Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Atlanta mayor tests positive for Covid-19 … Governors’ businesses got PPP loans ... Black Lives Matter mural defaced.
A new evaluation of suicides in Ohio found that suicide deaths in the state increased by 34% between 2009 and 2018, with rural counties in particular facing serious mental health challenges. The Ohio University analysis found that 37 of Ohio’s 88 counties have suicide rates above the national average. About five people die from suicide daily in Ohio. Mental health experts said the findings underscore that even as state and local governments need to cut budgets because of the coronavirus, they should maintain mental health treatment offerings. In fact, the pressures of the coronavirus, including people feeling isolated and stressed during prolonged unemployment, worry those experts. “If people start to lose hope if they lose jobs or homes … we are quite concerned,” said Tony Coder, the executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation. [Cleveland.com; The Enquirer]
ATLANTA MAYOR | Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus. “COVID-19 has literally hit home. I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive,” Bottoms tweeted. Bottoms told MSNBC that she is still “processing” the diagnosis, saying she decided to get tested because her husband had been sleeping an unusual amount. As they had been following guidelines like frequently washing hands and wearing masks, Bottoms said she was surprised to test positive, as she had just tested negative two weeks before. Bottoms, who plans to work from her home office for the next two weeks, said people shouldn’t just assume minor symptoms couldn’t be the coronavirus. “And as I see this growing list of symptoms, you can’t assume that it’s just seasonal allergies. You can’t assume a mild cough are seasonal allergies,” she said. The mayor is not the first city leader to test positive for the coronavirus. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tested positive in March after a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. One of Bolsonaro’s staff members later discovered he had coronavirus. In Missouri, Summit Mayor Bill Baird also tested positive. [Atlanta Journal Constitution; Talking Points Memo]
GOVERNOR BUSINESSES | At least seven governors are associated with businesses that received money from the federal government’s program to help small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program on Monday released the names of businesses that received at least $150,000 through the program. Businesses owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and his family received between $11 million and $24 million from the program. The PPP provides loans that can be forgivable if a business follows certain guidelines, such as spending a certain percentage of the money on payroll. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, whose family business owns a minor league baseball team in North Carolina, received a more modest loan, which the governor said totalled $189,000. A wine and hospitality company owned by California Gov. Gavin Newsom also received a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000. [ProPublica; Associated Press]
MURAL DEFACED | On the Fourth of July, two white people painted over the Black Lives Matter mural painted on the streets of Martinez, California, which is just north of San Francisco. Justin Gomez, the Martinez resident who painted the mural, said that he was “not so surprised that it happened” but rather was “surprised at how bold they chose to be.” [New York Times]
MASK MANDATE | A group of 10 Democratic state lawmakers sent a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him to put in place a statewide mask order, following the news that the state has surpassed 200,000 coronavirus cases. "This is not a partisan issue; this is an issue of life and death," the letter reads. [WFLX]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor for Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.