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STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Planning for a court-mandated infusion of education funding in New Mexico … Considering a hate crimes charge in attack on Latino mayor in Washington … Diversifying overwhelmingly white New Hampshire.
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, July 25, 2018. … Nevada’s possible female majority in the statehouse and school funding troubles in New Mexico lead Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup, which also includes stories from New Hampshire, Detroit, and Sacramento, California …. Scroll down for more ...
WOMEN LAWMAKERS | Nevada could make history this fall by electing the country’s first female-majority state legislature. Women won a record number of primary contests in June and could make up nearly two-thirds of the combined Assembly and Senate seats after the November general elections, the Reno Gazette Journal reported. “In the past, we’ve had to ask women five, six, seven times to run for office,” said Danna Lovell, director of Emerge Nevada, a Democrat-linked Las Vegas-based nonprofit. “Whereas now, they’re worried. They’re scared about what’s going on in their communities.” The two-chamber majority is well within reach. There are 11 Assembly seats in the 42-member chamber sought only by women, including incumbent office holders. There are seven seats where voter registration data points to likely female candidate wins. And Reno Democrat Sarah Peters won the District 24 seat outright in June’s primary. No Republican candidate filed to run in the district. [Reno Gazette Journal, The Guardian]
EDUCATION | How will the next governor of New Mexico respond to the historic education-funding ruling issued Friday by state District Judge Sarah Singleton? The ruling demands state elected leaders address what she found to be unconstitutionally inadequate funding for the state’s public school system. Singleton set a mid-April 2019 deadline for the government to take steps to deliver more resources to the schools and ramp up the quality of instruction, which likely means raising taxes and changing policies in areas such as testing and teacher evaluations. The governor’s race pits U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican from Hobbs, against U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat from Albuquerque. Officials have to mid August to appeal the ruling. [Santa Fe New Mexican, New Mexico In Depth]
SUMMER HEAT | Salt Lake County Animal Control averages 120 calls a month reporting dogs locked in cars during the summer, “and we serve only about half the county,” spokeswoman Callista Pearson told the Salt Lake Tribune. Repeat news stories about trapped dogs dying of heat haven’t worked to lower the numbers of deaths. Neither have public education campaigns. In a high-profile case last year, a Cache County service dog named Endy died of heat exhaustion while in a locked patrol vehicle. The officer responsible was put on probation and ordered to perform community service and to “submit a summary of suggested policies and procedures that would prevent similar future incidents for law enforcement agencies.” [The Salt Lake Tribune]
Manchester, New Hampshire: It has been called the “first large-scale effort to consciously diversify a state.” According to the Union Leader, early organizers of the Granite State effort—including representatives from large employers and state agencies to nonprofits and the NAACP—“envision a nonprofit with diverse funding sources that will organize both on-the-ground recruitment drives in other states and coordinate programs in New Hampshire to help minorities settle and feel welcome.” New Hampshire is the third-whitest state in the country at 94 percent of the population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Migration to the state has been minimal and white residents are dying and leaving the state at a greater rate than they’re reproducing, a demographer said. [Union Leader]
Burien, Washington: A man turned himself in to authorities late Monday in connection with the attack on Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta, according to the King County Sheriff’s office. Police in the Seattle suburb said they were considering launching a hate crimes investigation into the assault. The mayor told the Seattle Times the attacker was a man in his 60s, who “came around the back, took his arm, wrapped it around my neck and brought me down and started talking in my ear.” Matta said the man threatened his life and whispered, “We’re not going to let you Latino illegals take over our city.” The 62-year-old man who turned himself in was reportedly booked on investigation of malicious harassment and released. [Seattle Times]
Detroit, Michigan: Ford Motor Company has committed $4 billion to developing self-driving cars and trucks through its Ford Autonomous Vehicles subsidiary based in the city’s Corktown neighborhood. The company says it will launch a self-driving commercial vehicle at scale in 2021. [Crain’s]
Westminster, Colorado: City Council on Monday night unanimously adopted an emergency ordinance freezing new large-scale development in the area served by the Big Dry Creek sewer system. A report issued to council members described the system as overtaxed and outdated. It serves about two-thirds of the expanding Front Range city’s 110,000 people. [The Denver Post]
Sacramento, California: Golden State teachers are calling on the state’s $225 billion teacher pension fund to divest from for-profit prison companies and immigrant detention centers. [The Sacramento Bee]
Paterson, New Jersey: Mayor Andre Sayegh said he has agreed to accept developer Charles Florio’s $3 million offer for the historic Paterson Armory site. The sale is conditional upon future City Council approval. Florio plans to transform the faded armory into a 138-unit luxury housing complex. Recent efforts to revitalize the site have all failed. [NorthJersey]
John Tomasic is a journalist who lives in Seattle.