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Alan Greenblatt  |  Senior Staff Writer

Email : agreenblatt@governing.com Twitter : @AlanGreenblatt

Alan Greenblatt -- Senior Staff Writer. Alan covers politics as well as policy issues for Governing. He is the coauthor of a standard textbook on state and local governments. He previously worked as a reporter for NPR and CQ and has written about politics and culture for many other outlets, print and online.

THE FUTURE OF Finance

Pandemic Will Mean a Worse Retirement for Millions of Workers

In a typical recession, not many older workers lose their jobs. That's not the case this time. They face not only unemployment but the prospect of poverty, with pressures on 401(k)s and other retirement accounts.

June 1, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Multiple Events Creating 'The Perfect Path to Divisions in Our Society'

Protests and violence around the country were triggered by a police-involved killing in Minneapolis, but are taking place against a backdrop of pandemic and economic collapse.

June 1, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Why Trump Attacked the Internet's First Amendment

The president wants social media sites to be investigated for political bias. His new executive order is the strongest attack yet on a key free speech protection for online platforms, but it's not the only one.

May 29, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

States and Cities Continue Plunge into Financial Black Hole

States face revenue shortfalls exceeding 20 percent. Cities and counties have furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers. Already, public employment has fallen more than during the Great Recession.

May 26, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Initially Lauded as Heroes, Governors Come Under Attack

It's not just angry protesters. Governors are finding their stay-at-home orders challenged in court and their authority increasingly under fire in legislatures and from local officials.

May 21, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Work

More Productive from Home: Governments Learn to Love Remote Work

Despite some hurdles, government through remote work is performing better than expected. It will likely lead to permanent changes in everything from labor management and technology to physical footprints.

May 18, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

As Economy Reopens, a Push to Rethink Regulations

During the pandemic, most governors have signed executive orders waiving requirements regarding medical licensing and health facilities. Republicans want to shield businesses broadly from civil liability for the spread of COVID-19.

May 15, 2020
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Future in Context

Why America's Public Health Has Always Been Fragmented

The nation has enjoyed public health triumphs, with life expectancy far higher than it was a century ago. But responsibility for health has always been scattered, with disease tracking less a priority than treating individuals.

May 13, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Without Summer Jobs, Cities Seek Alternatives for Youth

Given the budget crunch, cities are cutting or canceling summer jobs programs. Some are trying to find ways of keeping kids engaged online.

May 5, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

Why the Coronavirus Won't Reshape State Governments

Liberals are calling for an expansion of government, while conservatives say budget shortfalls must lead to cuts. One scholar argues that after the current crisis passes, states will end up looking much like they do now.

May 4, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

How Governors, Not Congress, Emerged as Trump's Main Opposition

During the pandemic, Democratic governors have alternately knocked the president and sought his help. For the opposition party, power in states now provides a base that Congress does not.

April 28, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

Absent Fed Help, State Budgets Will Be the Worst in Decades

Already, thousands of state and local government workers have been furloughed or laid off. Falling revenues and soaring demand could lead to budget shortfalls of up to 40 percent, making help from Congress crucial.

April 27, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

'No One's Sentenced to Die in a Pandemic': Debating Prisoner Release

Thousands of inmates are infected with the coronavirus and dozens have already died. Some governors have released prisoners for public health reasons, but there's always a risk they'll reoffend.

April 23, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

Can Colleges Reopen in the Fall? If Not, Some Won't Survive

Colleges and universities face a worse situation than the Great Recession. States are bound to cut their budgets, while every other revenue source — tuition, dorm fees, donations, endowments — are under pressure.

April 21, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

A Sharp Shock, But Not a Depression: A Historian's View

Unemployment threatens to rise to levels not seen since the Great Depression. A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of that era thinks most of the economy will recover much more quickly than it did back then.

April 13, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

State Budget Fallout: 'A Hurricane That Hits All Over the Country'

The revenue drop from COVID-19 is barely starting to show up in official figures, but already furloughs and major shortfalls are common in state and local governments around the country. The pain may be sudden, but it could last for years.

April 9, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Normally a Contact Sport, Lobbying Goes Virtual

Lobbyists can't grab lawmakers outside of chambers and committee rooms anymore. They're doing their best to stay in the loop through calls and texts but complain the legislative process has become a lot less transparent.

April 3, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Will State Preemption Leave Cities More Vulnerable?

Local governments wish state officials would do more to combat coronavirus. In a few states, they’re angry that governors have issued orders that preempt cities and counties from setting their own course.

April 3, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

Coronavirus Has Potential to Reshape Government Technology

The coronavirus crisis has made it clear that technology is essential to continuity of government. CIOs may see more of their wish lists fulfilled, but investing in IT will be tough with budgets heading south.

April 2, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Coronavirus Forces Legislators to Keep Their Distance

Nearly half the nation's legislatures have adjourned or canceled sessions. Where they're still meeting, lawmakers are improvising to keep a safe distance from one another.

March 30, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Is Campaigning Possible During a No-Contact Pandemic?

No handshaking or rallies are allowed. Politicians are scrambling to find ways of getting their messages in front of voters who are distracted and in many places barely leaving their homes.

March 24, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

States and Cities Face the Prospect of Severe Budget Shortfalls

No one knows how deep or long the pandemic-triggered recession will be. But nearly every type of government revenue, including income, sales and gas taxes, will take a hit. Well-funded rainy-day funds should help.

March 19, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Working from Home? Ten Tips for Staying Productive

Millions of workers, including government employees, will experience remote work for the first time. There are strategies you can adopt to stay on task when away from the office and co-workers.

March 18, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

What Government Functions — Other Than Schools — Are Starting to Close?

Cities, counties and states are trying to proceed as normal while the coronavirus spreads. However, some legislative sessions have ended early, and courts, senior centers, libraries and other services are starting to shut down.

March 16, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Pandemic Provides Defining Moment for Government Leaders

Governors and mayors don't run for office with the intention of managing emergencies. But when a crisis strikes, they become the public face of government response and need to be ready to communicate accurately and calmly.

March 13, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Work

Coronavirus Has Revived the Paid Sick Leave Debate

States have been twice as likely to block paid sick leave mandates at the local level as they've been to impose such requirements themselves. That may change.

March 10, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

The Vaccine Debate: Science on One Side, Emotion on the Other

An effort to overturn a law requiring vaccines in Maine went down to resounding defeat on Tuesday. That doesn't mean the fight is over in other states.

March 4, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Be Prepared but Don't Panic: Health Departments Respond to Coronavirus

State and local governments have adapted plans for other pandemics and are putting them into action. They're hoping for better coordination and more funding from the feds. Officials insist that they’re up to the challenge.

March 2, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

Legislators Face Tech-Heavy Agenda as They Confront the Future: Digital Issues to Watch

Never before have policymakers faced such daunting questions on regulating and legislating the growing impact of digital technology. We pick the most important issues they will grapple with this year.

February 27, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

Tax Incentives: The Losing Gamble States and Cities Keep Making

Study after study shows that tax incentives don't pay off in real economic gains and often fail to produce the jobs that were promised. When managed correctly, however, they can build on local strengths.

February 26, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

What Cities Can Learn from the Nation's Only Privacy Commission

Four years ago, Oakland established an advisory commission to look at city policies through a privacy lens. Today, it remains the only body with such a wide scope and may become a model as the use of tech grows.

February 24, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

How Silicon Valley Went from Technology Hero to Bad Guy

Once hailed for innovation and transformation, the tech industry is in the midst of a backlash. With growing public concern over privacy and the threat to existing jobs, expect to see more government regulation.

February 13, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

The Economic Reality That’s Splitting the Country Apart

Growth is increasingly concentrated in a small number of cities. That creates problems within those metro areas and threatens to deprive most of the country of prosperity.

January 29, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

What Government Gets Wrong About Technology

For too long, tech has been someone else’s problem — something policymakers didn’t believe they needed to think about or even fully understand. It’s time to define what we want from a revolution that’s affecting everything.

January 22, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Medicaid IT: Finally Ready to Move Out of the Dark Ages

For more than a decade, the feds have been pushing states to modernize their Medicaid management information systems so they could report comparable data. The effort is starting to pay off.

January 21, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

GOP Dominance Likely to Continue at the State Level

Political attention this year will largely be focused on the presidential race, but at the start of a redistricting cycle both parties are pledging to spend record amounts on state elections.

January 17, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

The Biggest Issues to Watch in 2020

State legislatures will have a lot on their plates. They’ll deal with issues in wildly differing ways. We set the context for the 2020 session with an overview of abortion, election security, housing, immigration, net neutrality, pensions, pre-emption, recession fears, redistricting, vaping, and workforce.

January 13, 2020
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THE FUTURE OF Community Design

Why Presidential Candidates Don’t Address Urban Issues

Democrats rely heavily on urban voters for support, but the states that hold the first caucuses and primaries don't have really big cities. That tends to leave them off the campaign agenda.

December 13, 2019
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Politics & Elections

What Happens When Governors and Legislators Don't Get Along

Why are some lawmakers calling each other ‘bastards’ and ‘bat shit crazy’? Because governors in a dozen states now face legislatures controlled by the other party. While some can reach compromises, policy fights and angry words are common.

November 22, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Despite Concerns About Election Security, 'Vulnerabilities Abound'

Hacking isn't the only problem. Misinformation campaigns and the refusal of politicians to admit defeat all serve to undermine voter confidence. Now, states need to anticipate new threats.

November 15, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Suburban Vote This Year Flashes Warning Signs for GOP

Democrats scored gains in numerous once-Republican suburbs in state and local races Tuesday, most notably in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Republican strategists are nervous about that trend continuing into 2020.

November 7, 2019
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Latest News

Why Governors Are the Only Candidates Voters Will Break Party Ranks to Support

Unlike other federal and state offices, there’s still ‘wiggle room’ for ticket-splitting in contests for governor. Tuesday’s result in Kentucky means there will be a dozen governors whose party lost the last presidential election in their state.

November 6, 2019
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Politics & Elections

'The Ultimate Unforced Error': Texas House Speaker Caught in Political Scandal

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen is caught in a scandal of his own making. He's not the only state legislative leader across the country facing political peril.

August 22, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Why the GOP Frontrunner Might Lose the Mississippi Governor's Race

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has been the frontrunner all year, but in Tuesday's primary, he fell just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

August 5, 2019
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Infrastructure & Environment

Without Help From Washington, Governors Chart Own Path on Infrastructure

A long-awaited transportation bill advanced in Congress this week. The National Governors Association isn't waiting on its passage to make road funding and safety its top priorities.

July 31, 2019
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Politics & Elections

More Than 700: Why So Many People Are Running for Office in Seattle This Year

A booming population and new campaign finance options have brought out a record number of candidates.

August 13, 2019
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Management & Labor

A License for a Lemonade Stand? States Rethink Business Licensing

The debate is playing out around the country but has been most controversial in Texas.

August 13, 2019
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Politics & Elections

The Long Road to Recovery After Years of Severe Budget Cuts

Eight years of state government atrophy may be coming to an end in Kansas. But it will take a long time, and quite a bit of pain.

August 2, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

America Has a Health-Care Crisis — in Prisons

Privatization and years of inadequate resources have left the incarcerated population with abysmal medical care.

August 12, 2019
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Politics & Elections

As Rural America Slips, Governors Look for Ways to Help

Rural America lags behind metro areas in terms of population growth, business creation and workforce participation.

July 29, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

'A Pervasive Evil': Governors Raise Awareness About Trafficking

Most states have recently passed laws to combat trafficking. But they aren't always funded or enforced, and some activists say they could have the opposite intended effect.

July 25, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Socialism Goes Local: DSA Candidates Are Winning in Big Cities

Democratic socialist candidates have won seats this year in Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia. More are likely to join them.

July 24, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Supreme Court Punts Partisan Gerrymandering to States and Congress, But They May Not Act

The 5-4 ruling leaves no options for challenging maps perceived as unfairly partisan in federal court.

June 27, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Oops! Secretary of State's Clerical Error Sets Back Iowa Ballot Measures

Supporters of the initiatives will have to wait at least two years before they go before voters.

July 15, 2019
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Health & Human Services

Welfare's Once-Popular Cap on Kids Loses Favor in States

The policy was intended to discourage government dependence. It didn’t seem to work.

July 10, 2019
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Politics & Elections

From 42 Agencies to 15: How Arkansas Overhauled State Government Without Laying Anyone Off

Gov. Asa Hutchinson spearheaded the streamlining.

July 12, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

The Parking Enforcement Method Ruled Unconstitutional

Cities are chucking the chalk.

July 26, 2019
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Politics & Elections

GOP Holds Voter-Registration Advantage in Races for Governor and President

More people are registering as Republicans than Democrats in states with gubernatorial elections this year and in some 2020 battleground states.

June 26, 2019
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Politics & Elections

How Trump Became Counties' Best Friend and Biggest Ally

The administration is focusing on a level of government that past presidents have often neglected.

June 25, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

Probation and Parole Violations Are Filling Up Prisons and Costing States Billions

According to the most comprehensive report of its kind, states spend more than $9 billion a year incarcerating people who violate community supervision terms that even corrections officials admit are difficult to comply with.

June 18, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Supreme Court: Virginia House Lacks Authority to Defend Gerrymandering

The ruling, which united an unusual coalition of justices, could boost Democrats' chances in November.

June 17, 2019
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Politics & Elections

What the Governors Feuding With Their Own Parties Have in Common

The governors of Kentucky, New Jersey and West Virginia face different controversies, but they're all wealthy businessmen who had never before held elected office.

June 11, 2019
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Finance

Nonprofits Don’t Have to Pay Taxes, But Boston Still Hopes They’ll Chip In

Half the city’s land mass is occupied by government entities and other tax-exempt institutions. Some city councilors say nonprofits are not paying their fair share.

June 14, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

Is 311 Fair?

A new study examines whether cities respond to complaints as quickly in poor neighborhoods as they do in rich ones.

June 17, 2019
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Management & Labor

Want to Slash Your State’s Budget? This Woman Can Help.

Donna Arduin has made a career out of consulting with governors on budget cuts.

June 25, 2019
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Health & Human Services

Where’s the Beef? States Ban Veggie Burgers From Being Labeled 'Meat'

Lawmakers say they want to clear up confusion over plant-based meat substitutes.

