Top State Stories 11/16
GA: Judge stops enforcement of Georgia’s abortion ban
Georgia can no longer enforce its ban on abortion that took effect earlier this year, a Fulton County judge said, allowing the procedure again to be performed in the state after a doctor detects fetal cardiac activity.
OR: Oregon governor declares emergency due to respiratory infections in children
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency that would free up state and hospital resources to tackle increasing viral infections among infants and children. Brown’s 16-week order gives her agencies broad authority to direct resources and circumvent existing regulations, if deemed necessary to alleviate the emergency.
TX: Texas governor expands migrant busing plan to Philadelphia
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he has added Philadelphia to the list of Democratic-led cities where Texas will bus migrants, with the first bus set to arrive in the city this week. For months, Texas has sent buses of migrants to Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago to pressure President Joe Biden to stiffen his immigration policies.
OK: Oklahoma governor comes under fire for claiming ‘every square inch’ of the state for Jesus
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is under fire from local and national individuals and groups for saying that he has claimed “every square inch” of Oklahoma for Jesus. The American Jewish Committee, a national Jewish advocacy group, is calling on Stitt to retract his statement, while officials with the Freedom From Religion Foundation said he owes non-Christian Oklahomans an apology.
AK: Good news, Alaskans: Your emus are legal now
As of this summer, emus are considered legal livestock in the state of Alaska. An Anchor Point man named Pike Ainsworth successfully made his case to the state Board of Game to put emus on the Clean List — a register of livestock allowed in the state without a permit.
US: Nearly every US county has had a major disaster since 2011, report finds
From 2011 to the end of last year, 90% of U.S. counties have experienced a flood, hurricane, wildfire or other calamity serious enough to receive a federal disaster declaration, according to a report from the nonprofit Rebuild by Design, and more than 700 counties suffered five or more such disasters. During that same period, 29 states had, on average, at least one federally declared disaster a year somewhere within their borders. Five states have experienced at least 20 disasters since 2011.
NJ: New Jersey requires large places of worship, movie theaters to submit emergency plans for active shooters
Large houses of worship, some movie theaters, and sports venues in New Jersey must soon set up emergency plans with local law enforcement and other first responders in the event of a mass shooting under a bill Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy just signed into law.
KY: Kentucky governor issues order to allow medical marijuana possession in qualified cases
Trying to bypass the General Assembly, which long has resisted calls to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear issued executive orders to make the drug accessible to Kentuckians on a limited basis.
MN: Only a handful of pediatric ICU beds available in Minnesota amid RSV surge
A sudden spike in influenza and RSV patients in Minnesota hospitals is continuing to strain pediatric care capacity in the Twin Cities and statewide. Minnesota Department of Health data showed only three pediatric intensive care unit beds have been available in the metro area, on average, in the past seven days.
WI: Wisconsin report cards give schools lower marks, despite some recovery
About 84% of Wisconsin public schools met or exceeded state expectations for the 2021-22 school year, according to report cards the state Department of Public Instruction produced for most schools. That’s down from about 87% the prior year.
SD: South Dakota faces challenges implementing Medicaid expansion
A win for Medicaid expansion in South Dakota is a victory for public health, policy experts say, but now comes the work of ensuring the people who are eligible actually get enrolled.
KS: Kansas women struggle to get back to work
Kansas women need pay equity and more help with child care, a women’s advocacy group said. Kansas infant care costs take up 29% of women’s median earnings, and Kansas has twice as many young children as available licensed child care spots.
DC: District of Columbia Council approves new criminal code
The District of Columbia Council unanimously approved a bill that would eliminate most mandatory minimum sentences, allow for jury trials in almost all misdemeanor cases and reduce the maximum penalties for offenses such as burglaries, carjackings and robberies. Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has objected to certain provisions of the bill, must sign it before it becomes law.
NV: Talk of recession lingers as fiscal analysts prepare to set Nevada state budget
Fiscal analysts are cautiously optimistic about Nevada’s economic future, even amid nationwide chatter about the possibility of a recession.
MO: Judge rules state agency formerly headed by US senator broke record laws on purpose
A Missouri judge ruled that a state agency, previously led by Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, broke public record laws on purpose to help his U.S. Senate campaign. The judge fined the state Attorney General’s Office $12,000 and attorney fees, the maximum penalty for violating what’s known as the Sunshine Law.
MT: Montana’s ‘Born Alive’ failure could be warning for GOP
The defeat of Montana’s anti-abortion ballot initiative became one of five state ballot measure wins for the reproductive rights movement and a possible signal of caution for Republican lawmakers hoping to put similar bills before voters in upcoming election cycles.
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