NOW OPEN U.S. Route 61 North of Canton

Source: US State of Missouri

HANNIBAL – U.S. Route 61 northbound is now open north of Canton after being closed all day due to an incident.

Northern Missouri is expecting more snow overnight and into tomorrow morning and temperatures are expected to drop.  Please check road conditions on the traveler map at modot.org before you travel.

NOW OPEN U.S. Route 61 North of Canton

Source: US State of Missouri

HANNIBAL – U.S. Route 61 northbound is now open north of Canton after being closed all day due to an incident.

Northern Missouri is expecting more snow overnight and into tomorrow morning and temperatures are expected to drop.  Please check road conditions on the traveler map at modot.org before you travel.

Anti-doxing bill would protect Missouri first responders

Source: US State of Missouri

      Missouri House members are being asked to protect law enforcement officers and other first responders and their families by protecting the personal information of those individuals.       House Bill 59 has been called the “First Responders Protection Act.”  It would bar counties from disclosing the address or personal information of law enforcement officers and … Continue reading “Anti-doxing bill would protect Missouri first responders”

Anti-doxing bill would protect Missouri first responders

Source: US State of Missouri

      Missouri House members are being asked to protect law enforcement officers and other first responders and their families by protecting the personal information of those individuals.       House Bill 59 has been called the “First Responders Protection Act.”  It would bar counties from disclosing the address or personal information of law enforcement officers and … Continue reading “Anti-doxing bill would protect Missouri first responders”

Let the States Lead

Source: US State of Nebraska

Let the States Lead

By Governor Pete Ricketts

January 26, 2021

 

Governor’s official photo here

Last week, the United States carried out a distinctive national tradition: Our country underwent a peaceful transition of power.  Looking back on the history of nations, this is not typical.  Transfers of power between leaders have often been tumultuous. 

While the federal government is responsible for our country’s defense and certain policy areas, the U.S. Constitution is structured to let state governments take the lead in many areas that impact the day-to-day lives of Americans.  Our Republic’s federal system acknowledges that we’re a very diverse country with 50 different states.  As President Joe Biden begins his term, my hope is that governors will continue to lead as they have throughout our country’s history.

The Cornhusker State is a great example of why federalism matters.  For instance, Nebraska is the least indebted state in the country.  That’s because our state constitution does not allow us to take on a lot of debt.  This has helped us avoid some of the financial problems other states have run into.  Thanks to our federal system, Nebraska has positioned our state as a great place to grow for farm and ranch families.  We protect our Second Amendment.  We’re a pro-life state.  And we are working to become the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.

The pandemic response is another good example of why our federal system works for Nebraskans.  The 50 states have had 50 different responses to coronavirus according to what state leaders think is best.  In turn, state leaders will be accountable to voters for their handling of the pandemic. 

If we had to deal with a one-size-fits-all answer, I have no doubt that Nebraska would have been less successful in slowing the spread of the virus.  Because states were managing the pandemic response, we were able to go out on our own, as Nebraska, and secure the resources we needed.  Launching Test Nebraska in April allowed us to more than double our testing capacity in the state.  At the time we started Test Nebraska, the federal government did not have the resources we needed to expand testing.  The reagents needed for the tests were all passing through the CDC, which was limiting their availability.  As a state, we successfully secured our own contracts and resources to do tests.

We also used federal assistance to buy PPE.  A small state like Nebraska would have been at a disadvantage if we had been at the mercy of the federal government to provide PPE to us.  Working with great companies like Werner Enterprises in Nebraska, we were able to secure PPE on our own.  We actually have had more success purchasing what we needed than states like California.  Throughout our response, we’ve leveraged our nimbleness to compete and succeed. 

Previously, the Trump Administration honored our country’s tried-and-true tradition of state-managed, federally supported emergency response efforts.  This continues to make good sense given the difference between states like Nebraska and New York.  In keeping with federalism, the Trump Administration entrusted states to direct a significant portion of federal coronavirus assistance.  In Nebraska, our reliance on farming and ranching means we have unique, ag-related needs that other states are not experiencing.  Instead of counting on a bureaucrat in Washington to figure this out and plan accordingly, it’s best to give states a role in assessing needs and directing federal assistance.  We’re closer to what’s happening “on the ground.”  We have relationships at the local level—connections to city mayors, county commissioners, and local economic development groups.  We also regularly interact with statewide associations that can articulate the needs of their members.  Because we understand these relationships, state governments are better suited to identify local needs and respond to them appropriately.

What comes next remains to be seen.  During his first few days in office, President Biden has issued a number of executive orders.  Nebraskans should be aware of how these policies will affect our state. 

On January 20th, President Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This is a regrettable decision.  Keystone XL is a critical part of a comprehensive strategy to ensure U.S. energy independence.  Failure to construct the pipeline would mean greater reliance on foreign oil sources, such as Russia and Saudi Arabia.  It would also result in fewer jobs and less property tax relief for Nebraskans.  The Keystone XL project would greatly benefit not just Nebraska, but the entire country.  Our hope is that TC Energy presses forward despite this temporary roadblock.

