Top State Stories 10/4
FL: Hurricane Ian death toll reaches 93, Florida governor defends evacuation decision
As the death toll soared to 93 across the state, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, defended the decision of Lee County officials to wait until a day before the eye of the hurricane made landfall.
AL: Minority voting power at stake as US Supreme Court hears Alabama case
The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up an Alabama redistricting case that could have far-reaching effects on minority voting power across the United States.
OR: Oregon cities plan to sue state government over new environmental rules, parking reform
At least nine Oregon cities say they plan to sue the state over a major climate-focused overhaul of local transportation and land use policies. Policies override city parking mandates and require mixed-use neighborhoods.
MD: Maryland’s highest court to hear mail-in ballot counting dispute
The Maryland Court of Appeals will hear arguments from the state Board of Elections, which asked to begin counting ballots Oct. 1 and from Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox, who has challenged the move.
NY: New York Republicans sue over new absentee ballot process
Multiple New York Republican and conservative groups are suing state elections officials in an attempt to reverse a 2021 law that expedites the state’s absentee ballot voting process, claiming that the statute will enable more voter fraud and asking a state Supreme Court justice to declare it unconstitutional.
MI: Michigan governor says passing abortion rights measure will help Michigan lure industry
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said the abortion rights proposal on Michigan’s Nov. 8 ballot is an economic development tool if the measure passes and she wins reelection.
TX: Cryptocurrency miners line up to come to Texas, and rural counties are welcoming them
Texas political leaders have been promoting the state as a destination for companies producing bitcoin and other digital currencies, touting the state’s reputation for low taxes and cheap power. Around 30 have come in the past decade, and dozens more have expressed interest in moving to Texas.
DC: DC mayor sets goal of 20K new Black homeowners by 2030
About 34% of Black residents in the District of Columbia own their homes — a decrease from 46% in 2005. Racial covenants and disparities in mortgage lending have presented barriers for Black homeowners and fueled inequity in homeownership in D.C.
NC: Inmate suicides approach historic high in North Carolina prisons
The number of people dying by suicide while locked inside North Carolina prisons is at a historic high so far this year. Since Jan. 1, nine inmates have ended their lives in the prisons, an average of one a month.
OK: Oklahoma tribal courts get more power over non-Native defendants
Tribal courts can file more charges against non-Native defendants under a new Oklahoma law. The change is meant to help tribal nations address violence against women and children in their communities.
WI: Without universal free lunch, Wisconsin school districts see some students skipping meals
More Wisconsin students are forgoing meals because they can’t afford to pay for them, school district officials say, after the end of universal free lunches — a pandemic-era, federally funded program that expired June 30.
KS: Kansas inmates wait months for mental health treatment
Local government officials urged Kansas lawmakers to fund more mental health services, saying the shortage of mental health beds is pushing understaffed hospitals and jails to the limit.
WV: West Virginia eyes electric vehicle infrastructure buildout with M plan
The West Virginia Department of Transportation estimates that 912 new public charging ports will be built, increasing the public electric vehicle charging network by more than 3,100%. The DOT will lead coordination of the program in the state.
CA: California suffering through driest three years ever recorded, with no relief in sight
California’s current drought has become the state’s driest three-year period on record, surpassing the old record set during the previous drought of 2013 to 2015, officials said — and a fourth dry year is looking increasingly likely.
NE: Wildfire grows in Nebraska
The Bovee wildfire is causing destruction in central Nebraska since it ignited over the weekend. Nebraska, South Dakota and Colorado sent more than 100 firefighters. One firefighter died, and a village was evacuated.
MN: More than 1M Minnesotans will get in pandemic bonuses
More than one million Minnesotans will get payments of about each from the state for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money is from a pool of million for those who worked in health care, child care, retail, food processing and other professions.
DE: Delaware Department of Correction announces K signing bonus
The Delaware Department of Correction announced a ,000 signing bonus for new correctional officer recruits, effective immediately. It’s the latest of several steps to reduce vacancies that have driven up the use of overtime shifts across Delaware’s four prison facilities.
GA: Georgia governor extends gas tax break until after November election
Gov. Brian Kemp has suspended the Georgia state sales tax on motor fuel until after the November election, the latest in a series of steps by the Republican to extend a tax break that took effect in March.
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