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Federal Judge Asked to Appoint ‘Special Master’ for Illinois Child Welfare Agency


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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Intergovernmental ‘venom’ in S.C. … Colo. to adopt Calif.-style auto emission standards … and coral disease heading to Key West.

Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention.

  • Springfield, Illinois: The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which has monitored the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for decades as part of a consent decree, asked a federal judge on Wednesday to “take the rare step of appointing a ‘special master’ to resolve disputes and data requests related to statewide child welfare reforms, including providing more appropriate services for children languishing in psychiatric hospitals.” [ProPublica Illinois]
  • Denver, Colorado: Gov. John Hickenlooper moved this week to develop low-emission standards for cars and trucks similar to those already in place in California. The governor’s executive order would require the state to put the standards in place by 2025, which his office said would help them meet their greenhouse gas reduction goal. “Low-emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. The state’s auto dealers raised concerns that Colorado will end following rules developed in California instead of ones crafted by a board in the state. [The Denver Post]
  • Columbus, Ohio: In a unanimous decision handed down on Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Courtfound those lower court rulings infringed upon the lawmaking authority of the General Assembly,” which had enacted laws that fines municipal governments that operate stationery traffic-enforcement cameras. “The state continues to penalize Toledo and other cities for their traffic-law enforcement cameras, in effect making roads less safe,” according to Toledo Law Director Dale Emch. “They are penalizing Toledo for making decisions as to what’s best for our city.” [Toledo Blade]
  • James Island, South Carolina: There’s a lot of intergovernmental bad blood on James Island near Charleston. "The venom which drips from your every utterance makes any communication from your office suspect and suspicious," according to a three-page letter to Mayor Bill Woolsey that was, signed by James Island Public Service District Commissioners Bill "Cubby" Wilder, Sandi Engelman, Kay Kernodle and Donald Hollingsworth. [The Post & Courier]
  • Jefferson City, Missouri: Missouri’s new lieutenant governor on Wednesday dismissed as irrelevant a lawsuit by Democrats seeking to prevent him from moving into the new job. Former Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, a Republican, was appointed to the No. 2 political position by new Gov. Mike Parson, also a Republican, and had held the position since January 2017. The successions were sparked by the resignation last month of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who had faced a criminal charge and possible impeachment. The lawsuit says that Parson lacks the authority to appoint a lieutenant governor. Kehoe said he believes the governor wouldn’t have appointed him to the job without good legal advice that he had that power. [St. Louis Post Dispatch]
  • Marathon, Florida: A coral disease progressing through the Florida’s reef tract and headed toward Key West is “moving at such a fast clip that it's due to strike the southern end of the world's third-largest barrier reef within months,” according to a university researcher. [Miami Herald]
  • Michigan City, Indiana: During a council meeting on Tuesday, the former director of the city’s Human Rights Commission criticized Mayor Ron Meer for not being aggressive in enforcing city rules on minority hiring for outsourced public works projects. "There are gaps in this ordinance that all these companies are aware of," Jeff Deuitch said. [The Times of Northwest Indiana]
  • Portland, Oregon: A plan to introduce tolls and congestion pricing to some heavily trafficked sections of highways in the Portland area—including portions of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205—is not being welcomed in Portland’s Overlook neighborhood, where local residents and businesses fear toll-dodging commuters will use local streets instead. [Willamette Week]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route FIfty and is base in Seattle. Managing Editor Laura Maggi, based in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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