The Pew Charitable Trusts

10/27/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2021 09:57

Top State Stories 10/27

Georgia's top Republican officials plan to file a lawsuit this week that challenges President Joe Biden's mandate that requires federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.

A bipartisan group of state election officials told a congressional committee they've received graphic threats to their safety since the 2020 election and warned that pressure on election workers is a threat to democracy.

The Ohio School Boards Association voted to cut ties with the National School Boards Association, becoming the latest organization to break away after the national group sent a letter to President Joe Biden seeking federal law enforcement and assistance over increased threats and intimidation at local meetings. The national group has since disavowed and apologized for the letter.

In what has become a familiar refrain in state government, the agency overseeing mental health treatment in Missouri has again hired private contractors to provide temporary workers at its facilities. The reason: The state doesn't pay enough to keep workers from leaving.

The percentage of eligible Idahoans fully vaccinated is only about 54%, but Blaine County's vaccination rate for the same group is 86.8%. Local doctors and health district officials said the high rate can be attributed in part to the county's demographics, such as age and political affiliation. But experts think there's more at play.

After a summer filled with record-breaking, indefinite power outages, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, assured Michiganders she wants to help hold energy companies accountable. Nessel asked households that have seen repeat outages to report them.

Despite the mayhem the atmospheric river caused for some residents, the historic storm marked a welcome change for a parched California after a year of heat and drought with so little rain. But while the massive plume of moisture helped, experts said it will take much more than one storm to make a dent in the drought.

More than 1,400 children in Washington have lost a parent or grandparent to COVID-19, according to findings from a peer-reviewed study set to be published in Pediatrics. The study analyzed death data from April 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, missing the devastation of the delta surge this fall.

Beginning Dec. 1, people who work at or visit the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton must show proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 or a negative coronavirus test fewer than three days old, or they will be barred from the building.

The North Dakota Department of Health switched off comments on its social media accounts in an effort to stop the spread of misinformation, mostly about the coronavirus.

At least three buses filled with constituents from eastern Wyoming counties arrived in Cheyenne and the passengers quickly filled the galleries in both the House and Senate.

Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that he's lifting the state's indoor mask mandate but keeping in place requirements for certain K-12 schools that have bucked public health guidance by allowing students exposed to the coronavirus to remain in the classroom.

A popular COVID-19 rental assistance program mistakenly paid out at least $625,000 and perhaps as much as $4.4 million to landlords, the Colorado Office of the State Auditor said. Some payments were duplicates, others covered rent before the pandemic and still others covered ineligible fees, such as late charges by the landlord.

Two bills filed ahead of this week's special session would curtail Tennessee school districts' power over COVID-19 restrictions. Tennessee Republicans once again are trying to ban school districts from requiring masks, and some lawmakers also hope to strip schools' authority to conduct contact tracing and deny access to those who could have been exposed to COVID-19.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has extended the school mask mandate for a second time until at least Jan. 15, to wait until kids can get vaccinated, officials announced.

Florida is experiencing an unprecedented die-off of manatees this year, with 959 documented deaths as of Oct. 1. That's already more than any full year on record, according to state figures, and colder weather soon to come could bring another wave of deaths.

With the mass exodus of workers in Kentucky, the commonwealth has the highest quit rate in the nation-or the total number of workers who quit during an entire month as a percent of total employment.

The Minnesota conflict stems from a federal government policy of denying gun purchases and transfers to anyone who signs up for a state's medical cannabis program.