Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

The Third or Fourth Most Interesting Man in the World | 02-16-2018

If you’re a well-respected but wonky administrator facing off with two huge personalities for the epic job of being California’s next governor, you gotta go big or go home. Or at least go for a laugh or two. Last week, California state Treasurer...

Who’s a Good Boy? | 02-16-2018

John Chiang isn’t the only gubernatorial candidate trying to stand out in a crowded field. The Kansas governor’s race has drawn at least 20 people and one dog. Wait, what? Yes, as the Hutchinson News reports , Angus P. Woolley wants his shot...

All In for the Utahraptor | 02-16-2018

Utah senator Curt Bramble is decidedly not a fan of lawmakers spending time anointing state symbols. But as the Deseret News reports , he recently made an exception to carry a bill dubbing the fearsome Utahraptor the official state dinosaur. And what...

Paved with Good Intentions | 02-09-2018

An old adage says the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The same can sometimes be said of the road to legislation. Today’s example comes from California, where Assemblymember Ian Calderon has sponsored a bill aimed at reducing the number...

The Times They Are A’ Changing | 02-09-2018

It’s been almost 30 years since Utah sent a statue of one of its favorite sons – globally renowned inventor of the television Philo Farnsworth - to stand in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. But Philo’s time may be winding...

At Least He’s Consistent | 02-09-2018

The late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead once said, “You don’t want to be the best of the best. You want to be the only one that does what you do.” California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom loves that quote – loves it! So much so that...

Goofy Even To Us | 02-09-2018

It is probably hard for most folks to imagine an idea too ridiculous for California, but gubernatorial candidate John Cox has found it. Yes, as the Sacramento Bee reports , Cox failed in his mission to get a measure on the November ballot that would have...

Debauchery No More | 02-02-2018

For a long, long time the annual “Back to Session Bash” for California lobbyists and political staffers has been a ribald affair with so much drunken debauchery that some attendees joke the event is good to end at least one promising career...

Spicoli Would Vote For This | 02-02-2018

And since we’re talking about bodacious 24 hour party people, the Los Angeles Times reports that California lawmakers will soon ponder legislation to make surfing the official state sport. In a statement, bill author Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi said...

A Friend Indeed | 02-02-2018

Politics can make you want to gag sometimes. But if you really do get something caught in the old windpipe, it would be good to have Kansas Sen. Ed Berger around. As the Wichita Eagle reports , Berger recently performed the Heimlich maneuver on Sen. Dan...

Better Late Than Never | 02-02-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown gave his 16 th and final – we think – State of the State address last month. Although he can still speechify with the best of them, the 79-year-old Brown is these days a far more humble version of himself than the...

Pump It Up...Or Not | 01-19-2018

For most drivers, gassing up the car is as noteworthy as tying our shoes. But many Oregonians look at putting the nozzle to their fill pipe the way I would at attempting to decipher quantum physics. At issue is a new state law allowing - but NOT requiring...

Head for the Border | 01-19-2018

Horror movie fans know all about Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, the fictional horror movie characters who are almost impossible to kill. While they are merely the spawn of Hollywood’s ability to make serious money by scaring us half to death...

Little Victories | 01-19-2018

After eight years, New Jersey doesn’t have old Chris Christie to kick around anymore. After a bit of initial popularity, a long series of scandals, faux pas and generally tone deaf behavior combined to make Christie the most unpopular governor in...

Maybe Trump Wants One | 01-19-2018

Speaking of Gov. Christie, we hear the time is right to make a good buy on your very own commemorative Chris Christie bobblehead. Yep, as NBC New York reports , the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame had a major clearance sale on the gov’s figurine...

New Year, Same Jerk | 01-12-2018

Few elected officials seem to revel in being obnoxious quite like Maine Gov. Paul LePage. During his two terms in office LePage has yet to meet a policy proposal, public vote or maybe even the time of day he can’t get downright testy over. And lest...

A Monumental Failure | 01-12-2018

On the one hand, honoring African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War sounds like a great idea to South Carolina Reps. Bill Chumley and Mike Burns, who recently pre-filed legislation to do just that. But on the other hand, creating a monument...

