Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Reorganization at the National Governors Association ... States consider bills that limit vaccine exemptions … Fire department looks into ‘bike medics’ as new emergency response option.
Florida officials are expressing exasperation with the federal government not providing complete information about Russian intrusion into county voting systems during the 2016 election season. While the hacking attempts have received a good deal of attention since then, a single sentence in the Mueller report has reignited concerns, news outlets have reported. On Friday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio told the New York Times that Russian hackers both broke into one county’s system and had been “in a position” to change voter registration information. Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, added that it doesn’t appear the hackers actually did tamper with data. But state and local officials don’t know which county is referenced in the report. Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed outrage at the fact that nobody in Florida seems to know this key fact. “They won’t tell us which county it was. Are you kidding me? Why would you not have said something immediately?” DeSantis said Thursday, the Tampa Bay Times reported. [New York Times; Tampa Bay Times]
NGA SHAKEUP | Scott Pattison, the executive director of the National Governors Association, has left the organization, The Hill reported. Governors Steve Bullock and Larry Hogan said in an email to staff that Pattison had to leave because of “urgent and unexpected family obligations,” while describing a reorganization for the group. Nikki Guilford, the director of the Office of Management Consulting and Training, is going to take over as interim director. [The Hill]
MENTAL HEALTH | Massachusetts schools are dealing with a serious mental health concerns amongst students and staff. Solutions were sought on Friday at an annual gathering organized by the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association and The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. Administrators, teachers, counselors, coaches, and students convened to discuss how to raise awareness of the issue and potential ways to address it. Earlier in the week, a study was released that identified Massachusetts millennials as more likely to be affected by anxiety and depression than their peers in any other state. The Massachusetts State Senate President announced that mental health will be a priority in the upcoming budget, with an additional $10 million fund for mental health initiatives. Meanwhile in Indiana, a school safety bill was stripped of its provisions for mental health, which would have given schools access to state dollars for mental health programming. [The Boston Globe; WCBV; New England Cable News; IndyStar]
VACCINES | Several states are considering bills that would make it harder for parents to withhold vaccines from their children without a medical reason. In Washington, a bill that would eliminate exemptions to vaccines based on personal or philosophical reasons is headed to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has expressed support for it. California, which has already passed some of the strictest vaccination requirements in the country, is considering a new bill that would also crack down on personal exemptions. In Texas, legislators are calling for more detailed reporting on the number of students who hold vaccine exemptions in an effort to better understand outbreaks of infectious diseases. Many state legislators have cited the 695 reported cases of measles in the country, the largest outbreak since 2000, as the primary reason for new bills. [The Seattle Times; KEYT; The Texas Tribune]
EMERGENCY RESPONDERS | In Sacramento, the fire department has developed a budget that adds a new fleet of emergency medical technicians—on bikes. In crowded urban areas, or during times of high congestion due to festivals or marathons, fire trucks and ambulances often struggle to maneuver around car and pedestrian traffic. Sacramento plans to try a new strategy with bike medics, who will be able to reach patients more quickly and easily. Lst year both the San Francisco and Los Angeles airports launched bike medic pilots to navigate within terminals and parking lots. [CBS Sacramento; The San Francisco Examiner]
Emma Coleman is the Assistant Editor and Laura Maggi is the Managing Editor at Route Fifty.