to ease property tax burden for New Jersey homeowners

New Jersey lawmakers advanced a package of bills aimed at reducing property taxes, taking the first step toward delivering on promises legislators on both sides of the aisle have been making in recent months to make the state more affordable.

TN: In more than half of Tennessee counties, most COVID tests are positive

In more than half of Tennessee’s counties, most of the coronavirus tests reported to the state government last week were positive. Fifty-four counties reported positivity rates above 50% last week, a statistic that until now hadn’t occurred in even a single county.

DC: DC bill would expand college access for students without US citizenship

The Washington, D.C., Council is considering a measure that would provide grants to high school graduates who do not have U.S. citizenship. Such students, unlike their peers, are ineligible for federal financial aid and have limited access to state aid programs.

MA: Massachusetts softening on unemployment overpayments

Massachusetts appears to be softening its stance on clawing back money from residents who received higher unemployment benefits than they were entitled to during the pandemic. The state has stopped seizing tax refunds and has been offering installment plans or offsets of future benefits.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.