Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | People in flooded Florida neighborhoods waited for rescue on Thursday, the day after Hurricane Sally slammed coast … Salt Lake City considers new restrictions on military equipment purchases by police … Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly suggested prosecutors charge Seattle mayor.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials told the New York Times that agency scientists did not write the much-criticized guidance on the agency’s website about who should be tested for the virus that causes Covid-19. The guidance said people who had been exposed to somebody who tested positive didn’t need to get tested if they didn’t have symptoms of the disease. This runs counter to many experts who are advocating broad testing to catch possible asymptomatic spreaders of the respiratory illness. For example, Dr. Leana Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner, last month said she couldn’t understand the new guidance. "These are exactly the people who should be tested," Wen said. CDC officials told the Times, which also obtained internal documents, that this guidance did not go through the regular review process for the agency and was instead written by the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House task force. New guidance expected out on Friday also is being vetted by DHS officials, the Times reported. [New York Times]
TRAPPED BY FLOODS | The day after Hurricane Sally slowly moved over the Gulf Coast, hundreds of people in the Florida panhandle were waiting to be rescued from homes surrounded by floodwater on Thursday. The powerful storm brought not only wind, but heavy rains to the region, driving river levels up and flooding neighborhoods in Alabama and Florida before moving on to Georgia. At least one person died in Orange Beach, Alabama. “While it could be much worse, it’s been mighty bad,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said. [Montgomery Advertiser; Pensacola News Journal; New York Times]
ACA LAWSUIT | A group of West Virginia doctors wrote to the state’s attorney general, asking him to withdraw the state’s support for a federal lawsuit seeking to toss the Affordable Care Act. One of the doctors, Dan Doyle, said said that “even before the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of West Virginians were struggling with diabetes, heart disease, Black Lung, and addiction,” and asked if the state would “pick up the tab” for their medical costs if the ACA is thrown out. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he “remains deeply committed to ensuring health care coverage for those with pre-existing conditions” and criticized what he called the ACA’s “unmanageable, skyrocketing premiums and its unconstitutional individual mandate.” [WVVA]
MILITARY SUPPLIES | The Salt Lake City Council is considering a proposition that would bar the police department from using city funds to purchase military-grade equipment like weaponized drones, combat aircraft, grenade launchers, silencers, and armored vehicles. For donations of military surplus items, the police department would need to formally explain why they need the supplies and let the request go out for public comment. [Salt Lake Tribune]
SEATTLE MAYOR | U.S. Attorney General William Barr asked federal prosecutors to look into whether Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan could be charged for allowing protesters to establish a zone without police for a month during protests this summer, the New York Times reported. A Justice Department spokesperson denied Barr did this. In response, Durkan, a former U.S. Attorney, said, “the DOJ cannot become a political weapon operated at the behest of the president to target those who have spoken out against his actions. That is an act of tyranny, not of democracy.” [New York Times; The Hill]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.