Connecting state and local government leaders

Oregon Behind Schedule on Food Safety Inspections; Kansas Budget Shortfalls Hit Road Projects


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Mass. mayor and council fight over police model; Tennessee corrections official resigns over anti-Obama posts; W.Va.’s mid-year budget cuts.

FOOD SAFETY | The frequency of food safety inspections by the state of Oregon is lagging, according to a state audit released Tuesday. Oregon’s agriculture department is responsible for inspecting food manufacturers and grocery stores in the state—a total of more than 12,000 businesses. The audit found the department is at least three months behind schedule with inspections for nearly one-quarter of those establishments. [Oregon Public Broadcasting]

STATE BUDGETS | Two dozen Kansas road projects are being postponed due to state budget shortfalls. The state is facing a nearly $350 million budget gap this fiscal year and a $582 million hole in the next one. [The Kansas City Star]

PUBLIC TRANSIT | With 57 percent of Virginia Beach voters having rejected using local money to extend The Tide light rail line into their city from Norfolk, the Virginia Beach City Council has begun meetings to decide the fate of the 10-mile stretch of land the city purchased for the project and the prospect of owing Virginia’s state government $20 million that has been dedicated to the transit project. [The Virginian-Pilot]

SOCIAL MEDIA | David Barber, deputy director of corrections for Shelby County, Tennessee, resigned after making several incendiary Facebook posts directed at outgoing President Obama saying that the “KKK is more American than the illegal president!” and wishing harm to the First Family. [WQAD 8]

STATE BUDGETS | Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat re-elected last week, presented on his state budget plan for the next two fiscal years. It includes $4.73 billion in general fund spending. Among his specific proposals: a higher tax rate on the state’s wealthiest residents and a $292 million infrastructure spending plan, which would help pay for costs such as water and sewer projects and bridge upgrades. The governor’s proposals will next be considered by Montana’s Republican-controlled Legislature. [Bozeman Daily Chronicle]

STATE BUDGETS | “It certainly seems like necessary action by the governor,” said West Virginia House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles, regarding Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s mid-year budget cuts to state agencies—about 2 percent for most departments. [MetroNews]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | City Council members in Springfield, Massachusetts want to restore the city’s five-member Police Commission, in the wake of suspected police misconduct under its police commissioner, but Mayor Domenic Sarno argues he has sole authority to organize departments. I “will not allow our Police Department to be politicized,” he said. [MassLive]

FIREFIGHTING | Members of the New York City fire department have been informally reminded that images of President-elect Trump are not allowed on fire trucks or in firehouses. “The message was: keep politics out of the house,” one source said. “It was obvious that in the days following the election people were bent out of shape.” A Brooklyn-based fire truck had been recently spotted with a Trump mask on its grille. [New York Daily News]