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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Wrong-way driving research … Calif. vaccination rate … an Ohio city’s antiquated lie detector rule … and Peoria’s budget woes.
Good morning, it’s Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. This weekend’s mass shooting in Pittsburgh again leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup. Scroll down for more news from places like Jeanerette, Louisiana (where the city’s books are an absolute mess); Robinson Township, Michigan (where there are new PFAS drinking water worries); and Fall River, Massachusetts (where a mayoral recall effort is underway).
PITTSBURGH MASS SHOOTING | As his city grieves for “11 neighbors stolen from us,” Mayor Bill Peduto urged the White House on Monday to consider the wishes of the families of the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue before President Trump’s planned trip with first lady Melania Trump to Pittsburgh today. Peduto said that if there is a presidential visit to his city, the White House shouldn’t do it “while we are burying the dead.” Trump’s planned visit is also being opposed by a coalition of local Jewish leaders—and more than 35,000 people who signed onto an open letter—who say the president is not welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism and stops “targeting” minorities. [@billpeduto; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Forward; The Incline; The Washington Post]
Stories Saturday’s rapid response by law enforcement and emergency medical professionals to Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood have be emerging in the days following Saturday’s massacre. “Our mission as medics is to save lives,” Justin Sypolt, a paramedic in Pittsburgh’s tactical EMS team, said, according to the Tribune Review. “And if that means preventing death by whatever means necessary—whether it’s we step in front of it or we’re in between life and death—that’s just what we do.” [TribLive]
In other news ...
WORKFORCE | An antiquated decades-old law in the municipal code in Akron, Ohio that required applicants for certain city jobs take a lie detector test has been repealed by the city council. [The Plain-Dealer / Cleveland.com] … Twenty-one unions representing public employees in Iowa have all won recertification elections. [The Des Moines Register] … A difficult budget situation in Peoria, Illinois will likely necessitate layoffs in all city departments next year, including public safety positions. [Journal Star]
AUDITS | A report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office released last week detailing the fiscal disarray in the city of Jeanerette, Louisiana has turned up several violations of state law currently under investigation by the State Police. The small city has been under state fiscal oversight since January. [KATC]
TRAFFIC SAFETY | Traffic safety researchers from Florida State University have put together two reports on wrong-way driving for the Florida Department of Transportation identifying ways to prevent crashes when drivers enter a highway from the wrong direction. Among the tech ideas tested by the researchers: “radar-triggered blank signs that immediately lit up when they sensed wrong-way motion, as well as bright beacons that flashed asynchronously.” [Florida State News] … In Casper, Wyoming, local police are using crash data to identify speeding hot spots for additional enforcement. [Casper Star Tribune]
PUBLIC HEALTH | After California lawmakers approved new vaccination requirements for public school students in 2015, which eliminated “personal belief exemptions,” a progress report: “In the 2017-18 school year, 95.1% of kindergartners had all of their immunizations, according to the California Department of Public Health.” [Los Angeles Times; CDPH] … There have been 33 confirmed cases of measles in an outbreak in Rockland, County, New York. [WPIX] … Bottled water deliveries are en route to an elementary school in Robinson Township, Michigan, near Grand Haven, due to elevated PFAS levels in drinking water. [MLive]
ENERGY | The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Monday approved a proposal from Minnesota Power to build a $700 million natural gas plant, the Nemadji Trail Energy Center. [Duluth News Tribune]
CITY HALLS | An effort to officially recall Fall River, Massachusetts Mayor Jasiel Correia II, who was recently indicted on federal wire and tax evasion charges, is underway. A group of 10 petitioners has until Nov. 19 to collect 2,500 certified signatures needed to trigger a recall election. [Fall River Herald News; MassLive.com] … Biddeford, Maine won a $150,000 historic preservation grant from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to restore City Hall’s historic clock tower. [Portland Press Herald]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.