Connecting state and local government leaders

Man Arrested After Driving Into Ten Commandments Monument at Arkansas Capitol

Arkansas State Capitol

Arkansas State Capitol

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: State budget updates; N.Y.C. crippled by subway overcrowding; and N.C. GOP pursue impeachment.

MONUMENTS | Police arrested Michael Tate Reed, 32, after he was witnessed ramming his car into the new Ten Commandments monument on Arkansas State Capitol grounds less than 24 hours after its unveiling. The 6-foot stone slab was toppled into three pieces with former Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeting an “idiot” had broken all the commandments at once. The controversial monument was privately funded and may not be replaced. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; National Public Radio]

STATE BUDGETS | Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has expressed some optimism about the way state budget talks are progressing in Harrisburg, telling reporters on Tuesday that “things are really moving, but I think they’re moving in the right way, the way the democratic process is supposed to proceed.” Still, it’s doubtful that Wolf, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled legislature will have a budget agreement wrapped up by the June 30 deadline. Last year, a revenue deal wasn’t finalized until two weeks after the deadline. [The Inquirer / Philly.com; Politics PA; Associated Press]

On Wednesday, with a state budget deadline quickly approaching, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s office indicated there’s a tentative agreement in place for the 2017-19 budget, a “deal in principle” that would help avoid a partial shutdown of the state government. [The Seattle Times]

California Gov. Jerry Brown approved a $183.2 billion state budget on Tuesday, which boosts spending on public schools, social services and puts $1.8 billion in reserves. The budget benefitted from strong income tax revenue, but the big question mark remains possible Medi-Cal impacts from any federal health care overhaul. The new budget, which starts July 1, is the highest in state history, up $12 billion from last year. [Los Angeles Times]  

TRANSPORTATION | Service on every subway line in New York City is getting worse, and the major culprit is overcrowding. Ridership on the subway system, overseen by New York state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has risen dramatically since the 1990s. Back then, about 4 million people used the subway each day, now, the system sees nearly 6 million in that same amount of time and those 2 million extra people are squeezing into a system that hasn’t changed much for decades. Overcrowding—a factor that basically did not exist 15 years ago—now accounts for more than one out of every three of the 75,000 delays across the system each month. [The New York Times]

Springfield, Massachusetts, fresh off opening its newly restored Union Station, is now looking to find ways to improve rail service. Mayor Domenic Sarno is asking state legislative leaders, who are currently working on a budget, to authorize a study for high-speed rail service running between Boston and his city. About 90 miles separates the two cities. Gov. Charlie Baker has previously vetoed a feasibility study for high-speed rail to Springfield. [WWLP-TV; MassLive]

IMPEACHMENT | A North Carolina House of Representatives committee will begin legislating the impeachment of Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. Rep. Chris Millis, a Republican, introduced the bill after accusing Marshall, a Democrat and the first woman to hold the office, of commissioning notaries public who aren’t legal U.S. residents but hold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival cards, which protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children from deportation. [The Charlotte Observer]

SUSTAINABILITY | In Northern California, the 2017-18 budget recently approved by the Napa County Board of Supervisors has authorized the county government to shift to 100 percent renewable electricity sources, through the Deep Green program, which is part of Marin Clean Energy, a non-profit renewable energy provider for customers in the northern Bay Area. The shift to Deep Green is forecasted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Napa County by 1,546 metric tons annually. [Napa Valley Register]