Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | South Dakota’s English-only law; Kentucky pension battle lines drawn; and Seattle’s expensive home prices.
CITY HALLS | The mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia will be “surrendering some of his assumed autonomy” after a three-hour closed-door meeting with City Council members. “In the deeply troubling and traumatizing recent weeks,” Mayor Michael Signer said during a news conference on Wednesday, “I have taken several actions as mayor and made several communications that have been inconsistent with the collaboration required by our system of governance and that overstepped the bounds of my role as mayor, for which I apologize to my colleagues and the people of Charlottesville.” Signer has pledged not to “make public announcements as mayor without working with the other councilors and the city manager beforehand, ensuring their consent.” [The Daily Progress; The Washington Post]
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry took issue with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a coalition of more than 150 evangelical leaders, naming a new manifesto decrying same-sex marriage the “Nashville Statement” after her city.
PENSIONS | Battle lines are being drawn in a debate over the future of Kentucky’s public pension systems, which are among the worst funded in the nation. A report the state commissioned from a private consulting group issued on Monday called for drastic changes to the retiree benefit plans. State Rep. James Kay, a Democrat, said that the report was, for the most part, not political. “Now you’re going to introduce politics in the process,” he added. “And there are going to be winners and losers.” [Lexington Herald-Leader]
GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS | An English-only law in South Dakota is giving some construction companies in Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city and economic driver, headaches when it comes to finding workers. South Dakota state law requires that all government governments only be published in English, and that extends to driver’s license testing. Unlike most states, South Dakota does not offer driver’s license testing in other languages, putting non-English speakers at a disadvantage when it comes to obtaining a driver’s license. [Argus Leader]
ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATION | A U.S. Justice Department lawyer apologized to a federal judge Wednesday for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s failure to publicly disclose its records in accordance with federal law. Tasked by President Trump with investigating incredibly rare voter fraud, the controversial commission excluded materials and reports presented by panelists at its first unofficial and official meetings. "It was a chaotic start to the commission," said attorney Elizabeth Shapiro. "There was a little bit of unknown and a little bit of disorganization in terms of how the meeting would happen." [Politico]
WILDFIRES | Crews have been battling a wildfire this week that’s been threatening luxury homes in Davis County, Utah, north of Salt Lake City. The Summerwood Fire was reported Tuesday afternoon and had grown from 30 to 150 acres by Wednesday morning. The blaze burned within a quarter-mile of about 50 homes in a subdivision, not far from a golf course. As of Wednesday morning, no homes had been lost. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
IMMIGRATION | Many teachers in Philadelphia’s school system are having to learn a new skill—how to keep their immigrant students safe, and in class. “A lot of my students are in crisis right now,” said Tiffany Lorch, who teaches English as a foreign language. “Their parents are not sending them to school, because they’re afraid. And if they’re not feeling well emotionally, they can’t learn.” In response to those concerns from educators, the Philadelphia School District is implementing a new mandatory training program for every school-based employee, from janitorial staff all the way up to principal, on the specific needs of immigrant children. [Philly.com]
HOUSING | The Seattle metro region continued to lead the nation in home price growth for the 10th straight month, according to data released Tuesday. A typical single-family home in the area cost 13.4 percent more in June compared to a year prior, based on figures in the Case-Shiller home price index. A typical home in the city now costs nearly $750,000. Portland was second on the list of metro areas with the fastest-rising home values. Prices for a single family home there were up 8.2 percent compared to 2016. [The Seattle Times]