Top State Stories 9/19

By: - September 19, 2022 12:00 am

MN: Minnesota sees historic drop in child poverty

In Minnesota, 4.6% of children lived in poverty in 2020, compared with 20.9% in 1990, a drop of 78% in the past three decades. It’s a trend that some state social service leaders credit to welfare work requirements and a strong social safety net of programs they caution need to be saved for the future.

WA: Washington students can now take excused mental health days

Starting this school year, Washington has joined a growing number of states that can excuse students from school specifically to take care of their mental health. The change comes amid increasing rates of depression and anxiety — which have been steadily rising for at least a decade.

OR: Oregon voter offices flooded with records requests from 2020 election deniers

As Oregon election officials are busy preparing for a November election with pivotal races for Congress and the legislature, they’ve found themselves buried in a wave of records requests and letters threatening lawsuits. The flurry of paperwork is part of a national campaign by right-wing election deniers to complicate or undermine their work, they say.

MI: As climate change hits Michigan harder, more residents pay the price

Michigan has seen an increase in extreme rainfall events, with the wettest consecutive five-year period running from 2016 through 2020. Increased precipitation could lead to more flooding and sewer backups in communities already plagued by issues with stormwater infrastructure.

TX: Texas has banned more books than any other state, new report shows

Texas banned more books from school libraries this past year than any other state in the nation, targeting titles centering on race, racism, abortion and LGBTQ representation and issues, according to a new analysis by PEN America, a nonprofit organization advocating for free speech.

MA: Civil rights lawyers ask Massachusetts officials to open criminal investigation into migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard

Venezuelan migrants, whose surprise journey to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts unwittingly thrust them into the nation’s divisive immigration debate, met with pro bono attorneys at their temporary quarters on Cape Cod as a prominent civil rights group asked Massachusetts prosecutors to launch criminal investigations.

ID: Idaho Power warns crypto miners could raise electric bills for everyone

Cryptocurrency miners are flocking to Idaho for its cheap power. The additional energy demand is straining the entire electrical grid, state authorities say, and adding infrastructure could increase electricity rates for everyone.

NY: New York investigating duplicate signatures on nominating petitions for gubernatorial candidate

Investigators with the Albany County District Attorney’s office and the New York Board of Elections are moving forward with an investigation that’s focusing on thousands of duplicate signatures that were submitted in nominating petitions to secure the Independence Party ballot line for Republican gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin.

OK: With abortion banned, Oklahoma’s maternal health crisis grows

Opponents of Oklahoma’s abortion ban saw it as the removal of a personal right, but also a further strain on a local health care system that has some of the nation’s worst outcomes for children and new mothers. Both abortion rights advocates and those who support a ban say the coming months will be a critical time for lawmakers to take steps to expand pre- and postnatal health care services.

NV: Nevada likely to remain top state for most women in legislature

Nevada leads the nation as the state with the largest number of women in its legislature, and that is unlikely to change by the end of this election cycle.

UT: Utah state treasurer pulls millions from investment firm over its climate and social agenda

Utah’s state treasurer has moved about million in state money previously managed by the investment firm BlackRock to different asset managers. BlackRock, he said, has been pushing an environmental and social agenda instead of bringing the best financial return to state taxpayers.

MT: Montana transgender athlete law declared unconstitutional

A district court judge permanently barred Montana from enforcing a 2021 prohibition on transgender athletes participating on collegiate women’s sports teams, ruling that the Republican-led legislature infringed on the constitutional authority of the Montana Board of Regents when it passed the law.

NM: New Mexico’s risk protection law sees little practice

Critics have questioned the infrequent use of New Mexico’s 2020 red flag law, but law enforcement leaders and researchers describe a scenario in which officers are confused about how to proceed and need more training and someone to champion the law’s use.

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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.