Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

No Dutch Treat | 02-15-2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom gave an expansive State of the State speech last Tuesday. It covered a little of everything, from the oft-troubled high speed rail system to the endlessly-troubled plan to send Northern California water to Southern California...

A Little Hazy In Here | 02-15-2019

Some traditions never die...no matter how much they probably should. Case in point comes from Idaho, where last month a trio of freshman lawmakers introduced their first-ever bills to the full House of Representatives. As the Idaho State Journal reports...

Out With the Old | 02-15-2019

We’re pretty sure that once upon a time former Arkansas Gov. James P. Clarke and attorney Uriah Rose were big deals in the Razorback State. They must have been because, after all, their accomplishments were recognized with statues at the state Capitol...

A State of Dysfunction | 02-15-2019

Speaking of dysfunction - Wisconsin! We could stop there, but let’s wade a tad further into the shallow end of the pool. From the moment voters gave sleepy-eyed Gov. Scott Walker his walking papers last November, Republicans have done everything...

You’re All Worthless and Weak! | 02-08-2019

Attention, all you pathetic cringing little milksops – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has had enough of your wimpy whining! As the Washington Post reports , Bevin went on a radio show last week where he proceeded to lament the closing of some Bluegrass...

Now for Something That Really Matters | 02-08-2019

A gubernatorial State of the State address is a governor’s spotlight moment, the time where they get the stage all to themselves to showcase everything they believe to be important. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott understands this as well as anyone, which...

Don’t Try This at Home | 02-08-2019

It was big news recently when a Colorado trail runner was attacked by a mountain lion, which the runner ultimately killed by choking it to death. As someone who has spent half his life in the great outdoors and run across more large critters than I can...

Uh, Yeah, This Is Ours Now | 02-08-2019

The historically long federal government shutdown had lots of repercussions across America, most of them bad. But for a large colony of elephant seals, the shutdown was as good as hanging out a welcome sign. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports , the...

Gone to the Goats | 01-25-2019

With wildfires having wreaked so much devastation in the last few years, more rural California towns are looking at warding off such blazes by clearing the brush and other fuels that feed them. One option gaining popularity is as old as time, and purely...

A Family Affair | 01-25-2019

The Maine House of Representatives will have a family feel this year, at least in one row of the chamber. That’s where, as the Bangor Daily News reports , Rep. Amy Arata will sit next to Rep. Richard Bradstreet, also known as her dad. Thankfully...

Shooting for the Stars | 01-25-2019

Political folks are often accused of having their heads stuffed way up there...in the clouds. Fair enough. But Rhode Island Rep. Joseph M. McNamara is ready to take it a little further. As the Providence Journal reports , McNamara has introduced legislation...

Don’t Hold Your Breath | 01-25-2019

The ongoing partial government shutdown is wreaking havoc on many Americans. It has also sadly led to some pretty abysmal behavior in our national parks, where the usual contingent of rangers and maintenance personnel remain furloughed. But some folks...

Going Local | 01-18-2019

For years, being put on hold when calling a state agency office in Alaska meant a healthy dose of Muzak, better known to most of us as elevator music. But thanks to the efforts of one intrepid Last Frontier lawmaker, callers will now be spared a fate...

Mad Props to the Prop Man | 01-18-2019

California Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced a measure last week that would bar Golden State retailers from issuing a printed paper receipt to customers unless they ask for one. His argument is that those receipts can’t be recycled and are contaminated...

Dance to the Music | 01-18-2019

Which is exactly what new Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont did during his inaugural party. As reported in The Hill , Lamont seriously cut loose on the dance floor. And we do mean “loose.” Lamont legislative affairs director Chris Soto lauded his...

Maybe We Should Switch to Kilometers | 01-18-2019

Stealing road signs that bear numbers like “420” and “69” is definitely a thing. So much so that Washington state transportation folks have been forced to come up with clever ways to defeat said sign thieves. As the Seattle Times...

Let’s Make Sausage! | 01-11-2019

We’re all familiar with the analogy of the legislative process being akin to sausage making. But a bipartisan group of Montana lawmakers recently took it from the grammar books to the kitchen by getting together at the home of Chief Deputy Attorney...

