Why Back-Up Battery Power for Garage Doors Can Be a Matter of Life and Death

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Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Mich. governor hopes to end labor dispute … “green slime” surrounds ritzy Fla. community … and a new site for massive Minn. homeless camp.

Good morning, it’s Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Wildfire resiliency leads our state and local government news roundup but scroll down for more from places like Nashville, Tennessee; Lawrence, Massachusetts; and Denver, Colorado.

STATE GOVERNMENT | California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a slew of bills passed by the state legislature late last week related to wildfires, including S.B. 969, which mandates that newly sold or installed garage door openers to have back-up battery power so they can be opened in the event of a wildfire—at least five people died last year in the massive North Bay blazes when they couldn’t flee the flames through their garages. The governor also approved A.B. 1800, which allows residents who lose their homes in wildfires to use their insurance to rebuild elsewhere and takes effect immediately. Brown also approved S.B. 901, legislation that will “help ease concerns that billions of dollars in potential liability from the fires in the North Bay and elsewhere could push PG&E into bankruptcy.” [Insurance Journal; Santa Rosa Press Democrat; San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Raleigh, North Carolina: The North Carolina General Assembly is set to return to the state capital for a special legislative session starting Oct. 9 that will focus on recovery needs from Hurricane Florence and the storm’s flooding, but some lawmakers want to return sooner. [@NCCapitol / WRAL]
  • Lawrence, Massachusetts: Gov. Charlie Baker said that Columbia Gas, the utility involved with the recent series of natural gas explosions in Lawrence and two other cities north of Boston, said the commonwealth and the utility have a plan to “deliver tens of thousands of hot plates and space heaters to residents still without gas, as well as committing to restore full gas service by Nov. 19.” [Boston Herald; The Boston Globe]
  • Lansing, Michigan: Gov. Rick Snyder is set to sit down with a labor union and construction contractors association to “cease the public battle” that has stopped to slowed construction on 72 local projects and 89 Michigan Department of Transportation projects. [The Detroit News]
  • Denver, Colorado: Facing a shortage of prison beds, members of the Colorado Joint Budget Committee on Thursday approved a request from the Department of Corrections for $1 million in funding to upgrade the Centennial Corrections Facility South to handle a general inmate population. [The Denver Post]

LOCAL GOVERNMENT | The Cincinnati City Council took action last week to make some dense neighborhoods, including Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton, more walkable by eliminating mandatory parking minimums for new development that would ordinarily need “one parking space per residential apartment and one spot for every 400 square feet of retail space.” [Streetsblog USA]

  • Atlanta, Georgia: In a recent USA Today opinion piece, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms outlined why she signed an executive order earlier this month that blocks the federal government from using the Atlanta Detention Center for immigration detainees and requested the removal of all current Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees in the city’s detention center. “I believe this decision enhances public safety. When immigrant communities do not have to fear the police, they are more likely to assist them when law enforcement issues arise in their neighborhoods,” the mayor wrote. [USA Today]
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: Mayor Jacob Frey has proposed a new site for the massive homeless encampment home along Hiawatha Avenue southeast of downtown to a site owned by the Red Lake Nation on Cedar Avenue South. The current encampment is home to many members of American Indian tribes and Frey’s proposal has the support of 10 tribes. [Star Tribune]
  • New York City, New York: City Councilmember Rory Lancman has sued the city and the New York Police Department to force the release of fare evasion enforcement data “accusing them of flouting a new law requiring the city to reveal detailed demographic information about everyone arrested or summonsed for fare evasion.” [Gothamist]
  • Nashville, Tennessee: Last week, Mayor David Briley caused a bit of a stir with remarks he made to the local Rotary Club that the Nashville Metro government doesn’t have a “crisis” with affordable housing and its own finances. But other disagreed. "There is a crisis in the city when it comes to its finances even if the people downstairs don't want to use that word," At-Large Councilman Bob Mendes said at a council meeting. [Tennessean]
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Residents of Las Olas Isles, a ritzy neighborhood on a series of “finger” islands have been complaining that green algae from the Himmarshee Canal has reached their community. But the city can’t do much to help and say the “green slime” won’t likely subside until temperatures cool down later this fall. [Sun Sentinel]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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