June 11, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Progressives Find Political Success, and Pushback, as Prosecutors

Queens, N.Y., will soon join the list of places electing district attorneys who reject the tough-on-crime policies of the past. But their approach isn't always well-received by governors.

May 30, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Why America's Least Popular Governor Will Likely Get Reelected

In Tuesday's GOP primary, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin won a bare majority of the vote.

May 20, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Recall Elections Are Becoming a More Common and Coordinated 'Partisan Power Play'

In Colorado, Republicans are trying to oust a dozen Democratic state legislators. It's the latest example of a political party using once-rare recalls as a way to gain control.

May 15, 2019
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Politics & Elections

State Legislatures' Group Gets First New Leader in 32 Years

Tim Storey, who will take over as NCSL's executive director, has pledged to maintain the organization's bipartisan approach.

May 13, 2019
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Politics & Elections

'Being Governor Ain't What It Used to Be': How Their Road to the White House Became an Uphill Climb

All but one of America's presidents between 1976 and 2004 were governors. Since then, state leaders have barely stood a chance at the Oval Office.

May 8, 2019
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Management & Labor

St. Louis Scraps Potential City-County Merger

In the face of widespread opposition and the guilty plea of a top supporter, proponents of a single metro government have put their plans on hold.

May 7, 2019
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Health & Human Services

The Governor, House and Most Senators in Kansas Want to Expand Medicaid. So Why Did It Just Fail?

The debate is likely dead until next year.

May 1, 2019
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Infrastructure & Environment

Should Cities Regulate How You Design Your Home?

One state tried to remove local governments' power to dictate things like paint colors.

May 20, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Eric Holcomb’s Winning Political Strategy: Play Nice

The Republican governor of Indiana has quietly become one of the most effective and popular state leaders in the country.

May 22, 2019
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Politics & Elections

In Wake of Scandals, 2 Major Cities May Curb Politicians' Power

Councilmembers in Chicago and Philadelphia, which give them unusual amounts of authority, are facing criminal charges.

May 10, 2019
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Politics & Elections

What the Decline of Newspapers Means for Government

About one in five Americans now lack regular access to local media coverage. Studies show this is bad for politics, municipal debt -- and even the environment.

April 24, 2019
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Politics & Elections

The Go-To Lawyer for Governors Facing Impeachment

Ross Garber is the man to call when state leaders are in political peril.

April 22, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

Why the Death Penalty Has Lost Support From Both Parties

A generation ago, most Democrats and Republicans backed capital punishment. But in New Hampshire, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle just voted to abolish it, reflecting a nationwide trend.

April 16, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Chicago's Lori Lightfoot Among a Wave of Lesbian Mayors

From Kansas City, Mo., to Tampa, Fla., a record number of large cities could elect an openly gay woman as mayor this year.

April 9, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s New Mayor, Promises Change, Confronts ‘Massive’ Challenges

No black woman or openly gay individual has led a city as large as Chicago. She will have to confront chronic budget shortfalls, population loss and a high murder rate.

April 2, 2019
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Urban

Can Detroit's Turnaround Go Beyond Downtown?

Mayor Mike Duggan has pledged to spend $130 million to help revive neglected neighborhoods in the city.

April 1, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Forget Congress: Many State Lawmakers Are Running for Mayor This Year

Why are they breaking norms and eyeing city hall instead of Capitol Hill?

April 12, 2019
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Finance

Texas Aims to Cut Taxes, This Time Without Cutting Education Funding

How will it achieve both goals when half of the property tax revenue goes to schools?

April 1, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Moderates Are 'Politically Homeless.' Does Either Party Want Them?

With the 2020 elections in sight, both parties are appealing to their bases, leaving voters in the middle uncertain which way to turn.

March 27, 2019
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Urban

Why California Is Suing Its Own Cities

In one of his first moves as governor, Gavin Newsom is taking some cities to court for failing to address the affordable housing crisis.

March 19, 2019
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Politics & Elections

As Hate Speech Pervades Politics, Many Politicians Escape Consequence

After making racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic comments, elected officials often stay in office, either by apologizing or attacking their opponents. But public servants may have a harder time keeping their jobs.

March 13, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Why a Judge Ruled That the Entire North Carolina Legislature Is Illegitimate

In a decision that stunned both parties, Judge G. Bryan Collins ruled last Friday that the state's lawmakers don't have the power to pass constitutional amendments. His reasoning traces back to racial gerrymandering.

February 27, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

Legal in the State or Not, Some Cities Ban Marijuana

In New Jersey, dozens of localities have outlawed sales or possession of the drug even before the legislature legalizes it.

March 1, 2019
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Politics & Elections

The Democrat Who Could Be Mississippi's Next Governor

Democrats rarely win elections in the South. If anyone can do it, it's Jim Hood.

March 5, 2019
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Politics & Elections

The States Where the Minority Party Has Major Legislative Clout

Republicans hold a small fraction of seats in two Democratic states, but they enjoy outsized power.

March 27, 2019
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Politics & Elections

After Years of New Voting Restrictions, Momentum Swings the Other Way

Some states are still purging voter rolls and requiring IDs. But most are now looking to expand access to the ballot box.

March 8, 2019
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Infrastructure & Environment

45 Cents a Gallon? 20? 18? Midwest Governors Float Major Gas Tax Hikes

Three governors -- two Democrats and a Republican -- say the big tax hikes are needed to address their road and transportation problems.

February 26, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Is Chicago Ready for a Third Mayor Daley?

Chicago will hold its first round of voting on Tuesday to pick Rahm Emanuel's replacement. Former Clinton administration official Bill Daley is among the frontrunners, but the huge field makes it uncertain who will proceed to the April runoff.

February 25, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Wary of Trump's Approach, Governors Seek to Forge Own Trade Agreements

At the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington this weekend, many governors said the president's tariffs are hurting business in their states.

February 24, 2019
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Management & Labor

Despite Economic Growth, Governors Worry About Skills Gap and Unemployment

At the winter meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington this weekend, the lack of proper workforce training was an overarching concern.

February 23, 2019
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Politics & Elections

The Growing Need for Opposition Research -- on Yourself -- in Today's Political World

After the blackface scandals involving Virginia politicians, expect more candidates to dig up dirt on themselves while keeping in mind the changing culture of America and the power of the internet.

February 15, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Despite Scandals, Virginia Politicians Refuse to Resign. Now What?

If history is any indication, the current controversies will likely change how Ralph Northam governs. He's already made racial reconciliation a new priority.

February 13, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Virginia Scandals Threaten Democrats' High Election Hopes

With control of the legislature on the line in November, the party could pay a price for the blackface revelations by Virginia's governor and attorney general, and the sexual assault allegations against the lieutenant governor.

February 6, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Is Northam Next? A Recent History of Governor Resignations

Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is refusing to leave office after the resurfacing of his yearbook page, which shows one person dressed in blackface and another as a Ku Klux Klan member.

February 3, 2019
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Urban

Amazon's Curse of an Exploding Job Market

Voters aren’t satisfied with how Seattle is managing its growth, which has largely been driven by Amazon's presence.

February 11, 2019
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Urban

With New Judges, Houston Could Flip the Script on Evictions

After Democrats swept judicial elections last year, Harris County is set to become much less landlord-friendly.

February 6, 2019
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Politics & Elections

How Lawmakers Can Raise Their Own Pay in a Less Controversial Way

There are lessons to be learned from New York and Pennsylvania.

February 21, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Hmong Americans Gain Political Representation

The number of Hmong legislators, who came from Southeast Asia as refugees, tripled in the Minnesota state House this year.

February 1, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Some Suburban State Lawmakers Are Leaving the GOP

Since the midterm elections, Republican legislators in California, Kansas and New Jersey have switched to the Democratic party.

January 29, 2019
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Workforce

LGBT State Workers Gain Rights in Red and Purple States

Several new governors have signed anti-discrimination executive orders. So did Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but his had no mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.

January 24, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Lawmakers Eye Changes to Ballot Measures -- Passed and Future

Legislators are seeking to roll back some of the high-profile ballot measures that voters approved in November. They also want to make it harder for initiatives to pass in the future.

January 16, 2019
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Politics & Elections

2018's Least Inspiring Moments in State and Local Politics: Insults, Threats and Bad Tweets

Most of them led to a resignation or election loss.

December 21, 2018
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Education

Do School Vouchers Only Benefit the Wealthy?

Most of the students using Arizona’s vouchers are already in top-performing schools.

January 16, 2019
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Politics & Elections

All or Nothing: How State Politics Became a Winner-Take-All World

In practically every state, one party now holds all the legislative power. And once they get it, they’re keeping it.

January 7, 2019
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Public Safety & Justice

These Cops Wear Uniforms But Have No Training and Little Oversight

“Putting somebody out there on the street who has very little training is not fair to the community and it’s not fair to the officer, but it happens all the time.”

January 28, 2019
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Management & Labor

In Seattle, Minimum Wage Hike Comes at a Cost to Some Workers

Advocates say higher incomes help low-wage employees, but one new report suggests the reality is more complicated.

January 23, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Why Don't Alaska Governors Last Longer Than One Term?

Incoming Gov. Mike Dunleavy is the sixth person to win the office in as many elections. The constant turnover has made it difficult for the state to solve its biggest problems.

January 14, 2019
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Politics & Elections

Why Are Conservative Voters Supporting Liberal Ballot Measures?

Staunchly Republican rural counties voted for progressive policies at the ballot box this year, including minimum wage hikes and Medicaid expansion.

December 19, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Wisconsin's GOP Speaker on Power Grabs, Tony Evers and NCSL's Future

Republican Robin Vos, who engineered the lame-duck bills to strip power from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, maintains that the maneuver was a nonpartisan attempt to restore balance between the branches.

December 18, 2018
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Politics & Elections

After Backlash From Own Party, New Jersey Democrats Drop Redistricting Plan

The state's Democrats sought to shift redistricting in their own favor, contradicting their national party's stance against gerrymandering.

December 17, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Not Just Power Grabs: Lame-Duck Lawmakers Are Rushing Many Controversial Bills

In the states holding post-election, pre-inauguration sessions this year, Republican legislators are passing sweeping bills on a wide range of issues -- some that weaken laws just approved by voters.

December 12, 2018
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Politics & Elections

'Nobody Ran on Stripping Power Away': Putting the Wisconsin Vote in Context

"You see how easy it is to have what amounts to minority rule, to defy norms and take power that really isn't yours to take," says an expert on the state's politics.

December 5, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Lame-Duck Power Grabs Aren't New, But Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan Are ‘More Aggressive’

Legislatures in recent years have increased, and intensified, their attempts to assert authority over other branches of government.

December 5, 2018
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Politics & Elections

In 2 Remaining Secretary of State Races, Voting Rights Take Center Stage

Georgia and New Hampshire will elect secretaries of state next week, in a year that has been plagued with claims of voter suppression across the country.

November 28, 2018
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Finance

This Small New England City Was on the Verge of Bankruptcy. Now It’s a Turnaround Success Story.

Springfield, Mass., is in the best shape it’s been in a generation.

December 3, 2018
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Urban

Why More and More Cities Aren't Prioritizing Your Parking Troubles

Cities are eliminating requirements for new buildings to have parking.

December 10, 2018
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Infrastructure & Environment

Under China's New Rules, U.S. Recycling Suffers

Some cities are closing recycling plants. Others are ending curbside pickup. For recycling to be sustainable, consumers must learn to sort their trash better.

December 4, 2018
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Politics & Elections

'Rainbow Wave' Hits Statehouses

Seven states had never elected an openly gay or transgender legislator before this year. Three of them just did in an election that substantially increased the number of LGBT lawmakers overall.

November 21, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Sore Losers or Necessary Checks? Wisconsin GOP Seeks to Limit New Democratic Governor's Authority

It wouldn't be the first time lawmakers have attempted to strip a new governor of some power. But it is rare.

November 14, 2018
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Politics & Elections

What J.B. Pritzker’s Election Means for Illinois

Of all the new governors, few will change the culture of their states as much as him.

November 14, 2018
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Politics & Elections

With a Divided Congress, States Will Likely Take Up the Slack

With Democrats taking over the U.S. House, Congress may grind to a halt. Red and blue states, meanwhile, will go their separate ways on abortion, taxes, education, health and voting rights.

November 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Most Ethics and Campaign Finance Measures Win Voters' Approval

All but one passed.

November 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Local Ballot Results: Teen Voting, Campaign Finance, Housing and More

A rundown of the most interesting and consequential local measures.

November 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

In 2018 State Races, Partisans Retreated to Their Corners

Most red states will stay red, and the blue states will remain the minority. But voters did reject several more ideological candidates in favor of politicians who presented themselves as more pragmatic.

November 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Where Voters Made It Easier, and Harder, to Vote in the Future

The night's biggest voting rights measure was in Florida, where more than 1 million felons had their right to vote restored.

November 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

In Major Cities, Most Incumbent Mayors Glide to Reelection

But the races in Phoenix and Little Rock, Ark., are headed for runoffs.

November 7, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

Amid Supreme Court Impeachments, West Virginia Voters Weaken Judges' Power

The state where lawmakers put every justice on trial this year is also the only state where the legislature has no control over the judicial budget. Voters changed that on Tuesday.

November 6, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

Crime Victims' Rights Added to Several States' Constitutions

Supporters of so-called Marsy's Law hope eventually to amend the U.S. Constitution.

November 6, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Power Protected: North Carolina Voters Reject Republicans' Effort to Weaken Governor's Authority

The state's GOP-controlled legislature hoped voters would approve measures to give them more say over judicial and ethics appointments, but both were defeated soundly.

November 6, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Early Voting Is Up, Significantly. What Does That Mean for Tuesday?

Turnout has already exceeded the 2014 numbers -- especially among some Democratic-leaning demographics. But there are reasons for Republican optimism, too.

November 2, 2018
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Politics & Elections

'Not Exactly a Blowout': Democrats Score Modest Gains in State Legislatures

Democrats flipped six chambers, but Republicans still control nearly twice as many.

November 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Can Andrew Gillum Break Republicans' Winning Streak in Florida?

The state hasn't elected a Democratic governor since 1994, but the progressive nominee is consistently -- and narrowly -- ahead in the polls against Republican Ron DeSantis.

October 30, 2018
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Politics & Elections

With 2020 Census Looming, Governments Face Many Unknowns

Uncertainties about resources, and a question about residents' citizenship status, are making localities more nervous than usual about not counting people.

