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12 posts from August 9, 2013

August 09, 2013

Deval Patrick pushes back on Scott's sales pitch to Massachusetts businesses

Gov. Rick Scott has tried it in Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, California, Connecticut, New York and Maryland. 

On Thursday, he made a pitch to businesses in an eight state with a Democratic governor, Massachusetts, to book a "one-way ticket" to Florida to take advantage of the state's "business-friendly environment." He mailed letters to 100 businesses asking them to come south.

“Florida’s economic formula is working – while Florida’s unemployment rate has seen the second largest drop in the country, Massachusetts’ June unemployment rate increased to the highest since November 2011.  While Florida ranks 5th in the nation for our business tax climate, Massachusetts is stuck at #22, according to the Tax Foundation. It’s bound to get worse in Massachusetts, as just last week we saw them raise taxes on gasoline and even computer services.”

And like he did with other states, he drew a rapid response from the governor. According to the Boston Globe, Governor Deval Patrick’s economic development secretary, Gregory Bialecki, issued a retort arguing that Massachusetts has recovered faster and stronger from the recession than other states, including Florida.

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Legislature's plan to help sex trafficking victims goes awry, girl is raped

In a cozy one-story home in Miami, six twin beds dressed in bright prints stand empty. Yoga mats and art supplies are packed away in the living room, and a tire swing in the backyard hangs still.

Until early June, this was a refuge for six teenage girls who were victims of sex trafficking. Run by the nonprofit Kristi House, it was the state’s first short-term “safe house” for sexually exploited children, founded in the wake of new, highly touted legislation that allowed victims to be treated in specialized shelters rather than confined as if prostitutes. When it opened April 1, many hoped it would be a model for safe houses around the state.

Yet the shelter suspended operations just two months later, after girls housed there repeatedly ran away. One reported being raped while on the loose. The incidents, publicized in a June grand jury report, have prompted child welfare administrators and legislators to consider whether child sex trafficking victims should be locked up for their own good, at least temporarily. Advocates say this would be a step backward in helping children who fall prey to the sex trade.

The victim, a girl in her early teens under the care of the Department of Children & Families, reported being sexually assaulted after running away from the shelter 10 days after it opened, according to the child welfare agency. She was trying to return to the safe house, and an older man refused to drive her there unless she had sex with him, said Kristi House Executive Director Trudy Novicki. Shelter therapist Tabitha Gallerani reported the rape, which she said took place “very far” from the safe house. More from Katia Savchuk here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/08/3551415/how-a-plan-to-help-sexually-exploited.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/08/3551415/how-a-plan-to-help-sexually-exploited.html#storylink=cpy