Delaware and Rhode Island Join Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

ENVIRONMENT: DELAWARE Gov. Jack Markell (D) signs SB 117, legislation that makes the First State the 39th to join the "Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact," an agreement among member states to share information and access to records about individuals who have lost their hunting, fishing and/or trapping privileges due to major offenses, like poaching (NEWSWORKS.ORG).  RHODE ISLAND Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) signs HB 5802, legislation that requires heating oil in the Ocean State contain 5 percent biofuel by 2017 (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL). Still in RHODE ISLAND, Gov. Chafee signs HB 5764, a bill that makes the Ocean State the 40th to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL).

POTPOURRI: RHODE ISLAND Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) signs HB 5671, a bill that bars local municipalities from banning specific breeds of dogs or cats (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL).

HOW NOT TO WIN HEARTS AND MINDS: Mark Twain famously noted that in California, "whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over." Since forever, residents in arid SoCal have openly, wantonly and sometimes deviously lusted after the state's water, which comes predominantly from NorCal. Now, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build giant tunnels in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta to shuttle water southward, something that has most north staters up in arms. Many have placed signs on their lawns declaring their opposition. But those signs recently began to mysteriously disappear. Alas, as the Sacramento Bee reports, the sign-snatching culprit was the state Department of Transportation, which cited a little-known and rarely-used law that requires such placards to be kept over 600 feet away from roadways. When reminded that farmers down south who stand to gain from the tunnels have been posting roadway signs supporting the plan for years, CalTrans backed off. Or did they? Now the agency is citing another archaic rule requiring signs to be at least 14 feet off the road. Somewhere, Twain is probably having a stiff shot and a good laugh.

— Compiled by RICH EHISEN

Hurricane Sandy-Stricken Shore Twons Avoid Big Tax Hikes - For Now

One of the many fears created by last year's Superstorm Sandy was that it would cause so much property damage in coastal towns of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut that they would have to impose huge tax increases on surviving structures to make up the difference. But thanks largely to the more than $60 billion in Sandy relief approved by Congress those tax hikes haven't been necessary.

"We were all concerned there would be a big tax increase," said Ray Ryan, a resident of Mantoloking, New Jersey, where virtually every home was destroyed or damaged. "But we are delighted it didn't. It makes absolutely wonderful sense when you consider the storm aid that was available."

The affluent borough actually adopted a 14.6 percent increase in its municipal tax rate. But because of the influx of storm recovery money and the lowering of property values due to the storm, most tax bills will end up being lower this year.

"That's the good news: Taxes in 2013 will be lower," said Councilman Steve Gillingham.

Things could be different next year, however, when the tide of storm aid recedes. As Gillingham noted, "because these are nonrecurring revenues, it may be hard in subsequent years to provide the same level of services." (ASSOCIATED PRESS, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER)

— Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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