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USApp Managing Editor, Chris Gilson, looks at the week in U.S. state blogging. Click here for our weekly roundup of national blogs. 

Northeast

On Tuesday this week, The Daily Signal reports that the townspeople of Westminster, Massachusetts have come together to stop a plan by the city’s board of health to ban the sale of nicotine and tobacco products within the city limits. They say that after a great deal of pressure from the community about the ‘Nanny state’ measure, the local Board of Health voted to withdraw their proposal.

Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo Credit: Diana Robinson (Flickr, CC-BY-2.0)

Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo Credit: Diana Robinson (Flickr, CC-BY-2.0)

Heading west to New York, Daily Kos writes that the state’s Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo has tried to create a ‘phony middle ground’ on the issue of climate change. They say that Cuomo has avoided discussing the causes of climate change, and instead prefers to focus on the results, meaning that he should be counted among the ranks of climate change deniers. Staying in the Empire State (and also on the subject of the weather), Capitol Confidential writes this week that Governor Cuomo has announced a new weather detection system for the state as part of a $17 billion natural disaster strategy plan. They say that the announcements comes in the wake of comments from Cuomo that the National Weather Service did not accurately predict the rate at which recent snow falls would pile up.

Moving down to New Jersey, Crooks & Liars looks at whether or not the Republican Governor of the state, Chris Christie pulled the plug on an $118 million computer system to make Medicaid and other programs easier to manage in order to be able to attack the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare if he runs for the presidency in 2016. They say that the system’s termination comes at a time when there are 11,000 applications pending for Medicaid enrolment. Still in New Jersey, PolitickerNJ has already begun the countdown to the 2017 gubernatorial race. They say that with Chris Christie limited to just two terms, they will be previewing the likely field.  First up is Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno.

South

This week saw the death of Washington D.C’s ‘mayor for life’ Marion Berry. Loose Lips writes on Tuesday that nothing that Barry did late in his career after he was arrested on cocaine charges in 1990, and the regained the city’s mayoralty in 1994, seemed to tarnish his image. They say while he was seen as a rogue, he also was a voice for the poor, and the city may not yet have realized how much he will be missed.

On Monday, RedState writes on how the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe has failed to impose the expansion of Medicaid in the state. They say that McAuliffe tried to ‘sneak’ the expansion past the GOP controlled General Assembly, but was thwarted by the retirement of a Democratic State Senator which flipped the Senate to the GOP as well. They say that McAuliffe tried to ‘pull this stunt’ because he was unable to make a deal, and then went ‘looking for a cheat code’. Staying in Virginia, The Daily Signal looks at how the conviction of the state’s former Governor, Bob McDonnell, has reverberated around the state’s political scene. They say that Republican Senator John Watkins is concerned about the increased scrutiny of politicians in the wake of McDonnell’s conviction and will now no longer seek reelection. This in turn may help the Democrats to take back the State Senate.

Heading south to the Sunshine State, SaintPetersblog writes on Monday that a special election for the Florida House’s District 64 seat has now been set for February 10th and April 21st next year. They say that the new election comes after the Florida state House rejected the outcome of the election on November 4th because of confusion over a legal challenge by a write in candidate.

This week, The Brennan Centre for Justice looks at the tradition of gerrymandering in the Lone Star State. They say that the state’s congressional map has been redrawn frequently with both Republicans and Democrats pressing for the maximum possible advantage, and then leaving it to the courts to decide if they have gone too far or not. They say that Republicans have been recently redrawing districts to undermine the strength of the state’s growing minority population.

Midwest 

This week, eclectablog writes that Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Scheutte wants to turn the state into a southern state, as evidenced by his ‘crusade’ against the state’s LGBT community, who’s right to marry he has vigorously fought. They say that he has also recently signed an amicus brief with the Fourth Court of Appeals which calls for the overturning of a Maryland law which bans assault weapons and limits magazine sizes. They say that mostly southern states and northern libertarian ones have also signed the brief.

Credit: Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr, CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Credit: Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr, CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Missouri continued to be in the headlines this week with the Monday announcement that a Grand Jury would not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of black teenager Darren Wilson in August. On Tuesday, Wonkblog gives a roundup of what we know happened including what we know about the shooting, and how the public feels about the case. The Grand Jury’s decision sparked widespread protests in Ferguson and beyond. National Review’s The Campaign Spot writes that the protesters in Ferguson are ‘living down to [y]our worst expectations’, after a night of looting and property damage. Meanwhile, PoliticMO says that the state’s Governor, Jay Nixon, has announced that the National Guard’s presence in Ferguson would be tripled to 2,200 ahead of demonstrations expected on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, Daily Kos reports that more testimony from the Grand Jury has come to light, which may call into question at least one of the witnesses, as tensions in Fergusons ‘simmer’.

Heading north to South Dakota, The Madville Times writes on Monday that the state’s GOP Governor, Dennis Daugaard, deserves credit for focusing on transportation by considering a gasoline tax increase, at a time when Congress appears incapable of getting anything done, including replenishing the Highway Trust Fund which would be used to repair and rebuild the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

West and Pacific 

In the Centennial State, ColoradoPols looks at the worst political ads of 2014. Topping the list is one from Bob Beauprez’s campaign for Governor, which attacked the incumbent Democrat, John Hickenlooper’s record on public safety issues.

Heading over to Idaho, Eye on Boise looks at who they say is the state’s Governor in waiting, the current Lieutenant Governor, Brad Little. They write that Little is more moderate than the current Governor, Butch Otter, and is ready to step up if he does not complete his full third term.

Daily Kos reports this week that Nevada’s Republican Party has ‘shoved …. out the airlock’, their state House Speaker, Ira Hansen, after it came to light last week that he had written racist and sexist tracts in local newspapers. They say that Hansen’s departure is actually bad news for the Democrats, given that if he had stayed, he’d have caused his party a great deal of grief.

Moving one state over to California, Flashreport writes on Friday that the state’s ‘sky high’ income tax could have some negative effects on its pro sport teams. They say with the passage of Proposition 30 in November, the net California income tax for income above $2 million is 9.3 percent, making it more likely that some prop sports teams will relocate to other states with lower tax rates. Staying in the Golden State, Fox & Hounds writes that recently reelected Governor, Jerry Brown, is taking hits for continuing to fundraise late in his campaign, and even after the election, despite the fact that he cannot run again in 2018. They say that Brown’s $20 million stockpile is likely to be used to campaign for and against state ballot measures.

On Tuesday, Honolulu Civil Beat looks at the high cost of renting in the Aloha State. They say that 46 percent of renters in Hawaii pay more than 35 percent of their income in rent, and that the median gross monthly rent of $1,414 is nearly 50 percent higher than the national average. 

Featured image: Police in Ferguson, Missouri Credit: Vladimir Badikov (Flickr, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0)

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Note:  This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USApp– American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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