Connecting state and local government leaders

Trump Warns He’ll Protect Alaska’s Environment, if Murkowski Doesn’t Back Obamacare Repeal

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, arrives for a vote as the Republican-run Senate rejected a GOP proposal to scuttle President Barack Obama's health care law and give Congress two years to devise a replacement on Wednesday.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, arrives for a vote as the Republican-run Senate rejected a GOP proposal to scuttle President Barack Obama's health care law and give Congress two years to devise a replacement on Wednesday. J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP: Missouri still refers to Asian Americans as 'Oriental'; Election Integrity vice chair's credibility questioned; no more parties in Miami Beach . . . after 2 a.m.?

ENERGY | U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke informed both Republican senators from Alaska that Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s no vote on Tuesday’s motion to debate health care legislation jeopardized the Trump administration’s willingness to develop the state’s energy economy. Alaska’s other Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan said it was a “troubling message,” one that threatens nominations of Alaskans to Interior posts, a road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Murkowski stood by her vote, even after President Trump called her out on Twitter, saying the Obamacare repeal effort is rushed and lacks transparency. "I base my votes on what I believe is in Alaska's best interest," she said. "So I know that there are those who wish that I would be more in line with following the party platform, but I don't think it should come as any surprise that there have been occasions that I have not followed the lead of the party." [Alaska Dispatch News]

TERMINOLOGY | Missouri government still uses the term “Oriental” on official documents, including employment applications, despite the U.S. government’s ban on the word to describe Asian Americans. The Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City may lobby to change that. “It’s a blanket term for things that are Eastern, and it’s not a term Asian Americans would use to refer to themselves,” said Jennifer Hill, the bar’s president. “It’s a term that serves as a reference point for Europeans or Americans that characterizes an ‘other’ . . . It was much more popular during the time the government was taking steps to ban the immigration of Asians into the country.” [The Kansas City Star]

ELECTION INTEGRITY | The vice chair of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, had a $1,000 fine affirmed by a federal judge for misleading the court on voting documents presented to the president. Kobach’s “pattern” of making misleading statements “called his credibility into question,” the George W. Bush appointee wrote. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the lawsuit against Kobach on behalf of residents whose voter registration applications were cancelled because of proof-of-citizenship requirements he established—despite the federal “Motor Voter” law granting citizens the right to register when they get a driver’s license—seeking additional documentation. [The Atlantic]

NIGHTLIFE | Last call for bars on Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive would move from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. under the terms of a ballot referendum that voters will consider this November. The area is a hotspot for nightlife and can get raucous. Debate over how to police Ocean Drive has been going on for years but flared up after a shooting over Memorial Day weekend. Some prominent nightclub owners had urged city commissioners to put off the vote until the impact on their businesses can be further studied. “I want it to stay open late,” said one partygoer on a recent evening. “They should just have more police.” [Miami Herald]

RESTRUCTURING | Ogdensburg applied for the New York Financial Restructuring Board, an initiative of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to streamline local government efficiency and cut costs through restructuring recommendations. Potsdam and Plattsburgh have previously gone through the process. Over budget and out of options, having already raised taxes and trimmed payroll, the city’s general fund is virtually unusable. The city expects several months to pass before hearing back from the financial restructuring program one way or another, but City Manager Sarah Purdy said an intervention is needed "because we're rapidly running out of money, and we don't really have any other choice." [North County Public Radio]

STATE BUDGETS | Pennsylvania’s state Senate will vote Thursday on a $2.2 billion revenue package that includes new taxes, increased tax rates and other provisions. Some of the highlights include a tax on natural gas drillers and about $1.2 billion in borrowing against future tobacco settlement revenues. The state has struggled to balance its budget in recent years. “We have avoided this day for a long time," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. The tax measure, if passed, would still need to clear the House. [PennLive.com]

Recurring tax revenue in New Mexico is up $141 million, an unexpected 32 percent jump from a year ago fueled by spring travel and construction following state spending cuts. A downward adjustment is expected, according to a new Legislative Finance Committee report, but Gov. Susana Martinez’s hiring freeze may have been overkill in hindsight. [Santa Fe New Mexican]