Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Atlanta police call out sick in “a higher than usual number” … Alabama to appeal judge’s ruling on curbside and absentee voting … Washington state employee furloughs start this summer.
For the 13th week in a row more than one million people last week filed unemployment claims with their states for the first time. Another 760,000 people filed for a special unemployment program geared toward contractors and other members of the “gig economy” who were previously not eligible for traditional unemployment, the Labor Department reported. While some companies are rehiring as states loosen restrictions and the number of initial claims dropped slightly, the 1.5 million people who applied for benefits was still historic. “It’s still more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession,” Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute, told the New York Times. The number of people who have received unemployment benefits for two weeks was 20.5 million, just 62,000 fewer than the previous week. [Department of Labor; CNBC]
POLICE SICK OUT | Atlanta police called out sick in higher numbers than typical on Wednesday after a local prosecutor announced charges against two officers accused in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brook. But police on Thursday said the department was able to respond to emergency calls. “The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift,” Atlanta police tweeted Thursday morning. “We have enough resources to maintain operations and remain able to respond to incidents.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution]
ALABAMA VOTING | The state of Alabama intends to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that would allow curbside voting and loosen restrictions on voting by absentee ballot. The decision by U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon applies to the July 14 election, with the judge saying the current rules surrounding voting in Alabama are a hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. [AL.com]
STATE EMPLOYEE FURLOUGHS | More than 40,000 Washington state employees will be required to take one unpaid furlough day each week through the end of July, and, starting in August, will be required to take one day off each month. An additional 5,600 employees will not receive their scheduled 3% raises. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the measures are necessary to deal with budget shortfalls caused by the economic downturn. [KING 5]
PROTEST INVESTIGATION | New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an investigation into the actions of both police and protesters in recent weeks. During a public hearing, protesters described being shoved to the ground by officers and rammed by NYPD vehicles. Video also showed protesters throwing projectiles at police cruisers and officers. “This is a defining moment in the history of our nation. We take this investigation and its underlying causes very seriously,” said James. [CBS New York]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.