After Standoff, Illinois Road Construction Continues
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
CRISIS AVERTED: Democrats in the Illinois Senate, whose parliamentary brinksmanship threatened to stop road building and construction projects around the state, backed away from their high-stakes gamble, reports Illinois Issues . The Senate Democrats wanted more money for schools and human services than the House had allowed, so they attached that spending to a must-pass public works bill. But the House refused to act on the amended bill, and Governor Pat Quinn warned that road construction would halt if the legislation did not pass. The Senate Democrats relented and are expected to pass the capital bill, without the added spending, this week.
TOLL ROADS ALLOWED: A new Nevada law would lift the state's ban on toll roads, in order to clear the way for private financing of a highway around Boulder City, writes the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Proponents say the new law could open the way for up to $400 million in private money to finance the project. The Boulder City road would be the only one in the state allowed to charge tolls, and half of the workers who build it would be required to have Nevada driver's licenses, the Las Vegas Sun points out .
DIGITAL BILLBOARDS: After years of restricting the billboards allowed along their highways, Missouri lawmakers opened the door to flashier signage, notes The Associated Press . Legislators sent Governor Jay Nixon a proposal that would let electronic signs take the place of current paper ones. Nixon has not indicated whether he supports it. A similar measure is heading to the governor's office in Oregon , reports The (Portland) Oregonian. The Oregon legislation eked out small majorities in both chambers there, following four years of debate on the issue.
AIRPORT PATDOWNS: Texas Governor and possible presidential contender Rick Perry took aim at the federal government by urging that state legislators make it a crime for federal airport screeners to be overly intrusive in their patdowns. Perry added the measure to the agenda for the Texas legislature's special session; a similar measure had stalled in the state House, even though it had 112 co-sponsors in the 150-member chamber.
DRUNKEN BOATING: Several states are trying to reduce accidents and deaths on the water by cracking down on boat operators who drink, writes USA Today . Iowa and Oklahoma both lowered the legal blood alcohol limit for boaters from 0.1 percent to 0.08 percent, in line with many states' levels for car and truck drivers. Texas and North Carolina are also stepping up enforcement efforts.