Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

Trouble In Bloom | 03-22-2019

It’s been an uncharacteristically rainy winter in California. Not a bad thing, as we natives know we’re always just a bad year or two from a big drought. The rain also produces wildflower “super blooms” in various remote locales...

That's Just Gross | 03-15-2019

Word is that tattoos are becoming less of a thing for the younger set these days. That’s probably a good idea given that some folks apparently think it is a good idea to get a tattoo on their eyeball. Yes, on their eyeball! Thankfully, Cornhusker...

It’s Called Fair Play | 03-15-2019

Since men get to constantly tell women how to manage their own bodies, Georgia state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick thinks it’s time that women get to return the favor. In an email to colleagues she titled “Testicular ‘Bill of Rights’...

As Mayor, He May Not Be Baaaaad | 03-15-2019

All hail Lincoln, a Nubian goat now known as His Honor the Mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont. Yes, as the Associated Press reports , Lincoln outlasted over a dozen other critters seeking the office, most notably a dog named Sammie, to win the final tally 13...

Mississippi Magic Beans | 03-15-2019

Most people would not spend $18,000 to save $200. Alas, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety is clearly not burdened with such fiscal sense. As the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports , the DPS has recently spent $17,727.50 fighting an open records...

Don’t Get Mad, Get the Money | 03-08-2019

California for the most part really doesn’t like Donald Trump. This is hardly news. Alas, it is news that the California Public Employee Retirement System – the largest pension fund in the nation - is one of the larger shareholders in American...

Mad Cow Eater Disease | 03-08-2019

You folks can eat all the veggie-based faux burger patties you want. You can even pretend you’re chomping on meat if that makes you happy, but once you cross over into Mississippi you had better not call it that. As the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports...

Built for Speed | 03-08-2019

Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage and current Gov. Janet Mills have almost nothing in common, except for an apparent need for speed and an unwillingness to learn a lesson. As the Bangor Daily News reports , Mills has had 10 speeding tickets since 1975, and...

High Speed Foot in His Mouth | 02-22-2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has a way with words. He also loves the sound of his own voice so much that he often keeps talking when he ought to shut up. Or at least talk out of only one side of his mouth. Such was definitely the case during his recent...

But Then We Wouldn’t Need a Train | 02-22-2019

Speaking of fast times in California’s sprawling Central Valley, how’s a Golden State Autobahn grab you? As the Los Angeles Times reports , state Sen. John Moorlach has introduced a bill that would authorize building new lanes with no speed...

Joe Who? | 02-22-2019

If a game show host and failed developer can become president, why not an alleged comedian? That seems to be the thought in New Jersey, where Fox News reports that former Saturday Night Live cast member and current radio talk blatherer Joe Piscopo is...

Well, If Treason Upsets You | 02-22-2019

One of the first items on New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s agenda was removing the state’s National Guard troops from the border with Mexico. That caused so much posterior pain for state Rep. Zach Cook that he started an online petition...

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...