Top State Stories 8/19
FL: Florida governor announces arrests for voter fraud
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 people across Florida on charges of voting illegally, the conclusion of a two-month investigation spearheaded by the governor’s newly created state agency tasked with investigating election crimes.
TX: Texas is facing its worst drought since 2011
Almost the entire state of Texas is experiencing a severe level of drought, and only a few corners of the state, such as El Paso, are not “abnormally dry” amid this year’s particularly hot summer.
WA: Children in stolen vehicles account for most of 2022’s Amber Alerts in Washington
Car thefts rose 88% in Washington state this year, over the same time last year. And officials with the Washington State Patrol say the trend is spilling over into the Amber Alerts they issue for endangered children: Two-thirds of Amber Alerts issued so far this year in Washington state have involved children sitting in vehicles that were eventually stolen.
AK: Alaska Supreme Court upholds law targeting international tax havens
The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Alaska Department of Revenue and against a multinational corporation that sought to overturn a state law limiting corporations’ ability to hide assets in international tax havens. The court ruled that the law does not violate either the Commerce Clause or Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
CO: Colorado moves closer to importing prescription drugs from Canada
Colorado has taken another step toward importing lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, after signing contracts with companies on both sides of the border that will handle the transaction.
OR: Oregon’s public defense leader fired but blasts decision
The commission overseeing Oregon’s Office of Public Defense Services fired its executive director in a bid to curtail months of dysfunction that had spilled into public view. In a decision largely telegraphed earlier this week, commissioners voted 6-2 with one member absent to fire Stephen Singer, determining that he had burned too many bridges among key decision makers after less than a year on the job.
MI: Federal judge shoots down Michigan’s ‘unfair’ bid to move pipeline lawsuit to state court
U.S. District Judge Janet Neff denied a request to move a lawsuit supported by Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration seeking to shut down Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 oil pipeline back to state court. The decision marks the second time in a year Neff has insisted a case challenging the pipeline’s continued operation remain in federal court.
KS: Sports betting will be legal in Kansas starting Sept. 1
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly announced that Kansas would begin allowing bets in person and via mobile Sept. 1 at four state-owned casinos. Sports betting will officially open fully Sept. 8.
OH: Ohio Republican senator pushes for protection orders, background checks
An Ohio Republican introduced legislation would give judges the authority to temporarily take firearms from certain people in court-ordered treatment for mental health. It would create optional “seller protection certificates” for private gun sales and require background checks for most gun sales to non-military and/or law enforcement individuals younger than 21.
SD: Majority of residents in South Dakota oppose total abortion ban
Most South Dakotans believe the state’s abortion ban is too restrictive and that voters should determine the legality of abortion access rather than the state legislature, according to a statewide poll.
WI: Wisconsin nurses, therapists wait months for licenses as problems persist at state agency
There are hundreds of health care and other professional workers across Wisconsin — many in critical roles — who remain in limbo amid problems at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. The average wait is now 45 days, down from nearly 80 days last year, though many can wait months longer.
MN: Verdict is in already in almost all judge contests in Minnesota
There are two Minnesota Supreme Court seats on the ballot, 10 for the Court of Appeals and 94 for District Court. But only one race — a District Court race in Shakopee — is contested.
OK: Why .7M in relief money for Oklahoma students remains unspent
Nearly million in federal coronavirus relief dollars for education has been in Oklahoma GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt’s hands since January 2021 but has yet to be spent. The U.S. Department of Education placed conditions on how the Sooner State could dole out the money due to state officials’ lack of communication with federal monitors and inability to account for the nearly million received under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund in 2020.
DE: Delaware battling teacher shortages as students prepare to return
Delaware is experiencing a teacher shortage affecting both full-time positions and substitutes, meaning multiple classes are being merged and some other school employees, such as administrators and specialists, must monitor classrooms.
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