Cursive, Foiled Again | 01-12-2018

Well, not yet but if history is any indication it’s only a matter of time. As the Indianapolis Star reports , state Sen. Jean Leising has again introduced a bill to require Hoosier State elementary schools to teach kids cursive handwriting. Her...

To Live and Die in SD | 01-12-2018

With tourism a huge part of most state budgets these days, everyone is looking for ways to convince folks to come for a visit. And of course to leave their cash behind when they go home. With the competition fierce for those tourist dollars, South Dakota...

A Cardiac For Christmas | 12-15-2017

A layoff notice right before Christmas is about as Grinch-like as it gets. That’s certainly how it felt to the small number of motor pool workers employed by the California Department of General Services in Sacramento who recently received a letter...

No, No Gordo | 12-15-2017

Speaking of Sacramento, for the better part of the last two decades Sandra Dee’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood has been a prime getaway spot for many a Capitol creature. But as with all things, the place could now maybe use a bit of a facelift, so owner...

Cookies for Christmas | 12-15-2017

A gubernatorial holiday open house is a lot of work for everyone. But all of the chores don’t fall only to those employed by the executive branch. Case in point comes in the form of Kristi Kraft, the head baker at the Juneau, Alaska bakery known...

Cooked Goose | 12-15-2017

Another day, another revelation of a famous or powerful man behaving like a troll. And while it is once again impacting the political realm, this time it isn’t a politico that did the awful deed. As the New York Daily News reports , allegations...

For the Love of Hoops | 12-08-2017

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is a big basketball fan, so much so he recently opted to have a full-sized court installed at the Hoosier State Governor’s Mansion. But the best laid plans of mice and governors sometimes come with a hitch. In this case...

Deck the Halls | 12-08-2017

Speaking of governors’ mansions...the digs of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee got a nice holiday makeover again this year from a select group of designers. So select you might say they were exclusive. As Seattle’s King-TV reports , at the invitation...

Dogging It | 12-08-2017

The Virginia governor’s mansion, meanwhile, is getting set to host a new resident of its own. That’s right, a black Labrador pooch named Murphy is going to be kicking it big time around the home’s stately grounds for the next four years...

Sprucing It Up | 12-08-2017

Add Christmas trees to the long list of casualties of the Great Recession. Yes, as the Orange County Register reports , the dramatic reduction in the number of Christmas trees bought by cash-strapped families during the recent lean years took out so many...

When Life Gives You Lemons | 12-01-2017

You make a lemon pie! At least that’s what you do if you want to make Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker a happy man. Yes, as MassLive reports , Baker visited a new outlet of the legendary Worcester pie shop Table Talk last week, where he revealed...

Lite Gov Indeed | 12-01-2017

There’s an old joke that says the Lt. Governor’s only real job is to look in the paper every day to see if the governor is still alive. That’s an exaggeration to be sure, though it’s also fair to say the job isn’t exactly...

Admit It, You’re Bummed Now | 12-01-2017

The flirtation is over – Jerry Springer is taking a pass on running for the Ohio governor’s office next year. As Cleveland.com reports , Springer made the announcement on his weekly podcast , telling folks that at age 73 he wasn’t up...

Just Jerry Being Jerry | 11-17-2017

Anyone who has covered California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for any length of time – which I have – knows he takes a lot of pleasure at times in verbally jousting with the press...or anyone else in his path when the mood strikes him. Old timers...

Oh The Humanity | 11-17-2017

Anyone who has played the ribald question-answer card game “Cards Against Humanity” knows that pretty much nothing is out of bounds. And speaking of boundaries – see how I did that! – the game’s creators made news last week...

Man, No Man | 11-17-2017

Hey, you want to be become a member of the Brookline Massachusetts Board of Selectmen? Sorry, too late! That’s because, as the Boston Globe reports , the town has dropped the name in favor of calling its elected leaders the Select Board. Members...

