Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | L.A. teacher strike resolution … D.C. Council overturns mayor’s veto … Dallas STD spike … and a statewide rent control proposal in Oregon.
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is the battle in one state over President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall but scroll down for more from places like Salem, Oregon; Dallas County, Texas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. … ALSO ON ROUTE FIFTY … People Aren’t Walking More. But More Pedestrians Are Getting Killed. … What Democratic and Republican Mayors Agree On … Restrictive Handgun Law to Be Considered by Supreme Court …
Let’s get to it …
BORDER POLICY | A state lawmaker in New Mexico has introduced a new bill aimed at not only blocking construction of President Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall along 22 miles of state-controlled lands, but also barring state contractors from doing work for the federal government to build new or replace existing border barriers. Republicans in the New Mexico Legislature fear that Democratic State Sen. Angelica Rubio’s proposal could have unintended consequences. “We are a state so reliant on federal funding,” House Minority Whip Rod Montoya said, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “I would at least be reluctant to poke this president in the eye.” [The Albuquerque Journal; Las Cruces Sun-News]
EDUCATION | Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was joined by L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner and United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl on Tuesday for a press conference to officially announce a resolution to the six-day teacher strike. [LAist / KPCC] … Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has regularly discussed his desires to expand early childhood education but “funding for preschool expansion was absent from Parson’s proposed budget announced last week.” [St. Louis Public Radio] … In order to accommodate universal preschools in public schools, Hawaii Gov. David Ige is proposing to send sixth graders to middle school campuses. [Hawaii News Now]
GUN CONTROL | Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto had a very sour reaction to a letter from Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., which said that the city doesn’t have the authority to enact gun control legislation at the municipal level due to Pennsylvania law barring local governments from doing so. “You know what, I welcome him trying to put up a lawsuit that would arrest me if I sign this legislation. I would welcome that. It would be unprecedented,” Peduto said of Zappala in remarks to local reporters on Tuesday. “Simply because he doesn’t support gun reform or is somehow convinced that the gun lobby is so important to his election that he would threaten to arrest legislators who would support gun reform is astounding.” [Tribune Review]
HOUSING | In the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, city officials are preparing to update residents on proposals to upzone the industrial neighborhood, which has seen major redevelopment in the past decade. Along Fourth Avenue, the upzoning proposal would allow buildings 17-stories tall, five more than what’s currently allowed. [Brooklyn Daily] … With Democratic supermajorities in the Oregon Legislature and the support of Gov. Kate Brown, a proposal for statewide rent control, “a concept that terrifies landlords and some economists,” appears likely to sail through Salem. [Willamette Week]
LAW ENFORCEMENT | The District of Columbia Council overruled Mayor Muriel Bowser’s recent veto of a bill to decriminalize fare evasion on buses and trains in the nation’s capital. [The Washington Post] ... The criminal justice system in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, is facing another legal challenge in federal court. A new class-action lawsuit “challenges the money bail for felonies, which results in thousands of poor defendants being locked up pretrial or entering guilty pleas to avoid incarceration.” [Houston Chronicle]
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES | After the San Francisco Public Library hired its first social worker to engage with homeless patrons and help connect them with services, the approach has been adopted by many other library systems—as of 2018, at least 30 had hired social workers. [NextCity] … Among the challenges for Dr. Philip Huang, the new public health director in Dallas County, Texas: A 25 percent spike in three sexually transmitted diseases: gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. [Dallas Morning News] … California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed the state’s first surgeon general. [NBC News]
IT MANAGEMENT | Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan recently named Saad Bashir, the director of economic development and innovation in Ottawa, Ontario, as the new leader of the Emerald City’s IT department, created under former Mayor Ed Murray to consolidate information technology across all city agencies under one department, a process “beset early on by struggles” and management difficulties. [Crosscut]
TRANSPORTATION & MOBILITY | The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of Los Angeles County is studying different proposals to introduce congestion pricing in Los Angeles, “including converting carpool lanes to toll lanes, taxing drivers based on the number of miles they travel, or charging a fee to enter certain neighborhoods and business districts.” [Los Angeles Times] … City transportation officials in Denver are analyzing proposals to retime traffic signals along heavily trafficked Broadway to slow down motorists and improve pedestrian safety, but don’t want to rush to implement changes to avoid unintended “consequences that ripple across side streets and other parts of the city.” [Streetsblog Denver] … The Nebraska Department of Transportation has deployed a new online snowplow tracking tool [KETV] … State senators in North Dakota rejected a bill that would tighten enforcement of seat belt use in cars. [Forum News Service via Bismarck Tribune]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.