Vermont Governor’s Wife Depicts Reporters as Feral Cows; Another Controversial North Carolina Bill

A portion of an art display by Katie Hunt, wife of Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, which she says is a satire of their lives and now sits in his office.

A portion of an art display by Katie Hunt, wife of Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, which she says is a satire of their lives and now sits in his office. Wilson Ring / AP Photo

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Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Pennsylvania closes in on liquor system overhaul; Alaskans might not get as much money from the state government this year; and Colin forces St. Petersburg sewage dumping.

MONTPELIER, VERMONT
ART | Paper-mache sculptures made by Gov. Peter Shumlin’s wife, Katie Hunt, that are now on display in Vermont’s Statehouse depict reporters as cows with razor sharp teeth and the governor as a peacock holding a rifle, standing next to a disemboweled deer. "My work is meant to serve as a satirical look at everything in current life, including myself, my husband, the press, and others," Hunt said in a statement. She herself is represented by a cow in high heels, standing across from the menacing pack of bovine journalists. “Too young, too reserved,” is written in a note in front of one cow reporter. When Shumlin became engaged to Hunt last year, he was 59 and she was 31. Hunt created the art as part of a senior thesis project at Mount Holyoke College. “It is the governor’s office, and I think it’s appropriate for him to display what he’d like in there,” a Shumlin spokesman said. [Burlington Free Press]

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TRANSPARENCY | State House lawmakers are pushing a bill that would prevent police body and dashboard camera videos from having to be released to the public upon request. Interrogation videos are not covered. "This bill provides that the only right a citizen has to get access to that video is by filing a lawsuit, and that's prohibitively expensive," said North Carolina Open Government Director Jonathan Jones. "We know from the public records law, which also has a similar provision, that citizens are unable to file those lawsuits." [WRAL-TV]

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA
ALCOHOL | Sweeping legislation headed for Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk would overhaul Pennsylvania’s 1930s-era liquor system by permitting private wine sales, lengthening store hours and allowing 24/7 service at casinos. Opponents worry the bill would privatize the system, phasing out state stores, but supporters point to an estimated $150 million in additional revenue. Wolf hasn’t weighed in on whether or not he’ll sign. [PennLive]

JUNEAU, ALASKA
STATE BUDGET | Annual payments Alaskans receive from the state, which are derived from the investment of mineral royalty earnings, would take a hit under a bill the state Senate passed Monday. The legislation calls for so-called dividend checks to be set at $1,000, far below last year’s level of $2,078. Gov. Bill Walker applauded the bill’s approval, which will next be considered by House lawmakers. Alaska is facing a roughly $4-billion budget gap. The state’s finances have come under pressure as oil output has declined there in recent years. [Alaska Dispatch News]

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
WASTEWATER | St. Petersburg dumped at least two million gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay beginning on Tuesday, due to heavy rains. Between Sunday and Tuesday, Tropical Storm Colin drenched parts of the region on Florida’s west coast, where St. Petersburg is located. Sewage infrastructure there is old, and wastewater was also dumped into Boca Ciega Bay and Tampa Bay last year after rain events. Some city councilmembers would like to see St. Petersburg’s remaining portion of the $6.5 million it received in settlement funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill go toward upgrades. But Mayor Rick Kriseman would like to see the money cover other costs, such as ferry service, a bike share program and a marine-science research vessel. [Tampa Bay Times]

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS
OPIOID EPIDEMIC | Six New England governors called for greater prescription control in the opioid epidemic, asking health care professionals to help determine painkiller regulations. Setting a prescription or pill limit is high on their to-do list. “You all as prescribers have the key to the solution of this problem,” said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. “You have the power, not us.” [The Boston Globe]

DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS
TAXES | Expecting property values to rise more than 12 percent, Republican county Judge Clay Jenkins wants to cap the effective tax rate increase at 7.5 percent along with cities and school districts. The city still projects a $19 million shortfall in its Oct. 1 budget, however. "We’ve got to move forward with the needs of Dallas County, infrastructure needs and delayed needs that we’ve got,” said Democratic county Commissioner John Wiley Price. “We’ve been frugal." [KXAS-TV]

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
POLICE | About two dozen officers and detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department recently spent time learning Korean customs, culture and issues affecting life in the city’s Koreatown. These sorts of classes have been going since 2008, and more than 1,300 officers have attended in that time. Put on by a volunteer group of Korean Americans and the Korean Cultural Center, the sessions are meant to help police in Los Angeles to better navigate and understand nuances they may run into when interacting with the city’s Korean population. For instance: staring directly into someone’s eyes is considered impolite. “It’s like the police is investing in the Korean community,” Jason Lee, one of the program’s organizers, said of the event. “Perhaps they’ll act just a little bit different the next time they encounter a Korean person.” [Los Angeles Times]

COOPER TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN
ROAD FATALITIES | Five cyclists were killed and four injured when a truck slammed into them Tuesday evening on a two-lane road in this township, which is located north of Kalamazoo. The cyclists were riding on the edge of the pavement and struck from behind. Just before they were hit, local law enforcement received reports of a pick-up truck driving erratically. The man thought to be the driver of the truck was found on foot after the incident and arrested. "There is very little I can or will tell you about how exactly this accident happened," Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting told reporters Tuesday night. [WZZM]

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