Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Florida governor blames spread of Covid-19 in state on farming areas … Greensboro allocates money to repair businesses damaged by looters … Retail sales rise.
Mayors from cities around Ohio on Wednesday said they were launching a joint effort to work together on police reforms and to address concerns about racial bias in policing. The Ohio Mayors Alliance said that their Police Reform Support Network would assess police policies in Ohio and other states, share best practices, and help local governments overcome barriers to police reforms. Some of the specific areas that the group plans to focus on initially include limits on use-of-force, officer-worn body cameras and “rethinking public safety more broadly.” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the network would “draw on best practices and research from around the country to help mayors, city councils, and police departments understand what needs to be done to address the very real challenges of racial bias and the need to reform policing practices.” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley added: “We all know and recognize that we have work to do inside our police departments and inside our cities.” [Ohio Mayors Alliance, Toledo Blade]
FARMWORKERS | Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week that Covid-19 is spreading in Florida due to close working conditions at farms. “You have very risky working conditions, particularly in these farm camps … they go to work in a school bus, and they’re like sardines … you know just all these opportunities to have transmission,” DeSantis said. The Florida Department of Agriculture disputes these claims, with spokesperson Franco Ripple saying that while there is evidence of Covid-19 in areas where farms are located, “the vast majority of farmworkers left agricultural communities several weeks ago” when the harvesting season ended. “The governor is mistaken regarding agriculture being a primary driver of COVID-19 in Florida,” Ripple said. “As the governor continues to prematurely reopen Florida, we’re seeing increases in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and positivity in recent weeks … Many areas where cases are spiking are in non-agricultural counties.” [WKMG]
LOCAL BUSINESSES | The city council in Greensboro, North Carolina approved legislation that will set aside $250,000 for businesses that were damaged during protests over the death of George Floyd. "I think this is going to be money well spent," said Mayor Nancy Vaughan, "These [businesses] are the heart and soul of downtown.” [WFMY]
RETAIL SALES | Retail sales saw a 17.7% rise in May, the largest monthly surge on record. Economists caution that the rebound is not a sign of a fully recovered economy, as the surge came after two months of record declines and some categories, like clothing, were still down as much as 63% compared to 2019. [New York Times]
TENNIS | New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the U.S. Open tennis tournament will be held in the state as planned from August 31 to September 13. No fans will be allowed in the stadium, but the tournament will be broadcast. [New York Times]
Bill Lucia is a senior reporter for Route Fifty and is based in Olympia, Washington. Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.