Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Federal judge’s warning to Utah … N.C. mosquito funding … and Atlantic City’s economic incentives approval.
Good morning, it’s Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. Internet access leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup, but croll down for more from places like Vancouver, Washington; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Kent County, Michigan.
STATE GOVERNMENT | In a 125-page special examination released Thursday, Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon found that the KentuckyWired high-speed internet access system “isn’t projected to be done until 2020 and will cost taxpayers almost $1.5 billion over its 30-year life.” [Lexington Herald Leader]
- Salt Lake City, Utah: A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Utah’s state government must pay nearly $500,000 in attorneys fees “in the alcohol, sex and First Amendment case involving Brewvies Cinema Pub and its screening of the film ‘Deadpool,’” and warned the state’s attorney general and legislature that “passing and defending an unconstitutional law can prove costly.” [The Salt Lake Tribune]
- Sacramento, California: Among the big ballot initiatives California voters will consider in November is Proposal 10, which if passed, “cities up and down the state will instantly regain broad authority to regulate rents as they see fit, including placing rent controls on apartments built after 1995, which is currently prohibited under existing state law.” [The Sacramento Bee]
- Des Moines, Iowa: State insurance officials have issued cease-and-desist letters to companies in Pennsylvania and Texas they accuse of selling “fake insurance plans” in the Hawkeye State. [Radio Iowa]
- Raleigh, North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper has allocated $4 million in funding for mosquito control following Hurricane Florence. [Gov. Roy Cooper’s Office]
LOCAL GOVERNMENT | In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Kent County Board of Commissioners has a new policy that bars most of the public from being in the same room when they meet. Individuals who want to make a comment before the commission must write down their comments, which are “handed to a staff member and then they're ushered in one-by-one, past more deputies and an ad hoc camera recording the entrance to the commissioners' chambers.” [The Grand Rapids Press / MLive.com]
- Vancouver, Washington: The mayor of this city across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon has an even more extensive freeway tolling plan that goes beyond what has been proposed by the Oregon Department of Transportation for Interstates 5 and 205 in the Portland area. Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle wants to toll the freeways on the Washington side of the river to help fund the badly needed replacement of the aging Interstate Bridge, which carries Interstate 5 over the river. [Oregon Public Broadcasting]
- Madison, Wisconsin: A proposed $320,000 expansion of an emergency mobile mental crisis program in Dane County is “the largest increase in frontline mental health resources in county history.” [The Capital Times / Madison.com]
- Atlantic City, New Jersey: The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has OK’d a proposal from Mayor Frank Gilliam to “extend two improvement incentives to all businesses in Atlantic City.” [The Press of Atlantic City]
- Atlanta, Georgia: A $2.7 billion proposal to expand the MARTA transit network will be going before the transit agency’s Board of Directors on Oct. 4, which includes new light rail lines among other investments. But the envisioned plan needs additional funding to make it a reality. “The More MARTA Atlanta program will go a long way towards addressing the pent-up demand, particularly for the core of the system, but there are other quality transit projects that will require additional funding in the years to come,” the MARTA Board of Directors wrote in a letter to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.