Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Santa Barbara leaders scold Lime over “rouge” launch … Philadelphia construction tax … and a Michigan “zombie deer.”
Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention ...
- SeaTac, Washington: Standing outside a federal detention facility near Seattle on Thursday, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, joined by Gov. Jay Inslee, announced that Washington will lead a coalition of states in a forthcoming lawsuit against the Trump administration over its “zero tolerance” policy of separating families during unauthorized border crossings. The new lawsuit would be Ferguson’s 27th against the Trump administration. His office has seen “nine legal victories thus far and has not lost a case against the Administration.” Joining Washington in the suit are Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. [The Seattle Times; Attorney General Bob Ferguson]
- Tornillo, Texas: On Thursday, a U.S. Conference of Mayors-organized delegation of city hall leaders was turned back from a federal detention center for children separated from their parents when they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. “It is time to reunify families, and it is time to fix a broken immigration system. We must do those two things,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was joined by a bipartisan group of mayors, including Seattle’s Jenny Durkan, Rochester Hills, Michigan’s Bryan Barnett, Anaheim, California’s Tom Tait, Gary, Indiana’s Karen Freeman-Walker and Columbia, South Carolina’s Steve Benjamin, the current USCM president. [Los Angeles Times; U.S. Conference of Mayors]
- Atlanta, Georgia: Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms said Thursday that the city has turned away nine people facing deportation since she signed an executive order on Wednesday that bars the Atlanta City Detention Center from taking any new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees. Atlanta’s detention center currently has 200 ICE detainees who are facing deportation. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
- Salem, Oregon: Seven state, county and municipal employees in Oregon filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kate Brown, the director of the state’s Department of Administrative Services and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 75 this week over “fair-share payments”—fees that public employees are required to pay to a union that bargains on their behalf. The group is represented by the anti-union Freedom Foundation. [Oregon Public Broadcasting]
- Augusta, Maine: The nation’s first statewide election using ranked-choice voting, used for the Maine’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, has concluded after “days of scanning, downloading and certifying ballots” from the June 12 election. State Attorney General Janet Mills won 54.1 percent of the vote in the seven-person primary. [Portland Press-Herald]
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A proposed 1 percent construction tax that would fund affordable housing “squeezed past with a 9-8 vote in favor” from the Philadelphia City Council, despite concerns from Mayor Jim Kenney, who could veto the measure. “I’m committed to increasing Philadelphia’s affordable-housing stock and to promoting equitable growth, but I have concerns about this particular piece of legislation,” the mayor said in a statement. “Philadelphia is already considered by many to have a pretty onerous tax system and it is certainly not clear that adding another tax is the best way to address our housing crisis.” [PlanPhilly via WHYY; The Inquirer / Philly.com]
- Santa Barbara, California: Dockless bike- and scooter-share company Lime has not made many friends at Santa Barbara City Hall after launching an electric scooter-share program without permission. This week, the City Council on Tuesday approved an emergency ordinance that directs municipal staff to launch a one-year pilot program for permitting and regulating electric scooters, but not before giving a company representative an earful over what Mayor Cathy Murillo described was a “rouge launch.” Said Gregg Hart, who chairs the council’s finance committee: “The city staff told you not to do that, that we were working through the city staff process to develop an ordinance locally and you made the decision to go ahead and do it anyway." [KEYT]
- Albany, New York: A Rochester-based U.S. District Court judge this week ruled against a lawyer’s bid to receive compensation for oil-and-gas rights on his land that he “claimed were unconstitutionally taken from him when New York banned fracking in 2014.” [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle]
- Jackson, Michigan: Although they’re waiting for confirmation, officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources believe a “zombie deer” that died in Spring Arbor Township likely had chronic wasting disease. [Detroit Free Press]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.