Can I set the initial status of an issue for a specific board?

I have 2 boards that view a single project. On the first board, I want the initial status of stories to be the first step of the process. For the 2nd board, I want the initial status of stories created to be set to a different status than stories created on the 1st board.

Is this possible or is there a better way to do this?

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No, but sort of.

First, you need to think in terms of boards and projects.  A project is a pile of issues, with their configuration settings.  One of these is the "workflow".  Each issue type in a project can have a different workflow.  The workflow determines what Status the issues go through.  The workflow determines the initial status of an issue, and that can't change.

A board is a view of a set of issues.  The columns on the board are one or more status.

So, while it doesn't sound right at first, there isn't actually anything to stop you from creating a workflow like "New -> Open -> In progress -> Closed", and then creating Board 1 with the first column as New and Board 2 with the first column as "Open".  It'll behave oddly when creating new issues, but it'll do the job.

This could work. My main issue is with bugs. So this will mean I will set up a separate Bug workflow that starts further along the process so it shows up in the right board. Thanks!

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You can do it. All you have to do is map the columns on the board to the appropriate statuses. See https://confluence.atlassian.com/agile/jira-agile-user-s-guide/configuring-a-board/configuring-columns for more details.

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