The Worst State Capitals to Live In; Kansas House Overrides Brownback’s Budget Veto

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Early impacts of Philly’s soda tax; Florida city faces whistleblower lawsuit; and officials in Mich. city want more halfway house regulations.

STATE CAPITALS | WalletHub, a website offering free credit scores, ranked Jackson, Mississippi; Hartford, Connecticut; and Trenton, New Jersey the three worst state capitals to live in. Hartford’s “education and health” rank was reasonably high, but its “affordability,” “economic well-being,” and “quality of life” were all deemed low. Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; and Bismarck, North Dakota, topped the list. [WTIC-TV / FOX 61]

STATE BUDGETS | Kansas House lawmakers voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of legislation that would raise personal income taxes to balance the state’s budget. The action in the House paves the way for a similar vote in the Senate. [KWCH-TV; Kansas City Star]

MOTORCYCLES | Legislation that would ban “motorcycle profiling” in Idaho by law enforcement officials won support among state lawmakers Tuesday. The state legislature’s House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to send the bill to the full House. The measure defines motorcycle profiling as “the arbitrary use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest or search a person or vehicle.” [The Spokesman Review]

PUBLIC SAFETY | Members of the Saginaw City Council unanimously want to petition Michigan and federal lawmakers to let them regulate local halfway houses, after two masked men with assault rifles stormed one on Jan. 23 and killed a resident, DeMarlon C. Thomas. And that’s not the first time it’s happened in Saginaw. City officials want more say in where halfway houses are sited to keep them out of residential areas. [MLive.com]

PUBLIC HEALTH | It’s been two months since Philadelphia’s sweetened-beverage tax went into effect, and some of the city’s shops and distributors are reporting 30 to 50 percent drops in sales of those products. One of the largest distributors in the city announced that it plans to cut its workforce by up to 20 percent in March in response to losses. For their part, city leadership expressed doubts of these reports. “We have no way of knowing if their sales figures and predicted job losses are anything more than fear-mongering to prevent this from happening in other cities,” said city spokesman Mike Dunn. [Philly.com]

ENERGY | Commissioners in Currituck County, North Carolina, placed a two-year moratorium solar farm construction, blaming thousands of glistening panels for disturbing rural residents. Solar companies have made a play for struggling farmland in the county. Two large solar farms were approved in the last three years, one covering 2,000 acres and stretching 2 miles. [The Virginian-Pilot]

WHISTLEBLOWING | After remaining in good standing as an employee for 38 years, a city worker in Opa-Locka, Florida, faced a 30-day suspension after issuing two code enforcement citations for a crumbling building with no roof that belonged to the family of Mayor Myra Taylor. The employee, Randolph Aikens, is now suing the city and City Manager Yvette Harrell for $2 million in a whistleblower claim. [Miami Herald]

PUBLIC LANDS | Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is pressing to get the Outdoor Industry Association to relocate its twice-annual convention to the Big Sky State. The move comes after the association decided to stop holding the event in Salt Lake City because of policy positions Utah officials have taken on public lands. “In Montana, our public lands are our heritage,” Bullock wrote in a letter to the association. Colorado and Oregon have also shown interest in the show, which attracts about 50,000 visitors and an estimated $45 million each year. [Bozeman Daily Chronicle]

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