Connecting state and local government leaders

Okla. Shutters Disposal Wells Following Big Quake; Ill. Gov. Fires 29 State Transportation Employees

An Oklahoma seismic station installation

An Oklahoma seismic station installation Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Labor Day Weekend Digest: Judges rule Mo. must reveal source of lethal injection drugs; Justice Department to decide whether to retry McDonnell; Scottsdale firefighters wrangle exotic snakes.

EARTHQUAKES | Following Saturday’s 5.6 magnitude earthquake on a previously undiscovered fault line, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has directed that operators of 37 disposal wells in a 725 square-mile area cease activity for an undetermined amount of time. The quake, which seismologists said matched the magnitude of the largest earthquake in state history, has generated fears that it could potentially signal that a larger quake, above a 6.0 magnitude, could be possible since the fault line where Saturday’s event originated is linked to a longer fault. Aftershocks are expected in the coming days, weeks and months. Scientists have linked the disposal of saltwater that’s used in the hydraulic fracturing process in deep injection wells to an increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma. [Tulsa World]

PATRONAGE | Gov. Bruce Rauner fired 29 state Department of Transportation employees out of hundreds hired for their political connections. The governor hailed the move as the end of a decade-long IDOT “staff assistant” scandal. "This is an additional step to restore citizens' faith in state government so it works for them and not the political insiders,” Rauner said. [Pantagraph]

POLICE REFORM | It’s looking like Seattle is going to miss it’s self-imposed Labor Day weekend deadline for producing police accountability legislation. The city informed a federal judge that it will need more time for this stage of its long-standing reform process mandated by a 2012 consent decree. The additional time needed does “does not reflect any lack of commitment on the part of the city to reform,” wrote City Attorney Pete Holmes. [The Seattle Times]

DEATH PENALTY | A federal appeals court has ruled that Missouri must reveal the source of the lethal injection drug that it uses to carry out death sentences. Prison officials from the state have put up consistent resistance against bids for transparency in lethal drug sourcing. The ruling is tied to a case involving two inmates on death row in Missouri, who are challenging the state’s three-drug injection protocol on constitutional grounds. [The Kansas City Star]

CORRUPTION | The U.S. Supreme Court may have vacated former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s  three convictions, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia is recommending he be retried on corruption charges. Senior Justice Department officials will have the final say. McDonnell and wife, Maureen, were convicted in 2014 by a jury that found they lent the power of the governor’s office to Richmond business executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in return for $177,000 in loans, vacations and luxury goods. Williams was suspected of trying to get the supplement he was selling, Anatabloc, in the hands of state researchers and possibly on Virginia’s health plan. [The Virginian-Pilot]

ANIMAL CONTROL | The recent discovery of three large non-native snakes on the streets of Scottsdale has authorities trying to figure out exactly how they got loose. A man who runs a dental clinic has claimed ownership of the snakes—a boa constrictor and two pythons—but won’t likely face any legal consequences because there are no regulations in Arizona regarding reptile care. "No one ever thought that this would happen probably, so there's no legislation, there's no law, they haven't written anything, so it's difficult for them to enforce," according to Daniel Marchand, executive curator at the Phoenix Herpetological Society. The Scottsdale Fire Department successfully captured the animals before turning them over to the Phoenix Herpetological Society. [The Arizona Republic]

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