Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Hurricane Harvey’s economic boost; Memphis scrambles after sewage overflow; Kansas City mayor not upset about losing out on Amazon HQ2; and California high-speed rail costs balloon.
Here are some state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention ...
STATE LEGISLATURES | More than 20 municipalities in Maine have adopted so-called “food sovereignty” ordinances that are permissible under a state law passed and adopted last year; at least 44 other local governments in the Pine Tree State have expressed an interest in pursuing similar rules. The state law gives municipalities “the authority to regulate the direct, producer-to-consumer exchanges, food processing and distribution free from state regulatory control.” Many local food producers want to be free of red tape when they’re selling food for local home consumption or at community events, like church suppers. [Bangor Daily News]
The Florida state legislature approved a budget of “nearly $89 billion for next year and ended the 2018 session two days late” in an “unusual” Sunday afternoon session. The legislature on Friday approved prescription limits on opioid medication and increase funding for drug addiction treatment. [Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau; Insurance Journal]
Unless state lawmakers act, Alaska is on track to run out of money for the Medicaid health insurance program, which is jointly run by the state and federal government. [Juneau Empire]
Tennessee House lawmakers are scheduled to consider a measure that could lead to the relocation of the remains of former President James K. Polk and his wife Sarah from the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol to the Polk Home and Museum in Columbia. [Columbia Daily Herald]
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | While Hurricane Harvey brought plenty of destruction to southeastern Texas last year, it also helped boost the economy in the Houston area, according to newly released data from the Texas Workforce Commission. Houston added 63,000 jobs in 2017. [Houston Chronicle]
Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James has not shed a tear after his city didn’t make the cut of finalists to host Amazon.com, Inc.’s second headquarters campus. "It wasn't something I was worried about one way or the other," the mayor said during a recent panel discussion at SXSW in Austin, Texas. [CNN Money]
While the Kilbourne Group, a real estate firm built by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, owns plenty of properties in downtown Fargo, the footprint may not be as big as some people think it is. “There’s this misconception he owns 50 percent of the downtown. I’d be surprised if it's 10 percent,” said Jim Gilmour, who leads the city’s Planning Department. [The Bismarck Tribune]
According to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Last Frontier’s population decreased by 8,900 people in 2017, the fifth year in a row where the state has seen net migration losses. According to the new statistics, the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough fell by 1,216 people in 2017. [Fairbanks Daily News Miner]
INFRASTRUCTURE | Cost estimates continue to rise for California’s high-speed rail line that’s currently under construction and envisioned to eventually link Los Angeles with the San Francisco Bay Area. A business plan released on Friday shows that the project’s cost has jumped to $77 billion and opening pushed back to 2033. Among the challenges: How to engineer a crossing of mountains that separate the San José area from the Central Valley. [KPCC / Southern California Public Radio]
Public works officials in Memphis “scrambled” to contain a large sewage overflow at a local airport that started after electrical failures crippled pumps at the M.C. Stiles Wastewater Treatment Facility late last week. [Clarion Ledger]
Nine cities in Iowa are splitting $3 million in federal funding to help finance water and sewer upgrades. [Radio Iowa]
A civic association president in Hamilton Beach, a low-lying neighborhood near JFK International Airport in Queens, New York, wants floodgates installed to block off two local inlets that allow the waters of Jamaica Bay to push into their community during coastal storms, like the recent nor’easters that have battered the area. [Queens Tribune]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.