The Way to a Lawmaker’s Heart | 01-11-2019

It’s said there is no such thing as a free lunch. That’s rarely true in politics, where lobbyists are more than happy to ply lawmakers with lavish meals at the drop of a hat. But the free gourmet chow is now off the table in Missouri, where...

Reflections on Jerry Being Jerry | 01-11-2019

California marked the end of an era last week, as Gov. Jerry Brown handed off the gavel to new Gov. Gavin Newsom. Brown exited office as the state’s longest-serving governor (16 years) and perhaps its greatest political comeback story. Once the...

Gubernatorial Kid Stuff | 01-11-2019

The aforementioned Jerry Brown brought a lot to the governor’s office during his historic tenure. But one thing he didn’t bring was children. Not so for new Gov. Gavin Newsom and First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who have four kids under...

Devil in the Details | 12-14-2018

Visitors to the Illinois statehouse this month will be greeted by all the usual pageantry of the holiday season: Christmas decorations, a nativity scene, a Menorah and a display from the Chicago chapter of the Satanic Temple. Wait, what? Old Ned himself...

Oh Brother Where Art Thou? | 12-14-2018

For the better part of a century the small town of Severance, Colorado has banned the throwing of snowballs. The prohibition was part of a larger ban that made it verboten to throw or shoot rocks or any other projectiles at people, animals, buildings...

We Need an Emoji for This | 12-14-2018

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once famously complained that in the Golden State folks are even taxed for flushing the toilet. While that’s not actually true, state regulators are apparently considering a tax on something almost as...

Reply All Apocalypse | 12-14-2018

It is the bane of office workers everywhere – the people who hit “reply all” to emails, resulting in a seemingly never-ending chain of replies and pleas to be removed from the list before violence ensues. Just such an event recently...

Truly the Greatest Generation | 12-07-2018

Funerals for heads of state are always solemn affairs, as they should be. On occasion, they also lend themselves to moments that elevate all of us to a higher place. Such was the case last Monday in Washington D.C., where many came to pay their respects...

Born In the USA | 12-07-2018

Americans are notoriously inept at geography, but one might think we’d at least be up to speed on our own country. Uh, not so much. As the Las Cruces Sun News reports , former New Mexico Secretary of State candidate Gavin Clarkson was recently turned...

You Gotta Have A Dream | 12-07-2018

And for California Assembly member Phil Ting, that dream is a whole state of cars that run on something other than gasoline. Yep, Ting so wants to see the nation’s number one vehicle market move entirely to cars that don’t run on fossil fuels...

Better Late Than | 11-30-2018

For decades, every California governor followed up their January budget release with an appearance at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon. It was always the most heavily attended event of the year, and thus also the best moneymaker for the SPC’s journalism...

Now That Was Just Dumb | 11-30-2018

Politics has always driven intense emotions. Some would say now more so than ever, while others might counter that it has always been this way and we just know more of what is said and done than we used to. For example, like when Illinois state Rep. Stephanie...

Voter-Slapped Instead | 11-30-2018

California state Sen. Joel Anderson has always been a little ornery. But as the Sacramento Bee reports , that crankiness – and a little too much booze - got the better of him last summer when he responded to a disagreement at an after-hours party...

Score One for Sasquatch | 11-16-2018

There’s rarely a shortage of goofballs seeking public office, and this year was not different. Most but not all fail and slink quietly back into their own little worlds. Alas, newly-elected Congressman Denver Riggleman fits into the “but not...

Speaking of Strange Beasts | 11-16-2018

As expected, self-described pimp Dennis Hof – who also liked to call himself the “Trump of Pahrump” – won his race for the 36 th Nevada Assembly District a few weeks ago. That’s a problem because Hof is dead, having gone...

Honesty is the Best Policy | 11-16-2018

Or so recent Oklahoma House candidate LaVelle Compton has learned. Compton was thrilled recently include a lengthy endorsement from popular former Sooner State gov Brad Henry in a mailer he sent out as part of his campaign to unseat House Majority Leader...

