MultiState's Local Policy Digest explores the top legislative developments this week from municipalities across the U.S. Atlanta becomes the latest and largest Southern city committed to generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. The legislation (Resolution 17-R-3510) directs the city’s Office of Sustainability to develop a plan for public operations to achieve 100-percent clean energy by 2025, and community-wide 100 -percent clean energy by 2035. The plans are set to include energy from “wind, solar, existing and low- impact hydroelectric, geothermal, biogas, and wave technology sources.” The council passed the resolution unanimously during the May 1, 2017 meeting, and its passage solidified the Big Peach’s place as the 27th U.S. city, and the largest Southern city, to enact legislation geared toward a transition to 100 -percent renewable energy by 2050. Atlanta’s action follows a trend of renewable energy transition campaigns from cities in states all across the Southeast. The Nashville Metropolitan Council delayed a voted on the fate of short-term rentals. Theordinance in question, scheduled for last Tuesday but rescheduled for May 16, would halt new permits to owners who do not occupy rental sites and phase out existing permits. Two more short-term rental ordinances currently before the council would establish moratoriums on issuing permits for rentals in areas zoned for single and two-family residential use, as well as require adjacent property owners' consent prior to issuing permits. The council’s decision comes as the Tennessee State Legislature is scheduled this week to vote on a comprehensiveshort-term rental bill that would prohibit localities from banning short-term rentals, among other regulations. The Tennesseanreports that the bill sponsor is attempting to amend to the bill to only prohibit the state’s four largest cities (including Nashville) from enacting such bans. Knoxville, another city that would be affected by the amendment, isalso considering short-term regulations.
The Baltimore City Council passed an ordinance legalizing the possession of stun guns. The move follows a general trend of relaxing and removing stun gun bans, or as the Baltimore ordinance refers to them, “electronic control devices.” Last year, the Supreme Court suggested Second Amendment rights also apply to stun guns in Caetano v. Massachusetts (136 S.Ct. 1027 (2016)). A lawsuit filed in January challenges local bans in Baltimore County and Howard County on Second Amendment grounds. There is also a lawsuit in Westminster, Maryland, challenging a similar ban. The City-County Council Of Marion County And Indianapolis is set to debate a living wage ordinance that would raise the minimum wage for 400 city and county workers to $13 an hour. Introduced on May 8, the proposed ordinance (Proposal No. 92) establishes a minimum wage of $13 per hour for all full-time city and county employees paid on an hourly basis, effective in October. Because current state law prohibits municipalities from setting wages for private companies, Democratic council members are hoping that the ordinance will set an example for businesses to emulate. Council Democrats currently hold a 14-11 majority, but the ordinance’s future on the council floor is uncertain. It is also unclear whether Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett would sign the ordinance if passed. Bad week for cat owners in Washington, D.C. Buried in the mayor’s 2018 budget packet is a bill(D.C. Official Code § 8-1804, p. 53) that would require cat owners to obtain licenses for cats aged four months or older. The license could cost feline owners as much as $50 annually. According to the Animal Legal & Historical Center at the Michigan State University College of Law, historically, most states maintain licensing requirements for dogs, but leave cat licensing up to municipalities. However, this year, Connecticut introduced a bill requiring cat licensing in the same manner as dog licensing (CT H.B. 5874). Across the Potomac, Virginia adopted a bill (VA S.B. 856) that allows localities to issue lifetime dog and cat licenses.
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