Revived ‘Bathroom Bill’ Tops Texas Gov.’s Agenda for Special Legislative Session

A demonstrator holds a sign against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in October 2015.

A demonstrator holds a sign against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in October 2015. Pat Sullivan / AP Photo

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Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: San Diego City Council gets strong-mayor civics lesson; LePage vetoes tiny liquor-bottle bill; and West Virginia’s underutilized state fleet.

STATE LEGISLATURES | Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, as expected, is calling the state legislature back for a 30-day special session in July and August to deal with a “bewildering list of ideas” for lawmakers to consider, including legislation that would keep the Texas Medical Board and some other state agencies open through the end of the current budget cycle. But it also includes reviving legislation that would preempt local governments from passing ordinances that protect transgender bathroom access. That’s been a legislative priority of the conservative governor, but the controversial proposal stalled during the recent legislative biennium. [The Texas Tribune; The New York Times]

What’s the first U.S. state to pass laws implementing parts of the Paris climate agreement? Hawaii Gov. David Ige said it’s his state, which passed two pieces of legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and establish a Carbon Farming Task Force to improve soil health. Hawaii’s move comes after President Trump began the process of extricating the U.S. from the multinational agreement by 2020. The state’s energy sector has a goal of 100 percent renewable energy generation by 2025. [Pacific Business News]

California lawmakers are struggling to pass legislation that would ensure 12 months of identity theft protection for the victims of any government data breach, standard protocol in the private sector, because of the cost to struggling state and local governments. Determining agency liability in an era of shared federal-state data centers complicates matters further. [Los Angeles Times]

House lawmakers in Maine voted Tuesday to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would impose a refundable 5-cent deposit on small-sized liquor bottles known as “nips.” LePage said that if the Senate agrees to the override, he’ll see to it that sales of the 50-milliliter booze bottles is ended. Supporters of the bill say it would help cut down on roadside litter by encouraging people to return the bottles to get a nickel. Nip sales have grown dramatically in Maine in recent years. In his veto letter, LePage said that the bill failed to address the issue of drunk driving. [Portland Press Herald]

Lawmakers in New Jersey want to shed more light on the fees that the state pays to the outside managers of some public employee pension investments. Last year, New Jersey shelled out nearly $620 million for the fees. A bill that won bipartisan approval in a state Assembly committee earlier this week would require the state to disclose the payments online. The state’s outside pension fund managers typically oversee so-called alternative investments, like hedge funds. The payments compensate the managers for basic management duties and reward good investment performance. [NJ Spotlight]

CITY HALLS | Several mayors in Utah’s Salt Lake County are arguing that state leaders have too much influence over how a portion of sales taxes collected in the county gets distributed. The mayors asked county council members on Tuesday to reconsider how $47 million for roads would be spent. "South Jordan was awarded $1.5 million," said the city’s mayor, Dave Alvord. "We don't know what project this was for. We weren't asked." Holladay Mayor Rob Dahle said the current process for distributing the sales tax revenues is "surprisingly political." He added: "Certain municipalities have gotten—a lion's share would be an understatement.” [The Salt Lake Tribune]

The city of Philadelphia spent $50 million over the last three years on construction, design and planning for a new police headquarters. The plans were so detailed that even the types of trees that would be planted on the grounds of the West Philadelphia building had been chosen. Last month, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the city would be abandoning those plans in favor of moving the headquarters to a different location. It remains to be seen whether or not the money that has already spent can be recouped. []

The San Diego City Council is getting a civics lesson when it comes to the city budget and the limits of its power in a strong-mayor system, adopted in 2006. On Monday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed part of the council’s budget and added money to it, an action that prompted councilmembers during a meeting to study Charter Section 69, which gives the mayor the power to “either approve, veto, or modify any line item approved by the Council.” That’s a power that many people in city hall didn’t realize that Faulconer had. The city attorney, Mara Elliott, said during the meeting: “So Deputy City Attorney Brant Will just said the mayor can change whatever he wants. That’s the easiest summation of Charter Section 69.” [Voice of San Diego]

FLEET MANAGEMENT | An audit of West Virginia’s Fleet Management Office found nearly half of its 3,720 vehicles were underused based on mileage data only available for half the fleet. The minimum use requirement is 1,100 miles driven monthly, and 42 percent of vehicles failed to meet the standard. The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety had the most underused vehicles—515 out of 1,435. [West Virginia Public Broadcasting]