Connecting state and local government leaders

Zinke Plan Would Reduce Size of 6 National Monuments

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP: Cuomo’s new state requirements for credit-reporting agencies in N.Y.; working to stop chronic shoplifting in Alaska; and court affirms ruling in Minneapolis sick-leave ordinance lawsuit.

Our state and local government news roundup is compiled by Route Fifty’s staff and edited by Michael Grass. Help us crowdsource our daily links, flagging them with these hashtags: #stategovwire and #localgovwire

Our roundup follows below …

SPECIAL VIEWCAST | Join Route Fifty and Government Executive Media Group for a special digital event on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2-3 p.m. ET / 11 a.m.-12 noon PT live from Washington, D.C. We’ll featuring a discussion about the federal government and its current relations with states, counties and municipalities. Included in our discussion: Clarence Anthony, executive director of the National League of Cities; Matthew Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties; and Scott Pattison, executive director and CEO of the National Governors Association. [REGISTER]

Leading our roundup ...

NATIONAL MONUMENTS | Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending size reductions for six of 27 national monuments included in a review President Trump ordered earlier this year. Zinke is proposing changes to several other monuments as well. The recommendations are outlined in a report that leaked to The Associated Press and other news outlets. The monuments that Zike calls for shrinking include two in Utah—Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante—along with Nevada’s Gold Butte, Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou and two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean. [The Associated Press; The Washington Post]

INFRASTRUCTURE | During the recent flood disaster in Houston when Hurricane Harvey stalled out over southeastern Texas, one of the most consequential flood-management decisions came from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open the Addicks and Barker reservoirs on the west side of the city. Originally constructed in the 1940s to control floodwaters entering Buffalo Bayou, which flows through the nation’s fourth-largest city, the Army Corps opened the floodgates fearing that there could be an uncontrolled release of water due to Harvey’s excessive rainfall. That decision to open the reservoirs raised the water level in the nearby Memorial neighborhood. An elderly couple died as the waters rose. "I just want the public to know that the government really screwed up—royally," according to the president of the homeowners association where the two died. [Houston Chronicle]


New York City, New York: The massive Equifax cyber breach has prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to announce new requirements for credit-reporting agencies, including registering with the state’s Department of Financial Services and comply with the state’s “first-in-the-nation cybersecurity standard.” And, according to Cuomo’s announcement, the DFS superintendent “may refuse to renew a consumer credit reporting agency's registration if the Superintendent finds that the applicant or any member, principal, officer or director of the applicant, is not trustworthy and competent to act as or in connection with a consumer credit reporting agency, or that the agency has given cause for revocation or suspension of such registration, or has failed to comply with any minimum standard.” [N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo; Reuters]

Sacramento, California: In “their mad dash” to meet Friday’s legislative deadline, California state lawmakers approved a few proposals related to health care, including a first-in-the-nation drug price hike transparency bill, but they “pushed off a decision on single-payer health care.” [California Healthline]

Santa Fe, New Mexico: The state’s rate of people who lack health insurance dropped by half since 2011, according to Census Bureau figures released last week. “A decade ago, New Mexico struggled with the second-highest rate of residents who did not have health insurance, topped only by Texas.” [New Mexico In Depth]


Minneapolis, Minnesota: A Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling has affirmed a lower court’s upholding of a local sick leave ordinance that went into effect in Minneapolis on July 1. That ordinance requires employers in the city to provide employees with one paid sick hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours a year. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce had filed suit over the local ordinance, saying that it is preempted by state law. If appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the case could have “ramifications outside the city.” Next door, St. Paul has a similar ordinance and Duluth is considering one, too. [Star Tribune]

Juneau, Alaska: A pilot project underway in Alaska’s capital city aims to reduce the rate of shoplifting among repeat offenders. Instead of prosecuting, a group of 40 or 50 repeat shoplifters will be put in a diversionary program where their misdemeanor is dismissed if they work with a caseworker and pay restitution. “It comes at a time when the state is grappling with how best to effectively deter crime in time of vast budget shortfalls.” [Alaska Dispatch News]

Clark County, Idaho: The population of this rural county, which sits along a portion of the Bitterroot Range, is the Gem State’s smallest and is shrinking. The county has an estimated 860 residents spread across about 1,800 square miles. Bonnie Burns, 83, has lived in there nearly all her life. “There’s a lot of ranches in the area, but a lot of the ranches have been sold to out-of-town folks,” she said. “We’ve lost a lot of families that way.” County Commissioner Nick Hillman says it can be tough filling positions within the local government. “We have a hard time keeping people on our boards—the library board, the school board, different things like that,” Hillman said. “It’s really hard to find people.” [Idaho Post Register via Idaho Statesman]

Boston, Massachusetts: A “full-fledged geyser” emerged from Boston Common on Monday following a work crew striking a water main and shot skyward for more than an hour. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission reported that the force of the water was so high since the water main was a high-pressure one. [The Boston Globe]