Connecting state and local government leaders

Rhode Island Runs Out of Money for Electric Car Incentives

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Aerial drones for San Francisco firefighters; Miami raw sewage problems; and a price-tag for Lansing’s city hall.

STATE GOVERNMENT | State funding has run out for a year-old program from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources that provided incentives for drivers of electric cars, up to $2,500 in rebates, depending on the battery capacity. The Driving Rhode Island to Vehicle Electrification has provided $575,000 in incentives to 250 participants and it helped boost electric car ownership by 55 percent in the state. There are hopes to restart the program when new funding is available. [ Rhode Island Public Radio ]

LOCAL ELECTIONS | Seattle is on track to elect a female mayor for the first time in 91 years. As votes in the city’s mayoral primary were tallied Tuesday, former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan held a sizable lead over a 21-candidate field with 31.6 percent of the vote. Urban planner Cary Moon and educator and attorney Nikkita Oliver followed behind, separated by a tight margin, with 15.6 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively. The top two finishers in the primary will advance to the Nov. 7 general election. The last woman to serve as mayor in Seattle was Bertha Knight Landes , who was elected in 1926. [ The Seattle Times , ]

FIREFIGHTING | San Francisco firefighters could be flying aerial drones by the end of the year to get an overhead view of burning structures, disaster scenes and rescue situations. Fire Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese pressured Assistant Deputy Chief Shane Francisco last week to finish a policy that would guide the use of drones. “We can do better at saving lives if we have these things, that should be the only question,” Veronese said. Francisco noted: “You have a lot of privacy concerns here in The City, people worrying about spying and so forth, but rest assured the policy addresses that and drones would not be permitted for that type of use.” The fire department is one of five in the city drafting aerial drone policies. [ San Francisco Examiner ]

HEALTH CARE | In a “sharply worded” Wall Street Journal op-ed, Maine Gov. Paul LePage took his state’s two U.S. senators, Republican Susan Collins and Independent Angus King, to task for their votes against the GOP health care bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act , calling them “ downright dangerous .” In a recent radio interview, the governor called Collins uninformed. “I have great admiration for Senator Collins. I think when she is well-briefed on an issue, most of the time she will take a reasonable vote,” LePage, also a Republican, said. “But when she is not familiar with what’s happening in her state and she is looking at the national stage, and only the national stage, she makes a lot of errors.” [ The Wall Street Journal ; Portland Press Herald ; Politico ]


Allentown, Pennsylvania: Since Mayor Ed Pawlowski pleaded not guilty last week to federal corruption charges in what prosecutors say was a play-to-pay scheme involving contracting and campaign contributions, residents in Pennsylvania’s third-largest city are asking what’s comes next. Said Lehigh County Commissioner David Jones : "I don't think he has the moral authority to lead the city any longer." [ Keystone Crossroads / WHYY ; Morning Call ]

Miami-Dade County, Florida: The county is taking action to address reports that a massive outfall pipe near Virginia Key is leaking sewage. An environmental group says that officials have ignored the problem for a year. The pipe can pump up to 143 million gallons of sewage a day and is supposed to dump the waste at least 3.5 miles from shore in 100-foot deep water. But there are reports that it is spewing sewage closer to shore. [ Miami Herald ]

Sacramento, California: State legislation supported by app-based ride-booking services Lyft and Uber would simplify business licensing for drivers , allowing them to have one license statewide versus individual licenses across the jurisdictions they operate in. [ Los Angeles Times ]

Lansing, Michigan: A request for proposals process is underway to sell and redevelop Lansing’s City Hall , which sits across the street from the State Capitol. The asking price for the municipal real estate? $4.2 million , according to a document. But the quick timeline for redevelopment has taken some by surprise. [ Lansing State Journal ]

Savannah, Georgia: According to City Manager Rob Hernandez , the police department will match job offers from competing agencies in a bid to keep officers in the Savannah-Chatham police force. “So if that means I have to pay them ($4,000) to retain that individual, that’s money well spent and I’m willing to do that,” he said during a neighborhood association meeting. [ Savannah Morning News / Savannah Now ]