Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Miss. official vs. civil service protections … Upstate N.Y. village’s bombastic mayor … Minn. in no hurry to authorize AV testing.
Good morning, it’s Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Pets lead Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup but scroll down for more from places like La Porte, Texas; Solvay, New York; and Long Beach, California. … ALSO ON ROUTE FIFTY … Got the Big City Blues? This Mayor Thinks His Town Can Help. … Why States Should Be Watching Rhode Island’s Election Audit Pilots … Self-Driving Cars Aren’t Going To Fix Our Roadways
Let’s get to it …
STATE LEGISLATURES | Legislation introduced by three Oregon state lawmakers would prohibit landlords from charging additional rent for pets. "I understand the importance of deposits to account for possible tenant pet damage," State Rep. Karin Power told Willamette Week, "but pet rent unfairly increases a tenant's cost to rent without any causal relationship to the impact that their pet may or may not have on the premises. Pet rent simply penalizes pet ownership by charging a premium to those tenants, and can be exorbitant—more than a few hundred dollars a year." [Willamette Week] … The Washington State Senate is looking to expand opportunities for remote testimony, tested out in recent years as part of a pilot program. Last year, remote testimony was used 21 times for legislative hearings, allowing residents to testify without having to travel to Olympia. [KPQ] … Although a task force has put forward proposals that would authorize the testing of autonomous vehicles in Minnesota, “key lawmakers aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to usher in a Silicon Valley-type vision of autonomous Ubers and hands-free commutes.” [MinnPost]
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT | A shelter-in-place alert regarding a “chemical emergency” went out in error in La Porte, Texas on Tuesday. [Houston Chronicle] … Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has appointed Mark Gower, currently the state’s chief of cybersecurity, as the new emergency management director. [The Oklahoman / NewsOK.com] ...
WORKFORCE | Corrections officers in North Carolina are pressing the state lawmakers to “address shortcomings in staffing, equipment and other issues in the wake of attacks that killed five corrections workers in 2017.” [@NCCapitol / WRAL] … Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher thinks civil service protections are too generous and wants state lawmakers to pass rules that would prevent Highway Patrol troopers, Bureau of Narcotics agents and other employees under his jurisdiction from “being able to go to the appeals board to challenge the action taken against them by him and his administrative staff.” [Mississippi Today]
LOCAL GOVERNMENT | The mayor of Solvay, New York, near Syracuse, is “driving the village crazy,” according to one of the five trustees the bombastic mayor call “sourpusses who have had no success in their lives.” In a recent interview with Syracuse.com, Mayor Derek Baichi said, “I don’t have to kiss anyone’s a**. That’s what I love about me: I don’t need anything from anybody. You can’t buy me. You can’t control me. I ain’t afraid of anyone… I fear no man. Want to box me? I’ll box anyone right now. Want to come at me? I’ll come after you in the parking lot.” [Syracuse.com] … Residents of Long Beach, California can take advantage of a new tree-planting program where the city will plant a fruit-bearing tree, including lime, lemon, peach, pomegranate, and avocado, on a property owner’s front lawn, giving priority to more disadvantaged neighborhoods. [Los Angeles Times] … An inquiry by a former U.S. magistrate judge into the public works department in Mobile, Alabama, requested by the City Council, has focused on low pay and allegations of abuse by supervisors. [AL.com]
TRANSPORTATION & MOBILITY | The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority has released four revised concepts for its proposed transit line in the Sepulveda Pass corridor between the San Fernando Valley and L.A.’s Westside, giving commuters a faster alternative to slogging it along Interstate 405, one of the nation’s most congested freeways. [The Source / L.A. Metro] … Durham, North Carolina is adding eight miles of bike lanes, including the city’s first buffered lane downtown. [The Herald Sun] …
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.