We are also likely to see a shift in how the federal government approaches pro-life issues, such as abortion.  Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the World Health Organization that the federal government would discontinue the Mexico City policy.  The Mexico City policy, which has been in effect under pro-life administrations beginning with President Ronald Reagan, bans U.S. foreign aid for non-governmental family planning agencies that perform or promote abortions.  By discontinuing the policy, the Biden Administration would authorize taxpayer dollars to fund abortions around the world.

In the coming days and weeks, we will watch the Biden Administration’s actions closely to see what they mean for Nebraska.  Whatever may come, we will work to put Nebraska first, and continue to move our state forward the Nebraska Way.  If you have questions about how President Biden’s initial actions will impact Nebraska, please email pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or call 402-471-2244.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Senator Tony Luetkemeyer Calls on State to Increase Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines

Source: US State of Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, has called on Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), to increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccinations to residents of Buchanan and Platte Counties. The State of Missouri received its first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, but fewer than 5% of the state’s residents have been inoculated, the department reports. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Missouri ranks last in the nation in vaccine distribution.

In recent weeks, Senator Luetkemeyer has fielded phone calls and emails from constituents frustrated by their inability to receive the vaccine. In a letter to DHSS, Sen. Luetkemeyer asked Dr. Williams to engage with health care providers and public health officials in Platte and Buchanan counties to ensure adequate supplies of COVID-19 vaccine are available.

Senator Tony Luetkemeyer has called on the Department of Health and Senior Services to improve COVID-19 distribution in Buchanan and Platte counties.

“I am aware of the challenges before us, but those challenges underscore the need for the department to proactively ensure the allocation of resources and implementation of an effective vaccine administration plan,” Sen. Luetkemeyer wrote. “The only metric that matters right now is getting vaccines into the arms of those who need it. With that in mind, I urge you to take the steps necessary to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are promptly and equitably distributed and administered in Platte and Buchanan Counties.”

According to DHSS, Missouri has received in excess of 660,000 doses of COVID-19 from the federal government. To date, just 351,000 doses have been administered. Details about vaccine availability, as well as answers to frequently asked questions regarding efficacy and safety, can be found online at www.covidvaccine.mo.gov.

For more information about Sen. Luetkemeyer, visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.

Traffic Alert: Lane Closures Scheduled for I-70 for Signage Work This Week

Source: US State of Missouri

JACKSON COUNTY– MoDOT Kansas City will be making U.S. 24 route marking designation changes along both I-435 and I-70.  Crews are working to remove the U.S. 24 designation from Independence Ave. west of I-435.  Beginning at I-435, U.S. 24 will soon be routed along I-435 and I-70 into downtown Kansas City.  East of I-435, the U.S. 24 designation will remain unchanged.  This work will require various overnight lane closures. Motorists are advised to plan ahead and find alternate routes if necessary. All work is weather permitting.

This project includes route marking designation changes on I-435 from U.S. 24 to I-70, on I-70 from I-435 to U.S. 24. Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 27, the work will include:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 27
    • Eastbound I-70 (east side of the downtown loop) will be reduced to ONE LANE from Admiral Blvd. to 12th St. for overhead signage work beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, until 5 a.m. the following morning.
    • Westbound I-70 (east side of the downtown loop) will be reduced to ONE LANE from Brooklyn Ave. to Admiral Blvd. for overhead sign truss work beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, until 5 a.m. the following morning.
    • During this time, the on ramp from 10th St. and 11th St. to westbound I-70 will be closed.
    • Additionally, the off ramp to Admiral Blvd. from westbound I-70 will be closed.
  • Thursday, Jan. 28
    • Eastbound I-70 (north and east sides of the downtown loop) will be reduced to ONE LANE from Route 9 (Heart of American Bridge) to Admiral Blvd. for overhead sign truss work beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, until 5 a.m. the following morning.
    • During this time, the eastbound I-70 ramp at the northeast corner of the downtown loop will also be closed.

Please be patient and considerate to your fellow motorists. Use the zipper merge and take turns at merge points.  Please remember that all work zones are NO PHONE ZONES. Buckle up. Phone down. Arrive Alive. For potential impacts to traffic, please review KC Scout cameras at http://www.kcscout.net or consult our real-time traffic partner, WAZE.

Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention while driving in work zones. Not all work zones look alike. Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.

For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, please visit our website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.  MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties. Sign up online for work zone updates or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Statement from Sen. Rick Brattin Regarding Senate Bill 66

Source: US State of Missouri

Statement from Senator Rick Brattin Regarding Senate Bill 66

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, issued a statement relating to a public safety measuring he is sponsoring, Senate Bill 66:

“The right to peacefully protest is one of our most valued constitutional rights, but looting and rioting are not. I believe self-proclaimed activists and professional agitators are using violence and chaos to intimidate law-abiding citizens and destabilize our communities. We can’t allow this to continue. The legislation I filed will hold rioters and looters accountable while respecting the right of Missourians to peacefully protest. It also protects our men and women in law enforcement and gives our courts and prosecutors additional tools to keep our communities safe. Nothing in the bill allows drivers to run down protestors blocking traffic. Rather, it gives the mother doing nothing more than driving her children home from school the protection of the law when a violent mob attacks her vehicle, smashing windows and threatening her life. That mother should be able to get to safety without fear of prosecution or being sued. It’s a sad day in this country when we are more concerned with protecting violent criminals than protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens. I’m proud to sponsor this bill and look forward to working with my colleagues to pass it into law.”