November 5, 2018
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Finance

State Tax Breaks Are Hurting Chicago's Suburbs

While some homeowners are now paying nothing in property taxes, businesses and local governments are feeling the pinch.

October 31, 2018
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Politics & Elections

The Man of Tomorrow: As Jerry Brown Leaves Office, He's Still Focused on the Future

Unlike most politicians, California's outgoing governor has made planning ahead a staple of his leadership -- even if it means going against his own party.

November 12, 2018
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Politics & Elections

'My Comrades Will Kill You': Pipe Bombs Sent in Year of Many Death Threats Against Politicians

The list of prominent national Democrats being sent packages containing bombs is growing. Threats of violence have also become more common against, and sometimes from, state and local candidates and public officials.

October 25, 2018
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Politics & Elections

All of the Above? The Ancient Voting Method One City Might Adopt

Advocates say "approval voting," which has never been used in electoral politics, offers voters more flexibility.

October 19, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Not Just Georgia's Brian Kemp: Other Secretaries of State Accused of Abusing Elections Power

Kemp faces allegations of using his position to suppress minority voters and gain unfair advantage in the governor's race, highlighting the office's increasing partisanship and potential for conflicts of interest.

October 17, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Republicans Could Take Control of These 2 Coastal Blue States

An unpopular governor and a moderate candidate have given Republicans the chance for rare victories in Connecticut and Oregon.

October 3, 2018
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Infrastructure & Environment

Underneath This 'Pop-Up Forest' Is an Abandoned Highway

Akron, Ohio, calls it the Innerbelt National Forest.

October 16, 2018
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Finance

Shady Real Estate Deals Plunge Under New Regulations

Since the U.S. started making anonymous homebuyers reveal their true identities, luxury prices in hot markets have dropped.

October 1, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Scott Walker: Born-Again Centrist?

Long considered a conservative hero, Wisconsin’s governor is sounding kinder and gentler as he seeks a third term.

September 28, 2018
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Politics & Elections

'The Midwest Is Swinging Again': Democrats' Best Chances to Flip Governor Seats

Only one Republican in the region looks like a certain winner. The rest are at some risk.

September 26, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Fed Up by Corruption, Arkansas Voters Could Revisit Term Limits

Four years ago, lawmakers snuck a term-limits extension onto the ballot. Now, thanks to recent statehouse scandals, voters may roll that back.

September 25, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Where's My Endorsement? Party Support Is Harder to Get This Year

In an unusual trend, prominent politicians, including three sitting Republican governors, are refusing to endorse their own party's picks for governor.

September 19, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Democratic Primary Turnout Is Up 64%. Will That Matter in November?

Republicans, by comparison, saw 22 percent more people vote this season than in the 2014 midterms.

September 19, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Why Has 2018 Been Such a Bad Election Year for Lieutenant Governors?

Almost all those running for promotion to governor lost their party's primaries.

September 12, 2018
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Politics & Elections

State Supreme Courts Increasingly Face Partisan Impeachment Threats

The trial to impeach the entire West Virginia Supreme Court starts this week. It's just one example of a growing trend among unhappy lawmakers.

September 11, 2018
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Management & Labor

After More Than 30 Years, the Leader of State Legislatures to Step Down

Bill Pound, the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures since 1987, helped preserve bipartisanship among lawmakers.

September 10, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Progressive Candidates for Governor Trail in the Money Race

While progressive candidates for Congress are being generously supported, gubernatorial hopefuls are being badly outraised by their GOP opponents.

September 6, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Rahm Emanuel Will Leave Chicago With Crime Still High and Schools Still Struggling

Chicago's mayor shocked the city on Tuesday by announcing he will not seek a third term.

September 4, 2018
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Politics & Elections

The Story Behind Andrew Gillum's Shocking Election Victory in Florida

The Tallahassee mayor's win in the Democratic primary for governor is one of the year's biggest upsets. Can a progressive beat a Trump-endorsed candidate in this red state?

August 29, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Why California Lawmakers, Begrudgingly, Banned Soda Taxes

The beverage industry used a tactic that could become more common with other interest groups.

August 30, 2018
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Health & Human Services

Mysterious Savings: Health Providers Question Iowa's Medicaid Claim

In the span of five months, the state says it tripled the amount it was saving by privatizing Medicaid.

September 10, 2018
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Infrastructure & Environment

Suburbs See Apartment-Building Boom

Not everyone is happy about this trend.

September 11, 2018
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Finance

Too Soon for Louisiana to Celebrate Its Budget?

Louisiana has "stopped the bleeding," but political observers point out that the financially strained state still has several major spending problems.

September 4, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Sorry Politicians, You Can't Block Critics on Twitter

Courts have ruled that access to public figures on social media is a constitutional right.

September 12, 2018
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Politics & Elections

How Centrist Is Colorado? Governor's Race Will Test That Reputation

Rather than going after voters in the middle, both the Democratic and Republican nominees are playing to their base.

September 18, 2018
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Politics & Elections

In Tight Race for Arizona Governor, Focus Is on Education Funding

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey faces a tough fight for reelection.

August 21, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Transgender Candidate Makes History in a Year of 'Firsts' for Women

With a month of primaries left, the record for the number of female nominees for governor has already been broken. Some of them are also the first black, Latina and Native American women nominated by a major party.

August 15, 2018
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Politics & Elections

How One of the Most Vulnerable Governors Staged a Comeback

After the state sent out a false nuclear attack warning in January, Hawaii Gov. David Ige trailed in polls. Now he's favored to win reelection.

August 8, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Blue-State Seats Democrats Can't Win

Any blue wave would have to be pretty big to threaten these popular Republican incumbent governors.

August 8, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Ferguson Prosecutor Faces First Political Test Since Michael Brown Shooting

Bob McCulloch, who refused to indict the police officer involved in the teenager's death, faces a serious challenge in the Aug. 7 primary. His opponent represents a rise in candidates dedicated to criminal justice reform.

July 30, 2018
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Politics & Elections

In Florida's GOP Primary for Governor, It’s Establishment vs. Trump

President Trump will stump for Ron DeSantis in the state on Tuesday. Regardless of who wins the primary, Democrats are hoping a blue wave will help them recapture the governor’s seat in November.

August 1, 2018
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Politics & Elections

After Trump-Backed Candidate Wins Nomination, Georgia Governor's Race Becomes Historic 'Battle of the Bases'

Controversial candidate Brian Kemp won the GOP runoff on Tuesday. He will face progressive Democrat Stacey Abrams in November, who could be the nation's first black female governor.

July 25, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Facing One Troubling Russia Revelation After Another, Election Officials Work to Prevent a 'Digital Watergate'

States are stepping up their election security but face many challenges: a president still skeptical of Russian interference, a lack of money, and reliance on private vendors for voting equipment and software, to name a few.

July 18, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Voter Turnout Is Up, Especially Among Democrats. What Does That Mean for November?

More people are casting primary ballots than four years ago. But that year, turnout was the lowest since World War II.

July 11, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Progressives' Next Target: How Worried Should Andrew Cuomo Be?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset is a warning for more moderate incumbents like New York's governor, who can't feel safe while the Democratic Party is shifting to the left.

July 3, 2018
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Health & Human Services

A New Twist on an Old Health Care Idea

All-payer health care, the idea of paying hospitals a flat rate, is making a comeback.

July 19, 2018
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Infrastructure & Environment

Different Energy Boom, Same Mistakes?

Critics say West Virginia, which is enjoying an explosion of natural gas production and jobs, is repeating the missteps it made with the coal industry.

July 9, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

In Rural America, Violent Crime Reaches Highest Level in a Decade

The loss of jobs and the opioid epidemic are two of the biggest reasons.

July 13, 2018
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Politics & Elections

This City Removed 2 Confederate Statues. Then the State Retaliated.

Inside the $250,000 fight between Memphis and Tennessee.

July 2, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Voting Rights Debate Moves From Statehouses to Ballot Boxes

Voters will weigh in this fall on voter registration, campaign finance and redistricting.

July 10, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Not Just Joe Crowley: Many State Lawmakers Lost Primaries This Week

New York's congressional race wasn't the only one with an upset on Tuesday. An anti-incumbent wave hit two states' legislative elections.

June 28, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Gerrymandering Critics Suffer Twin Blows at the Supreme Court

The Texas case involves racial gerrymandering, while the North Carolina case deals with partisan gerrymandering -- something the justices have hinted is unconstitutional but have yet to rule against.

June 25, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

The Bipartisan Backlash That Spurred Trump's Reversal on Family Separations

His executive order, signed on Wednesday, comes after days of governors and mayors escalating their words of opposition into actions attempting to block the immigration policy announced in April.

June 20, 2018
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Politics & Elections

One Close Race for Governor. Two Flawed Front-Runners.

Both major parties in Minnesota are holding their endorsement conventions this weekend. Only one of the front-runners is seeking their party's approval.

May 30, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Goodbye, Greitens: Meet Mike Parson, Missouri's New Governor

Five months after a sex and blackmail scandal broke, Gov. Eric Greitens will resign facing potential criminal charges. His replacement, a conservative with good lawmaker relations, is likely to achieve what Greitens could not.

May 29, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

How Old Is Old Enough to Get Married?

States are raising the age of consent to protect children from forced marriage. No state has gone as far as Delaware.

May 30, 2018
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Urban

White Flight Returns, This Time From the Suburbs

White residents are either moving back downtown -- or to farther-out exurbs.

May 29, 2018
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Education

The Problem With School Takeovers

Studies show they're ineffective and may unequally impact black and Hispanic communities.

June 28, 2018
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Urban

The Architecture Critic Who Wants to Remake Los Angeles

The city's first chief design officer comes to the job from the Los Angeles Times.

June 15, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Can the California GOP Stop Its 'Death Spiral'?

Republicans are split over whether they should move to the middle or embrace their right-wing base.

May 31, 2018
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Urban

The Importance (and Neglect) of America's 'Middle Neighborhoods'

When a neighborhood isn't rich -- and isn't poor -- government tends to forget about it.

June 8, 2018
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Politics & Elections

'Not Pure Enough': An Ultra-Conservative State Nominates a Pragmatist for Governor

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little will now face state Rep. Paulette Jordan, who could be the first Native American elected governor of any state. He's the heavy favorite to win.

May 16, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Cooperating With Trump on Immigration Takes Political Toll on Sheriffs

There may be no politics more local than a campaign for sheriff, but the charged national issue of immigration has become suddenly salient. The defeat of two prominent sheriffs in North Carolina may set a template for progressive challenges nationwide.

May 9, 2018
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Politics & Elections

What Eric Schneiderman Means for New York State's Culture of Corruption

Domestic abuse is a different problem from financial corruption, but New York's political system seems to promote scandals of all kinds.

May 8, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Eric Garcetti on Presidential Bid: America 'Needs' a Mayor

Garcetti, who won reelection as mayor of Los Angeles last year, has made no secret of his presidential ambitions. In an interview, he suggested a mayor would be more pragmatic and "decent" than President Trump.

May 3, 2018
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Politics & Elections

As Primary Season Heats Up, the Left Battles the Left

In races for governor around the country, the Democrats' preferred candidates are having to fend off attacks from progressive insurgents.

May 3, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Talking Trash: Why Politics Has Gotten Nastier

Negative partisanship has reached new depths, with candidates increasingly willing to insult one another directly.

May 1, 2018
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Education

How Higher Ed Became a Partisan Wedge Issue

As states debate the purpose of public universities, some say politics is playing an outsized role.

May 24, 2018
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Finance

Is Selling Tax-Free Liquor Tax Evasion?

As out-of-staters flock to New Hampshire to stock up on alcohol, its neighboring states think so.

May 7, 2018
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Health & Human Services

One State’s Opioid Success Story

In just one year, Rhode Island reduced the overdose death rate among former prisoners by 61 percent.

May 3, 2018
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Management & Labor

Want to Work in a Morgue? You Might Already Qualify.

In some states, the minimal requirements are leading to inaccurate reports of homicides and suicides.

May 1, 2018
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Management & Labor

When Blue-Collar Jobs Disappear, White-Collar Workers Leave

Some places are losing more lawyers and accountants than factory workers.

May 4, 2018
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Politics & Elections

State Lawmakers Face Most Challengers in Decades

Recent election cycles have seen more than 40 percent of state legislative seats left uncontested. Not this year.

May 16, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Voting Rights for Felons Becoming a Key Issue for Democrats

Florida has emerged as a battleground in the fight over the 6 million people, in and out of jail, who can't vote because they were convicted of a felony.

April 25, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

How 4/20 Actually Helps Police

Law enforcement departments across the country use the marijuana holiday as a way to build their followers and soften their image on social media.

April 19, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Don't Get Mad, Get Elected: The Rise of the Revenge Candidate

Political novices are running for office at all levels of government -- many driven by anger over their current representatives' policies and behavior.

April 19, 2018
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Politics & Elections

The Litmus Test for (Most) Republicans Running for Governor

The president remains popular among Republican voters, leading most GOP candidates to pledge their allegiance to him. But they may shift that strategy after the primaries.

April 12, 2018
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Politics & Elections

The New Fight Over 'Dark Money' Campaign Donations

Some cities want to make campaign donors identify themselves. But lawmakers and lawsuits are getting in their way.

April 5, 2018
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Politics & Elections

On Redistricting, Supreme Court Not Quite Ready to Change the Rules

The justices heard arguments on Wednesday in a Maryland case that could, for the first time, limit partisan gerrymandering. They didn't appear to have a consensus on how to address the problem.

March 28, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

A Whopper of a Court Case: Can Citizens Sue States?

In a handful of states, they can't. A lawsuit involving Burger King was supposed to settle the debate in Arkansas.

April 23, 2018
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Infrastructure & Environment

After Wildfires, Housing Crisis Complicates California’s Rebuild

In a region that values open space, the idea of expanding the housing supply is a tough sell -- even after the disaster destroyed 5,000 homes.

April 1, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

Why There Are So Many Bad Sheriffs

In a job with tons of power and practically no oversight from voters, law enforcement or politicians, corruption can be easy to get away with.

April 2, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Secretive Kansas Starts to Open Up

After the Kansas City Star revealed a deep culture of secrecy in the state’s government, politicians have started to address the lack of transparency.

April 6, 2018
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Politics & Elections

When Lieutenant Governors Leave, Some States Struggle to Fill the Position

It’s the second highest-ranking job in state government, and yet, no one seems to want it.

