Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Philadelphia’s health commissioner asks residents to avoid beaches … Kentucky courts freeze hiring … Texas’ high courts rejects wider use of vote-by-mail ballots.
As the coronavirus pandemic drags on and some states begin loosening restrictions, a national survey found that fewer American adults are describing themselves as feeling very worried. The Gallup survey has asked people three times about how they felt the previous day. In late March, almost 60% described themselves as feeling “a lot” of worry (while 67% still described feeling happy as well). In the latest online survey, taken from late April through May 10, the percentage of people saying they were worried dropped to 47%, while 72% described themselves as feeling happy the day before. The one constant: The survey has repeatedly found about a quarter of respondents said they experienced a lot of loneliness. The survey did find some real differences in the responses of people who are living at different income levels. People with household incomes of less than $36,000 were more apt (58%) to say they felt worried for much of the previous day, compared to 44% of respondents with household incomes between $36,000 and $90,000. [Gallup]
TEMPTING BEACHES | Philadelphia’s health commissioner pleaded with residents to resist going to the beach during the Memorial Day weekend, saying even though New Jersey and Maryland had reopened their shores it isn’t the best idea this year, as beaches could end up really crowded with people anxious to get out after spending weeks inside. “Don’t go to the beach,” said Public Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. “It’s very tempting. You might have gone to the beach every Memorial Day Weekend for years. But this is not the time to do that.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]
JUDICIAL HIRING FREEZE | The Kentucky Supreme Court issued a statewide hiring freeze for the judicial branch on Friday. Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said that the measure is to prevent layoffs or furloughs of judges, clerks, and other court workers. “While we’ve had to create a road map for court operations during a pandemic, we have years of experience in handling a financial downturn. As painful as our cost-saving measures were during the Great Recession, the lean years of the mid-2000s prepared us for the fiscal challenges to come,” he said. [Bowling Green Daily News]
VOTING BY MAIL | Texas has once again changed its rules for voting through mail-in ballots as the state Supreme Court blocked a lower court decision that would have allowed voters to cite their susceptibility to coronavirus as a disability that qualified them for absentee ballots. State Attorney General Ken Paxton argued against the lower court decision, saying that the legislature should make decisions about vote-by-mail eligibility. [Texas Tribune]
LOS ANGELES FIRE | A massive fire in a commercial building in Los Angeles over the weekend left 12 firefighters injured. Two of them are hospitalized in critical but stable condition, said Nicholas Prange, a fire department spokesman. “Injuries are very serious but not deteriorating and not expected to deteriorate. It is serious, but stable, and they’re expected to survive,” he said. [New York Times]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor at Route Fifty. Emma Coleman is the assistant editor at Route Fifty.
NEXT STORY: Cutbacks in a Crisis: Seven Ways to Do It Right