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Lawmakers in several states this year took steps to expand nursing education.

For more than two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed both the importance of nurses and strain on the workforce, and under pressure from short-staffed hospitals and burned-out nurses, lawmakers in several states recently passed bills designed to expand nursing schools. Read more»

Worker protection laws that have been successful in other states typically include exemptions for certain jobs.

Thirty-seven states now allow adults to use marijuana medically, recreationally or both - but in most of those states, people can be fired or denied a job for using cannabis in their free time. Read more»

Government aid has helped many child care facilities remain open during the pandemic.

Federal COVID-19 relief dollars for child care providers will continue to flow this year, but advocates warn that the money won’t solve the industry’s fundamental, long-term challenge: how to provide quality services and pay workers a competitive wage while keeping prices affordable. Read more»

Staff shortages mean hospitals in many states are unprepared for another wave of COVID-19 patients.

Even as a new COVID-19 variant starts to spread in the United States, staff shortages have made it impossible for many hospitals to operate at full capacity and now they’re less prepared to manage an influx of patients this winter. Read more»

Protestors against vaccine mandates at Tucson Medical Center on August 14, 2021. At least 14 states have debated bills to fight the Biden administration’s vaccination requirements.

Since September, at least 14 GOP-controlled legislatures have debated bills that would undermine vaccine mandates and passed at least 13 new laws - but many of the new anti-vaccine mandate laws are either symbolic or vulnerable to federal preemption, or in some cases both. Read more»

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced a $100 million commitment to expand high-speed broadband to unserved or underserved areas of the state, making it one of the single largest broadband investments in state history. Expanded broadband services allow rural patients and remote healthcare professionals to are now able to conduct live, clear, delay-free, face-to-face consultations.

Many states ended fiscal 2021 this summer with the largest surpluses in their history, thanks to surging state revenues, investment income and federal COVID-19 aid, and state lawmakers nationwide say they’ll be able to invest in longtime priorities next session. Read more»

Large employers already are imposing COVID-19 vaccine requirements, in some cases citing the Biden plan.. 'The rule is already doing what it was intended to do.'

President Biden plans to require health care employers to mandate worker vaccinations at facilities that treat patients with public health insurance - a move directly at odds with Republican states that ban certain employers from requiring proof of vaccination. Read more»

More firefighters appear to be falling ill with COVID-19 and quarantining this year than last year, the officials say, because of the highly contagious delta variant and mixed adherence to COVID-19 safety measures such as masking, vaccinations and social distancing. Read more»

A National Park Service firefighter monitors the Brawner Prescribed Fire.

The sweeping infrastructure bill that the U.S. Senate passed on Tuesday would lay the groundwork for raising federal wildland firefighter pay, one month after Pres. Biden announced one-time raises and bonuses to ensure they earn at least $15 an hour. Read more»

Digital payment apps are among many new products being developed by financial services companies. Some states, including Arizona, have created programs that allow financial services startups to test products and services without a license.

Arizona and other states have created programs that allow financial services startups to test products and services such as digital payment apps or software for assessing credit risk without a license, but loosening licensing rules could expose customers to unfair or abusive products. Read more»

Forest Service leaders acknowledge in internal discussions that the agency has trouble recruiting and retaining firefighters, particularly in states such as California where it’s easy for firefighters to find higher-paying jobs with CAL FIRE or local fire departments.

Federal wildland firefighter jobs in California are sitting open even as the West heads into what’s likely to be a brutal fire season, and that's not just a problem for California. Read more»

School leaders are grappling with how to deliver special education services — and stay compliant with state and federal civil rights law — as governors shut down school buildings to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read more»

Kino Sports Complex is part of Pima County and the city of Tucson's proposed opportunity zones under the 2017 federal tax cut rules.

New Treasury Department rules for urban investment tax breaks could make struggling areas "take off like a rocket ship" or subsidize boomtowns. Read more»

As the Trump administration sits down to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, governors will be hoping for minor adjustments rather than the “very big changes” Trump has promised. Read more»

Tim Cullen, founder of Colorado Harvest Company, has had trouble keeping a bank account for his marijuana business.

Federal law prohibits banks and credit unions from taking marijuana money. So everyone involved with the legal cannabis industry has a banking problem. Businesses can’t get loans, customers have to pay in cash, and state tax collectors are processing bags of bills. Read more»

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