April 5, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Why It’s So Hard for Lawmakers to Win Governor’s Races

"I can count on one hand the number of top [legislative] leaders who have successfully run for major statewide office."

April 18, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Teachers Aren't Just Striking, They're Running for Office

Motivated by education cuts and a nationwide spirit of activism, dozens of teachers are running for legislative seats across the country.

March 15, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Primaries Turn Texas a Deeper Shade of Red

In the GOP civil war between populists and centrists, populists gained ground in Tuesday's elections that kicked off the year's primary season.

March 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

With Guns in the Spotlight, Candidates for Governor Recalibrate Their Positions

Guns have suddenly emerged as a central issue in this year's races. Navigating the issue will be difficult for both parties.

March 1, 2018
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Politics & Elections

‘Stories Are Going to Be Lost’: Mourning the Decline of Alt-Weeklies

More than a dozen alternative weeklies have shut down in the past 20 years, increasing the likelihood that local scandals will go unnoticed.

March 13, 2018
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Urban

Why Rents Are Actually Lowering in Some Big Cities

But renters may not want to celebrate just yet.

March 16, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

What Counts as a Felony? For Stealing, States Are Raising the Bar.

Some are increasing the amount of stolen goods that make theft a felony. But it can be a hard sell politically.

March 27, 2018
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Finance

As Prop. 13 Turns 40, Californians Rethink Its Future

Four decades after the law spurred an anti-tax movement across the country, rival efforts to weaken or strengthen it have emerged.

March 5, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Will 2018 Be the Year of Independents?

Several experienced or well-funded independent candidates are running for governor. In some cases, leaving the Democratic or Republican party to do it.

March 1, 2018
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Urban

'The Oakland I'm From'

Like a lot of other places, the California city is struggling to grow without leaving longtime residents behind.

March 2, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Missouri Governor's Indictment Prompts House Investigation and More Resignation Pressure

Eric Greitens, who already faced calls from both parties to resign, was charged on Thursday with a felony in connection with an extramarital affair and an alleged blackmail scheme.

February 22, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Public Corruption Cases Are Harder to Prove Than Ever

Since the Supreme Court raised prosecutors' burden of proof, several politicians have had their convictions thrown out. There are new questions about what exactly counts as corruption.

February 22, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Ill-Prepared and Underfunded, Election Officials Brace for More Cyberattacks

Federal intelligence officials warned Congress on Tuesday that Russia will again attempt to influence the elections through cyber-warfare. New reports shed light on the inadequacy of state and local security systems.

February 14, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Citing Costs, Some GOP Governors Refuse to Hold Special Elections

Florida's Rick Scott and Wisconsin's Scott Walker say it's about the money. Democrats -- emboldened after a series of wins, including on Tuesday -- say the Republicans are trying to avoid losing more legislative seats.

February 14, 2018
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Politics & Elections

After GOP Loss in Missouri, Some Blame Scandal-Plagued Governor

Democrats flipped a state House seat on Tuesday. Some say Eric Greitens, whose extramarital affair has prompted a criminal investigation, is the reason. But he shows no signs of quitting.

February 7, 2018
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Politics & Elections

How Sexual Harassment Scandals Are Shaking Up Special Elections

Ten states have special legislative elections this month -- several because politicians facing allegations have either left office or committed suicide.

February 1, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Trump's State of the Union Takes Hard Line on Government Workers

At one point in his address, the president seemed to call for abolishing civil service protections for federal employees.

January 31, 2018
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Management & Labor

Dismissed for Competence?

Hannes Zacharias helped his Kansas county win national recognition for a variety of programs. The county commissioners had nothing but praise for him. Then they fired him.

February 13, 2018
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Public Safety & Justice

After Reforming Criminal Justice, Alaska Has Second Thoughts

The state rolled back criminal justice reforms it had adopted only a year earlier. Other parts of the country are also reconsidering similar changes.

February 20, 2018
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Education

Do Charter Schools Worsen Segregation?

They largely serve minority students, but supporters say that’s not a problem -- it’s actually the point.

February 14, 2018
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Management & Labor

Fearing Trump's Trade Policies, U.S. States and Foreign Countries Grow Closer

The president's "America First" message and his new trade barriers have caused anxiety in states where the economy depends on investment from abroad. It's pushing governors to hone their diplomatic skills.

January 26, 2018
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Politics & Elections

The Tragedy and Politics of the Legionnaires’ Outbreak in Illinois

The disease has claimed 13 veterans’ lives since 2015 and may effect the governor’s reelection chances this year.

January 25, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Outrage in Wisconsin as Republicans Fire State's Top Ethics and Election Officials

The firings follow a long and ongoing saga between independent agencies and the GOP-controlled legislature.

January 24, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Why 'Replacement' Governors Often Get Replaced Themselves

At least three governors will be running this year after filling in for predecessors who resigned. None of them is getting a free ride.

January 18, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Trump's Voter Fraud Commission May Be Dead, But His Quest Continues

The president has shifted the commission's voter fraud investigation to the Department of Homeland Security. Some see that as a boon to the cause, while others say it could be problematic, especially for immigrants.

January 10, 2018
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Infrastructure & Environment

South Carolina Spent $9 Billion on Nuclear Reactors That Will Never Run. Now What?

The legislature must decide whether residents will keep being charged, possibly for decades, for the failed project.

January 18, 2018
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Politics & Elections

Are Progressives Giving Bill de Blasio His Due?

In a new book, one of his supporters compares the New York City mayor with other liberal mayors, and says no.

January 4, 2018
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Politics & Elections

How Many Lawmakers Does a Legislature Need?

California has the most people of any state, and yet it doesn't have the country's largest legislature. A ballot measure proposes to change that -- but it's complicated.

January 16, 2018
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Finance

The Scambuster Going to War for Military Members

Service members are often targeted for financial scams and have a harder time defending themselves. Deanna Nelson is doing it for them.

January 17, 2018
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Education

Transgender Issues Energize Typically Sleepy School Board Elections

The debate over who should use which bathrooms led to record turnout in at least two elections last year. Transgender advocates expect more competition this year.

January 29, 2018
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Politics & Elections

How Much Can Democrats Really Win in 2018?

Election results from November suggest they will have a big year. But with near record low representation in the states, Democrats need more than that to shift the balance of power.

January 2, 2018
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Politics & Elections

'That's Me. Trump's Banning Me.': What Motivates Refugees to Run for Office in America

Some want to take on the president's politics. Others simply hope to give back to the communities that have become home.

December 27, 2017
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Politics & Elections

For or Against Trump? The Question Candidates for Governor Can't Escape

The president has emerged as a central issue in races all over the country, underscoring a shift toward partisanship that has intensified since his election.

December 13, 2017
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Urban

The Quiet Revolution Happening in the Suburbs

Suburbs first gained popularity for being everything a big city wasn't. Now they want to be just like downtown.

December 21, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

The Only Oil-and-Gas State Not Taxing Drilling

Strapped for cash, Pennsylvania may finally grant the governor a victory and enact a severance tax. But it's an uphill battle.

December 20, 2017
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Politics & Elections

In This Georgia Suburb, Old Rivalries Rule Today's Politics

"People are probably tired of their city being in the headlines," says former Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz.

December 11, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

Research Says Juveniles Need Their Own Miranda Rights

Studies suggest they're "too complex" for kids to understand, spurring some police departments to simplify the words they use when arresting them.

December 18, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Improper Influence? Who, Us?

Wisconsin's Supreme Court justices refused to tighten the rules about when they should recuse themselves from cases. It has sparked a battle between old judges and new ones.

December 7, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Where Have All the Black Mayors Gone?

Depending on the outcome of a potential recount, Atlanta's election on Tuesday could either counter or worsen the nationwide decline in the number of big-city black mayors.

December 5, 2017
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Politics & Elections

State AGs Used to Play Nice in Elections. Not Anymore.

2018 will be the first big election year when attorneys general target their peers in other states. Will it hinder the history of bipartisanship among them?

November 15, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Not Just Virginia: Democrats Recover Some Ground in Several State Legislatures

Democrats gained seats in several states on Tuesday -- more in the Virginia House than they have in any single cycle since the 19th century.

November 8, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Voters Approve Big Spending Packages at the Local Level

Tax increases passed in most places they were on the ballot.

November 8, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Mayoral Elections Prove Successful for Incumbents and Democrats

Voters largely opted to re-elect their mayors on Tuesday -- even those under ethical clouds. In several midsized cities, though, Republican incumbents lost to Democrats.

November 8, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Democrats Win Both Races for Governor

The party unexpectedly won Virginia with a comfortable margin and flipped the seat now held by Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey. But the question remains: What does that mean for 2018?

November 7, 2017
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Politics & Elections

This Could Be the Most Expensive State Legislative Race in History. Here’s Why It’s a Waste of Money.

The teachers union in New Jersey is spending big to unseat the state Senate president.

November 6, 2017
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Politics & Elections

The Big Cities That Could Elect a New Mayor in November

Incumbent mayors are at risk of losing in several big cities. Meanwhile, some voters might elect their first woman or black woman to lead city hall.

November 1, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

The City Preparing for Climate Change Without Ever Saying the Words

Tulsa, Okla., a conservative oil town, serves as an example of how places can overcome politics to prevent damage and save lives.

November 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

One State’s Crusade to Limit Campaign Contributions Could Have Nationwide Repercussions

Should Montana have to prove corruption to limit campaign contributions?

November 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

In a Sea of Blue, California GOP Wants Leaders Who Stay True to Their Colors

The state’s Republican party recently ousted its leader for working with Democrats. Is that hardline strategy effective?

November 3, 2017
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Management & Labor

Denver Turns to P3s to Manage a Major Function

Some local leaders are nervous about public-private partnerships.

November 9, 2017
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Politics & Elections

The Arcane Question That Will Decide the Fate of Florida's Supreme Court

Three of them must retire on the same day Gov. Rick Scott’s term ends. But no one knows who’s replacing them yet -- Scott or his successor?

November 15, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Why Attempts to Recall State Lawmakers Are Rare

Republicans are trying to get Democrats in California and Nevada thrown out of office. Most recall elections, though, are only successful at the local level.

November 7, 2017
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Politics & Elections

The Local Ballot Measures Worth Watching in November

Voters will weigh in on marijuana, pre-K and taxes next month.

October 26, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Democrats Have Reasons to Worry About the November Elections

The party will likely gain power in New Jersey next month, but holding onto the governor's office in Virginia is proving more challenging.

October 11, 2017
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Urban

The Paradox of Progress Underscores Atlanta Mayor’s Race

Things are looking up right now in the city. Well, at least part of it. That inequality will impact the city’s upcoming election and be the biggest issue facing its next leader.

October 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Why Can’t Seattle Find a Mayor It Likes?

Ed Murray’s resignation represents a trend: Unlike most big cities, mayors there tend to last one term -- or less.

October 2, 2017
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Finance

The Man Behind Texans’ Unique Defense Plan Against Tax Increases

Art Martinez de Vara created the first "defensive city." Today, there are a string of them.

October 3, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Barbershop Fiasco Inspires Call for Cutting ‘Silly’ Regulations

Most states have outdated laws. In New Hampshire, a rule about which businesses can use red, white and blue paint has spurred a backlash against such red tape.

October 4, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Indictment? What Indictment? Criminal Case Has Little Impact on Texas AG

Ken Paxton is the state’s latest official to seemingly survive a political scandal.

October 6, 2017
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Management & Labor

Consolidation Makes Sense, Yet Few Cities Have the Urge to Merge

It's an issue that's playing out right now in St. Louis County.

October 16, 2017
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Politics & Elections

As Protests Escalate Under Trump, States Seek New Ways to Deter Them

Stricter rules and penalties for protesting are being considered in nearly half the states.

September 20, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Will the U.S. Supreme Court Take a Stand Against Partisan Gerrymandering?

Past rulings have "made politicians think there are no boundaries around what they can do." A Wisconsin case may lead to some limits.

September 13, 2017
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Finance

How Did America's Richest State Become Such a Fiscal Mess?

Connecticut is home to many wealthy residents. Its state government, on the other hand, is feeling the consequences of what some call "two decades of bad decisions."

September 5, 2017
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Management & Labor

Some States Are Treating Others Like Foreign Countries

Several ban their employees from traveling to other states for work because of policies they deem discriminatory.

September 6, 2017
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Politics & Elections

To Wipe Out Corruption, Look to Philadelphia

The city went almost a decade without a single corruption scandal. What's its secret?

September 19, 2017
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Politics & Elections

What’s ‘Proportional Voting,’ and Why Is It Making a Comeback?

Most U.S. cities abandoned it in the mid-20th century.

September 15, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Divided Yet Productive: How Colorado Had a Gridlock-Free Year

The state’s split legislature passed more than 400 bills, some of which address longstanding issues.

September 5, 2017
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Politics & Elections

A Third Party Pops Up in a One-Party State

The 2016 election may have opened the door for third parties. This is most apparent in Utah.

September 8, 2017
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Politics & Elections

The New Strategy for Limiting Money's Role in Elections

The dream of eliminating the influence of large, private donors from the election equation is pretty much dead. Now campaign finance reformers are shifting their focus.

August 31, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Term Limits Could Hurt Republicans in 2018

Twice as many Republicans can't run again for state legislative office. That could help Democrats, but how much?

August 16, 2017
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Management & Labor

Work for Us – Or Else: The Rise of Noncompete Contracts

It's now common, even for lower-paying jobs, to make employees pledge their loyalty to companies. Some states are stepping in to stop the corporate abuse.

August 17, 2017
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Politics & Elections

What Happens When the Attorney General Refuses to Defend a Law?

In lawsuits involving high-profile partisan issues, some state AGs choose to sit out.

August 11, 2017
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Politics & Elections

In Minneapolis, Liberal Isn’t Good Enough for the Left

“The Trump dystopia is clearly motivating people to do something, and at the local level that means running for office, even against your own party.”

August 4, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

Don Willett’s Lone Star Legal Show

The Texas Supreme Court justice is witty and approachable, and he's huge on Twitter. He's also one of the most influential conservative jurists in the country right now.

August 22, 2017
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Politics & Elections

In State Budget Talks, Governors Play Hardball

Some negotiations have become so heated that legislatures have taken their fight to the courts.

August 1, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

Are ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Laws Just Symbolic?

