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Vaccine Critics Target Mississippi; Conn. Gov. Declares End to Chronic Homelessness

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Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Chicago awaits major federal announcement on its policing practices; Cuomo’s ‘Buy American’ procurement push; and Seattle sends help to snowed-in Portland.

STATE LEGISLATURES | On the policy agenda for Mississippi state lawmakers: a proposal to allow philosophical exemptions for vaccinations. "If you are sick and tired of the state of Mississippi trying to be your children's parents, will you please say amen?" said Mary Jo Perry, Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights co-director. [MS News Now]

In the Nutmeg State on Thursday, Connecticut’s Democratic governor, Dannel Malloy said during his annual State of the State address that Connecticut is the first in nation to identify every chronically homeless person and match them with housing. [WSHU]

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his State of the State Address on Thursday, laying out his priorities for his final two years in office. Among the items of unfinished business for the Democratic governor: water management, infrastructure improvements, the illegal marijuana market and homelessness. During his address, Hickenlooper said he would defend his state’s health insurance exchange from Republican attempts to dismantle it.  [The Denver Post; KKTV]

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal also delivered his annual address on Thursday, highlighting his plans to work with the legislature to find a way to reduce the increasing number of underperforming elementary schools. The Republican governor also outlined a 2 percent pay raise for state employees and teachers, as well as 19 and 20 percent raises for child protective services caseworkers and state law enforcement, respectively. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]

Texas House Republicans want to bill the federal government more than $2.8 billion for border security since January 2013, having added 250 Department of Public Safety officers along its stretch among other measures. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats affirmed their commitment to opposing any sanctuary city legislation Republicans attempt to pass the same day. [The Texas Tribune]

Following media scrutiny that found that members of the Tennessee House didn’t disclose that political donors had paid for out-of-state and foreign travel junkets, members of that chamber are now required to disclose who paid for out-of-state travel worth more than $100 if it wasn’t covered by the state. [The Tennessean]

PUBLIC HEALTH | Michigan voters helped deliver the White House to Donald Trump, but many areas of the state that saw increased turnout for the president-elect, especially economically struggling areas in northern Michigan, will also see the biggest impacts if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. [BridgeMI]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to announce Friday that the Chicago Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that violated the constitutional rights of citizens. A federal investigation was launched in December 2015 into the department following the fatal shooting by a police officer of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald. [Chicago Tribune]

Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the city and the Justice Department have agreed to the terms of a settlement agreement mandating reforms for the city’s police department. [The Baltimore Sun]

PROCUREMENT | New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants state government to “buy American” when goods and services exceed $100,000, according to his latest state of the state proposal. “This initiative will reinvest in the talent that made this state and this country what it is today and strengthen our role as a global leader in manufacturing for years to come,” he said. [New York Daily News]

WILDLIFE PROTECTION | A federal decision about whether to remove protections for about 700 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park will be delayed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will take about six more months to review 650,000 public comments on the proposal. Officials in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have lobbied for the bears to be taken off the threatened species list, which would allow for the animals to be hunted. American Indian tribes, conservation groups and some scientists have opposed that plan. There were only about 136 grizzlies left in the area when protections were imposed in the 1970s. [Associated Press via Casper Star Tribune]

CITY POLITICS | Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson is planning to enter this year’s race for mayor. Incumbent Marty Walsh is up for reelection. “I want to become the 55th mayor of the City of Boston to ensure that the city on the hill that has been welcoming and open to so many families…remains the city for middle- and working-class people,’’ Jackson said. “We are a city that has lost our way.” Jackson aims to become the first viable African-American candidate for Boston mayor in over three decades. [The Boston Globe]

FINANCE | In North Carolina, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, in would each spend $50 million, for a total of $100 million, toward the cost of a $150 million soccer stadium under a financing proposal taking shape there. [The Charlotte Observer]

PUBLIC WORKS | Portland, Oregon, continues to dig out of a major winter storm, which has prompted major travel disruptions and power outages around the region. The city of Seattle has dispatched snowplows to help Oregon’s largest city dig out from the snow and ice. [The Oregonian / OregonLive; KATU]