o the delight of dog lovers, cities and states have begun passing laws to allow dogs to join patrons on restaurant and bar patios. Many diners have simply asked, “Wait, that was illegal?”Sure, the United States doesn’t have the rich history of outdoor dining of say, Paris, where pooches are almost as common as croissants at outdoor cafes. But when the weather is pleasant, it’s fairly common to see people settling in for an outdoor beer with their dog at their feet. And as U.S. culture shifts to become more pet-friendly, the numbers suggest it will only become more common.Pets are increasingly an important part of many people’s lives. U.S. spending on pets has risen from $17 billion in 1994 to an estimated $72 billion in 2018. The number of craft breweries also has skyrocketed since 2010, expanding the number of spots with a dog-friendly atmosphere.But in many places, health codes simply don’t allow dogs other than service animals to be present at restaurants and bars. Just nine states have laws that allow canine companionship in such places. Many proprietors across the country have been allowing dogs anyway, with owners at worst ignoring the law and at best believing they were operating in a gray area.
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller was elected the president of the Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA) at the organization’s annual board of directors’ meeting this week. The meeting was held in connection with the annual business meeting of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture. SUSTA is made up of the Departments of Agriculture in 15 southern states and is chartered to facilitate exports of U.S. food and high value agricultural products by small to medium-sized companies in the region. SUSTA’s Board of Directors, comprised of the Secretaries and Commissioners of Agriculture in their member states, chose Miller to lead the organization for the coming term.
A Minnesota administrative law judge extended the time the state will receive public comments on a controversial proposal to regulate fall use of some crop fertilizers. The rule was instituted by the Dayton administration, limiting the use of nitrogen fertilizer each fall in many parts of the state. Farmers, while saying they seldom use the fertilizer in the fall anyway, objected to the rule because they had little say in its original drafting.
New York will begin soliciting contracts from companies that will assess the cyber-security risks of New York's voting systems and help improve internet firewalls for county boards of elections. The initiative, part of a $5 million earmark in the 2019 budget, was announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The governor's announcement tethered the security project to the recent indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers who are charged with hacking into the email accounts and servers of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 elections.
An Associated Press review finds that 25 state lawmakers who have been accused of sexual misconduct are running for re-election or another office this year. Of those, 15 have already advanced to the Nov. 6 general election. Seven did not even face a challenger in their primary.Cassaundra Cooper, who filed a sexual harassment claim against a former Kentucky lawmaker in 2013, wonders why voters would re-elect public officials accused of sexual misconduct, or simply choose to ignore the allegations.“That shocks me,” she said. “Where is the empathy?”In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal — and the extraordinary growth of the #MeToo movement — any assumption that accused office holders would be political pariahs is not borne out on the state level. (Though by comparison, virtually every member of Congress accused of sexual harassment has resigned or opted against running for re-election.)
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is hoping to help rural areas of the state through an executive order. Reynolds signed the order Wednesday that creates the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, according to a release. They say the initiative will identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes through a partnership with the Iowa Rural Development Council. with co-chairs Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Sandy Ehrig of the Iowa Rural Development Council.
Representative Craig Hickman reportedly was burned on his legs and chest during the Tuesday morning incident. A state representative from Winthrop was burned badly Tuesday morning while attempting to light a brush pile on fire but was expected to make a full recovery.
Frustrated by lawmakers’ refusal to consider a bill to get tougher on sources of agricultural pollution feeding Lake Erie’s chronic toxic algae problem, Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday took matters into his own hands with an executive order. “This is just requiring farmers to figure out a way to manage their land in a more effective and environmentally friendly way,” the Republican governor said. “I believe that farmers want to do that.”Under the order, his administration will ask the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission at its July 19 meeting to designate eight watersheds or portions of watersheds with high phosphorous levels within the Maumee River Basin as “distressed.” That would trigger the writing of rules affecting all agricultural nutrient sources, including such things as storage, handling, and application of manure; erosion and sediment control from the land; and other agricultural practices. Civil penalties could apply for violations.
Baltimore has become the first major city to prohibit restaurants from including sugary drinks on children's menus. The measure, which went into effect on Wednesday, is intended to promote healthy habits in young children and their families by making the default kids' menu options water, milk and 100 percent fruit juices.Parents will still be able to order sugary drinks, such as sodas, for their children.
Automaker BMW says it will build more of its popular SUVs overseas to offset the higher cost of sending cars to China due to recently enacted tariffs. BMW also said it will raise the price of South Carolina-built vehicles sold in China to help offset that country's new 40 percent import tax on cars from the U.S., retaliation for higher tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by President Donald Trump.The dpa news agency reported that Munich-based BMW said Monday it is "not in a position to completely absorb the tariff increases."