Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Atlanta mayor introduces new city hall transparency ordinance … Minnesota’s graying farming community … and an Indiana city's train museum eviction dispute.
Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention …
- Sacramento, California: Wall Street is going to miss the frugality of California Gov. Jerry Brown when he leaves the Governor’s Mansion after this November’s election. Brown has been credited with salvaging the Golden State’s dismal finances after the Great Recession and putting it on a path to flourish economically. “The state is pretty well prepared right now,” said Jennifer Johnston, a research analyst for Franklin Templeton Investments. “Is the next governor going to squander that?” [Bloomberg News]
- Atlanta, Georgia: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has introduced an ordinance which would, if approved by the Atlanta City Council, would boost transparency at city hall. “The City’s full compliance with the requirements of the Georgia Open Records Act is a vital and essential component of creating and maintaining public trust and enhancing the City’s effectiveness,” according to the proposed ordinance. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation opened a criminal investigation into open records practices at Atlanta City Hall under then-mayor Kasim Reed. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV obtained a series of text messages from Reed that was sent to a city hall staffer regarding an open records request. "Be as unhelpful as possible … Drag this out as long as possible … And provide information in the most confusing format available.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution; WSB-TV]
- New York City, New York: The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has opened an investigation into sexual abuse allegations four women have made against Eric Schneiderman, who resigned on Tuesday as New York state’s attorney general following an explosive 6,100-word article published Monday in The New Yorker. [NBC News; The New Yorker]
- Los Angeles, California: Members of the L.A. Unified School District’s teacher union are planning to not cross picket lines if other school district employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria workers, go ahead with a planned one-day strike on May 15. [Southern California Public Radio / KPCC]
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Officials in the Sooner State are looking to get a federal waiver to that would allow the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to require Medicaid beneficiaries who are able bodied and meet other criteria to work more than 20 hours a week or participate in work-training programs in order to continue to receive benefits. “Medicaid recipients who are able-bodied will be able to take advantage of job-training programs and work opportunities that lead to a stable job, self-sufficiency, and success,” according to Gov. Mary Fallin, who approved legislation on Monday that would request the federal waiver. [The Oklahoman / NewsOK]
- Noblesville, Indiana: The Indiana Transportation Museum is suing this northwest Indiana city in a complicated dispute, accusing local government officials of “rushing to evict it from its longtime Forest Park home so it can seize its locomotives, passenger cars and other railroad equipment.” The city says it doesn’t want the train equipment, but just wants it out of the municipal park. [Indianapolis Star]
- Houston, Texas: An annual analysis from drug-testing company Quest Diagnostics released Tuesday showed that the rate of Texans using illegal drugs on the job—4.7 percent—is slightly higher than the national average of 4.2 percent. Nearly half of those Texans were using marijuana. [Houston Chronicle]
- Glenwood, Minnesota: According to new census data, only “6 percent of principal farm operators in Minnesota are under the age of 35,” something that reflects the graying of farmers in the state. Data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service shows that the “average age of principal farm operators in Minnesota is about 57 years—up from about 49 years two decades ago.” [MinnPost]
- Boston, Massachusetts: For the fourth legislative session in a row, a bill that would update and modernize sex education in public schools “appears ready to die a quiet death” at the Massachsuetts State House. The Healthy Youth Act would lay out sex ed curriculum that is “medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive in covering contraception, and LGBTQ-inclusive” and promote “affirmative and voluntary consent to engage in physical or sexual activity.” [The Boston Globe]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.
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