Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Alaska plastic bag bans … concerns over city’s disclosure of overdose address information … and an Ill. county’s mumps outbreak is over.
Good morning. It’s Monday, July 15, 2018. Hopefully you had a good weekend. Here’s our roundup of state and local government news from around the nation, which includes stories from Wasilla, Alaska; Detroit, Michigan; Revere, Massachusetts and McDonough County, Illinois, among other places. Scroll down for more ...
ELECTION SECURITY | At a “hastily called news conference” on Friday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch said that the FBI informed them that “without the state’s knowledge,” a Russian investor bought the software vendor that maintains part of the state’s voter registration system. There’s no evidence that state elections were compromised, the leaders said, but they’ve asked state Attorney General Brian Frosh to investigate the Maryland Board of Elections’ contract with ByteGrid LLC and that they’d seek federal assistance to ensure there are no breaches. “We felt it imperative that our constituents know that a Russian oligarch has purchased our election machinery,” Miller said. [@GovLarryHogan; Baltimore Sun; The Washington Post]
Also on Route Fifty:
- Mueller Indictment Lays Out Russia’s Hacking of State, Local Election Infrastructure
- $380 Million of Election Assistance Money Only Goes So Far
PUBLIC HEALTH DATA | After meeting with concerned community leaders last week, officials in Bloomington, Indiana decided to remove exact address information related to local overdose deaths that had been published to the city’s public-facing data portal. Disclosing the exact address, they say, adds to the stigma around substance abuse and addiction. [Indiana Public Media, Bloomington Revealed]
ENVIRONMENT | Just as local officials in Anchorage, Alaska are getting ready to discuss legislation this week that would prohibit single-use plastic bags, it isn’t necessarily looking south to the Lower 48 states for guidance. They’re looking north to Wasilla and Palmer, cities in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. "Our little cousins in the [Mat-Su] Valley, who aren't the most progressive communities, beat us to the punch," said Christopher Constant, a member of the Anchorage Assembly. "Insofar as that's how this happened, good for them." [Anchorage Daily News; KTVA]
- Detroit, Michigan: After numerous attempts to block the construction of a new Canadian-built international crossing connecting Detroit with Windsor, Ontario by the private owner of the existing Ambassador Bridge, officials are scheduled to gather for Tuesday’s groundbreaking of the future Gordie Howe International Bridge, an event that will signal that work “is underway and now is unstoppable, no matter what the Moroun family and its political allies say or do.” Detroit Free Press]
- Flagstaff, Arizona: First responders and transportation officials in northern Arizona warned that travel in the Flagstaff area was treacherous due to flash flooding. [Arizona Daily Sun]
- San Francisco, California: During her inaugural address last week, Mayor London Breed couldn’t see the teleprompter and had to make due without her prepared remarks. “Three lines into the address and we knew something was wrong,” according to a mayoral adviser. [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Tallahassee, Florida: Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order on Thursday clarifying guidelines around a new state law regarding public access to beaches in the Sunshine State that was causing confusion. [WTVJ / NBCMiami.com]
- Jefferson City, Missouri: Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation on Friday that increases the minimum age to marry from 15 to 16, responding to concerns that Missouri’s marriage laws were being exploited by sex traffickers. [AP via Kansas City Star]
- Providence, Rhode Island: Warmer ocean temperatures have sent more black sea bass toward the waters off Rhode Island, which prompted the state’s Department of Environmental Management to loosen recreational fishing regulations for the species, more familiar in the waters of mid-Atlantic states. [The Providence Journal]
- Revere, Massachusetts: Four years after an EF-2 tornado tore through this Boston-area city, local officials are still meeting regularly about repair work at Revere City Hall. [Revere Journal]
- McDonough County, Illinois: Local public health officials have good news: There haven’t been any new cases of mumps reported since May 26. Officials believe that a high school group from St. Louis visiting Western Illinois University in April was the source of the outbreak, which led to 47 cases of mumps being reported. [McDonough Voice]
- New York City, New York: Mayor Bill de Blasio rode a bike for the first time in a long, long time. It “was at least six, seven years ago, if not longer,” the mayor said Friday. [Gothamist]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.