Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Delaware governor’s open data executive order; an uptick in STDs in Oregon; and a massive California guinea pig rescue.
Here are state and local government stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention.
LAW ENFORCEMENT | Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing changes to state law aimed at reducing the number of carjackings by fixing “a weak link in the criminal justice system” and “giant loophole” in current law that offenders exploit to avoid jail time. The mayor said Sunday that state legislative leaders in Springfield support his efforts. "You would think that currently the criminals had an advocate or a lobbyist writing the law for them,” State Rep. James Andrade Jr. of Chicago. [Chicago Sun-Times; WGN]
A Vermont Law School professor and former Windsor County state’s attorney has been advocating for legislation that would make it easier for people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions to clear their names in the Green Mountain State. [VTDigger]
OPEN DATA | Delaware Gov. John Carney signed an executive order on Monday that expands the state’s Open Data Council to include representatives from all executive branch agencies. “Expanding the Open Data Council to include members from all Executive Branch agencies will help facilitate the work we’ve begun through the Family Services Cabinet Council, and allow us to share and analyze data to effectively deliver services and allocate resources for Delawareans,” the governor said in a statement. [Delaware.gov]
PENSIONS | Business leaders and “well-connected Republican activists” in Kentucky are calling on state lawmakers to move “all future employees from a defined-benefits system to a defined-contribution system” saying that any teacher and public employee pension-reform plan that doesn’t do so “willfully ignores the inherent structure problems at the heart of the crisis.” [Lexington Herald-Leader / Kentucky.com]
HOMELESSNESS | Richmond, Virginia Mayor Levar Stanley says that his city needs to “do better” when it comes to sheltering homeless individuals who have ended up sleeping in an abandoned courtroom that's being used an emergency shelter. “This should scare America. If you ever lose everything and don’t have a family to fall back on, you end up here,” according to one homeless man. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
PUBLIC HEALTH | Cases of sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis have “skyrocketed” in the past five years in parts of Central Oregon, matching trends elsewhere in the state and nation. [Bend Bulletin]
ANIMAL CONTROL | More than 700 guinea pigs were rescued from a property whose owner let the population grow out of control from a group of 10 animals. When a Los Angeles-based guinea pig rescue came to assist animal control officers, the animals were everywhere. "Inside the house, in the kitchen, wherever you looked, guinea pigs," said Saskia Chiesa of the Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue. The animals can reproduce easily—mothers can become pregnant an hour after they’ve given birth. [San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate]
COUNTY COURTS | Judges at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse in Albuquerque are preparing to perform no-fee nuptials for 100 couples on Valentine’s Day. [The Albuquerque Journal]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.