Connecting state and local government leaders

Some Hospitals in Appalachia See Surges of Opioid Babies



Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Maine Gov. LePage plans major shift in oversight for county jails; Philly will soon say goodbye to a transit relic; New Mexico’s challenging job-skills gap; and a Silicon Valley mayor is criticized for his housing comments.

PUBLIC HEALTH | In recent years, hospitals in parts of Appalachia “have seen surges” in the number of babies born to mothers who used opioid-related drugs during their pregnancies. That includes hospitals Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville in Tennessee and Asheville and Greensboro in North Carolina. At Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, 600 babies were born to mothers who have abused opioids last year. The hospital delivers around 7,000 newborns annually. [Asheville Citizen-Times]

GOVERNORS | Maine Gov. Paul LePage has proposed a major regionalization plan to shift oversight of the Pine Tree State’s 15 county jails to a new state commission and away from county officials. Five of those county jails could close as part of the plan that would create a new Maine Jail Commission. [Bangor Daily News]

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s plan to fix his state’s long-term budget deficits: “a combination of cuts and tax increases on everything from cigarettes to gasoline to corporate profits.” A 25-cents-per-bottle deposit on wine and hard liquor is included in the mix. [Hartford Courant]

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown spent much of Monday’s State of the State address talking about the need for better job training. [Willamette Week]

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin’s State of the State address was interrupted by protesters in the gallery, with one saying: "You are no governor of your word. Liar!" [KFOR-TV]

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is calling on his state’s business community to pressure legislators to invest more in pre-kindergarten and public schools. [WUNC / North Carolina Public Radio]

When Matt Mead’s term as Wyoming’s governor wraps up next year, he said in a recent interview he’s looking forward to returning to life as a private citizen and ranch owner. [KGAB Radio]

Cupertino, California (Shutterstock)

MAYORS | The mayor of Cupertino, California, a city in Silicon Valley that’s home to the headquarters of Apple, Inc., is facing heated criticism from local activists after saying that the area’s housing crunch isn’t that bad during his State of the City address. “The circumstances are not dire. We have good options,” Mayor Darcy Paul recently said. [The Mercury News]

Watch the mayors of the Cascadia region’s largest cities—Jenny Durkan of Seattle, Ted Wheeler of Portland, and Gregor Roberson of Vancouver, B.C.—discuss some of their common challenges, including homelessness, housing costs and transportation, during this past weekend’s Crosscut Festival in Seattle. Former San Antonio Mayor and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro also said he “might” run for president in 2020 during an interview at the festival. [Crosscut; YouTube]

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says that the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII victory parade will happen on Thursday. [Billy Penn]

TRANSPORTATION | In Texas, the success of a future privately-funded high-speed passenger rail line linking Dallas and Houston isn’t just dependent on building a new corridor between the two metro areas to support bullet train service. It’s also about getting passengers to and from the terminal stations. In Houston, Texas Central Partners is planning to build a terminus at possible sites adjacent to the aging Northwest Mall, which isn’t near any of Harris County Metro’s light-rail lines that run downtown. [Texas Tribune]

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the agency that runs the Philadelphia area’s subway, trolley and commuter rail lines, plans to phase out the sale of a relic of most transit agencies long abandoned: tokens. [Philly Voice]

Prince George’s County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., lacks good transit connections to its seat of government, Upper Marlboro. The colonial-era port town has less than 700 residents and is not located near the county’s population center, but that’s where Prince George’s principal courthouse is located. “Buses from many places in the county don't get to Upper Marlboro by the start of jury duty time.” [Greater Greater Washington]

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT | In the Sunshine State, Gov. Rick Scott is directing the Florida Department of Transportation to pursue fixes that aimed at improving hurricane evacuation routes and fuel capacity during emergencies. That includes things like expanding the use of highway shoulders and cameras, installing new signs and updating the state’s 5-1-1 commuter information website to accommodate traffic surges. [Tampa Bay Times]

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | Employers in New Mexico are finding it difficult to find enough qualified workers for job openings, the results of retiring Baby Boomers, a skills gap for many professions and many people who never re-entered the workforce during the recovery from the Great Recession. [Albuquerque Journal]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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