Connecting state and local government leaders
Also in our State & Local news roundup: Stories from the District of Columbia, San Francisco and Nashville.
Here is today's State & Local news roundup for Wednesday, October 1, 2014 ...
HILLSBORO, Oregon: City Council members on Tuesday passed a 10-percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sales in this city west of Portland even though recreational marijuana is illegal in the state, at least for now. As Luke Hammill of The Oregonian reports, the city is the third in the state that has taken pre-emptive local legislative action in anticipation of Oregon voters approving Measure 91 in November, which would legalize recreational marijuana.
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia: Local government workers in the nation’s capital are now eligible for up to eight weeks of paid family leave, “a perk few of their counterparts in the private sector get,” Martin Austermuhle of WAMU News reports. District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray made the announcement on Tuesday, which impacts 30,000 D.C. government employees. The family-leave benefits expansion will cost roughly $4 million per year, but won’t require additional funding since local agencies are absorbing the cost, the mayor’s spokeswoman told WAMU.
SAN FRANCISCO, California: State transportation officials have identified the latest and perhaps most serious structural headache with the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span: Steel rods that anchor the bridge span’s tower to its base—that’s 423 steel rods—have been sitting in “1 to 2 inches” of potentially corrosive water. As Jaxon Van Derbeken of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, “Caltrans officials are optimistic that the latest problem with rods in the tower won’t cause serious issues, but concede it should never have been a concern.”
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island: Supporters of a proposed state constitutional convention are trying to lay out a framework that calms fears that such a convention would be used to curtail civil rights in the Ocean State. “We’re trying to get in front of this,” Barry Schiller of Just Reform Rhode Island told Randal Edgar of the Providence Journal. “I personally believe that Rhode Islanders are not poised to take away civil rights.” What’s off limits? Reproductive rights, gun rights and the rights of documented and undocumented immigrants.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam is asking state agencies to cut 7 percent from their budgets. "It's responsible for us, now, to look at a very tough case scenario for the budget," the governor said, according to Tony Gonzales of The Tennesseean. In the state’s budget cycle, agencies usually make their budget presentations before Thanksgiving and the governor submits his budget proposal in late January.