Connecting state and local government leaders
Also in our Route Fifty news roundup: Native Hawaiian constitution adopted; medical marijuana restrictions affirmed in Montana; and this Pennsylvania state park is not gnome friendly.
TECHNOLOGY | Late last week, AT&T sued the Louisville Metro government in federal court alleging that its newly passed “One Touch Ready” ordinance violates state and federal rules and therefore prohibits Google Fiber from installing equipment public utility poles. Google Fiber announced Friday that it “is disappointed that AT&T has gone to court in an effort to block Louisville's efforts to increase broadband and video competition. We are confident the City's common-sense initiative will be upheld.” [Courier-Journal; Google Fiber Blog]
WATER | The latest revelation from the ongoing Flint water crisis: New emails released this weekend show that Gov. Rick Snyder could have declared a state of emergency in the city of Flint months ago and “was directing top staff to explore other options to fix the water contamination crisis …” [The Detroit News]
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Missouri
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | Looking to become a life science hub, planning is underway for a plant science innovation district in the city of Creve Coeur, located west of the city of St. Louis. “The plant science research and commercialization industry is a linchpin of our future economy,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement. [St. Louis Public Radio]
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT | A Native Hawaiian constitution was adopted on Friday at a convention called Nai Aupuni on a vote of 88 to 30. “At the core of the governing document is the need to have culture and kupuna wisdom,” according to a convention statement. [Nai Aupuni via Honolulu Civil Beat]
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia
TRANSPORTATION | After nine years of construction and jumpstarting operations, it’s hard to believe that the D.C. government’s long-delayed streetcar line is officially carrying passengers along H Street NE and Benning Road. When you compare it to other notable construction projects, D.C.’s 2.2 mile streetcar line took longer to construct than the first transcontinental railroad and the Erie Canal. “Thank you for your patience,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Saturday. [CityLab; Washington City Paper]
APPLE CREEK, Utah
HUMAN SERVICES | Following the recent arrests of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints, who are accused of being involved in massive food stamp fraud, there are major concerns about hunger in isolated polygamous sect communities along the Utah-Arizona border. "Those within the order will not come out here [to the food bank]. If they knew they were getting food from us, they wouldn't take it," according to a former FLDS member. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine
ENVIRONMENT | This week, a ban on plastic foam food containers and fees on single-use plastic and paper bags is going into effect in this municipality across the Fore River from the Pine Tree State’s largest city. [Portland Press Herald]
MARIJUANA | Medical marijuana business owners are facing the prospect of closure following a Montana Supreme Court decision last week that upholds rules from a 2011 bill that restricts providers to supplying marijuana to just three patients, among other provisions. “We have to shut down,” Jason Smith, the co-owner of Montana Advanced Caregivers said. “There’s no alternative.” [The Billings Gazette]
STATE SHRUBS | Three high school students spearheaded legislation designating the Wyoming big sagebrush as the official state shrub. Many ranchers view the shrub as a weed, but the designation doesn’t protect it from being cleared. It simply “recognizes the importance of the shrub to Wyoming.” [Casper Star-Tribune]
LITTLE BUFFALO STATE PARK, Pennsylvania
PARKS AND RECREATION | Despite drawing a surge of visitors, a gnome village at this state park northwest of Harrisburg has not been welcomed by park officials. “We don’t really think it’s a state park kind of thing,” according to Jason Baker, the park’s manager. [The New York Times]
What state and local news are you reading? Let us know.
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty. Quinn Libson contributed to this report.