Connecting state and local government leaders

Ariz. Gov. Urges Caution on Obamacare Repeal; Ky. Legislature OKs Abortion, Anti-Union Bills

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry's 2017 Legislative Forecast Luncheon Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Phoenix.

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry's 2017 Legislative Forecast Luncheon Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Phoenix. Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Weekend News Digest: State government layoffs loom in Iowa and Maine; Cuomo’s new cybersecurity response proposal in New York; and not much fuss on the last street plowed in Bismarck, North Dakota.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT | Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is urging his fellow Republicans in the nation’s capital to not rush a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. “I don’t want to see any Arizonan have the rug pulled out from underneath them in terms of changing this law,” the governor said Friday at a gathering in Phoenix. “There’s no rush, although we should have a sense of urgency because it’s topical now.” [Capital Media Services / Tucson.com]

North Carolina’s new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, released a plan on Friday evening that would be the first step for the state to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, which could bring health care coverage to more than half a million residents in the Tar Heel State. Expanding Medicaid eligibility in North Carolina is not a sure thing as Republican leaders who control the General Assembly are fighting Cooper’s move, saying it is unconstitutional. [The News & Observer]

STATE LEGISLATURES | With Republicans now in full control of the Kentucky governor’s mansion and legislature, GOP lawmakers and Gov. Matt Bevin pushed through seven priority bills including tough new restrictions on reproductive rights and a measure making the Blue Grass State the nation’s next “right to work” state. The last bill passed on Saturday was a proposal to scrap the current board of trustees at the University of Louisville with a new board appointed by the governor. [The Courier-Journal]

Could Michigan be the next state to eliminate its income tax? Jack Brandenburg, a Republican state senator is calling his legislation “a game changer” to scrap Michigan’s 4.25 percent personal income tax a move that would encourage more people to move and work in the Great Lakes State, boosting the economy in the process. Such a move in opposed by Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, but could open the door to some future tax relief. [The Detroit News]

CITY HALLS | Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, California, could be considered a tight-rope walker when it comes to balancing sensitive municipal concerns, especially in the aftermath of the horrific Dec. 2 Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 people in a warehouse with major safety deficiencies that has sparked questions about whether the city failed to properly inspect the building. The delicate line she’s walked also applies to dealing with developers and housing activists and the controversy over building a new taxpayer-funded stadium for the Oakland Raiders. “Welcome to my life,” she said in a Friday interview, noting that she’s chosen “a path that maximizes both interests” even if it sparks anger in the short term. [San Francisco Chronicle]

STATE GOVERNMENT LAYOFFS | As state budget proposals take shape, government workforces are preparing for possible layoffs in Iowa and Maine. In Des Moines, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is looking to cut $100 million from the state budget and while he’s said there won’t be furloughs, there could be possible layoffs for executive branch agencies. In Augusta, the Maine State Employees Association reported that Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has given notices of its intention to eliminate at least 26 employees of the Office of Aging and Disability Services. But that could be the tip of the iceberg. In recent months, LePage has signaled his intent for larger reductions across Maine’s state government. [Radio Iowa; Bangor Daily News]

CYBERSECURITY | New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to create a Cyber Incident Response Team to assist state agencies, local governments, schools and organizations overseeing critical infrastructure with cyberattacks. Cuomo is also proposing stiffer penalties for computer crimes that cause more than $1 million in damage. [Times Union]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | There’s major acrimony within the Fraternal Order of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department in the District of Columbia. [Washington City Paper]

MUNICIPAL FINANCE | Around $1 billion has been sucked from the coffers of Ohio’s local governments since 2010, according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio, pointing to the elimination of Ohio’s estate tax, ending reimbursements for business taxes and slashing the Local Government Fund in half as struggles counties and municipalities are dealing with.  [Highland County Press; Policy Matters Ohio]

SNOW REMOVAL | The politics of snow removal can be highly controversial in parts of the nation, but not apparently on the last residential street to be plowed in Bismarck, North Dakota: “"It was a lot of snow to move, so you've gotta be patient," said Wayne Vedquam, a retired bookkeeper who lives on 29th Street, which saw a foot of snow after Christmas. [The Bismarck Tribune]