Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Pennsylvania AG tells schools they must complete background checks on employees … Minnesota city council repeals housing ordinance around criminal activity … New York City requires quarantine forms in hotels.
Montgomery County, Maryland abruptly closed all public coronavirus testing sites on Friday, citing issues with the reliability of tests. State and federal inspectors found improper lab procedures that may have jeopardized the accuracy of more than 17,000 tests. The county’s testing partner, AdvaGenix, is said to have “pre-analytic deficiencies” in their lab protocols. The county has asked anyone who visited a public clinic in the past two weeks to seek an alternative test. In a press release, county officials said that they are “working to determine an alternative source of test analysis so the testing program can resume as quickly as possible and to develop a revised plan for County-sponsored testing.” Dr. William G. Kearns, the CEO of AdvaGenix, said that the tests his lab runs are “safe and accurate” and that the findings were the result of “regulatory issues.” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan pledged to send 5,000 tests a week to the county until it finds another company to partner with. [DCist]
BACKGROUND CHECKS | Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently found that some school districts in the state have not been completing thorough background checks on employees. “The law requires that school districts check and keep these records because we need them to help keep children safe. We shared our findings with every district as a warning call so that Pennsylvania children are better protected in the future,” he said. [KDKA]
HOUSING | The city council of St. Louis Park City, Minnesota voted unanimously to repeal a housing ordinance that ordered landlords to evict tenants over suspected criminal activity. A 2018 investigation found that some tenants who were evicted were never charged with a crime or convicted. "I think we are ever closer to where we should be in terms of really separating out policing and housing," said Council Member Anne Mavity. [KSTP]
QUARANTINE | New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order requiring travelers from certain states to fill out quarantine forms detailing their travel, symptoms, and interactions with sick people before they can be given access to hotel rooms and other lodging. "This is going to be now a rule here in New York City because we have to get serious about the fact that there's a real danger here," de Blasio said. [ABC 7]
ETHNIC STUDIES | California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that requires California State University students to take an ethnic studies course in order to graduate. Students can choose between Native American studies, African American studies, Asian American studies or Latina and Latino studies. The measure will go into effect for freshman starting in 2021. [Ed Source]
Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.