Connecting state and local government leaders

Alabama’s Judicial Override Law for Executions; Virginia’s Lackluster State Worker Salaries

** HOLD FOR MOVEMEN, ... ]

** HOLD FOR MOVEMEN, ... ] Eric Risberg / AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Tacoma’s new rules for all-night massage parlors; increasing costs for Salt Lake City airport upgrades; and a N.C. county official reconsiders her resignation.

DEATH PENALTY | Alabama is the only state in the country where someone may be sentenced to die without a unanimous decision from the jury. And, a judge may overrule a decision in favor of applying the death penalty, no matter what the jurors decide. One such case is about to come to a close. In 1995, a jury convicted Ronald Bert Smith to life without parole in a 7-5 decision. Now, because of Alabama’s unique judicial override law, Smith is set to die on Thursday. [The Marshall Project]

SALARIES | Virginia state employees’ salaries will be 27 percent less, on average, than those of the private sector in fiscal year 2017, according to the state Department of Human Resource Management. State attorneys make 90 percent less than their private sector counterparts. A budget shortfall led state government to cancel a planned pay raise this year. [WVEC-TV]

HUMAN TRAFFICKING | All-night massage parlors will be outlawed under an ordinance the City Council in Tacoma, Washington passed Tuesday. The legislation calls for hours to be restricted to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. “What we had happening in the city of Tacoma was human trafficking. People were being brought here, forced to work in these massage parlors, and the amount of money they made depended on the services they offered, and that’s not acceptable in the city of Tacoma,” said Councilman Marty Campbell. [The News Tribune]

RESIGNATION | The Wake County, North Carolina commissioner who suddenly resigned? Turns out, she didn’t mean it. Jessica Holmes wrote in a Monday email that a new job opportunity, and the board’s creation of an affordable housing committee, meant her work was done. But Tuesday, she was singing a different tune—saying constituents wanted her to lead the committee. “Based on this calling, I am abandoning my original decision to resign and will stay to complete my term as a commissioner serving the community that I love,” Holmes said. Good thing she never submitted a formal resignation. [The News & Observer]

PROCUREMENT | Howard County Public Schools in Maryland awarded nearly $13 million across 15 contracts that weren’t bid, so now state Del. Warren Miller wants to halt any above $5,000 in the jurisdiction. A majority vote from the county’s 12-member delegation would put the bill before the General Assembly in 2017. "I don't care if it's a 10th of one percent of their total budget,” Miller said. “If they were spending less on sole-source contracts, they'd certainly have more money for the classrooms.” [The Baltimore Sun]

STREETCARS | Daily Ridership on Cincinnati’s Bell Connector streetcar has been falling since it opened on Sept. 9. A big problem so far has been that the timing on the streetcar line is not reliable and people don’t know when it will arrive at a station. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

AIRPORTS | Rebuilding the Salt Lake City International Airport will require $350 million more than anticipated, upping the overall cost of the project to an estimated $2.9 billion. But the City Council is raising questions as airport officials ask them to approve a $972 million 30-year bond. User fees will be used to pay off the debt. [The Salt Lake Tribune]