Police Records Case Puts City Hall on the Hook for Major Penalties and Fees

Tacoma, Washington

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Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | San Francisco’s scooter ultimatum … La. safety-net hospitals may close … and no more $49 burgers for Conn. town budget meetings.

Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention …

  • Tacoma, Washington: Withholding documents about the Tacoma Police Department’s use of a cell-site simulator called a Stingray is expected to cost the city “hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties and fees” when the ongoing surveillance case finally wraps up. A Pierce County Superior Court judge last month ruled that the city violated Washington state’s Public Records Act when it denied access to records sought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is asking for “$218,020, plus an additional $130,664 in attorney fees.” Judges in Washington state csan grant penalties of “$100 a day when cities break the open records law.” [The News-Tribune]
  • San Francisco, California: Companies that deployed fleets of e-scooters to the streets and sidewalks of San Francisco, like Lime and Spin, are facing a June 4 deadline to remove all of them from public rights of way. City officials are planning to write regulations for the scooters and as part of the permit application process, the companies “must show how they will keep the sidewalks clear of scooters, provide insurance, offer plans for low-income riders, provide trip data to the [San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency], and protect the privacy of scooter renters and their mobile phone data.” Companies will be fined $100 a day for each scooter left in public rights of way after June 4. [San Francisco Chronicle; KGO-TV / ABC7]
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: As state lawmakers in Baton Rouge continue to struggle with their work to settle on a state budget, public health officials are extremely worried about the impacts on the state’s safety-net hospitals. If a finalized budget fails to fully fund health care, the University Medical Center in New Orleans could be forced to shutter its doors. "This is an urgent matter," according to UMC CEO Bill Masterton. "It's not a game. We need everyone to come together [and pass] a budget that fully funds University Medical Center." [The Times-Picayune / NOLA.com; WWL-TV]
  • Columbia, South Carolina: If you’re ever on a delayed flight, hope that Mayor Steve Benjamin is on board. On Tuesday night, the mayor bought dinner for two dozen passengers who were delayed by more than two hours waiting to depart Columbia for Washington, D.C. “I'm a big believer that if you share a meal with folks and have a chance to talk, it's amazing how we realize the things we have in common. There's power in sharing a meal," Benjamin said. "It just felt like the right thing to do, and we had a really good time." [The State]
  • Bloomfield, Connecticut: The deputy mayor in this Connecticut town near Hartford wants local council members to apologize to residents for dining on “$49 burgers and $30 steaks during municipal budget meetings, running up bills totaling more than $2,500.” In the future, Bloomfield town officials will be “encouraged to have a meal before attending the budget meetings.” [Hartford Courant]
  • Tampa, Florida: Although the Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1, the first tropical system of the season may be taking shape in the western Caribbean Sea and is forecasted to head toward Florida’s Gulf Coast just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Although it might not become a named tropical system, it is “expected to bring up to three to six inches of rain to the Tampa Bay region” and cause flooding. [Tampa Bay Times]
  • Helena, Montana: There are an estimated 900 wolves in Montana, a population that “has remained relatively stable with an annual wolf harvest that averages about 225 animals a year,” according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. [Missoulian]

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

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