The Personal Touch | 11-16-2018

If you want to collect back taxes you ought to ask nicely. That’s the lesson from Syracuse, New York, where city officials recently tried using the personal touch in their efforts to get tax scofflaws to pony up the dough they owed. As the AP reports...

Definitely Not Fake News | 11-09-2018

On occasion, really valuable things mistakenly find their way to thrift stores or yard sales. Such was the case last month when, as the AP reports , an original copy of a 1774 “rebel” newspaper featuring articles penned by some guy named John...

A Foundational Issue | 11-09-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown has always had his quirks, many deeply rooted in the time he spent as a youth in a Jesuit seminary. Case in point comes in the form of the space in his outer office where he often addresses reporters. More specifically, the...

That Done Bit Him on the Backside | 11-09-2018

John Lennon fans likely recall a song he did called “Instant Karma.” Well, some karma of the fairly-immediate variety jumped up and bit Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker square in the fanny last week. As CBS News reports , Walker lost his bid on...

Show Me a Good Loser and I’ll Show You a Loser | 11-09-2018

A slew of ex-jocks had a good Election Day this year. As Pro Football Talk reports , former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris retained his seat in the Illinois Senate, while Green Bay Packer safety Aaron Rouse, late of the Green Bay Packers, kept his seat...

The Burns of the Night | 11-09-2018

I still marvel that some people shoot off their mouths on social media when they know they are in no way smart enough or tough enough to handle the Internet mob. Case in point from Election Night comes from uber right wing commentator/gasbag Ann Coulter...

At Least She Had the Right Country | 11-02-2018

Celebrities have as much right to get involved in the political process as anyone. After all, we’ve elected two TV hosts to the presidency, right? But if you’re going to give a big thumbs up to a candidate, you might want to be sure it’s...

Superstition Ain’t the Way | 11-02-2018

It’s traditional come World Series time for mayors of the cities of the teams involved to make a showy bet on the outcome. But don’t tell that to Boston Mayor Mary Walsh. As the Los Angeles Times reports , Walsh just said no to making a bet...

Don’t Knock It | 11-02-2018

Experience is the best teacher. So says Utah Sen. Jim Dabakis, who posted videos of himself last month trying an edible marijuana gummy candy outside a medical weed dispensary in Las Vegas. Utah voters decide tomorrow a ballot measure that would legalize...

What’d They Say? | 11-02-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Air Resources Board chief Mary Nichols held a presser in Sacramento last week to announce further legal wrangling with the Trump administration. They had plenty to say that was interesting...

Bless the Beasts of Brexit | 10-19-2018

We’ve heard the complaint that politics is going to the dogs, but in the UK earlier this month it was all true. That’s because, as Reuters reports , close to 1,000 dogs and their owners recently marched on parliament to call for a second vote...

Wanted, Dead or Alive | 10-19-2018

Bombastic brothel owner Dennis Hof may be dead, but he’s likely going to win election to the Nevada legislature anyway. That’s because, as KTLA reports , it’s too late to remove the self-described pimp and “Trump of Pahrump”...

Pot, Meet Kettle | 10-19-2018

Speaking of candidates who might generously be described as a bit off center...Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner appears to have the temperament of an agitated pit bull. Or maybe just a desperate pol trying to stay relevant in a race he’s...

Oh Mom, No You Didn’t | 10-12-2018

Oh yes, yes she did. University of Florida student Pieter Hanson was in the middle of a test recently when his phone started going off nonstop. Fearful something terrible had happened, he quickly handed in his test and headed for the hallway. But nothing...

Kinda Situation Normal | 10-12-2018

If you’re looking at the California voter guide for this November’s election, you might notice a glaring omission. Yes, as the Los Angeles Times reports , while the guide contains the usual candidate statement from GOP gubernatorial candidate...

Snap What? | 10-12-2018

Anyone who has spent any time walking in San Francisco can tell you the City by the Bay has a lot of homeless people living on the streets. A lot . And one of the myriad problems with that is that folks inevitably end up relieving themselves on those...

And They Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together | 10-12-2018

The ultra-far right has had a pretty festive last 18 months, what with feeling like they have a true friend now in the White House. But as the Washington Post reports , the hopes and dreams of a plethora of young white supremacists were dashed last week...