Connecting state and local government leaders

AT&T’s Lawsuit Challenging Google Fiber Expansion Faces Setback in Louisville

Louisville Metro Hall in Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville Metro Hall in Louisville, Kentucky Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Montana’s wildfire funding running dry; Peoria’s new apprenticeship program; and a N.Y. public information officer’s unfortunate “butt dial.”

Our daily roundup of state and local government news is compiled by Route Fifty’s staff and edited by Michael Grass. Help us crowdsource link gathering: Flag state and local government news using the Twitter hashtags #localgovwire and #stategovwire.

Leading our roundup …

BROADBAND | AT&T’s attempt to sue Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop Google Fiber from quickly accessing local utility poles was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge. At issue is the “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance, which allows internet service providers to get up and running quicker by having them make all the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles without waiting for neighboring providers like AT&T to send workers out to move its wires. AT&T, which takes months to make the same adjustments, attempted to argue the ordinance was invalid. [Courier Journal; Broadcasting & Cable]

Here’s a good reminder that rural economic development isn’t simply about boosting agriculture, it’s about boosting internet speeds, too. "Probably our biggest hurdle in our decision to move back to Wisconsin was that where our family was, we didn’t have access to high speed internet," said Zach Schauf, a native of Barron, Wisconsin who returned to his hometown after living in the Twin Cities. "For our business, 99 percent of our communication is online." [Wisconsin Public Radio]

PUBLIC HEALTH | An association representing Massachusetts retailers said that a Boston City Council proposal that would mandate pharmacies have trained staffed to accept and dispose of used syringes. “The average retail employee is not trained for this . . . the 18- or 19-year-old cashier does not know how to deal with this,” Ryan C. Kearny, general counsel for the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said during the hearing. [The Boston Globe]


Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York

Albany, New York: Working as a government agency’s public information officer can sometimes come with hazards—including butt-dials and hubris—and consequences. [Albany Times-Union]

Carson City, Nevada: A survey of marijuana business owners in Nevada suggests there’s a lot of frustrations dealing with the Silver State’s recreational marketplace. “Taxes, licensing, and other fees have already made it difficult to be profitable,” according to one respondent. [The Nevada Independent]

Helena, Montana: This summer has been a tough one for firefighters, emergency managers and other first responders in Montana who are dealing with a challenging fire season—and the “long duration” blaze in the Lolo National Forest, which currently covers 15,000 acres, isn’t expected to be fully contained until October. What’s worse? The state’s firefighting funds is going to run out by the end of the week. The daily costs of fighting wildfires can range from $300,000 to $1.8 million per day. [@GovernorBullock; KECI-TV / NBC Montana; InciWeb; Associated Press via Missoulian]

Dickinson, North Dakota: There are concerns that Gov. Doug Burgum’s newly appointed State Water Commission lacks any representation from southwest North Dakota, a part of the state that lacks easier access to water and has benefitted from the Southwest Water Pipeline project. “I have no idea what it will mean for all of us. There was a lot of history and knowledge on that commission,” said Mary Massad, the director of the Southwest Water Authority, “we are in uncharted waters.” [Forum News Service via Bismarck Tribune]

Nashville, Tennessee: Check out this podcast, “The Financial Toll of Flooding,” where host Dan LeDuc discusses the flood that devastated Nashville in 2010 with Roger Lindsey, chairman of the Tennessee Association of Floodplain Management and practice leader for Stormwater and Floodplain Management for Nashville’s Metro Water Services, and Laura Lightbody, who directs flood-prepared communities work at The Pew Charitable Trusts. [The Pew Charitable Trusts via @PewStates]


Denver, Colorado: With many city halls on the frontlines of the policy battles regarding U.S. immigration policy, Mayor Michael Hancock is backing a City Council proposal that would stiffen local resistance to federal immigration enforcement actions. The proposal’s sponsors have agreed to, however, continue letting the Denver Sheriff Department notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement when wanted undocumented immigrants are about to be released from its jails. Hancock worried immigration arrests in Denver would increase if ICE felt there was a lack of communication. [The Denver Post]

San Antonio, Texas: City Hall is ADA accessible—but only technically,” and it involves a ramp to the basement where “someone needs to open the door.” But that will change. Newly released designs for accessibility improvements at the historic building include two sloping ramps that will still allow for public gathering space in front of city hall. [NextCity, h/t @MartinLindLA]

Peoria, Illinois: The city’s Innovation Team and Public Works Department are launching a new 24-week apprenticeship program this fall funded in part through AmeriCorps, matching funds from the city and additional money through a state economic development grant. [Peoria Public Radio, h/t @peterkobak]

Miami, Florida: Here’s a cool case study in placemaking and economic development from the Wynwood neighborhood, where in less than two years, The Wynwood Yard “has become a cultural hub that hosts events, fosters local musicians, and offers residencies to more than 15 food, design and retail businesses.” [Knight Foundation, h/t @kwyatt23]

Bloomington, Illinois: The use of a city credit card to fly Mayor Tari Renner’s girlfriend to Japan with him for a sister-cities event is now being investigated by the Illinois State Police. The procurement card was used in the purchase of a $1,836 ticket for Margot Ehrlich. "Even if the city did pay for Margot's ticket, which it did not, it would not have been illegal because she was an official delegate to the once-in-every-decade trip," Renner said. [The Pantagraph]