The steamroller is the new icon of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's (D) administration. Plenty of puns and props are popping up after Spitzer was quoted in the New York Post telling the top Assembly Republican, "Listen, I'm a (expletive) steamroller and I'll roll over you and anybody else. ... I've done more in three weeks than any governor has done in the history of the state." Spitzer wouldn't confirm the conversation, but quipped, "It's amazing how quoting a little James Taylor can get you in trouble," according to the Albany Times Union . The singer's line was actually "I'm a steamroller, baby." Reuters fact-checked Spitzer's boast, pointing out that four New York governors became U.S. presidents and another oversaw the construction of the Erie Canal.
Behind closed doors, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) called the leader of the state Senate "a very sick man" and complained about actor Clint Eastwood being indecisive, the Los Angeles Times reports (the Eastwood story is here ). The remarks came in a batch of recordings first discovered during the governor's re-election campaign, when Democrats stumbled on the files on Schwarzenegger's own Web site.
The Sooner State is taking a cue from its nickname. Oklahoma's date of Feb. 5 for next year's presidential primary isn't soon enough for some state legislators. With a bevy of bigger states rushing to join what could become a new Super Tuesday on Feb. 5, Oklahoma lawmakers are proposing to hold its contest the Saturday beforehand, the same date as South Carolina Republicans, The Oklahoman writes.
Pets don't vote, but they're still popular in state capitols. Colorado lawmakers advanced a proposal to let animal physical therapists practice without oversight from veterinarians, writes the Rocky Mountain News . And Rhode Island legislators are considering whether to allow restraining orders to protect pets as well as people, The Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, at least eight states are considering incentives to solve a shortage of vets treating farm animals, according to The New York Times.
A new petition drive seeks to have voters in Washington state automatically annul all marriages that don't produce children within three years. The proposed ballot initiative is a rebuke to last year's state supreme court ruling on gay marriage that cited procreation as a reason the state was justified in treating heterosexual couples and same-sex couples differently, according to The Seattle Times.
In Nevada, a freshman GOP state rep who cast the sole vote against Democrat Barbara Buckley becoming the first female House speaker in state history got a talking to by top brass in both parties, says the Las Vegas Review Journal . "In the spirit of bipartisanship, I thought we ought to get together and air out a little issue, and we did," a Democratic leader told the paper.
Wisconsin legislators and their aides faced the problem of identity theft first-hand, when documents showing their Social Security numbers were stolen from a staffer's car, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Among those affected are the Assembly speaker and the chamber's leading advocate for stricter privacy standards.
Frustrated Mississippi state senators calling for the ouster of state Health Officer Brian Amy agreed to let him stay on - for an annual salary of $1. "I'm not sure he's worth that much," state Sen. Alan Nunnelee said, according to The Clarion Ledger . The move reduces Amy's salary by $213,314. Amy's department is under fire for inadequately inspecting restaurants and overpaying its top administrators.
Scantily clad dancers almost spoiled a ball hosted by newly anointed Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill (R), who shooed the women from the stage before they could finish their first dance, reports the AP . The vendor in charge of the band invited the dancers. "The Democrats didn't have anything to do with this," a Democratic legislator told the AP.
A Maryland advocacy group for the blind points out a problem with state efforts to promote hybrid and electric cars to save energy. The cars are too quiet for blind people to hear, The (Annapolis) Capital reports. The National Federation of the Blind passed a resolution to "raise an alarm" about the issue across the country, following reports of pedestrian-hybrid crashes.
Looking forward: The National Association of Secretaries of State gathers in Washington, D.C., this weekend. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, a former Texas secretary of state, will address the group on Monday. … Utah lawmakers will consider requiring married couples to attend divorce classes before they can split up, according to the (Provo) Daily Herald.