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Stories by Sophie Quinton

As nurses quit, states seek to train more

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»0

Workers who legally use cannabis can still lose their 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»0

Federal aid propping up child care isn't a long-term fix

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»0

With too few nurses, it won’t take much to overwhelm hospitals this winter

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»0

State lawmakers' anti-vaccine efforts may prove mostly symbolic

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»0

Massive cash flow sparks state spending sprees

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»0

Red states have limited options for fighting Biden’s vaccine rules

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»0

COVID hits wildfire fighters even harder than last year

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»0

Senate-approved infrastructure bill would raise wildland firefighter pay

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»0

Fintech 'sandboxes' in Arizona, other states, aim to attract companies

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»0

California lacks federal firefighters as dangerous season looms

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»0

Switch to remote learning may leave students with disabilities behind

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»0

Feds release new 'opportunity zone' regulations

New Treasury Department rules for urban investment tax breaks could make struggling areas "take off like a rocket ship" or subsidize boomtowns.... Read more»0

Why states don’t want Trump to make ‘very big changes’ to NAFTA

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»0

Why marijuana businesses still can’t get bank accounts

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»0

States to colleges: Prove you're worth it

States increasingly are funding colleges based on outcomes, such as whether their students graduate and on time. The strategy may be here to stay.... Read more»0