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Welcome back to Federalism in Action’s weekly blog series, Top 3 Local. If you’re new to our site, here’s what it’s all about: each week, we collect three of the nation’s top stories featuring local people, making local decisions. You might call it “federalism in action.”

Read on for this week’s Top 3 Local stories. And if you have a story we should highlight in next week’s post, send the good news to FIA@StateBudgetSolutions.org.

FOR MOTIVATION: We Don’t Need A Monarch King James I
You might have seen this week’s State of the Union address, or at least heard the cheers and jeers from the President’s fans and critics the day after. A common theme we’ve noticed is that both sides of the aisle bemoan the seemingly endless “gridlock” in Washington.

Wanting to see things “get done,” some pundits have said that we must dispense with traditional limitations on presidential power. As David Brooks wrote in The New York Times, “It’s a good idea to be tolerant of executive branch power grabs and to give agencies flexibility.”

In a diverse nation like ours, elected representatives will naturally resist centralized, one-size-fits all policies – and rightly so. This understandably frustrates many voters, as good ideas as well as bad get bogged down, as regional values and interests clash in Washington. The answer, writes ALEC’s Will Freeland, is federalism: “Under such a system, Texas conservatives and California liberals can stop fighting over federal policy like Obamacare. California can implement a state-based version of Obamacare or even single-payer healthcare, and Texas can push for free market reform. Gridlock solved.”

FOR INSPIRATION: Buyer’s Remorse In Yet Another Common Core State
Last week, we noted Louisiana’s struggles with Common Core. Now we turn our attention to Mississippi, where an anti-Common Core bill was voted out of committee on Wednesday, and is expected to pass a full vote of the state’s House of Representatives next week. “The objective is to opt out of PARCC and make ACT the assessment, to remove the federal attachment and to give control of our curriculum to the local school districts,” Speaker of the House Philip Gunn told The Clarion-Ledger, which has the full story here.

FOR FUN: Conway, New Hampshire’s 250th Anniversary
In the valley of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, “Home of the World’s Worst Weather,” the Town of Conway is busily celebrating its 250th anniversary. On Wednesday, local Cub Scouts hosted a 250-foot sled race, open to all boys and girls in grades one through five (in keeping with the state’s “Live Free or Die” motto, Conway has not seen fit to ban the activity). Over the weekend, all kinds of fun winter events are planned. For details, visit facebook.com/conway250.

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