Top State Stories 9/12
US: Expanded safety net drives sharp drop in child poverty
With little public notice and accelerating speed, child poverty fell by 59% from 1993 to 2019, according to a comprehensive new analysis that shows the critical role of increased government aid.
GA: Computer experts urge Georgia to replace voting machines
A group of computer and election security experts is urging Georgia election officials to replace the state’s touchscreen voting machines with hand-marked paper ballots ahead of the November midterm elections, citing what they say are “serious threats” posed by an apparent breach of voting equipment in one county.
MO: Judge tosses lawsuit targeting Missouri recreational marijuana question
A Missouri judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to remove a recreational marijuana measure from the Nov. 8 ballot. If approved by voters, the proposed constitutional amendment would allow people ages 21 and older to buy and grow marijuana for personal consumption.
MT: Health department restricts birth certificate changes for transgender Montanans
The rule, which puts Montana among the strictest states in the nation, effectively bars transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificates.
CA: A rural California town sued to keep a prison open. Judge rules governor can close it.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation may immediately resume shutting down a prison in Northern California, a judge ruled, dismissing a lawsuit by a rural town that sought to stop the closure.
LA: Broadband projects in rural Louisiana advance as telecom companies drop protests
Louisiana is in the early phase of a grant program to expand broadband internet services to rural communities in the state, while established companies in the industry have taken steps to limit competition in these underserved areas. Now, it appears some major telecommunications companies are backing down from this fight.
SC: Salaries of SC elected officials haven’t changed in 28 years. Pay hikes for 6 are coming.
Six of South Carolina’s elected leaders will likely see substantial pay hikes after the November election, following nearly three decades of no raise at all for whoever won the jobs.
VA: Virginia attorney general creates ‘Election Integrity Unit’
Virginia’s Republican attorney general, Jason Miyares, announced the creation of an “Election Integrity Unit” that will provide legal advice and prosecute election law violations, despite a lack of widespread issues with voter fraud or other irregularities in the state.
ID: Idaho’s road for electric cars: More charging stations, lots of questions
Idaho has 275 public charging ports, placing the state 42nd in the nation. Federal funding will build out the network as electric vehicle travel grows, but there’s a lot of uncertainty.
IA: How to avoid animal welfare officer in Iowa: Don’t answer the door
“Two cars in driveway,” wrote one animal welfare inspection officer in Iowa. “Saw owner in window, they closed the blinds. Knocked two times and no answer. Left card in door.”
NM: Challenges of addiction overwhelming for New Mexico youth
A New Mexico legislative committee report found the state ranked second worst in the nation for youth suffering from a mental illness and among the worst for youth suffering from an addiction.
UT: Utah representative told Mormon bishop not to report abuse, docs show
A Utah lawmaker and prominent attorney for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advised a church bishop not to report a confession of child sex abuse to authorities, a decision that allowed the abuse to continue for years, according to records filed in a lawsuit.
TX: A new west Texas clinic revives rural health care options
A Texas nurse practitioner is returning to his hometown to provide health care as rural hospitals close, and it becomes harder to access preventive care.
FL: As death toll passes 80K, COVID fades as election issue in Florida
The number of Floridians who have died of COVID-19 passed 80,000 this month, another tragic milestone amid the latest wave that’s still killing as many as 400 state residents a week. But as the race for governor enters its final stretch, the pandemic has barely played any role in the campaigns.
SD: South Dakota AG recuses himself from investigating governor
South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo recused himself from investigating a complaint referred to his office about Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s use of a state airplane.
NE: Nebraska rule could change nonpartisan legislature’s status
Nebraska voters approved its unique nonpartisan, one-house legislature in 1934. A proposal to abolish secret leadership votes could change that.
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