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State ferries to host February virtual community meetings

Source: Washington State News 2

Hadley Rodero, communications, 206-818-3813
WSF media hotline, 206-402-8070

Topics include hybrid-electric vessels, service and COVID-19 response

SEATTLE – Riders, commuters and terminal neighbors of Washington State Ferries are invited to attend upcoming virtual community meetings designed to provide updates and answer questions about the ferry system.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, and 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, WSF staff will discuss the ferry system’s continued response to COVID-19 and progress made on key projects in 2020. New head of WSF Patty Rubstello will lead the meetings alongside former Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton.

Both meetings will cover the same material and are designed to give participants the option to join the meeting that best fits their schedule. Meeting participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments. Members of the public can participate in the meeting from a laptop, desktop computer or mobile device, but advanced registration is required.

Registration for the February virtual WSF community meetings:

  • Register for the 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9 meeting at: bit.ly/WSFWinterMeeting1
  • Register for the 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, meeting at: bit.ly/WSFWinterMeeting2
  • Participants must provide a name and valid email address and have access to a computer or mobile device with an internet connection.
  • Once registered, participants will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to log in to the webinar.
  • The day after each meeting, a video recording will be available online on WSF’s community participation webpage.

Free, temporary internet access is available to those who do not have broadband service in locations throughout the state. To find the nearest Drive-In WiFi Hotspot visit: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/

These public meetings are being held in coordination with the Ferry Advisory Committees to share the latest information and engage people in ferry-served communities. WSF will also hold a special meeting for FACs at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, to discuss issues related to their role in advising WSF on customer service and schedules. Members of the public are invited to attend and can register by going to https://bit.ly/WSFWinterFACMeeting.

WSF, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries tens of millions of people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information, follow WSF on Twitter and Facebook.

Weekend SR 520 closures planned for new highway lid work

Source: Washington State News 2

Steve Peer, communications, 425-301-2023

This weekend kicks off a series of four one-way highway closures across Lake Washington

SEATTLE – Weekend travelers should plan ahead as crews alternately close one direction of State Route 520 across Lake Washington over four weekends this winter. Beginning Friday night, Jan. 29, crews will close the eastbound lanes and start placing beams over the highway to build a community-connecting lid in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.

The work is part of the $455 million SR 520 Montlake Project to construct new, seismically resilient eastbound lanes between Montlake Boulevard and the floating bridge. In addition to the new lid with a transit center, other project improvements include an improved Montlake Boulevard interchange and a bike and pedestrian bridge over SR 520, east of the lid.

Drivers headed east across Lake Washington during each weekend closure should take alternate routes or consider delaying their trips if possible.

Closure details

From 11 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29, to 5 a.m., Monday, Feb. 1, crews will close:

  • Eastbound SR 520 between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast.
  • All associated SR 520 on- and off-ramps between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast.
  • Eastbound SR 520 will remain open between I-5 and Montlake Boulevard.
  • The SR 520 Trail also will remain open for the duration of the closure.

Crews will set a total of 114 girders during the four directional closures. Like the wooden beams that support a home’s floors, the concrete girders will support the new lid over SR 520. When the lid is complete, it will add more than three acres of surface over the highway, connecting neighborhoods north and south of SR 520 that have been divided by the highway since the early 1960s. Besides a transit center and several bicycle and pedestrian trails, about 60% of the new lid will be green space with trees, shrubs and grass. 

People will be able to watch the weekend girder setting from home on a Montlake Project construction camera. The camera is mounted just east of the future lid and is updated every ten minutes.  

Flammable cargo restrictions
For safety reasons, beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, trucks will not be allowed to haul flammable cargo across Lake Washington on SR 520 between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and 92nd Avenue Northeast in Clyde Hill. The ban will be in place until mid-2023 after crews complete the firefighting system under the lid. Truck drivers carrying flammable cargo should use I-90 as an alternate route.   

Upcoming closures
After this weekend, three more weekend directional closures will occur, with each closure starting at 11 p.m. Fridays and ending the following Mondays at 5 a.m. The closures are:

  • Feb. 6-7 – westbound SR 520 will close between the Eastside and Montlake Boulevard.
  • Feb. 27-28 – westbound SR 520 will close in the same locations.
  • March 6-7 – eastbound SR 520 will close between the Eastside and Montlake Boulevard.

Keeping travelers informed
Get the most up-to-date information on closures by visiting the SR 520 Construction Corner. Other resources to stay informed:

  • 24-hour construction hotline: 206-775-8885