Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

We Needed A Law For This? | 05-18-2018

License, registration, sexual favors. Wait, what? Yep, believe it or not, until a few weeks ago there was nothing in Kansas law to prevent police from engaging in sexual activities with someone they pull over on the road or detain in a criminal investigation...

Everybody Hates Mary | 05-18-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown likes to say the key to governing is like steering a canoe: to move ahead you have to paddle a little to the right, then a little to the left. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin must be listening. As the Associated Press reports , Fallin...

Naked and Afraid | 05-18-2018

Former Alaska lawmaker Johnny Ellis saw his share of wacky things during his 29 years in the legislature. But nothing quite like what he experienced last week on a flight back to Anchorage from Seattle, when, as the Anchorage Daily News reports , a fellow...

Brawling on the Bayou | 05-18-2018

It’s bad enough the two major parties seem out to kill each other, but now we have intra-party fisticuffs, too? Yes, Jimmy Joe Bob, we do. As the Advocate of Baton Rouge reports , two Republican lawmakers got into a late night disagreement at a...

READ THIS ANY WAY YOU WANT | 05-11-2018

It’s now the thick of primary season, aka prime endorsement gathering time. Which is kind of like mating season in the animal world, just with even crazier behavior. Case in point this week comes from the California Lieutenant Governor’s race...

The Iron Duke | 05-11-2018

The California Capitol community lost a classic old school Republican last week, as former Gov. George Deukmejian passed away at age 89. Most rightly recall him as being representative of what Claremont McKenna College professor Jack Pitney called “the...

Always Time to Brush | 05-11-2018

California lost another old school GOP stalwart last week, as longtime Assemblymember and Senator Sam Aanestad died at 71 after a lengthy illness. An oral surgeon by trade, much of his time in office was focused on health care issues. This was on prominent...

And Joy Spread Throughout the Land | 05-11-2018

When considering the great problems and injustices facing our world, the lack of availability of a good Mimosa before noon on Sunday is right up there. Or at least it has been for the good people of Georgia, where brunch patrons have just had to make...

Not So Sweet Home | 05-04-2018

If you’re anywhere near the tiny Alabama town of Parrish, you might want to bring something to cover your nose. As the Associated Press reports , Parrish has become a dumping ground for a string of train cars filled with human waste sludge from...

A Christie-Sized Bill | 05-04-2018

Somehow it only seems fitting that an outsized presence like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would also want the most absurdly expensive gubernatorial portrait in Garden State history. Yes, as NorthJersey.com reports , Christie’s official...

I Know What I Know, Which Isn’t Much | 05-04-2018

There is a saying that goes, “beauty is only skin deep but ugly is to the bone.” You could say something similar about stupid, and point to Washington D.C. Councilman Trayon White Sr. as an example. White is the intellectual giant who recently...

We’ve Heard Dumber, But Not Sure When | 04-20-2018

In our polarized and often fact-challenged world, few political utterances surprise us any longer. And then there was this : Kentucky Gov. Mat Bevin railing against teachers protesting a shady pension overhaul he signed into law a few weeks ago by claiming...

Fakest News of All | 04-20-2018

Fake news on the Internet or social media is one thing, but tacked directly to your door? As the Vancouver Columbian reports , that’s exactly what happened recently in Vancouver, Washington, where some residents woke up to find a letter tacked to...

Squawk Box | 04-20-2018

If you happen to live in the tiny Wisconsin town of Winneconne, you are probably used to sedate, uneventful elections. Alas, that might not be the case this November. As the AP reports , an as-yet-unnamed resident has asked for permission to bring three...

The War Without End | 04-20-2018

The history books say America’s Civil War ended in 1865. But for some folks on the losing side of that conflict, the end of the shooting war only begat the start of our nation’s internal Cold War. Those hostilities have played out in any number...

Total Recall | 04-13-2018

As noted in this space before, there is a reckoning afoot for politicos spewing hateful nonsense on social media. The latest comes from Maine, where a local mayor is facing recall after cracking on a school shooting survivor. As the Bangor Daily News...

Count Me Out | 04-13-2018

In normal times, when the vice president comes to town the governor is sure to be there for a good old fashioned grip-and-grin for the news photographers. And if he is from your own party? Done deal, right? Wrong! Or so it was last week for Massachusetts...

One Way to Make an Impression | 04-13-2018

Standing out in a crowded primary field can be a major challenge. But as the Hartford Courant reports , getting attention is not Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Lee Whitnum’s problem. Whitnum showed up at a Democratic candidate debate in Brookfield...

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? | 04-13-2018

Alcohol vending machines might sound like the fever dream of a hungover frat boy, but rest assured this is no hazy day-after fantasy. As the Connecticut Post reports , the House there has approved a bill that would allow bars to install self-dispensing...

