Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Feds sue California over net neutrality protections ... Nevada sex offender registry changes … and cat stuck on pole prompts interagency frustration.
Good morning, it’s Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is health care transparency, but scroll down for more stories from places like Horry County, South Carolina; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Bozeman, Montana.
STATE GOVERNMENT | Health insurers in Florida are pushing back on the state’s plans to build a health care cost transparency website where consumers can compare prices for certain services. Health insurers that have refused to submit cost information, including Florida Blue and AvMed, have “cited privacy and trade-secret concerns about sharing the information with the contractor responsible for creating the website.” [The News Service of Florida via NW Florida Daily News]
- Sacramento, California: Following Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval of legislation on Sunday that restores net neutrality rules in California, the Trump administration announced that it will sue the state, “setting up a legal battle with the federal government over whether states can prevent companies from blocking access to the internet.” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement: “Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.” [Los Angeles Times]
In other legislation news from Sacramento, Gov. Brown vetoed legislation sponsored by state Sen. Kevin de León that would have “let high-income California taxpayers circumvent the $10,000 limit on the federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes” by expanding “a state program that gives people who donate to a program that distributes Cal Grants to college students a state tax credit equivalent to half of their donation.” [San Francisco Chronicle]
Brown also signed S.B. 826, which requires publicly traded companies headquarters in California have
women sit on the corporate boards. [Route Fifty]
- Carson City, Nevada: Controversial changes to Nevada’s sex-offender registry system go into effect today. “Rather than categorizing them according to their projected risk of reoffending, they’ll be categorized according to the original crime they were convicted of—a process that will reshuffle thousands of them and lead to many having their names, addresses and pictures on a web-based sex offender registry for the first time.” [The Nevada Independent]
- Horry County, South Carolina: On Monday morning, the South Carolina Department of Transportation will begin removing temporary flood barriers installed before Hurricane Florence came ashore to protect the U.S. 501 highway bridge at Galivants Ferry from being inundated. [MyHorryNews]
- Bozeman, Montana: Since 1948, Montana voters have supported a 6-mill levy to support the Montana University System six times. Opponents have described the higher education levy renewal as “another $200 million in higher property taxes” but its biggest supporter, former Montana Secretary of State, Senate President and history teacher Bob Brown, says that “[i]t’s the same level of support our great-grandparents passed on to our grandparents, going back to 1948.” [Bozeman Daily Chronicle]
LOCAL GOVERNMENT | The mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska apologized this weekend for sharing a meme on his personal Facebook account about Christine Blasey Ford that drew condemnation and complaints from constituents. "I understand the emotion surrounding this entire national conversation, and I am sympathetic to both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh and especially too ALL victims of sexual assault," Mayor Jim Matherly wrote in a Facebook message late Saturday. "My sincere apologies for anyone that was offended by the sharing of that meme. I am truly sorry." [Fairbanks Daily News Miner]
- Honolulu, Hawaii: Honolulu City Council member Carol Fukunaga has introduced a proposal that would ban all wheeled devices on sidewalks in heavily trafficked areas, like downtown, Waikiki and the Ala Moana Center as a way to improve safety for pedestrians. [KHON]
- Rockaway Township, New Jersey: A local judge may rule on Monday who should be the interim mayor of this Morris County township after a local resident sued, saying that her husband “should be declared interim mayor until the Nov. 6 general election, and wants the judge to nullify votes a majority of council members made on Sept. 14 to declare” someone else interim mayor. [Morristown Daily Record]
- Cohoes, New York: The screws are tightening on Shawn Morse, the embattled mayor of this small city near Albany: A FBI investigation, which began at least a year ago, is reportedly “focusing on his use of political campaign accounts.” [Times Union]
- Seattle, Washington: The Emerald City is famous for its bureaucratic “Seattle Process,” which apparently also extends to rescuing a cat at the top of a 40-foot utility pole. “There was a lot of back and forth—no one was agreeing to do anything,” West Seattle resident Abi Harmon said of interactions with the Seattle’s police department, fire department and City Light. “It was sort of like everybody was pointing fingers at everybody else.” [The Seattle Times]
- Coldspring, Texas: On Saturday, “people gathered in front of the live oak tree and waited for the woman sentenced to be hanged” as part of a historic local reenactment that has perplexed some historians. [Houston Chronicle]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.