Critics say laws that treat attacks against police officers as a hate crime are unnecessary and hard to enforce.

August 3, 2017
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Politics & Elections

State Election Officials Fear Feds Are Making Security Worse

Secretaries of state are concerned about not just the federal government's request for voter information but also the information they're not getting about election security breaches.

July 12, 2017
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Finance

California’s Tax Board of Confusion

The state has more tax agencies than most -- and one in particular is badly mismanaged.

July 14, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

In Chicago, There's Pork on the Infrastructure Menu

Aldermen choose how to use infrastructure dollars from a preapproved list of projects. The result: A big spending gap between neighborhoods.

July 10, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

Jailhouses Experiment With Ways to Lock Less People Up

Among the places testing new ways to keep low-risk offenders out of jail, Charleston, S.C., stands out.

July 25, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Why’s Pennsylvania's Lt. Governor Behaving So Badly?

Mike Stack is under investigation by the state’s inspector general. The results could impact the 2018 election.

July 5, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Andrew Cuomo Is One of the Most Progressive Governors. (So Why Don't Liberals Like Him?)

From education to gay rights, New York's governor has racked up a long list of liberal accomplishments.

July 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

How a Community Copes at the Center of a Media Storm

When a gunman allegedly shot five people at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., his actions also impacted his hometown in Illinois.

June 15, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Congressional Shooting Highlights Rise of Violence in Politics

Wednesday's shooting during a congressional baseball practice is the latest example of the increased violence -- both threatened and real -- that is seeping into America's political process.

June 14, 2017
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Politics & Elections

How a Far Left Candidate Won in a Deep Red State

The new mayor of Jackson, Miss., may offer striking evidence of a nationwide trend.

June 7, 2017
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Politics & Elections

The Next Cities That Might Remove Confederate Monuments

St. Louis and Baltimore have joined the ranks of cities thinking about taking them down. Meanwhile, a countermovement is growing in state legislatures.

June 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Firefighters' Clout Can Make Them Politically Untouchable

Their heroic image is a political asset -- one that makes changes to the profession difficult.

June 8, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Missouri's Eric Greitens Is Governing in the Dark

Between gag orders and secret funds, the governor isn't living up to his campaign promise of transparency.

June 15, 2017
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Education

School Choice Debate Pits DeVos vs. Denver

The education secretary's complaints about the city's schools highlight one of her biggest priorities -- and one of her biggest battles.

June 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

With Governors Races Now Set, Virginia and New Jersey Shift Focus to November

Republicans currently enjoy a 2-to-1 lead among governors, but Democrats hope to start chipping away at that advantage this fall.

June 14, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

How Hard Is It to Clean a Greenhouse?

Apparently very. Missouri’s Botanical Gardens just got its first power-washing since it was built in 1988.

June 1, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

This Is What Happens When a Nuclear Plant Shuts Down

Plans to close an infamous plant were just announced. Such closures can be devastating for local economies -- even more so than when mining and manufacturing ceases to exist in a town.

May 30, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Democratic Norms Are Under Attack, and Not Just by Trump

Like the president, state politicians are playing by new rules and openly trying to undermine critics who threaten their power -- whether they're lawmakers, reporters or voters.

May 18, 2017
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Politics & Elections

As Democrats Seek to Rebuild, Progressives Push to the Left

Parties learn from losing, not winning. The lesson many progressives have drawn from Democratic defeats in 2016 is that the party needs to more fully embrace liberal policies and candidates.

May 10, 2017
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Elections

No Politics Is Local: How America's Culture War Consumed Omaha's Race for Mayor

In what's expected to be a close election on Tuesday, major national figures have joined the campaign trail, sometimes bringing controversy over social issues with them.

May 5, 2017
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Politics & Elections

How the Rapper Pitbull Has Divided Florida's Top Politicians

The recent feud between the governor and the state's House speaker began over a tourism ad. But it goes much deeper than that.

May 4, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

Is Jail a Fair Punishment for Skipping Bus Fare?

In Portland, Ore., people were being locked up for the offense often -- African-Americans disproportionately so.

May 30, 2017
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Finance

No Help From Noah: The County That Banked on a Religious Theme Park to Solve Its Money Problems

Facing bankruptcy, Grant County, Ky., invested in the park hoping for a new revenue source. But cash has yet to start flooding in.

May 8, 2017
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Education

In Indiana, Governors Push for More Control Over Education

Mike Pence tried first. Now Gov. Eric Holcomb is attempting to make the superintendent a gubernatorial appointment, leaving voters with little say over schools.

May 1, 2017
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Elections

A New Way to Spot Partisan Gerrymandering

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on racial gerrymandering Monday, but judges still can't agree on what partisan gerrymandering looks like. Social scientists may be able to help.

May 23, 2017
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Education

U.S. Universities Fear Losing International Students

Students from abroad have become a rich revenue source for many state colleges and their towns. What happens if the Trump administration's anti-immigration sentiment and policies drive them away?

May 5, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Let Me Take a Selfie: The Art of Balancing Politicians' Time With Never-Ending Photo Requests

All those snaps can take a lot of time out of an elected official's busy schedule.

April 26, 2017
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Elections

Scott Walker Is a Top Target for Democrats. So Why Can't They Find Someone to Run Against Him?

A lack of serious gubernatorial candidates could be a problem for Democrats not just in Wisconsin but other states where the party is hoping to make gains next year.

April 12, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Why It Took Alabama's Governor So Long to Resign

The news of Robert Bentley's affair with one of his aides broke more than a year ago. But both the governor and his party had reasons for him to stay in office.

April 10, 2017
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Elections

What's the Best Way to Elect a City Council?

Every system has its own set of drawbacks.

April 25, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

The Golden Infrastructure Opportunity That Government Missed

States had a cheaper option for investing in infrastructure, but they didn't take it. Now, they must pay the price.

April 7, 2017
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Health & Human Services

Welfare Reform Offers a Window Into Block-Granting Medicaid

Republicans want to do with health care what they already did with cash assistance for the poor. There are lessons to be learned.

April 1, 2017
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Finance

Deficit in Dallas: How One of the Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Ended Up With Billions in Debt

The city has created a huge problem for itself -- one so big that bankruptcy isn’t off the table.

April 11, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Unlikely Political Allies: Urban Democrats and GOP Governors

When it comes to certain issues, they put pragmatism before politics.

April 24, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

Law and the New Order: A Fresh Wave of District Attorneys Is Redefining Justice

Cities and counties across the country recently elected reform-minded DAs who are taking a more strategic approach to prosecutors' typical tough-on-crime policies.

April 4, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Can Democrats Channel Anti-Trump Anger Into Votes at the State Level?

The party is hoping to regain seats it lost during the Obama years. Democrats say there are already signs of change, but Republicans argue there's no proof of that yet.

March 15, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Trump's Speech Short on Domestic Policy Specifics

In his first joint address to Congress, the president talked a lot about improving infrastructure and health care but offered virtually no new details about how.

February 28, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Why Cooperation May Be to Blame for America's Polarized Politics

It’s time for a history lesson.

March 2, 2017
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Urban

The Story Behind George Lucas' Museum Wars With Cities

After fighting his own battle over where to house his Star Wars stuff, he let the cities duke it out.

March 17, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

Should Lawyers Police Themselves? In Most States, They Do.

But the days of having lawyers regulate their own conduct are numbered in California. The question now is whether that will prompt others to end the controversial practice.

March 31, 2017
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Management & Labor

Different Party, Same People: The Virtue of Political Holdovers

Two new governors have surprised their states by keeping many of the previous administrations' cabinet members.

March 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Are South Carolina Voters Too Tolerant of Corruption?

The state’s lawmakers have a history of ethics and legal problems -- yet their constituents don’t seem to care.

March 7, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Is the GOP's Tea Party Over?

Arizona was the poster child for Tea Party politics. Now the state's Republican leaders are focusing instead on core establishment issues. The shift there could signal what's to come across the country.

February 23, 2017
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Elections

Senate Control Up for Grabs in 3 States' Special Elections

As voters head to the polls in Connecticut, Delaware and Washington, Democrats are hoping to ride some voters' discontent with President Trump to victory.

February 15, 2017
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Management & Labor

Despite Union Resistance, Right-to-Work Momentum Is Growing

Several states have already passed right-to-work laws this year -- and their reach may finally expand into the Northeast.

February 13, 2017
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Elections

Will Trump Inspire More Celebrities to Seek Office?

Republicans in one state are already gearing up for an NFL star to run for governor.

February 3, 2017
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Infrastructure & Environment

Fracking Presents Big Problems That Towns Have Little Authority to Fix

Almost every time localities attempt to regulate the oil industry, courts or legislatures stop them.

February 3, 2017
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Management & Labor

Low Pay and Time Away Drive Some Lawmakers to Call It Quits

Several state legislators recently resigned, saying they want to spend more time with their families -- and they seem to mean it.

February 9, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Don't Like the Ballot Measure Voters Approved? Just Ignore It, Some Lawmakers Say.

In state capitals around the country, lawmakers are trying to block voter-approved policies. Critics say it's "lawlessness" that represents the new political climate.

January 31, 2017
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Urban

'Sanctuary Cities' Just the Start of Mayors' Opposition to Trump

The president's war on progressive policies presents a dilemma for almost every big-city mayor in America. But attacking urban areas also carries big risks for the president.

January 27, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

Will Trump Kill Criminal Justice Reform’s Momentum?

It’s become a rare, bipartisan issue. But if the president's campaign rhetoric is any indication, the window of opportunity for change may have closed.

January 23, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Thanks to Trump, 2 States Are Getting New Governors

As Gov. Nikki Haley heads off to work in the Trump administration, South Carolina could see some real political change.

January 19, 2017
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Politics & Elections

To Battle Trump, State Democrats Will Use GOP’s Own Tactics

Democrats are preparing to fight the new administration's policies like Trump's pick to lead the EPA fought Obama's: with lawsuit after lawsuit. But can Democratic AGs make a difference with their diminished numbers?

January 18, 2017
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Public Safety & Justice

In Legal Fight Against U.S. Towns, Muslims May Lose Major Ally

The Justice Department has sued several municipalities for blocking mosques and Islamic schools from being built. But the future of those lawsuits under a Trump administration is unclear.

January 13, 2017
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Finance

Bad Budget News? Some States Just Bury It.

Observers say Kansas is trying to “end bad economic news by not reporting it.” It’s not the only state being accused of hindering transparency.

January 6, 2017
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Politics & Elections

New York Voters Reject Chance to Rewrite State Constitution

Once every 20 years, the state’s citizens get the opportunity to overhaul government. Voters rejected the idea again on Tuesday.

November 7, 2017
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Politics & Elections

The Democrats’ Geography Problem

An overwhelming share of their voters live in metropolitan areas. Will their appeal ever expand beyond?

January 12, 2017
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Finance

Is a New Battle Brewing Over Soda Taxes?

As more cities start taxing sugary beverages, the industry may turn to new allies to block them.

January 6, 2017
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Politics & Elections

America’s One and Only City Council Run by Libertarians

In a Minnesota suburb, libertarians are making a lot of changes people might expect. But not everyone is happy.

January 1, 2017
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Politics & Elections

In Trump’s America, GOP States Proceed Cautiously Optimistic

With the most power over U.S. government that any party has had in decades, Republicans have hit the jackpot. The new administration will embolden states’ rights, but it could also create problems for them.

January 3, 2017
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Politics & Elections

Gov. John Bel Edwards Wants Payback, Louisiana-Style

In the latest chapter of his feud with the state’s attorney general, Edwards is taking on the oil and gas industry -- but with some controversial allies.

December 14, 2016
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Health & Human Services

With Little Warning, Maine Governor Overhauls Public Health

Paul LePage’s abrupt decision left lawmakers and public health workers with unanswered questions as they struggle to battle a drug epidemic.

December 9, 2016
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Finance

In Life After Coal, Appalachia Attempts to Reinvent Itself

The decline of the mining industry started long before the Obama administration and will likely continue even with Trump in the White House. That's why local leaders are starting to diversify their economies and prepare their people for an uncertain future.

December 1, 2016
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Elections

Tragedy Reshapes Mayor’s Race in Baton Rouge

Whoever wins this month faces the tough job of uniting and rebuilding a community that’s still hurting from deadly police shootings and floods.

December 7, 2016
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Management & Labor

Will Florida Ever Strike a Deal on Workers’ Comp?

With the state's law in limbo and so many players at the table -- employers, unions, insurers, attorneys and lawmakers -- it will be hard to reach an agreement.

December 12, 2016
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Education

Why Being a University President Isn’t a Stable Job Anymore

Their resignations, once rare, have seemingly become a frequent occurrence.

December 16, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Political Segregation Is Growing and 'We're Living With the Consequences'

Author Bill Bishop, who has spent years studying America's urban-rural divide, discusses what it means for politics and progress.

November 18, 2016
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Elections

With Control of More States, Conservatives Plan Their Course

Republicans in many states are now free to pursue their agendas on taxes, labor and social policies without Democrats standing in the way.

November 11, 2016
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Elections

Republicans Add to Their Dominance of State Legislatures

The GOP successfully defended its majorities in most chambers and also picked up chambers in Kentucky and Iowa, giving the party full control of those states.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

Liberals Win a Few Victories at the Local Level

Despite the Trump tide, voters at the local level approved new taxes on soda and bond measures for housing and transportation. They also ousted several tough-on-crime prosecutors, as well as Trump ally Joe Arpaio.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

Automatic Voter Registration Is Spreading. How Will That Impact Turnout in Future Elections?

Alaska is the latest state to adopt a system in which residents will be automatically registered to vote.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

With Independents on the Rise, Colorado Changes Its Election Rules

Voters in the state approved ballot measures that would, among other things, let unaffiliated voters participate in primaries.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

Legislative Races Offer Democrats Opportunities to Grow

Democrats have lost control of 20 legislative chambers since Barack Obama took office. But with the president's help, they should gain some back on Tuesday.

November 7, 2016
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Elections

In New England, 2 Blue States May Go Red for Governor

New Hampshire and Vermont, one of Hillary Clinton's strongest states, are the GOP's best chances to increase their gubernatorial numbers this year.

November 4, 2016
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Elections

Why Politicians Shouldn’t Sweat the Primaries 

It’s nearly impossible for incumbents to lose a primary. So when they do get the boot, what happened?

November 3, 2016
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Public Safety & Justice

The End of Private Prisons in America? Not So Fast.

