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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Hurricane will test Honolulu shelters … Las Vegas pipeline might not be dead … and school districts scramble for bus drivers.
Good morning, it’s Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. The intersection of economic development and Minor League Baseball in New England leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup, but scroll down for more stories from places like Providence, Rhode Island; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Topeka, Kansas ...
STATE GOVERNMENT | Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said Wednesday that state and local incentives offered to a Minor League Baseball team to keep them in Pawtucket, Rhode Island just couldn’t compete with what the city of Worcester, Massachusetts was offering to lure the PawSox out from the Ocean State to the Bay State. Whether Worcester’s plan to “take on as much as $100.8 million in bond debt” to build a new ballpark is a smart one is up for debate. Raimondo said that with the team’s departure, her state will “double down” on economic development opportunities in a PawSox-less Pawtucket. [WBUR / Bostonomix; Rhode Island Public Radio]
- Las Vegas, Nevada: Despite a 111-page ruling handed down by Nevada’s top water regulator that is “widely interpreted as the final blow to Las Vegas’ vexed campaign to pump groundwater from Eastern Nevada and pipe it to the state’s growing urban center,” the proposed pipeline might not actually be dead. [The Nevada Independent]
- Miami, Florida: National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency that’s investigating the deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University, “is seeking to move a public-records case to federal court after an unfavorable ruling from a state judge earlier this week” that orders the Florida Department of Transportation to release records to the Miami Herald. [Miami Herald]
- Topeka, Kansas: The Governor’s Substance Abuse Task Force, which consists of 29 department heads across the Kansas state government, met for the last time on Thursday, but they still have some additional work before finalizing recommendations for how the state can better respond to the opioid crisis, which might include endorsing a plan to expand Medicaid. [WIBW]
- St. Paul, Minnesota: State officials in Minnesota announced Thursday that the state’s minimum wage will go up for approximately 219,000 employees in the state on Jan. 1, but the “pay situation is not as simple as just a couple of numbers.” [Duluth News Tribune]
LOCAL GOVERNMENT | As Hurricane Lane approaches the Hawaiian islands, local officials in Honolulu have urged residents to use official evacuation shelters only as a last resort since “most of them have not been designed or hardened to withstand winds greater than a tropical storm.” The center of the Category 4 storm is expected to stay just south of Oahu and Maui, but will bring heavy rainfall and flash flooding. [Honolulu Star-Advertiser; Los Angeles Times]
- Houston, Texas: On the first anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, voters in Harris County will be voting on a $2.5 billion bond to fund flood control projects. A pre-election survey found strong support among likely voters. [Houston Public Media]
- Detroit, Michigan: Mayor Mike Duggan, joined by eight Michigan motorists, sued the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services on Thursday in U.S. District Court in a case where they’re seeking to have Michigan’s “no-fault” insurance law declared unconstitutional. The plaintiffs say the 1973 law does not create auto insurance rates that are fair and equitable. Duggan believes a tort-based insurance system could cut Detroit’s sky-high auto insurance rates by half. [Detroit Free Press; Curbed Detroit]
- Atlanta, Georgia: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is looking to possibly sell the city’s jail, citing declining number of inmates and increasing costs to run the detention center. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
- Kanawha County, West Virginia: When the economy is doing well, school districts often have a hard time finding enough bus drivers. And that’s the case in and around Charleston, West Virginia, where leaders in the Kanawha County Schools are trying to be creative with scheduling and rely on mechanics to pull double duty driving the buses in addition to repairing and maintaining them. [WV Metro News]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.