Top State Stories 12/21
TX: With rifles and razor wire, Texas National Guard and state troopers block migrants at the border
The Texas National Guard and state troopers set up a line of about 1,000 yards of razor wire to block what has become a popular crossing point between Mexico and El Paso, positioning Humvees and Texas Department of Public Safety patrol vehicles on the banks of the river where more than a thousand migrants crossed in a four-hour period earlier this month.
KS: Planned Parenthood begins telemedicine abortions in Kansas
Medication abortions via telehealth have begun in Kansas, potentially making it easier for residents of Missouri and other nearby states with abortion bans to end their pregnancies, despite repeated efforts by Kansas legislators to prohibit the procedure.
FL: Florida’s universities admit far fewer students from areas of low incomes
Admissions at Florida universities have become increasingly competitive for all applicants in the past decade. But an Orlando Sentinel investigation found it’s even harder for students from low-income families, who are disproportionately Black, to be accepted than for their wealthier peers.
CA: Criminal justice panel says California should pay restitution to victims, ban some traffic stops
California should set up a taxpayer-funded restitution system for crime victims, curtail the use of money bail and limit when cops can make traffic stops that disproportionately affect Black and Latino drivers, according to recommendations from a criminal justice panel that advises state lawmakers.
SD: Ethics panel dismisses airplane complaint against South Dakota governor
The South Dakota Government Accountability Board dismissed a complaint regarding Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s use of state aircraft for political and private events. The board found there was no sufficient legal definition of the term “state business.”
NY: Non-supporters of drag queen story hours invade New York City councilman’s home
Vandalizers descended on the home and the office of a gay member of the New York City Council, defacing the walls with homophobic graffiti and attacking one of his neighbors, over his support for Drag Story Hour events at local libraries.
CT: Connecticut governor extends health emergency declaration to continue federal funding
Seeking to maintain crucial federal funding, Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont renewed a health emergency declaration to be used to provide housing for those experiencing homelessness and for domestic violence survivors, along with food stamp benefits for low-income households.
MT: As Montana runs out of child care aid, NBA star offers some help
The families with low incomes of over 6,620 Montana kids will still see their monthly child care costs rise as much as ,000 in January. Montana’s state health department is pulling the plug on a pandemic-era scholarship program because federal funds have run out. Basketball superstar Kyrie Irving provided temporary relief with a donation for about 10 refugee women.
IA: Health care giant to pay Iowa M in Medicaid settlement
Centene, the nation’s largest Medicaid managed-care company, has agreed to pay Iowa .4 million to settle claims that it defrauded the state’s Medicaid system. That makes it the latest state to settle claims originally raised in Ohio in 2021.
NM: New Mexico health agencies vexed by high vacancy rates
As New Mexico confronts a new public health flashpoint, some of the state agencies on the front lines have seen their ranks dwindle. The Department of Health’s Epidemiology and Response Division, for instance, now has nearly as many empty positions as it does employees, according to state data.
WI: Two deaths underscore problems at Wisconsin veterans homes
The two deaths underscore questionable care at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, one of three state-run nursing facilities for veterans and their spouses in the state.
WV: West Virginia law firm seeking .5M in unpaid fees from governor’s family companies
A Charleston, West Virginia, law firm has filed a court petition to recoup unpaid attorney fees against three companies owned by the family of Republican Gov. Jim Justice. Hendrickson & Long PLLC is seeking .5 million in fees from Bluestone Resources Inc., Bluestone Industries Inc. and Bluestone Coal Corporation, according to court records.
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