The federal government is closing them, but that doesn’t mean states will.

November 1, 2016
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Finance

This Nonprofit Is Funding Good Ideas From People, Not Big Organizations

It’s part of a new philanthropic approach to improving neighborhoods.

November 18, 2016
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Management & Labor

A Symbol of Government Failure Gets a Second Chance

The site of a long-gone but still-criticized public housing complex in St. Louis is being redeveloped. Will history repeat itself?

November 15, 2016
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Elections

Who Should Judge the Judges?

That age-old debate got a fresh hearing in Georgia.

November 1, 2016
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Elections

Election Brings Change to How Minnesota Lawmakers Are Paid

Like most state legislators in America, Minnesota's were in charge of their own pay -- and yet, they haven't had a raise in 20 years.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

In Red-State Races for Governor, Democrats Could Score Wins

Democrats have a chance at winning in five states that voted against Barack Obama in 2012.

October 28, 2016
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Elections

Voters in 4 States Limit Money's Role in U.S. Politics

They took steps to repeal the Citizens United ruling, limit campaign contribution limits and create publicly financed elections.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

Voters Make Missouri a Voter ID State

GOP lawmakers in the state have been trying to pass a voter ID law for a decade. They finally got their way.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

How Many Republicans Will Trump Take Down With Him?

Donald Trump has divided the GOP. Democrats are hoping to use that as an opportunity to rebuild their ranks in state legislatures.

October 14, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Tracing a Prosecutor's Downfall, Corruption in the East and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

September 30, 2016
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Elections

How Unregulated Dark Money Is Reshaping State Politics

Several governors are using nonprofits to get themselves elected and promote their agendas once in office -- without ever having to disclose where the money came from.

September 29, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Political Blood Feud in the Bluegrass

Rarely do politicians quarrel as openly as Kentucky’s governor and attorney general. Family ties may have something to do with it.

October 5, 2016
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Infrastructure & Environment

Phoenix’s Ambitious Plan to Beat the Desert Heat

In just over a decade, officials want to cover a quarter of the city in shade.

October 18, 2016
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Management & Labor

From Hundreds to Thousands of Inspections: How Pittsburgh Is Winning the Permit Game

It was once practically impossible to get a building inspected in the city. Now it’s easier than ever.

October 7, 2016
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Elections

How Old Is Too Old to Be a Judge? Voters in 4 States Got to Decide.

Voters generally agreed to raise the age limits -- but not do away with them altogether.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

Amid Governor's Scandal, Alabamians Clarify Impeachment Rules

A constitutional tweak became embroiled in talk of impeachment, misuse of funds and an alleged affair by Gov. Robert Bentley.

November 9, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Will the Least Popular Governors Hurt Their Parties in November?

Many lawmakers up for re-election are distancing themselves from their unpopular executive leader. But that may not be enough to win.

September 23, 2016
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Public Safety & Justice

Overworked and Underfunded, Public Defenders See Some Light

Poor criminal defendants rarely get an attorney who has time to adequately defend them. Some states, spurred by lawsuits, are starting to address the issue.

September 20, 2016
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Elections

Maine Becomes First State to Adopt a Whole New Way of Voting

Unhappy with the results of their past elections, Mainers have opted for ranked-choice voting. It could lead to more civilized politics but lower voter turnout.

November 9, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Highlights From the Last 4 State Primaries of 2016

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

September 16, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: New Hampshire's Unpredictable Governor's Race, a Mayor in Trouble and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

September 9, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Cranky Governors' Voicemails and Surprisingly Close Primary Races

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

September 2, 2016
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Elections

Governors Refuse to Stay on Sidelines for Legislative Races

Several Republican governors have actively campaigned against lawmakers in their own party this year -- in most cases, only to see their efforts backfire.

September 21, 2016
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Politics & Elections

State AGs Are Increasingly Powerful -- and Partisan

The controversy surrounding Trump University showcases some of the sticky political situations that many attorneys general have been getting themselves in.

September 7, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Texas Governor Leads Push to Rewrite the U.S. Constitution

Even if Greg Abbott spurs a national constitutional convention, there are many unanswered questions surrounding such an event.

September 30, 2016
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Elections

D.C. Inches Closer to Becoming the 51st State

The plan to achieve statehood easily won voters' support on Tuesday. But will it win the support of Congress?

November 9, 2016
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Management & Labor

New Minimum-Wage Laws Apply to More Industries

Exempting certain types of workers from raises is becoming a thing of the past.

September 1, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Indiana's Tight Governor's Race, Election Law Rulings and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

August 26, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: The Upside of Low Voter Turnout, Incumbent Lawmaker Losses and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

August 19, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Longtime Legislators Lose, Politicians Run Into Legal Problems and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

August 12, 2016
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Elections

Can Democrats Be Too Liberal, Even for Vermont?

In one of the country's bluest states, a Republican may be the next governor.

August 8, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Missouri's Record-Breaking Primary, Democrats Lose a Long-Held Office in Washington and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

August 5, 2016
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Elections

Why Voter ID Laws Are Losing Judges' Support

In one week, federal courts struck down such laws in four states, marking a significant shift in the legal battle over voting rules.

August 3, 2016
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Finance

State Budgets’ Forecast: Cloudy With a Chance of Transparency

In an era of tight budgets and slow revenue growth, there’s pressure on legislators to be open and honest about what states can and can’t afford.

August 1, 2016
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Public Safety & Justice

Civil Forfeiture Laws Pit Police Versus Everybody Else

Conservatives and liberals are teaming up to restrict or ban the laws that let officers seize billions of dollars a year from people who haven’t been convicted or, sometimes, even charged with a crime.

August 4, 2016
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Management & Labor

1 Day, 2 Firings, No Explanations

The Atlanta mayor’s recent and abrupt termination of two agency leaders left many shocked.

August 24, 2016
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Finance

Even the Giants Are Complaining About San Francisco Real Estate

The Major League Baseball team wants a big break on property taxes. Will they win?

August 12, 2016
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Elections

The GOP’s Hispanic Problem

Republicans have been losing the key demographics’ support since 2000. Democrats hope Donald Trump will keep that trend going.

August 1, 2016
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Management & Labor

Can Counties Fix Rural America's Endless Recession?

The inability of most rural places to recover from the economic downturn is fueling political and social problems around the nation.

August 2, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Governors' Campaign Finance Problems, Oldest Legislator Ousted and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

July 29, 2016
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Elections

Do Governors Make Better Vice Presidents?

Governors are rarely VP picks, yet Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both selected one for the increasingly powerful office.

July 25, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Picking Pence's Successor and a Blow to Voting Restrictions

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

July 22, 2016
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Elections

What a Pence-Trump Ticket Means

There are implications not only for the presidential race but the Indiana governor's election as well.

July 14, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: What a Pence-Trump Ticket Would Mean and a Rare Example of Moderates

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

July 8, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Why Rural America Is Increasingly Red

In recent years, more rural voters have flocked to the GOP -- a trend that will likely impact this year's governors races.

July 21, 2016
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Management & Labor

Abolishing Civil Service: Reform or Cronyism?

Whether Wisconsin's approach makes hiring for government jobs more efficient -- or simply politicizes it -- will influence if and how other states revisit their civil service systems.

July 19, 2016
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Finance

Politicians Focus Business Incentives on Catching the Big Fish

Most states are low on cash, but they’re still willing to spend to attract top-shelf companies like Tesla.

July 29, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The City Where Mayors Still Run the Show

Of all American towns, Baltimore gives its mayors some of the most control. Some hate that, yet attempts to change it have failed.

July 1, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Utah Governor's Big Win, Teachers' Legislative Takeover Attempt and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

July 1, 2016
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Elections

What Trump Means for State and Local Races

Donald Trump and this year’s bizarre presidential race will affect elections all over the country. What’s not clear is how.

July 5, 2016
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Politics & Elections

In Wake of McDonnell Ruling, What Counts as Corruption?

Politicians can do a lot of favors for people, so long as they don't cross over the legal line. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision means that line has to be drawn quite clearly.

June 29, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Bob McDonnell and the Illusion of Ethics Reform

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned former Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption conviction on Monday. Before that, the case led Virginia lawmakers to set stricter ethics rules -- or so it seemed.

June 27, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: GOP Governors Lose Allies, Novice Pulls Off Stunning Upset and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

June 17, 2016
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Elections

A Midwest Test of Voters' Tolerance for the Establishment

In the GOP primary on Tuesday, a Donald Trump-supporting businessman has a chance of beating a career politician in the North Dakota governor's race.

June 13, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Where Conservatives Lost (and Gained) Ground and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

June 10, 2016
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Elections

Why a Well-Liked Governor Faces a Tough Election

Even with high approval ratings and a strong state economy, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has to fight hard to keep his job this year.

June 6, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Dems' Fightin' Words, Plus How Term Limits May Actually Help Incumbents

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

June 3, 2016
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Management & Labor

Why Mixing Business With Politics Is Becoming More Popular

Taking a stance can not only benefit a cause but also a company.

June 7, 2016
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Elections

Uncontested Legislative Races Are Becoming More Common

Some say political parties are missing opportunities to boost their numbers. But others argue quality is more important than quantity.

June 16, 2016
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Finance

Why States’ Tax-Cut Fever Has Subsided

After watching tax-slashing states struggle financially, some governors and legislators have stopped calling for cuts. But that doesn’t mean they won’t start again.

June 27, 2016
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Education

A School Construction Mess Proves Money Doesn’t Solve Everything

Despite $1 billion worth of investment, San Diego’s school buildings are still in disrepair.

June 30, 2016
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Public Safety & Justice

The Death Penalty’s New Skeptics

In states across the country, conservatives are starting to question the cost and legality of capital punishment.

June 1, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Dems' Voting Guy Gets Busy, Mayors Ousted and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

May 27, 2016
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Elections

LGBT Battle Underscores the Powerlessness of Being Governor in North Carolina

The real power lies with the state’s increasingly conservative legislature, which may be hurting Gov. Pat McCrory’s chances of re-election in November.

May 25, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Something Is Rotten in the State of Alabama

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is going on trial this week for corruption charges. He's just one of the state's many top government officials facing legal or ethics scandals.

May 24, 2016
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Elections

The Week in Politics: Passing the Tab for Special Elections, Changing Campaign Finance Laws and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

May 20, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: A $50 Million High School Stadium, an Assault Victim's Victory and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

May 13, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Does Size Matter? The Latest Battle Over State Supreme Courts

Over the past decade, legislators in several states have sought to expand or reduce the number of justices on their highest courts. In some cases, they admit their intent to tilt the ideological balance.

May 12, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: GOP Governors' Best Chance to Grow, What Rematches Mean for Democrats and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

May 6, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Why Is Public Corruption So Common in South Texas?

In Crystal City, nearly every public official is facing criminal charges. But it’s not the region’s only place plagued by corruption.

May 2, 2016
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Education

Has School Choice Been All It Set Out to Be?

As the movement slows, policymakers have the opportunity to explore whether school choice has improved education overall.

May 5, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Turning Black Lives Matter Protests Into Policy

A bipartisan group of public officials, called the 20/20 Club, is working to translate the energy of the movement into meaningful legislation on law enforcement and criminal justice.

May 6, 2016
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Elections

Losing Control in Legislatures, Democrats Shift Focus to Ballots

To further their causes, Democrats are bypassing lawmakers and turning to voters.

May 16, 2016
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Education

Free Community College Gets Financial Aid From White House

Congress rejected the president's proposal for tuition-free community college, so his administration is instead helping regions launch the program themselves.

April 25, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: New York Senate in Play, Baltimore Mayor's Race and Political Feuding in Kentucky

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

April 22, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: The GOP Goes for More Legislative Seats, de Blasio's Bad Week and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

April 15, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Bathrooms and the Bible: The Latest Front in States' Culture Wars

Debates over LGBT rights have helped define differences between red and blue states.

April 13, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: A Bipartisan Approach to Voter Registration and the Latest Election Results

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

April 8, 2016
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Politics & Elections

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Traditional Redistricting Methods

The justices unanimously rejected a challenge to the way Texas -- and every other state -- draws its legislative lines. They did, however, leave one question unsettled.

April 4, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Legislatures Take On Minimum Wage, Legal Scandals in the South and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

April 1, 2016
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Public Safety & Justice

Window for Criminal Justice Reform Closing in Congress

It’s one of the few issues with bipartisan support in Washington. But for several reasons, the chances for change this year are dwindling.

April 7, 2016
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Politics & Elections

What Well-Liked Governors Have in Common

Many of the governors with the highest approval ratings were elected on the other party’s turf.

April 4, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Beyond North Carolina's LGBT Battle: States' War on Cities

North Carolina's fight over LGBT protections is part of a larger recent shift in political dynamics: States are thwarting local laws any chance they get -- while simultaneously complaining about federal intrusion on their own.

March 25, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: A Governor's Alleged Affair, Trump Troubles and the State of Redistricting

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

March 25, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Democrats Preserve Remaining Power in South, While State Parties Keep Losing It

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

March 11, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Remembering Rubio's Record as Florida House Speaker

His tenure was marked with disappointment, embarrassment and little to brag about. But his anti-tax stance helped him politically.

March 9, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Super Tuesday Results You May Have Missed

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

March 4, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Lieutenant Governors: On the Rise and Out the Door

With more qualified people in the position, the job is becoming more of a stepping stone to higher office.

March 16, 2016
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Politics & Elections

'It Should Be on HBO Boxing': New York's Biggest Political Rivalry

New York governors and mayors have often squabbled, but no one can remember a time when relations were worse -- and costing New York City so much.

March 2, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Rise of the Rich Governor

More than half a dozen governors are worth more than $100 million, worrying many about the influence of money on state politics.

March 11, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Stuck in a State of Disarray, Maine Politics Stand Still

Divided government is always challenging, but what's happening in Maine right now -- where Gov. Paul LePage and the legislature are barely on speaking terms -- is an exercise in extreme political hostility.

March 1, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Scalia Battle Mirrors State Court Fights, Ferguson Makes History and More

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

February 26, 2016
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Management & Labor

Right-to-Work Laws Top Republican Wish Lists

With the recent addition of West Virginia, a majority of states now make it harder for unions to collect dues. More could soon be added to the list.

