Virginia Announces Partnership for In-Vehicle Alcohol Detection Sensors

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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | San Francisco’s modular apartment plan … La. court blocks New Orleans art law … and “you can't use taxpayers' money to pay your tithe to your church.”

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Drunk driving technology news leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup but scroll down for more from places like Noxubee County, Mississippi; Sacramento, California; and Houston, Texas. (Also, stay tuned for more coverage of Hurricane Florence in the coming days …)

STATE GOVERNMENT | Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a new public-private partnership on Monday aimed at developing technology to eliminate drunk driving. The Driven to Protect partnership is the first between a state government and the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, which deploys in-vehicle alcohol detection sensors to determine when a driver is impaired with a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit. “Virginia’s leadership in both public safety and technological innovation makes us a natural partner to help deploy and implement this lifesaving technology,” Northam said in a statement. “The Driven to Protect initiative will help combat drunk driving through innovative vehicle-based solutions that complement existing, tried-and-true traffic safety initiatives to save lives.” [Office of Gov. Ralph Northam]

  • Sacramento, California: Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation that commits California to an ambitious renewable energy goal: 100 percent carbon-free power by 2045. [Bloomberg News]
  • Montpelier, Vermont: State Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom told Gov. Phil Scott’s Marijuana Advisory Commission on Monday that a retail marijuana market won’t suddenly flood Vermont’s coffers with discretionary funding. “As far as beyond the actual costs to have a safe and responsible tax and regulated system, it is unreasonable to assume that there will be a lot of money floating around,” Samson said. [VTDigger]
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has lifted a 12-day lockdown at state prisons following “a sharp spike in incidents in which corrections officers and other prison staffers were sickened by exposure to drugs that had been smuggled in.” [The Patriot-News / PennLive]
  • Phoenix, Arizona: Ron Simms, a one-time principal of the Turf Paradise horse-racing track is seeking nearly $11 million from the state, accusing members of the Arizona Racing Commission of corruption when they “tried to strip him of his license to operate the Phoenix enterprise.” [Arizona Republic / AZCentral]

LOCAL GOVERNMENT | San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Monday announced a $100 million commitment from the city to purchase modular apartment units to help ease the city’s chronic housing shortage. At the same time, San Francisco leaders are looking for possible locations that could host a manufacturing facility for the modular housing units. “We are in a housing crisis and the reality is we need to produce affordable housing much quicker than we currently do, or we will continue to see displacement of our low and middle-income communities,” Breed said in an announcement. “By building a modular housing factory in our own backyard, we can create housing faster and more cost-effectively, while also creating great union jobs in partnership with our labor leaders.” [City and County of San Francisco; San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Noxubee County, Mississippi: "It should go without saying that you can't use taxpayers' money to pay your tithe to your church," according to Mississippi State Auditor Shad White, who accused Noxubee County Chancery Clerk Mary Shelton Washington of donating $20,000 in public funds to multiple local churches. [Clarion Ledger]
  • Houston, Texas: Public health officials in Houston report that “[p]articipation in the federally-funded program that provides nutritional assistance to pregnant women, infants and children (WIC) has decreased 20 percent since the election of President Trump,” with caseloads decreasing from 72,000 to 58,000. [Houston Public Media]
  • Washington, D.C.: Local water authorities in the nation’s capital say that someone has been opening fire hydrants in two different quadrants of the nation’s capital. [DCist]
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: A decision handed down by the Louisiana Supreme Court late last week has overturned a longstanding ban on selling art outdoors without a permit, “potentially opening the floodgates on an art world subculture that the city has sought to regulate since 1955.” [The Advocate]

ALSO on Route Fifty:

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

NEXT STORY: As Hurricane Florence Takes Aim, N.C. Governor Says ‘Gather Your Supplies Now’

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