Connecting state and local government leaders

R.I. Gov.’s Tuition-Free College Plan; Nebraska’s Lagging State Revenue

The Rotunda of the Rhode Island State House in Providence.

The Rotunda of the Rhode Island State House in Providence. Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Missouri's governor plans big higher ed cuts; Wisconsin city struggles with state limits on revenue; and more state legislative updates.

Here’s state and local government news you may have missed over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday weekend.

PUBLIC EDUCATION | Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo rolled out a proposal on Monday to offer two tuition-free years for full-time students in the state’s public colleges and universities. Starting with this year’s high school seniors, the Rhode Island Promise would guarantee two years of free college for every student at who graduates on time from the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. "Rhode Island's Promise honors our commitment to Rhode Island students who are asking for nothing more than a fair chance," Raimondo, a Democrat, said in a statement. [R.I. Governor’s Office; Inside Higher Ed]

Missouri’s new Republican governor, Eric Greitens, is planning to slash $146.4 from the state budget due to lagging state revenues. Cuts to higher education are expected to account for more than half of the reductions. [The Kansas City Star]

STATE LEGISLATURES | In Albany, there’s a bipartisan legislative effort to boost infrastructure spending in New York state. "This is a lurking monster. But the reason politicians don't do anything about it is because they can't cut a ribbon on a sewage line,” according to state Sen. Jim Tedisco, a Republican. “But our infrastructure is dilapidated, and we have to do something about it." [Albany Times-Union]

On Friday, Montana state lawmakers started debate on Gov. Steve Bullock’s proposal to authorize $157 million in bonding for infrastructure projects. The plan “drew broad support.” [Bozeman Daily Chronicle]

In Utah, state legislators are considering various bills for and against capital punishment, while in Washington state, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is working on legislative proposal to abolish the death penalty. [KSTU-TV; The Stranger]

Coming up next month in the Illinois state legislature: A proposal to allow new casinos in Rockford and Danville, both located near state borders. [World Casino News]

STATE FINANCE | In Nebraska, state tax receipts for December came in 8.7 percent below what was expected. Lagging commodities prices continue to hurt the state’s agricultural sector, according to Nebraska’s state tax commissioner. [Lincoln Journal Star]

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT | In Northern California, repairs were made to a broken levee near Lodi along the swollen Mokelumne River. The broken levee flooded a vineyard. [The Sacramento Bee]

CITY HALLS | Wisconsin’s limitations on local taxation are putting municipal leaders in Janesville in a tough spot and might prompt the city to cut police and fire services as a result. [The Janesville Gazette]

The city council in Iowa City, Iowa, will consider a resolution on Tuesday on the role of local police regarding immigration law. While the measure does not declare Iowa City to be a “sanctuary city,” it would, if passed, reaffirm that public safety is the priority for local police, not immigration law. [The Gazette]

The mayor of Warren, Michigan, is denying that the voice on a secret recording with racist and sexist comments is not him. [WDIV-TV]

A proposal under consideration by the city council in Billings, Montana, would allow beehives inside city limits. [Billings Gazette]

The mayor of Danbury, Connecticut, wants to consolidate homeless services at a downtown location. [News Times]

PUBLIC SAFETY | Somebody fired gunshots at the city hall and the police department in Silex, Missouri, a tiny town northwest of St. Louis. [KTVI-TV]

SNOW REMOVAL | In the Pacific Northwest, it is very unusual for both Seattle and Portland to simultaneously get hit with a major snow-producing weather event. That makes the “idea of regional assistance” for snow removal a “powerful one.” Last week, the Seattle Department of Transportation dispatched snow-removal crews to Portland to help the Rose City dig out from a major snowstorm. [Cliff Mass Weather Blog]

DROUGHT | Drink it up, Southern California. [Los Angeles Times]