State and Local Weekend Digest: Hawaii’s Girl Scout Cookie Tax; Ala. Prison Riot Video

Sheila Fitzgerald /


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Also in our news roundup: Tulsa’s music dreams; testing for toxins in Flint’s dogs; and Rhode Island toll bridge scofflaws.

TAXES | The Aloha State might soon be the only state that applies a sales tax on Girl Scout cookies . Idaho lawmakers are considering legislation that would do away with their state’s sales tax when it comes to Girl Scout cookies and if they do, Hawaii would be the lone outlier when it comes to taxing the cookies. On the island of Oahu, where Honolulu is located, the general excise tax is 4.5 percent, meaning that the state collects 22.5 cents for every $5 box of Girl Scout Cookies. [ Pacific Business News ]

CORRECTIONS | The Holman Correctional Facility went on lockdown on Saturday following prisoner unrest that involved 100 of the facility’s 800 inmates and resulted in the stabbing of the prison warden and a corrections staff member. Graphic video footage from inside the prison during the riot was posted to social media. [ Montgomery Advertiser ]

WATER CONSERVATION | Mandated restrictions on water consumption aren’t limited to drought-ravaged Western states. Officials in this Minneapolis suburb are warning residents that pumping capacity is extremely limited and that the city must cut back on consumption to maintain enough water for basic services and fire protection. [ Star Tribune ]

MUNICIPAL MANAGEMENT | This Los Angeles County jurisdiction is a place where professional city management has collided with local politics in a bad way. The long-time city manager was reportedly ousted by the mayor and mayor pro tem and replaced by the controversial former police chief, who is a convicted felon. A special meeting of the Hawaiian Gardens City Council on Friday turned into a massive yelling match. [ Hews Media Group ]

ANIMAL WELFARE | Amid all the worries and fears over lead poisoning from Flint’s municipal water system, local dog owners have concerns whether their canine friends have been harmed, too. The Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine offered free testing for Flint’s dogs earlier this month and plans to offer the testing again on March 19 with hopes to test 150 to 200 canines. [ The Flint Journal / ]

INFRASTRUCTURE | The recently opened terminal station of the No. 7 subway line’s extension to 11th Avenue and 34th Street on Manhattan’s Far West Side is already showing signs of deterioration . There are areas of water infiltration and escalators are breaking down as well—“the lack of stairs to the mezzanine level now feels like a glaring omission.” [ Second Avenue Sagas ]

TOLL COLLECTION | Ocean State residents who drive over Newport Pell Bridge without paying the toll could face trouble down the road with driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. Pending legislation would allow the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to report toll scofflaws to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which could deny services until unpaid toll bills are resolved. [ Providence Journal ]

PUBLIC CORRUPTION | Judge Arnold O Jones II is seeking voter support to give him another eight-year term on a Superior Court bench in Wayne County. But even as Jones name is on the ballot in this week’s election, the judge is also facing federal charges where he stands accused of bribing a deputy sheriff. If found guilty, the judge could face up to 37 years in prison. [ WRAL-TV / @NCCapitol ]

TOURISM DEVELOPMENT | Oklahoma’s second-largest city has a vision of being a major music tourism destination . With the recent announcement that the Bob Dylan Archives would be coming to Tulsa, along with the Woodie Guthrie Center and OKPOP museum, local officials have hopes that the city will be a draw for music scholars, historians and other visitors. [ The Tulsa World ]

ENVIRONMENT | There’s some great news coming from the White Salmon River upstream from the former Condit Dam, which was removed in 2011 as part of an effort to re-establish fish migration patterns. Pacific lamprey have been discovered above the site of the dam, which previously blocked the native fish from swimming upstream. [ Yakima Herald ]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty. (Photo by Sheila Fitzgerald /

NEXT STORY: Is Public Corruption Becoming More or Less Common in the U.S.?