Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Rural hospitals in Texas face strong-arm tactics … Oregon quake response playbook … and a new fire-risk estimation tool.
Good morning, it’s Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is state legislative compensation but scroll down for more from places like Frankfort, Kentucky; Austin, Texas; and Salem, Oregon … ALSO ON ROUTE FIFTY … Cities seek to align “Opportunity Zone” capital with local priorities … Fears raised of “chilling effect” on kids if Trump proposal is adopted … Before states and localities can respond to disasters, FEMA must coordinate advance contracts better.
Let’s get to it …
STATE LEGISLATURES | A highly anticipated report from a special committee examining the compensation of New York state legislators has recommended a 63 percent raise to be phased in over the next three years—from $79,500 to $130,000—while limiting the amount of private employment income those lawmakers can make and legislative stipends. The “committee has the authority to impose those limitations as part of its power to determine compensation,” but the recommendations are expected to lead to legal challenges. [Times Union; New York Daily News] … The Michigan State Senate is expected to take up legislation during its lame-duck session targeting organized labor that would require union members to recertify their organization every two years. [WDET] … A handful of rural Republican state House members in Minnesota are splitting from the party to form a new caucus. [Minnesota Public Radio] … Using online sales tax revenue to fund teacher raises, cracking down on teenagers using vaping devices and raising the state minimum wage to $12 an hour are among the legislative proposals shaping up in South Carolina. [The State]
CITY HALLS | Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed Christina Miller as the city’s new deputy mayor overseeing homelessness initiatives. [Daily Breeze] … Kansas City Mayor Sly James has a side job when he has spare time: Mediating legal disputes. [The Kansas City Star] … Check out the newly redesigned Boston City Council chambers. [Curbed Boston]
PUBLIC HEALTH | Administrators of rural hospitals in Texas say that Blue Cross Blue Shield are using “strong arm” tactics as a way to get them to accept “unfavorable” contracts. [Texas Observer]
DROUGHT | A series of recent storms has brought snowfall to Nevada and other areas of the Colorado River basin but it’s not enough to emerge from the region’s persistent drought. [The Nevada Independent] … Meanwhile in the Midwest, Iowa experienced its wettest fall since 1941, and is no longer dealing with drought conditions. [Radio Iowa]
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | Despite claims from Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and other Republican leaders that conservative policies like the new “right to work” law have been an economic boon and led to job creation, a new report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows that most of the new jobs “were created by companies that were already doing business in the state before the shift toward more conservative policy.” [Louisville Courier-Journal] … The recently released Colorado Business Economic Outlook from the University of Colorado Boulder shows that the Centennial State’s economy will slow in 2019 “but it shouldn’t stumble and fall.” [The Denver Post] … Although New Mexico’s state revenue has seen an “incredible surge,” staff economists are urging caution for elected officials heading into next year. [The Albuquerque Journal]
TRANSPORTATION & MOBILITY | In a first-of-its-kind study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will examine e-scooter injuries in Austin, Texas, focusing on 37 EMS calls and 68 scooter-related injuries from Sept. 8 through Nov. 4. [KUT] … On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to head underground to tour a subway tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn that’s scheduled to close for 15 months of repair work to “personally review the situation.” [The Wall Street Journal] … A pack of dogs roamed Interstate 17 in Phoenix on Monday morning. [@ArizonaDOT]
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT | The Oregon Division of Emergency Management has released an updated the state’s two-week “playbook” for responding to a future megaquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the expected tsunami that will start hitting the coast within 15 minutes. [Statesman Journal; Cascadia Playbook] ... A research scientist at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, working with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been working to create a fire-risk estimation tool that uses satellite technology to “alert fire managers when fuels are abnormally dry.” [Rapid City Journal]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.