Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | New Mexico’s ‘no trespassing’ order for U.S. Border Patrol; opening the door to S.C. reparations; Nashville mayor resigns; and Lake Superior's high water level may hit all-time record.
Here are state and local government stories that caught our attention …
PUBLIC EDUCATION | Teachers in West Virginia ended their statewide strike on Tuesday after Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that will give public educators and other state employees an average 5-percent pay increase. “We have to move away from the idea that education is a necessary evil that just has to be funded,” the governor said. Meanwhile in Oklahoma, home to some of the nation’s worst-paid teachers, the Oklahoma Education Association gave an ultimatum to the state legislature: Act by April 23 or “face a full work stoppage.” But the 5 percent pay increase that West Virginia teachers will be getting won’t be enough to make up for the years Oklahoma teachers didn't see pay raises. “It would take a $6,000 teacher pay raise right now just to make up the difference what they've lost over the last 10 years,” according to Katherine Bishop, the vice president of the Oklahoma Education Association. The labor action in West Virginia has also “lit some fires” among teachers in Kentucky, where the strike has been “a subject of everyday water cooler conversation.” [WV Metro News; Tulsa World; KFOR-TV; Bloomberg]
CITY HALLS | Megan Barry, the embattled mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, resigned on Tuesday as part of a plea deal with prosecutors after pleading guilty to felony theft charges related to her extramarital affair with a police officer assigned to her security detail. Vice Mayor David Briley was sworn in as her replacement. [The Tennessean]
A police union leader in Denver is calling on Mayor Michael Hancock, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment, to step down. [KMGH-TV / The Denver Channel]
Hundreds of students in Baltimore walked out of schools on Tuesday and marched on City Hall to protest gun violence and to honor the victims of the recent shooting massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa addressed the students, many who participated in a 17-minute “lie in” on a plaza outside City Hall. "America needs to hear the voices of the young people of Baltimore," Pugh said. [The Baltimore Sun]
And in West Haven, Connecticut, municipal and state leaders gathered with local clergy outside City Hall on Tuesday to observe “Black Balloon Day,” meant to honor the victims of the opioid abuse crisis. [New Haven Register]
BORDER SECURITY | New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn posted a “No Trespassing” sign on Tuesday along a dirt road used by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Dunn is demanding that the federal government pay for accessing a one-mile stretch of border where a barrier was constructed on state trust lands. [The Albuquerque Journal]
STATE LEGISLATURES | After an emotional debate at the Hawaii State Capitol on Tuesday, state House lawmakers approved a bill that allow terminally ill patients will less than six months to live to “request prescriptions for lethal doses of medication” to end their life. The measure is expected to be approved by state Senate lawmakers. [Honolulu Star Advertiser]
South Carolina state Sen. Marlon Kimpson said on Monday that if an effort to introduce changes to the state’s constitution gains traction, he’ll push for language to address reparations for African-Americans.
Rhode Island’s state fire marshal was called to the State Capitol to “assure the corridors remained open” on Tuesday after hundreds of Second Amendment supporters swarmed on the Ocean State’s seat of government. [The Providence Journal]
A resolution approved by the Idaho state Senate lawmakers could lead to the entirety of the Gem State being moved to a single time zone. Southern Idaho is currently on the Mountain Time Zone while northern part of the state is in the Pacific Time Zone. [Boise State Public Radio]
TRANSPORTATION | The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to revisit a case brought by the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit with Windsor, Ontario, who has been trying to stop the construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, a new international crossing two miles downriver from the heavily-trafficked span built in 1929. [Detroit Free Press]
The League of American Bicyclists has given gold-level status to the District of Columbia for “creating a safe and convenient biking environment.” The nation’s capital now has the highest-such rating of any large East Coast city. [Greater Greater Washington]
PARKS AND RECREATION | A Silicon Valley tech billionaire who wants to close off public access to “a secluded crescent-shaped stretch of sand and bluffs” along the California coast could undo the California Coastal Act, a law that makes beach access a “a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone,” if the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Vinod Khosla’s challenge of the act and rules in his favor. If the case makes it to the high court, “it would put into question long-established land use procedures and any state's power to regulate development anywhere.” [Los Angeles Times]
WATER | As of March 1, Lake Superior was 13 inches above normal, the second-highest water level on record for that date. If the current wet weather trend continues into the summer, the lake could lead to “all-time record high levels for the lake by August or September,” when lake levels are usually at their highest. [Duluth News-Tribune]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.