February 25, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Democrats Struggle in Coal Country, Christie Struggles at Home

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

February 19, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Top Officials at Risk and Unresolved 2016 Election Maps

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

February 12, 2016
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Infrastructure & Environment

Gas Tax Increases Still a Hard Sell in States and Congress

Just as proposals to increase gas taxes to pay for roads have failed in most states, Obama's latest pitch to tax oil companies is likely dead on arrival.

February 5, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: State Legislative Race Predictions, a New Voter Registration Rule and Campaign Problems

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

February 5, 2016
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Elections

What Would Happen If America Made Voting Mandatory?

Dozens of other countries force their citizens to participate in elections.

February 9, 2016
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Management & Labor

Too Many Chiefs? Chief Bike Officer Is the Latest Addition

Despite their important-sounding titles, many of the growing number of “chiefs” in government don't have much actual authority.

February 26, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: What to Watch in the Caucuses, Voter ID on Trial and Budget Blame

The most important election news and political dynamics at the state and local levels.

January 29, 2016
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Politics & Elections

The Week in Politics: Flint Fallout, Corruption in Court and One State's New Supermajority

The most important election news and political dynamics impacting states and localities.

January 22, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Milwaukee's Problems Leave Longtime Mayor Vulnerable

Most of the city's problems, the mayor argues, are out of his control. Will voters blame and oust him anyways?

January 20, 2016
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Politics & Elections

SOTU Pushes Nikki Haley's Spotty Record Into the Spotlight

The South Carolina governor has been selected to give the GOP's response to the State of the Union. Despite her popularity, she struggles to lead her own state.

January 12, 2016
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Urban

Love Urban Planning and Board Games? This Is For You.

Called Cards Against Urbanity, the game is a twist on the popular and politically incorrect Cards Against Humanity.

January 22, 2016
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Elections

Breaking Down the 2016 Governors Races

Republicans could strengthen their power in many states this year, but Democrats only have realistic chances in two.

January 1, 2016
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Politics & Elections

Iowa’s Perennial Power Player

Republicans have the governorship and the state House in Iowa, but Democrats have Mike Gronstal, who adheres to the old-fashioned sense that voters elect politicians to work on policy before retreating to their respective partisan corners.

January 6, 2016
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Politics & Elections

When Politicians Behaved Badly Around Kids This Year

From proposing Planned Parenthood mascots to silencing 10-year-old advocates, lawmakers weren't always on their best behavior around the children.

December 25, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Can New Mexico Break Its Cycle of Corruption?

The conviction and incarceration of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran is the latest in a long history of scandals. Lawmakers are pushing ethics reforms, but some doubt change will come.

December 21, 2015
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Elections

Will Peer Pressure Prevail in the Push to Let Young Teens Vote?

A few cities recently lowered the voting age to 16 for local elections. The idea has been debated for years but now appears to have some momentum.

December 18, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Terry Branstad Breaks Record for Longest-Serving U.S. Governor

The Iowa Republican, who's been in office through three economic downturns, surpasses the 18th-century governor who previously held the title.

December 14, 2015
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Elections

In Test of Houston's Liberalism, Democrat Wins Mayor's Race

Last month, voters in America's fourth biggest city rejected a gay rights law. This month, they elected a new mayor dedicated to expanding government services.

December 9, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Campaign Spending’s Gray Areas Getting Politicians in Trouble

High-level officials around the country have recently been caught misusing their campaign funds.

December 16, 2015
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Infrastructure & Environment

Is Bigger and Better Always the Best for Suburbia?

Old houses are being torn down and replaced in suburbs all over the country. But not everyone, especially the people being priced out of once-affordable neighborhoods, is happy seeing the past obliterated.

December 14, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The Waning Power of State Political Parties

They’re far from irrelevant, but campaign financing laws have hurt their influence.

December 15, 2015
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Elections

Louisiana Governor's Race Tightens in Final Days

The election has been less about issues and more about personalities -- but not always the candidates'.

November 18, 2015
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Elections

The End of Political Polling?

The Kentucky governor's race is just the latest example of how election polls have become less accurate, more expensive and harder to gauge public opinion.

November 11, 2015
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Elections

How People Voted on Local Ballot Measures Across the Country

Social conservatives hailed the rejection of a gay rights measure in Houston. But progressives were able to claim victory elsewhere.

November 4, 2015
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Elections

Democrats, Women and LGBT Win Big in Mayoral Races

Most incumbents won re-election, while several cities elected their first female or openly gay mayors.

November 4, 2015
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Elections

Democrats' Waning Power in the South Weakens More

The Republican businessman will succeed term-limited Democrat Steve Beshear, weakening the Democrats' power in one of the last Southern states where they still have some.

November 3, 2015
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Politics & Elections

How One City Is Increasing Diversity in Politics

Seattle is largely run by older white men, but changes in the city's election law will likely make its politicians more representative of the people.

November 3, 2015
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Management & Labor

Welcome to Jobs Inc., Where States Have Little Say

Several states have decided the way to juice up economic development is to turn it over to a corporation outside the government bureaucracy. Is it working?

November 9, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The State Where Women Take the Lead

Oregon has long had more women in top political positions than practically any other state. There may be several reasons why.

November 5, 2015
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Education

States Are Putting the Brakes on Driver’s Ed

Over the last decade, many have stopped funding it. Are the roads more dangerous?

November 18, 2015
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Politics & Elections

How Bathrooms Became a Political Battleground

As rights for transgender people are debated across the country, a surprising amount of attention is on where they can go to the bathroom.

October 30, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Which States Could Adopt Automatic Voter Registration Next?

Several states may soon follow California and Oregon's lead, but almost all of them are Democratic-led.

October 22, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The Nation's Closest Race for Governor

In Kentucky, one of the few Southern states where Democrats still hold power, it's a tossup between a Republican businessman appealing to religious conservatives and a Democratic AG distancing himself from Obama.

October 19, 2015
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Politics & Elections

From Campaign Finance to Pot, Progressives Look to Local Voters

Giving up on the gridlock at the federal and state levels, progressives are turning their attention to local ballots to get their ideas passed. But policies that sell well in cities won't always work statewide.

October 2, 2015
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Elections

The Most Important Mayoral Races of 2015

Most incumbents are safe bets for re-election, but races remain unpredictable in several big cities.

October 1, 2015
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Infrastructure & Environment

Climate Change Fight Gets Cash From the Right

One conservative billionaire wants to convince his fellow Republicans to believe in climate change. Can his money make a difference?

October 14, 2015
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Management & Labor

Nevada Shines Light Onto America's Future

Rocked by heavy immigration and demographic change, Nevada must retool its government to cope with the new reality. It’s a sign of things to come in the rest of the country.

October 5, 2015
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Elections

Why Candidates With No Experience Are Winning Over Voters

The truck driver who won the Democratic bid for Mississippi governor -- without spending a cent -- is the latest in a string of nominees for statewide office who lack any political experience.

September 25, 2015
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Elections

GOP Could Sweep 2015 Governors Races

If Republicans do win in every state this year, it could be a bad omen for Democrats in 2016.

September 24, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Even in One-Party States, Republicans Battle Over Budgets

Some are taking longer than they have in decades to pass a budget. Why can't the GOP work together?

September 16, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Why Women's Presence in Politics Has Stagnated

Women have held less than 25 percent of all state legislative seats for years. But both parties are trying to recruit more female candidates.

September 14, 2015
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Politics & Elections

In Thriving Nashville, a Very Negative Race for Mayor

Thursday's election will test the appeal of anti-government populism in a booming Democratic city.

September 9, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The Governor at War With Both Political Parties

Maine Gov. Paul LePage has become so unpopular with lawmakers that many Democrats and Republicans have united against him. What does that mean for the next three years?

September 15, 2015
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Politics & Elections

In Politics, Chambers of Commerce Carve Their Niche

The business community has a reputation for being skeptical about public spending and regulations. But on some issues, they're actually government’s strongest ally.

September 23, 2015
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Elections

From Marijuana to Gas: Tax Issues on the Ballot in 2015

A rundown of the most important tax-related measures facing voters this November.

August 18, 2015
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Elections

The Elections No One Cares About

Turnout in local elections has gotten so low that some places might start practically paying people to vote. But there's a simpler, cheaper way to get more people to the polls.

August 11, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Missouri Stays Purple While Other States Turn Red

Republicans may have a supermajority in the legislature, but they can't seem to win statewide offices.

August 1, 2015
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Elections

The 2015 Race That Could Turn the South a Deeper Red

Republicans want to make Kentucky the next Southern state with a GOP governor. It won't be easy.

August 6, 2015
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Management & Labor

Will Raising the Minimum Wage Raise Rents Too?

In some of the country’s most expensive cities to live, economists worry increased incomes will put even more pressure on housing markets.

August 13, 2015
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Politics & Elections

When Governors Travel, Who Pays?

With so many governors running for president, new attention is being given to how out-of-state political trips are funded.

August 5, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Jefferson Who? Democrats Are Disowning Their Founders

In several states, the Democratic party is dropping the name of slave-owning presidents from annual fundraising dinners.

July 31, 2015
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Education

If Congress Finally Overhauls Education, Are States Ready?

For the first time in more than a decade, the House and Senate have passed bills to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law and give states more freedom in education.

July 28, 2015
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Politics & Elections

How the Never-Ending Battle of Redistricting Will Impact 2016

Florida and Virginia (and possibly two other states) have to redraw their unconstitutional voting maps for the 2016 election. Similar legal challenges are only likely to increase in coming years.

July 22, 2015
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Urban

Will New Housing Rules Really Reduce Racial Segregation?

After many places failed to enforce parts of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the feds are trying again. But this time, they're offering agencies more help.

July 16, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Why So Many Attorneys General Are in Legal Peril

A striking number of current and former state AGs are facing criminal charges or investigations.

July 10, 2015
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Health & Human Services

Hawaii Raises Smoking Age to 21

Hawaii recently became the first state to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21.

July 3, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Slain Senator Remembered as 'Moral Conscience' of Legislature

Clementa Pinckney was killed in the Charleston church shooting, but his legislative legacies will live on.

June 26, 2015
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Politics & Elections

True Believer: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Walker has proved to be an effective leader in one of the most polarized states. But how will the conservative governor’s record in Wisconsin translate to a presidential bid?

July 1, 2015
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Elections

The Republican Who Helped Elect Obama and Now Wants Montgomery, Alabama, to Elect Him

Former Democratic Congressman Artur Davis is hoping to beat the odds in his hometown.

July 1, 2015
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Elections

How Bobby Jindal, a Rising Star, Plummeted Back to Earth

As the Louisiana governor prepares to make his presidential run official on Wednesday, he's struggling to find support at home and nationally.

June 23, 2015
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Elections

The Forgotten Governors Trailing the Presidential Pack

The increasingly large Republican field includes several governors (like Jim Gilmore) who are trying to make a comeback after being absent from politics for years.

June 19, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Divided Legislatures Produce Gridlock, Not Compromise

In most states where Democrats and Republicans split control of the legislative chambers, getting anything done has been a struggle this year. But there is at least one exception.

June 2, 2015
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Elections

A Win for Political Compromise

A primary challenge this week sent a message to politicians nationwide about how much freedom they have to step outside party lines.

June 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The Story Behind the Prominent Rise of State AGs

The role of attorney general in states has evolved from policy enforcer to policy creator.

June 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The Tyrannosaurus Rex of State Politics

Billionaire Rex Sinquefield's crusade to control Missouri politics sheds light on the power and limits of money in contemporary American politics.

June 1, 2015
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Elections

Why States' Campaign Donation Limits Could Be in Jeopardy

A federal appeals court decided this week that states can only limit campaign contributions if they can somehow prove that they lead to corruption.

May 29, 2015
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Elections

Is Kasich Conservative Enough for 2016 Republican Voters?

While other GOP presidential contenders will be touting their conservative policies, Ohio Gov. John Kasich would have to defend his.

May 22, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Arkansas Cities Defy State Law With LGBT Protections

Local governments are likely headed for legal trouble after taking a stand against the state's new law that blocks them from banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

May 11, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Mayor Martin O'Malley Versus Governor Martin O'Malley

Baltimore's unrest has cast a negative spotlight on the probable presidential candidate's tough-on-crime policies as mayor. But as governor, he left a liberal legacy on nearly every front.

May 7, 2015
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Elections

In Arkansas, Huckabee Was a Believer in Big Government

Mike Huckabee may be one of the more conservative presidential candidates, but as governor, he expanded government programs and increased taxes.

May 5, 2015
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Elections

Tracing Chris Christie's Fall From the Top

Once considered a "master of disaster" and frontrunner in the presidential race, the New Jersey governor is now neither.

May 1, 2015
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Urban

The Next Baltimore?

Freddie Gray's death sparked the riots in Baltimore, but they reveal deep systemic problems that plague many American cities.

April 29, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Government Accountability? GOP Says No Thanks, Wisconsin

Republicans are attacking the state’s ethics board for engaging in partisan witch-hunts, particularly for its investigation of Gov. Scott Walker.

May 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Lawmaking Behind Closed Doors Under Fire in States

As the saga of Hillary Clinton’s emails has shown the world yet again, looking like you might have something to hide immediately arouses suspicion.

May 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Lincoln Chafee's Not-So-Brag-Worthy Record as Governor

To the surprise of many, Lincoln Chafee, the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat, joined the presidential race Wednesday.

April 23, 2015
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Finance

What Not to Do When Asking Voters to Increase Their Taxes

Voters in a wealthy suburb of St. Louis rejected tax increases to fund schools last week.

April 15, 2015
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Elections

Rick Perry Runs for Redemption

After stumbling off the stage during his last presidential run and being indicted on criminal charges, Texas’ longest-serving and possibly most influential governor wants to redeem his political career.

April 15, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Now Seen as Moderate, Jeb Bush Governed Florida Like a 'Conservative Hurricane'

The latest presidential candidate cut government's role and taxes every year he was governor.

April 7, 2015
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Elections

Do Protests Impact Whether and How People Vote?

History shows that large-scale protests are no guarantee for change.

April 2, 2015
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Urban

Foundation Funds Fresh Ideas for Urban Living

From "houselets" to "regional play days," the Knight Foundation is giving $5 million to people or organizations around the country with new ideas to improve cities.

March 31, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The Battle for Alamo City

The San Antonio mayoral race is crowded.

April 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Patience and Pragmatism Dominate Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s First 100 Days

For the first time in more than a century, Arkansas is completely controlled by Republicans. But the new governor has slowly and deliberately built bipartisanship in the legislature.

