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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Covid-19 patients flown out of South Dakota… Alabama sheriff takes down “thugshots” social media post… Republican governors call for Congress to pass Covid aid.
The Arizona legislature is closed this week because Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, tested positive for Covid-19 less than a week after meetings with Republican lawmakers in the state. Giuliani visited Arizona and several other states last week as part of his traveling legal tour alleging without evidence that there was widespread fraud in the election. Giuliani met with several Arizona Republicans — including two members of Congress and at least 13 current and future state lawmakers — for 11 hours during an unofficial hearing. Several lawmakers who attended the event on Nov. 30 also attended the Legislature’s new member orientation later in the week, potentially exposing even more lawmakers and many state government employees. The Trump administration announced Sunday that Giuliani had tested positive for the virus, but said he had tested negative before travelling to Arizona and "did not experience any symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 until more than 48 hours after his return." Arizona Senate Chief of Staff Wendy Baldo wrote that the Senate closure was “out of an abundance of caution.” At least three interim committee meetings set for this week were rescheduled as a result. Giuliani visited Georgia and Michigan after the stop in Arizona, but lawmakers there have not announced any plans to cancel planned sessions. Georgia Sen. William Ligon, the head of the Judiciary subcommittee that heard testimony from Giuliani, advised anyone who was in close contact with the former New York City mayor to “take every precaution and follow all requisite guidelines to ensure their health and safety.” [AZ Capitol Times, AZ Central, Atlanta Constitution Journal]
OUT OF STATE FLIGHTS | Critically ill Covid-19 patients in South Dakota are being flown out of state for care as the state’s largest hospitals are at or above capacity. A surge of coronavirus infections has strained hospital capacity in the state, with both the Sanford USD Medical Center and Monument Health Rapid City Hospital reporting that their intensive care units are out of beds. Much of the open ICU space available in the state is at smaller, more rural hospitals that lack the staff or equipment to care for the most ill patients. [Argus Leader]
IDAHO HANDOUTS | Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who has been critical of federal coronavirus aid for businesses, accepted more than $300,000 in federal funding from the Paycheck Protection Program. One of McGeachin’s businesses, J.R. McGeachin Inc., received two forgiveable loans totalling approximately $314,000. In an op-ed published in July, McGeachin wrote that “Reducing the taxes, regulations and mandates...is always a superior alternative to increasing subsidies and handouts” and criticized those “who advocate socialized medicine, unearned income, and other handouts ... that foster dependency.” [Idaho Statesman]
‘THUGSHOTS’ | An Alabama county sheriff’s office removed a controversial social media post over the weekend that included a photo of a Christmas tree adorned with photoshopped mugshots. The Mobile County Sheriff's Office had posted the photo with a caption that read: “We have decorated our Tree with THUGSHOTS to show how many Thugs we have taken off the streets of Mobile this year! We could not have done it without our faithful followers!” The office removed the post after receiving criticism and even death threats. [WPMI-TV]
GOP GOVERNORS | Five Republican governors issued a joint statement Monday urging Congress to pass a bipartisan Covid-19 relief bill to continue federal unemployment insurance programs and the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses. Those who called for federal aid include Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. “We recognize that there are legitimate differences of opinion on what an ideal package should contain, but these differences pale in comparison to the cost of doing nothing,” the governors wrote. “It is time to act. There is no more room for partisan positioning and political gamesmanship. Congress must come together and take action now.” [Maryland Governor’s Office]
Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.