Stateline Story

Reducing California's Car Fleet a Tough Sell

  • July 11, 2011
  • By Daniel C. Vock

SELLING STATE CARS: California Governor Jerry Brown is well short of his target of selling off half of the state's fleet of cars used by employees, writes the Sacramento Bee . So far, the paper reports, the state is only a third of the way to meeting Brown's goal of getting rid of 5,500 cars. But the governor's office says more workers will lose their cars. "State departments can make deeper cuts," Brown said in a statement. "There is no excuse for an excessive state fleet."

CELL PHONE BANS: In October, Nevada will join a small group of states with laws against talking on the phone while driving. But a national safety group warns that there is not enough information to tell whether the bans work, reports USA Today . The Governors Highway Safety Association says other states should not add bans of their own, at least until better data is available. "We don't know if handheld bans are effective," the group's executive director told USA Today, "and we don't know if they actually make the problem worse."

MARYLAND AUDIT: A critical audit of the Maryland State Highway Administration touched off several follow-up investigations and may slow the agency's approval process for new contracts. Legislative auditors raised red flags about a former employee who asked companies bidding on contracts to donate to a charity event he was running. They also said a senior employee left the agency for a company that bid on a contract he had worked on while at the agency. A top official with the company told The Baltimore Sun that the new employee did not work on that contract while he was with the state.

VETERANS' LICENSES: Veterans in Utah can now display their military status on their driver's licenses, notes the (Salt Lake City) Deseret News . Backers of the change say the new designation will make it easier for veterans to get their benefits, and it could help police who stop them, too. The state requires veterans to show that they were honorably discharged to get the designation.