Connecting state and local government leaders

Florida Investigators Pinpoint Cause of Destructive Wildfire

Mike Thornburg tries to salvage items from his mother's home after wildfires ravaged the neighborhood in Eastpoint, Fla.

Mike Thornburg tries to salvage items from his mother's home after wildfires ravaged the neighborhood in Eastpoint, Fla. Mark Wallheiser / AP Photo


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Calif. online privacy legislation … N.Y.C. rent hike vote … Cincinnati police cuts restored … and St. Louis targets illegal trash.

Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route FIfty’s attention ...

  • Tallahassee, Florida: State officials announced Wednesday that a prescribed burn conducted by a contractor for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission caused a recent wildfire in the state’s Panhandle, which burned more than 800 acres and destroyed 36 homes in Eastpoint. The investigation into the blaze was led by the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement, which had eliminated other possible causes, according to an announcement from Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has stopped all prescribed burns in the state as its inspector general launches a review of practices. [Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam; Tallahassee Democrat]
  • Sacramento, California: The California State Legislature is set to vote Thursday on new online privacy legislation that would impact how tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Uber collect and monetize consumers' personal data. And that could trigger “a set of changes that could ripple throughout the country.” [The Washington Post]
  • New York City, New York: In a narrow 5-4 vote Wednesday night, the Rent Guidelines Board finalized rent increases on rent-stabilized apartments, lofts and hotels. Around 1 million New York City residents live in rent-stabilized buildings. [Gothamist / WNYC]
  • Clarksville, Tennessee: Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is running for U.S. Senate, said during a Kiwanis Club meeting that the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public utility, should take the lead to expand rural broadband in Tennessee, just as it did with electricity and telephone service 85 years ago. [Tennessean]


  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore labels Milwaukee’s lead prevention efforts a “hot mess.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
  • Bellevue, Washington: An autonomous vehicle transit network called CommutePool, accessed with an Amazon-developed smartphone app, is being planned for major employment centers in Seattle’s neighboring Eastside cities with a goal of launching in mid-2019. [Seattle Transit Blog]
(Cincinnati City Hall)
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: The Cincinnati City Council restores some cuts to police funding after a rebuke from Mayor John Cranley. [WCPO]
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: Minnesotans can now buy lottery tickets with a smartphone but there’s fierce resistance from legislators and anti-gambling activists. [Star Tribune]
  • Houghton County, Michigan: The Michigan Department of Transportation has requested emergency funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation to repair roads damaged by recent flash flooding. [UpperMichiganSource]
  • San Mateo County, California: The Board of Supervisors approved spending nearly $800,000 on legal aid for undocumented immigrants. [Bay Area News Group]
  • St. Louis, Missouri: St. Louis targets illegal trash dumping, but residents don’t think it’s enough. [St. Louis Public Radio]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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