Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Ind. school takeover bill OK’d … feds looking at Atlanta airport contracts … 6 states sue Purdue Pharma … and S.F. mayor’s public safety plan.
Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route FIfty’s attention ...
- Chicago, Illinois: The Chicago Tribune scored a legal victory over Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his administration after a Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Pantle ruled Tuesday that “Emanuel and his office violated the state’s open records act by belatedly releasing the emails, handing the newspaper a victory in its ongoing court battle over the mayor’s use of personal devices and accounts to conduct the public’s business.” [Chicago Tribune]
- Indianapolis, Indiana: During a special session on Monday, Indiana state legislators approved a controversial local school financial management bill and “[a]lthough the bill specifies the Gary and Muncie school districts, it alters state education policy in ways that could affect the rest of the state.” The bill, which is now on Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk, would give Ball State University control over Muncie’s public schools and more power to Gary’s emergency manager, and “effectively turn both districts’ elected boards of education into figureheads.” [WBAA; Chalkbeat]
- Atlanta, Georgia: According to a 10-point subpoena federal prosecutors sent then-Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration but “kept from the public with Reed’s knowledge,” a city hall corruption investigation appears to have taken a major interest in concessions and construction contracting at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
- Knoxville, Tennessee: Six states, including Tennessee, brought opioid-related lawsuits against the pharmaceutical manufacturer Purdue Pharma on Tuesday. “Three Tennesseans are dying each day from opioid-related overdoses, and we are committed to the hard work that needs to be done to address this tragedy,” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, who filed the state’s lawsuit in Knox County Circuit Court, said in a statement. The other states bringing lawsuits are Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota and Texas. [Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery; Reuters]
- San Francisco, California: Mayor Mark Farrell has proposed hiring hundreds of new police officers over the next four years, using $34 million in his two-year budget proposal to start boosting public safety. But Farrell’s plan “could come under the knife once the proposed two-year budget is presented to the Board of Supervisors on June 1.” [KGO-TV; San Francisco Chronicle]
- Haena, Hawaii: While the Kilauea volcano’s ongoing eruption on the Big Island has been testing emergency response and civil defense there, recovery continues on the North Shore of Kauai from a disaster of a different sort. Kauai was hit hard last month by what have been the worst-recorded storms in the island’s history. April’s storms washed out parts of the main coastal road and “[t]hree spots on the highway are so seriously damaged it will be months before anything approaching normal traffic can resume.” [USGS; Honolulu Civil Beat]
- Raleigh, North Carolina: New security-screening procedures at the North Carolina Legislative Building will be tested Wednesday as public school teachers plan a lawmaker lobbying day and rally. [WRAL-TV]
- Northampton County, Pennsylvania: A 160-year-old stone arch bridge in Lower Saucon Township, near Bethlehem, was closed in April after an inspector “discovered a void in the center of the bridge.” The bridge span was supposed to be repaired through a public-private partnership program, but county public works officials believe the bridge now needs a full replacement. [The Morning Call]
- Arlington County, Virginia: This urban jurisdiction across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital is also the nation’s fittest city, according to the American Fitness Index, published by the American College of Sports Medicine which “evaluates cities based on both qualitative and quantitative data” and ranks cities “according to 33 health behaviors.” [WAMU 88.5 News]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.