Connecting state and local government leaders

Grandfathering Norfolk’s Imaginary Parking Spaces; Feds Reverse Stance on Texas Voter ID Rules

Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Michigan E-Verify proposal for contractors; battle over Boston’s iconic Citgo sign; and carving out exceptions for Kentucky truck weight rules.

PARKING | The Norfolk City Council will consider curtailing the “grandfathering” of imaginary parking spaces, a practice that helps businesses move into old buildings without having to meet strict parking requirements. The proposal would ban grandfathering in car-dependent parts of town, where a lack of spaces can become a nuisance for neighborhoods. [The Virginian-Pilot]

VOTER ID | President Trump’s Department of Justice reversed its stance on the discriminatory intent of Texas’ voter identification law, one day before it was set to argue against the legislation in federal court. DOJ will back Texas’ claim the 2011 law—which requires one of seven forms of ID studies show blacks and Hispanics are less likely than whites to carry—doesn’t suppress the minority vote but instead stops voter fraud. “The change in the administration is the only explanation for this change [in position], and it’s outrageous,” said Danielle Lang, deputy director of voting rights at the Campaign Legal Center challenging the law in court. “For the Department of Justice to change its position after six years, when none of the facts have changed, is appalling.” [The Dallas Morning News]

IMMIGRATION | A Republican state representative in Michigan proposed legislation that would have all state contractors and subcontractors verify their employees’ citizenship to avoid losing jobs to “black market” labor and depressing labor. Critics say the E-Verify federal database that state Rep. Jim Runestad wants to use to check citizenship and foreign national status is inaccurate. [Michigan Radio]

COUNTY GOVERNMENTS | Los Angeles County has filed a lawsuit challenging a new state law to puts the power of drawing districts for elected county supervisors under the jurisdiction of a new 14-member committee of citizens. “SB 958 tips the process, promoting partisanship, playing favorites between political parties and unaffiliated voters, and subverting local controls,” according to the complaint. [Los Angeles Times]

LANDMARKS | A major fight is set to take place over Boston’s iconic Citgo sign. The Venezuelan-owned oil company that leases the rooftop of 660 Beacon St. and the building’s landlord, Related Beal, are locked in a stalemate over rent prices as the sign’s lease is set to expire. This is only the latest development in a year-long private dispute over a very public landmark. [The Boston Globe]

ROADS | Kentucky’s General Assembly has been approving carve-outs from truck weight limit laws for certain influential industries. There are already exceptions for commodities like steel and poultry, and one for aluminum has now passed in the state’s House. The move comes despite warnings of excessive wear and tear on roadways and safety concerns over heavier trucks being harder to stop. [Lexington Leader Herald; The Daily Independent]

MARIJUANA | U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his critical view of legalized marijuana on Tuesday. “I, as you know, am dubious about marijuana. States can pass whatever laws they choose, but I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store,” he said in Washington at the annual meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. Sessions added: “I just don’t think that’s going to be good for us, and we’ll have to work our way through that.” [The Cannabist / The Denver Post]