In Praise of...Us | 04-05-2018

There are few things politicos like more than naming new buildings or bridges or other public works after a retired colleague who gave a healthy chunk of their working life to public service. But on occasion said pols get a little antsy and toss one of...

Deputy Dog | 04-05-2018

Since the passing of former First Dog and national celebrity Sutter Brown in 2016, current First Dog Colusa has been a tad lonely. But no more! California Gov. Jerry Brown reported last week that Colusa has a new buddy, a poodle and Border collie mix...

Not Kidding Around | 04-05-2018

Like it or not, fellow Baby Boomers, the young ‘uns are coming. As we noted here in February, a half dozen 16- and 17-year-olds are running for governor in Kansas . But heck, compared to 13-year-old Ethan Sonneborn, they’re already past their...

Seems Worth the Risk | 04-05-2018

One of the first things I learned as a young scribe was that cops and reporters never say no to coffee. Given that my brother was a cop for 30 years and I’ve been kicking around this gig for almost as long, I know this to be as true today as it...

A True Loss | 03-30-2018

The point of this column is to poke fun at the odd, pretentious or absurd things that happen in politics. But this week we will be straight for just a moment to honor the untimely passing of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s esteemed chief of staff...

Free, Free, Set Them Free | 03-30-2018

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If not, it never was. Or so said author Richard Bach, anyway. Now it appears Utah is ready to give his words some legal muscle. As NBC affiliate KHQ-TV reports , Gov. Gary Herbert...

Bros and Bears | 03-30-2018

As a native of South Lake Tahoe, California I know firsthand that it is one of the loveliest places in the world. But as the Sacramento Bee reports , the community is feeling under siege these days from an influx of two entirely different kinds of visitors...

What’s Luck Got To Do With It? | 03-30-2018

Well, when it comes to winning the state lottery...everything. Which is why Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, thought the marketing slogan “Luck yeah!” was a real winner. Alas, as reported by the New Hampshire...

Brother from Another Mother | 03-16-2018

Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof is no stranger to politics, dubious celebrity status or controversy. So then it should come as no surprise that, as the Los Angeles Times reports , Hof is making a run at the Silver State Assembly. Nor should it shock anyone...

My Kid the Jerk | 03-16-2018

If you live in Pennsylvania and your kid likes to torment others, you might want to start a special savings account. As the Washington Post reports , Pennsylvania State Rep. Frank Burns will soon introduce legislation that would hit the parents of repeat...

Good Thing He Wasn’t an Undertaker | 03-16-2018

One of the first things any candidate needs is name recognition. So perhaps then Meteorologist Drew Anderson is already one up in the game. And no, I didn’t screw that up. Anderson legally changed his name to Meteorologist Drew Anderson last year...

Dumb As A Rock | 03-16-2018

Dumb As A Rock : Whatever your position on guns, it would seem to be really dumb to verbally attack shooting victims or survivors. Sadly, from Sandy Hook to Parkland there is a plethora of examples of current and wannabe pols who have chosen to do just...

How Do We Need a Law For This? | 03-08-2018

An Indiana lawmaker has introduced legislation that would make it illegal for tattoo artists to ply their craft on someone’s eyeballs. Yes, on their eyeballs! As the Washington Post reports , violators would face a fine up to $10,000. And if, like...

Didn’t You Leave Someone Out? | 03-08-2018

School safety is rightfully a big issue these days. Count Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam among those who are very concerned about potential shootings on campus. So concerned in fact that he has put together a 16-person task force to devise ways to keep Volunteer...

Stormy Monday | 03-08-2018

President Donald Trump made his share of both friends and enemies last year by reducing the size of two Utah national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. As the New York Times reports , he so enthralled GOP state Rep. Michael E. Noel...

More Dogs, Please | 03-02-2018

Political confabs are not everyone’s cup of tea. Dealing with politicos, their handlers and – when in D.C. – arrogant Beltway reporters can be exhausting. But there is a solution: dogs. Yes, hounds. Puppies. Canines. Man’s best...

Cuomo Gets It | 03-02-2018

Speaking of dogs, congrats to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the addition of a new member of the family. As Newsday reports, the gov last month held a presser to introduce Captain, a 14-week old Siberian and German shepherd mix with a “little Malamute...

Wait, He Did What? | 03-02-2018

Some ideas are so clearly bad ones that it would seem to just be common sense not to go through with them. But as Voltaire noted, common sense isn’t so common. Case in point comes from Chicago, where the Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois Gov...

Well, If the Audience Is Drinking | 03-02-2018

Then why not the guy up on stage? So says the New Hampshire House, which passed a bill recently that would allow entertainers and dancers and the like performing in places that serve booze to have a few pops while doing their act. As New Hampshire Public...

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...