Drunks, Fools and Rookies | 11-10-2017

When New Jersey police officer Timothy Richard pulled over a white Chevy Suburban a few weeks ago, he didn’t think much of it. Only on the job for three months, he was carrying out his assignment for the day: cracking down on drivers who talk on...

How’s That Again? | 11-10-2017

Stretching the facts to fit your narrative is nothing new to politics. One could even argue it is as normal as the sun rising in the east. But few can stretch further or with a straighter face than former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. These days Perry is the...

The Bird Is The Word | 11-10-2017

The truth shall set you free. But sometimes it can also free you from your job. Such was the case recently for Virginia resident Juli Briskman. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, her story will. As the Washington Post reports , Briskman is the woman...

Oh the Shame | 11-03-2017

It isn’t surprising that Massachusetts companies with large numbers of workers who get their health care coverage through the Bay State’s version of Medicaid might not want that info getting around. Be that as it may, they may be about to...

Sorry, Not Me | 11-03-2017

Until last week most Americans had never heard of George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign advisor who we’re told pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with the Russian government on the campaign’s behalf. Oops. Per...

Hard to Compete | 11-03-2017

You would think an attempted hijacker who spent years in a mental institution running for mayor of New York City would draw lots of attention. As the New York Post reports , that’s certainly what Aaron Commey – who in 2000 tried to hijack...

Truly Up In Smoke | 10-20-2017

The numerous fires burning in Northern California’s world famous grape growing regions justifiably have folks wondering how they will impact the state’s multi-billion dollar wine industry. That question is yet unanswered, but another big bucks...

Maybe They Should Have Kept Her | 10-20-2017

It’s not unusual for congressional candidates to have their heads a bit in the clouds, but Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera takes that one big step further. As the McClatchy D.C. bureau reports , Aguilera once claimed to have been abducted by aliens and...

Canoe Man | 10-20-2017

California Gov. Jerry Brown can be maddening even to those who love him. Usually that has more to do with his somewhat abrasive personality, but his penchant for splitting the baby, so to speak, can also drive lawmakers to distraction. Case in point comes...

Just What We Need | 10-20-2017

If you think 120 lawmakers sounds like a lot, how does 10 times that grab you? As the Modesto Bee reports , that’s exactly what California GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox is suggesting. Calling it his “Neighborhood Legislature”...

A Party Of One | 10-13-2017

It’s often said that showing up is half the battle. If you need proof, we present the case of Manhattan, Montana resident Glen Clements. As the Bozeman Chronicle reports , Clement is assured of becoming the town’s next mayor. How can they...

If You Bake It, They Will Come | 10-13-2017

If you live in Wisconsin and you’ve always thought your grandma’s cookies were so good she ought to sell them, take heart. As Wisconsin Public Radio reports , it’s now perfectly fine for home bakers to sell their scrumptious goodies...

Root, Root, Root for... | 10-13-2017

Anyone but the Dodgers. Yep, that’s generally the feeling here in Northern California from early April to late October. And while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti deftly sidestepped a question about his gubernatorial ambitions during his luncheon...

Strange Bedfellows, Statehouse Style | 10-13-2017

On the surface Connecticut lawmakers Art Linares and Caroline Simmons don’t have a lot in common. He’s a Republican loved by the NRA who has done volunteer work for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; she’s a Democrat who worked on Barack Obama’s...

Coffee Conundrum | 10-06-2017

If you thought that steaming hot cup of delicious black goodness that gets us through the wretched, awful time of day we call morning would perhaps kill you, would you drink it anyway? California residents could soon face that question pending the outcome...

And We Thought It Was Jerry | 10-06-2017

Every fall California Gov. Jerry Brown has to hunker down and sift through hundreds of bills that arrive on his desk at the end of the legislative session. Most are of great gravity to a nation state that likes to tell anyone who will listen it is the...

To Czar Or Not To Czar | 10-06-2017

Utah legislators are pondering doing away with the Beehive State’s so-called “porn czar,” officially known as the “obscenity and pornography complaints ombudsman.” The state made big news in 2000 when it created the position...