Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Austin bombings keep residents on high alert; Ariz. teachers plan sickout; D.C. mayor vs. Marco Rubio; San Francisco’s fur ban; and more tech jobs are heading to Missoula.
Here are state and local government news that caught Route Fifty’s attention ...
LAW ENFORCEMENT | The Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian board that oversees the police department in the nation’s second most-populous city, unanimously voted to make video captured by body-worn cameras available to the public, marking a “dramatic turnaround for a department that refused to make such footage public even as it rolled out thousands of body cameras to officers in recent years,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The new policy mandates that the LAPD make video available within 45 days of when a particular incident happens. [Los Angeles Times; KNBC-TV / NBC Los Angeles]
Local officials, law enforcement and residents in Austin, Texas remain on high alert after another package explosion happened, this time at a FedEx distribution facility Tuesday morning in a San Antonio suburb. It was the fifth recent explosion happen in the region that authorities believe are likely connected. The first three explosions involved packages, killing two Austin residents. The fourth, which happened Sunday night, involved a tripwire, according to law enforcement. “It seems like it can be anything now,” according to Austin resident Jackie Rylander told KUT News. “And it’s just not worth changing your life for. You gotta still live.” The city remains on edge as authorities urge residents to be on the the lookout for suspicious packages and unexpected deliveries. Reports of an explosion Tuesday night at an Austin-area Goodwill store turned out to be an unrelated car fire at the location. Police gave an all-clear at a Whole Foods store on Tuesday after a report of a suspicious package which turned out to be an abandoned suitcase. [KUT News; Austin American-Statesman; KXAN-TV]
In Massachusetts, 21 state police troopers have been under investigation for skipping enforcement overtime shifts that were part of Accident and Injury Reduction Effort road patrols. That including one trooper who missed around 100 shifts, according to a state audit. [Springfield Republican / MassLive.com]
PUBLIC EDUCATION | With Oklahoma’s poorly paid public school teachers threatening to walk off the job on April 2 if they don’t see a pay raise, state lawmakers are discussing a new bipartisan plan behind closed doors that they hope will avert the looming labor action. [KWTV / News9]
Meanwhile in Arizona, where educators have been discussing a possible larger walkout like the one that happened recently in West Virginia and led to an agreement to increase pay, teachers at a Glendale elementary school have agreed to a sick-out on Wednesday. Instead, the teachers will lead a #RedforEd protest at the State Capitol, the “first escalated action” by public educators in Arizona. [The Arizona Republic / AZCentral.com]
- Washington, D.C.: District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, “like a teacher marking up a paper” with red pen, responded this week to a letter U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio had sent her on his desires to make local gun laws in the nation’s capital conform to current federal guidelines. "Stop undermining the safety of our residents just to improve your NRA score," Bowser wrote. [Tampa Bay Times]
- Lansing, Michigan: In a state with plenty of potholes and rough roads in need of repair, Gov. Rick Snyder says that the federal government needs to step up and increase the federal gas tax. “We’ve gone backwards with the federal government in terms of the funding we receive,” the governor said. [Michigan Radio]
- San Francisco, California: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a ban on fur sales inside the city. Although San Francisco isn’t the first city in California to restrict fur sales—Berkeley and West Hollywood have similar bans already in place—it is the largest local government to do so. [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Carson City, Nevada: Officials in Nevada have shuttered 18 state-regulated community-based living arrangement homes after a legislative audit released earlier this year that revealed substandard living conditions. But there’s a regulatory gray area for what the state can do for oversight of privately run homes. [The Nevada Independent]
- Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania: In the Keystone State, “a little-noticed law enacted in 1974 amid fears that farmers were being taxed off their lands and untouched wilderness was being paved over” has given auto-racing legend Mario Andretti a big tax break on his 22,000 square feet Italian-style villa. He isn’t the only property owner to take advantage of the Clean and Green preferential tax assessment program. [The Morning Call]
- Angola, Louisiana: Four corrections employees at the Louisiana State Penitentiary were arrested and resigned and two others were placed on administrative sanction after an investigation into “alleged sexual misconduct, inappropriate relationships and contraband transgressions” at the state prison, according to a Louisiana Department of Corrections spokesman. [The Advocate]
- Missoula, Montana: Local economic development officials are smiling after a New York City-based fitness tech company, CleanPass, announced plans to hire 120 people in Missoula after previously saying they were going hire 50 after opening up an office in Montana’s second most-populous city in January. [Missoulian]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.