Top State Stories 12/15
CA: Drought emergency declared for all Southern California
As California faces the prospect of a fourth consecutive dry year, officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California have declared a regional drought emergency and called on water agencies to immediately reduce their use of all imported supplies.
GA: No more runoffs? Georgia election chief seeks change after GOP losses
Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that the General Assembly should pass a bill to scuttle future runoffs in Georgia, a rare state that still sends elections into overtime when no candidate wins a majority in the first round of voting.
PA: Renovating vacant houses cuts crime, Pennsylvania study shows
Hammers and screwdrivers might be effective tools in preventing gun violence. That’s the conclusion of a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers, who measured crime rates near clusters of abandoned Philadelphia homes that were outfitted with new doors, windows and other improvements.
TX: Texas AG’s office sought state data on transgender Texans
Employees at the Texas Department of Public Safety in June received a sweeping request from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office: to compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s license and other department records during the past two years.
CT: 10 years after Sandy Hook, the police in Connecticut still struggle to forget
For the 28 Newtown, Connecticut, officers still on the job 10 years after the Sandy Hook massacre, help came from one of the few sources that could understand the horrors they had witnessed: former New York City first responders from 9/11.
MD: After deaths, Maryland considers more oversight of security guards
Maryland officials are beginning to pay closer attention to the security industry, one that equips employees with many of the same tools police use but doesn’t have the same oversight.
FL: Florida lawmakers approve multimillion-dollar hurricane relief package
Florida lawmakers approved a tax relief package to help people whose homes were destroyed or left uninhabitable after Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole hit them earlier this year.
AK: Respiratory virus cases are filling hospital beds in Alaska
Respiratory viruses have been threatening hospital capacity in Alaska this winter. Dr. Matt Hirschfeld, a pediatrician with Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, said flu and RSV cases started spiking early in October.
ID: Idaho to pause emergency rental assistance as funds run dry
The Idaho Housing and Finance Association plans to pause applications for emergency rental assistance funds Dec. 29 because federal funds are quickly running dry.
MA: Massachusetts governor reverses position on pardons for convicted child abusers
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker withdrew pardon requests for two siblings convicted nearly 40 years ago of sexually abusing children at a family-owned day school.
KS: Absenteeism climbs in Kansas schools
The number of K-12 students in Kansas classified as chronically absent from school surged to 24.5% during the 2021-2022 academic year as educators emerged from the darkest depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s taking a toll on learning and teachers who are struggling to help more students catch up.
NV: Nevada flower listed as endangered at lithium mine site
U.S. wildlife officials declared a Nevada wildflower endangered at the only place it’s known to exist — on a high-desert ridge where a lithium mine is planned to help meet growing demand for electric car batteries.
MN: Minneapolis proceeds with controversial police oversight body
The Minneapolis City Council passed a controversial ordinance overhauling the Minnesota city’s civilian police oversight process, establishing a board that will have 15 members appointed by the mayor and city council. But critics say the new structure still doesn’t go far enough.
DE: Teacher shortages have harmed equity in Delaware schools
Delaware’s statewide teacher shortages have cut back school districts’ abilities to adequately implement full inclusion programs, directly affecting educational equity, quality and opportunity.
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