News you might have missed: Missouri expands health care to 230,000 more people
Also: Racism is recognized as a public health crisis in Michigan, and residents of Nevada will have an easier time voting in November.
This week, voters in Missouri embraced an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, governors joined together to acquire better coronavirus tests, and WNBA players made a bold political statement.
Read on to see what else you might have missed this week in the news.
Missouri became the 38th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act when voters approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday, NPR reported.
Up to 230,000 Missourians could be eligible for the expanded health care program, which would cover individuals and families who make up to 138% of the federal poverty line. The state of Missouri would cover 10% of the cost, with the federal government paying the remainder.
The measure to expand Medicaid was supported by a wide coalition of groups, including the state’s Chamber of Commerce, the Missouri Hospital Association, Planned Parenthood, and Catholic Charities of St. Louis.
Voters approved the measure by a 53% to 47% margin. The expansion is slated to take place by July 1, 2021.
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation on Monday to mail ballots to all active voters in Nevada for the general election in November, CNN reported.
“During this global pandemic, I made a commitment that we’d do all we can to allow Nevadans to safely cast a ballot in the upcoming November election,” Sisolak tweeted. He said the law will protect voters’ safety and ensure citizens can make their voices heard in the election.
Nevada is the eighth state to mail ballots to all voters.
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan signed an executive order on Wednesday recognizing racism as a public health crisis.
Under the order, state employees must take an implicit bias training course, and state departments must track, document, and make publicly available health outcomes among racial and ethnic groups in the state in order to help implement more equitable policies.
On the same day, Whitmer signed a separate order creating a state Black Leadership Advisory Council, which will advise the governor and recommend policies to eliminate discrimination in the state.
“We must confront systemic racism head on so we can create a more equitable and just Michigan,” Whitmer said.
Thousands of Iowans with a felony record will be able to cast ballots in the November election after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order restoring their voting rights on Wednesday.
Voting rights will be automatically restored to most people with a felony conviction after they have completed their sentences, except for those convicted of certain crimes, including murder and some sex offenses, the Associated Press reported. If convicted of those crimes, individuals would be required to petition the governor to have their voting rights restored.
Before the order was signed, Iowa was the only state in the nation to broadly disenfranchise all people with felony records.
Those people whose franchise is restored will not have to pay off fines associated with their convictions in order to regain their right to vote.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association on Thursday, alleging the organization engaged in years of fraud and abuse.
James alleged that high-ranking officials with the group used millions of dollars for trips and other personal expenditures, breaking state and federal laws.
“The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law,” James said. The lawsuit was filed in state court after an 18-month investigation.
Republican Gary Herbert of Utah is the eighth governor to join a bipartisan group working together to acquire millions of rapid coronavirus tests, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Thursday. Other states that have joined the interstate testing compact are Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.
The group is partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation to purchase 4 million rapid tests, or 500,000 per state in the compact.
“Rapid access to testing is crucial in our collective fight against COVID-19,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Tuesday. “COVID does not know any borders and by working together we strengthen our response, improve testing access and ultimately help our communities become safer and healthier.”
Players with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury showed up to a game on Tuesday wearing black warm-up shirts bearing the phrase “VOTE WARNOCK” in large block letters across the front.
Rev. Raphael Warnock is a Democratic candidate running against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia. Loeffler, who is a co-owner of the Dream, has been critical of WNBA players supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We are @wnba players, but like the late, great John Lewis said, we are also ordinary people with extraordinary vision,” Elizabeth Williams, who plays center for the Dream, tweeted on Tuesday.
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