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Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Maine’s first-ever “food sovereignty” law; Oakland’s “backroom deals”; and Utah’s latest attempt at Medicaid expansion.
BUSINESSES | Florida Gov. Rick Scott came to Connecticut with a very specific goal in mind: to convince businesses that the grass really is greener on the other side, down in the Sunshine State. "If you want to live in a place that has lower taxes, less regulations, has good universities, is less expensive, where there's a greater chance your kids and grand kids are going to get a job, you're going to be in Florida," he told an audience of about two dozen, including Republican state legislators. Scott’s staff even handed out a comparison chart with the title “Florida vs. Connecticut,” meant to emphasize taxation differences, population change statistics and job growth numbers. Democratic lawmakers, who refused to attend the event, weren’t impressed with Scott’s sales pitch, claiming the governor can’t claim all the credit for his state’s success. "Anyone can look like a genius when you have a year-round average temperature of 82 degrees, 100 million annual visitors and a famous mouse, Mickey," said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. [Hartford Courant]
FOOD POLICY | Gov. Paul LePage of Maine last week signed-off on legislation that enables localities in the state to enact ordinances that regulate food distribution without state regulatory control. Supporters of so-called “food sovereignty” want local food producers to be exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements, as long as transactions are taking place between producers and customers who will consume the food at home or at community events. The legislation does not cover food grown or processed for wholesale or retail distribution outside of the community where it comes from. “The Governor has signed into law a first-in-the-nation piece of landmark legislation [and] the state of Maine will [now] recognize, at last, the right of municipalities to regulate local food systems as they see fit,” said state Rep. Craig Hickman. [Bangor Daily News]
OPEN GOVERNMENT | A civil grand jury found Oakland City Council ignored open government laws while discussing multimillion-dollar public land development deals. California’s Brown Act and Oakland’s Sunshine Ordinance both required decisions made in closed session to occur in public. Council issued $500 million in contracts through “backroom deals” misusing a real estate exemption, according to the grand jury. The city has 90 days to respond to the findings. [SFGate]
MEDICAID | Utah health officials are proposing lifetime limits and work requirements for adults without children as part of a plan to expand Medicaid coverage. The state’s proposed expansion of the program would cover about 6,000 childless adults in three groups: the chronically homeless, those in the criminal justice system and those in need of mental health or substance abuse treatment. The state initially submitted its Medicaid expansion plan for federal approval last summer. But it has still not been greenlighted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This led the Utah Department of Health to include new limits as part of its proposal. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
SANCTUARY STATE | For the first time, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has offered his full support for a bill that would prohibit California’s state and local law enforcement officials from carrying out immigration laws. Beck joined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who authored the bill, for a news conference on Monday. In a statement, Beck described the bill as a bid to maintain relationships between law enforcement and immigrant communities. “We depend on our communities, particularly the immigrant communities, not only to keep them safe but to keep all of you safe,” Beck said. “Without that cooperation we all suffer.” [Los Angeles Times]
INTERNS | Atlanta hired 1,000 summer interns in an effort to provide practical experience and mentorship with officials across all city departments. A Youth Summer Engagement Pilot Program will hire 45 at-risk youth ages 15 to 17 so that they may compete for permanent positions. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
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