April 1, 2015
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Education

Common Core Critics Are Loud But Losing

The nationwide pushback against the education standards hasn't been very successful.

April 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Why Some Lawmakers Want to Abolish the 17th Amendment

Adopted in 1913, it took the job of electing U.S. senators away from state legislatures.

April 1, 2015
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Education

College Cuts Clash With Calls for Better-Educated Workers

At a time when Obama is calling for free community college and governors want better-educated workforces, some states are considering big cuts to higher education.

March 19, 2015
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Elections

Why 2016 Voters May Favor Governors Over Senators

With confidence in Congress at an all-time low, governors' distance from D.C. politics could help them win over some voters in the presidential race.

March 16, 2015
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Education

As State Civics Testing Grows, Critics Worry It's Not Enough

Following Arizona's footsteps, states are starting to make students pass the U.S. citizenship test that immigrants take in an effort to create a better-informed citizenry.

March 10, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Q&A With States’ and Localities’ New Man in D.C.

The head of the White House Office of Governmental Affairs talks about his plans for the job and what to expect on the domestic front during Obama’s remaining time in office.

March 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

In Red States, Cities Can’t Win

The lack of urban legislators in Republican states means cities will have their concerns largely ignored or challenged.

March 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Gov. Kitzhaber's Replacement Unlikely to Upend Oregon Politics

After succeeding embattled Gov. John Kitzhaber Wednesday, Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown is expected to pursue policies in line with her predecessors.

February 18, 2015
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Politics & Elections

The Perils of Political Spouses

Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber, who's now resigning, is just the latest politician in a controversy involving his significant other -- a phenomenon some say will grow in the era of dual-career households.

February 13, 2015
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Public Safety & Justice

Cities Confront Long-Neglected DNA Evidence in Rape Cases

With about 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide, officials at the federal, state and local levels are devoting new attention and money to reducing the backlog.

February 11, 2015
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Urban

Do Cities Need Kids?

Seattle is one place that’s trying to figure that out.

February 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on the Meaning of ‘Legislature’

How it’s defined could impact state election laws from campaign finance to voter ID.

February 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

5 Reasons State House Speakers May Be Prone to Corruption

Sheldon Silver, who lost his job as one of the most powerful political posts in New York, is the fourth state house speaker to face legal trouble over the past year.

January 26, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Obama State of the Union Addresses Domestic Issues

Despite making frequent calls for bipartisanship, President Obama delivered a State of the Union address that was clearly, and unsurprisingly, a call to arms in favor of Democratic priorities.

January 21, 2015
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Politics & Elections

How Majority Parties Can Lose Leadership Positions in the Legislative 'Game of Thrones'

After winning majorities last fall, Republicans managed to lose leadership elections in New Hampshire and Washington state.

January 19, 2015
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Public Safety & Justice

Are Pardons Becoming More Politically Acceptable?

Gubernatorial pardons have been in decline since the 1980s, but that appears to be changing as views evolve on rehabilitation and drug offenses.

January 14, 2015
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Politics & Elections

How Minorities Can Help America

With the nation's share of Asians and Hispanics expected to double in 40 years, the changes these rising minority groups are making to politics and society are only beginning.

December 31, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Democrats’ Future Looks Grim

Republicans not only swept the states in the fall, they’ve been building up a team of candidates to climb the political ranks.

January 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Financial Pressures May Table Republicans’ Bold Initiatives

Republicans haven’t had this much power at the state level in almost a century. But budget constraints may temper their appetite for extreme policies in 2015.

January 1, 2015
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Politics & Elections

Why American Politics Seem More Divisive

In the last few years allegiance to political parties may have gotten stronger, making the work of governing much harder.

December 26, 2014
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Finance

Falling Oil Prices Help Consumers, Hurt States

The price of oil has dropped by 40 percent over the past few months. Most oil states have money saved in permanent funds, but the drop in revenues is causing shortfalls already.

December 24, 2014
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Education

California's 'Game of Chicken' over College Tuition

Unlike nearly every other state, California lacks a central board that oversees higher education, pitting political leaders against university administrators. At issue now is a 28 percent tuition hike.

December 8, 2014
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Politics & Elections

The Governor's Race That Still Isn't Over

Vermont's election was so close that the legislature must decide who wins when it convenes next year. If it's Gov. Shumlin as expected, many question what he can accomplish with so many unpopular programs.

December 2, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Message to Lawmakers: Say What You Really Think

A new study shows that when legislators make their stance on even controversial issues public, they convince people to join their side.

December 1, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Why Some Politicians Don’t Win Higher Office

Candidates like Texas Sen. Wendy Davis and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald are examples of the Peter Principle: They were both successful, but both lost their campaigns for higher office.

December 1, 2014
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Management & Labor

Unions Rethink Strategy After Election Losses

Most of the candidates public-sector unions spent time and money supporting this fall were defeated, prompting leaders to question the effectiveness of endorsing any candidates at all.

November 21, 2014
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Politics & Elections

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Limits on Race in Gerrymandering

The ruling in two cases challenging Alabama's legislative maps could have an impact on congressional and legislative maps across the country.

November 12, 2014
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Elections

What All the GOP Wins Mean for Governors

Democrats hoped to have the upper hand when it came to races for governor. Instead, Republicans pulled off some unexpected victories.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

Cities Embrace New Mayors, Liberal Policies

Voters in a number of cities chose new mayors and supported ballot measures that were either green or worker-friendly.

November 5, 2014
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Elections

Tom Wolf May Win Pennsylvania Easy, But the Job Won't Be

Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf is sure to become the governor, but he's unlikely to get his way once he's in office.

November 3, 2014
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Elections

Will Bipartisanship Bring Down Alaska's Governor?

Republican Sean Parnell expected to be easily re-elected, but the joined forces of Democrats and Independents and his slow response to recent challenges have put him in jeopardy.

November 3, 2014
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Politics & Elections

City Hall Drama Takes Center Stage in New Play

An interactive show casts theatre-goers as participants in a city council meeting.

November 1, 2014
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Politics & Elections

The Progress and Promise of Pittsburgh's Turnaround

After years of decline, the city is making gains, and Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration represents a new brand of politics that’s moving into big cities across America.

November 1, 2014
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Elections

Why So Many Incumbent Governors Are in Political Peril in 2014

It's likely that more incumbents will lose next week than at any time since 1990.

October 29, 2014
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Elections

In Florida Governor’s Race, Attacks Overtake Issues

The race between Gov. Rick Scott and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has been one of the year's most negative, dominated by personal attacks and enormous advertising budgets.

October 28, 2014
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Elections

The Least Predictable Governor's Race in the Country

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who carries clear liabilities on his record, has kept the contest a dead heat by attacking his opponent.

October 27, 2014
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Elections

Maine Gov. Paul LePage Hopes to Make History in November

Even though a majority of voters don't want the Republican re-elected, he may become the first U.S. governor elected with less than 40 percent of the vote -- twice.

October 22, 2014
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Elections

Recall Survivor Scott Walker Faces Toughest Challenge Yet in November

The Republican governor of Wisconsin survived a recall election two years ago, but recent ethics scandals and attacks on unions may have wrecked his chances for a second term.

October 17, 2014
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Elections

Can Obama Carry Dan Malloy across Connecticut's Finish Line?

A poor economy and tax increases in one of the wealthiest states have made the Democratic governor one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

October 15, 2014
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Elections

Centrism Hurting Once-Popular Governor's Re-Election Hopes

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's decisions that once seemed like triumphs or smart compromises have turned off many voters.

October 13, 2014
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Elections

Why Massachusetts Might Elect Another Republican Governor

In the bluest of states, Democrat Martha Coakley, best known for failing to win Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat, is polling evenly in this year's race against Republican Charlie Baker.

October 8, 2014
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Latest News

Sam Brownback Has Made Enemies, May Lose Election

The Kansas governor's policies are starting to look too conservative even for one of the reddest states, giving opponent Paul Davis a slight edge.

October 6, 2014
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Urban

With Millions to Give, Foundation Takes Urban-Improvement Ideas from Anyone

The Knight Foundation begins accepting applications for its new Cities Challenge program Wednesday. Unlike other competitive grant programs, anyone can apply.

September 29, 2014
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Elections

The Next State to Likely Turn Red

Arkansas' outgoing Democratic governor is one of the most popular governors in the country, but his successor may be a Republican he's already beat.

September 25, 2014
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Latest News

Rick Snyder Is in Trouble (but May Win Anyway)

The self-proclaimed nerdy governor of Michigan has made some mistakes in the past few months that have turned his re-election race into a dead heat.

September 23, 2014
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Elections

Kansas Democrats Seek to Oust Secretary of State Kris Kobach

The politician has long been a lightning rod for Democrats. This fall, they think they have a chance to beat him.

September 17, 2014
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Latest News

Andrew Cuomo Is Going to Win but Not with the Landslide He Wants

The New York governor is essentially guaranteed to win re-election but not by so much that he can secure his spot as a top contender for president.

September 5, 2014
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Urban

From Vacant to Vibrant: Cincinnati’s Urban Transformation

How a lot of money and a little luck brought one of the nation’s most dangerous neighborhoods back to life.

September 1, 2014
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Public Safety & Justice

Leadership Lessons from Ferguson

The chaos that erupted after a police officer shot an unarmed black teen showcases the need for strong leadership and how law enforcement can lead best in communities where life is already a daily struggle.

August 15, 2014
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Management & Labor

How Millennials Can Make Their Mark on Unions

Younger workers can bring a new energy to organized labor. But if unions want to attract millennials, they’ll have to change some of their ways.

July 1, 2014
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Politics & Elections

A Conservative Group Goes Local

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is expanding its reach beyond the states to local governments.

June 1, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Rural Areas Lose People But Not Power

Rural lawmakers are dwindling in number as people continue to migrate to metropolitan areas. But the battle between urban and rural politics is as big as ever -- and those out in the country may be winning.

April 1, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Politicians’ “Peanut Butter Problem”

Government officials are intensely aware of the political need to spread out resources equally but doing so means there probably won’t be enough to make a major impact anywhere.

March 1, 2014
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Politics & Elections

Texas’ Next Governor? Meet Greg Abbott

The Attorney General is poised to beat Democrat Wendy Davis in the state's nationally watched and heated governor's race, but most Texans know very little about him.

February 1, 2014
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Urban

Corporate Entrepreneurs Are at the Heart of Downtown Revitalizations

Private-sector actors are reshaping the center of some cities in ways local governments no longer have the ability to do themselves.

January 1, 2014
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Governing: State and local government news and analysis

What China's Unique Urbanization Can Teach America

Nineteen of the 20 fastest-growing cities in the world last year were in China. For more from Governing's first-ever International Issue, click here.

January 31, 2013
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Politics & Elections

Newbies Infiltrate State Legislative Chambers

Thanks to term limits and anti-incumbent fervor, half the lawmakers across the country have less than two years’ experience.

December 28, 2012
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Politics & Elections

The Era of Divided Government is Over

For the first time in a long time, one party holds both the legislature and governorship in 37 states.

December 28, 2012
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Finance

States Double Down on Incentives to Woo Companies

In the wake of the recession and the long, slow recovery from it, state and local governments have been even more eager to offer incentives to the few projects they have hopes of landing.

December 28, 2012
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Education

Teachers Rack Up Wins Against Reform Efforts

Education reform ideas that have generally received widespread support are experiencing pushback in the states, including some surprising places.

December 28, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Rural Areas Lose More Legislative Representation

With fewer state lawmakers representing rural districts, issues important to rural areas may go unheard.

November 30, 2012
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Finance

What Did the Stimulus Do for States?

Governing interviewed Time correspondent Michael Grunwald, who argues in his new book that the stimulus has had more influence on domestic policy than any other piece of legislation in decades.

November 30, 2012
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Politics & Elections

When Governors Don’t Play Nice

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal doesn’t even bother working with the state Legislature. Does it matter?

October 31, 2012
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Public Safety & Justice

One of the Most Segregated U.S. Cities Opens the Race Conversation

Cleveland has started a yearlong series of forums on race relations to educate citizens and city leaders.

October 31, 2012
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Politics & Elections

In Vote-Counting, Human Errors Still Creep In

New York has been reluctant to embrace technology when it comes to counting votes. Could the state’s hesitation be the source for its recent election debacles? For full election coverage, go to Governing's Election Center.

October 31, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Can You Separate Federal Issues from State Elections?

Many state candidates are asked less about their stance on issues affecting the state and more about federal matters they can do little about.

September 28, 2012
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Infrastructure & Environment

Transportation Plan? Atlanta Voters Say No Thanks

Voters in the Atlanta region rejected a ballot measure to raise sales taxes by a penny to fund some $6 billion in transportation projects.

August 31, 2012
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Finance

Cloud Computing Taxes Up in the Air in States

A dozen states are debating whether they should and how they could tax cloud computing services.

August 31, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Did Wisconsin End the Recall Wave?

Recalls have been on the rise. But after Gov. Scott Walker survived his election, two other high-profile recall attempts failed in Michigan and California.

August 31, 2012
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State News

More Incumbents Losing Grasp on State Legislature Seats

Voters aren't waiting until November to express their anger. With 14 states still to hold their primary contests, already 135 incumbent state legislators have lost their seats.

August 10, 2012
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State News

Pension Plan Changes Pose Challenges for Lawmakers

Lawmakers have become acutely familiar with the financial challenges caused by pension underfunding, and they're certainly aware of the political difficulties involved in trying to change pension formulas. But the legal hurdles involved in changing pension benefits can be formidable as well.

August 9, 2012
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Management & Labor

Counties: An Outdated Concept or the Future?

Hit harder by the economic downturn than either cities or states, counties are feeling pressure from all sides, leading many to reexamine county functions altogether.

July 31, 2012
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Health & Human Services

Does Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Save Money?

Seven states have enacted drug testing for welfare applicants in an effort to cut costs and combat fraud -- but it’s not clear the move does either.

June 29, 2012
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Infrastructure & Environment

Los Angeles Transit Needs Taxpayers' Money to Rebuild

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is asking voters to pay a half-cent sales tax longer so he can finish his plans to improve the highway and subway systems quicker.

June 29, 2012
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Education

Social Issues Overshadow Tennessee Legislative Session

Tennessee made a bid (again) to become the nation’s most socially conservative state by voting on bills regarding school prayer, sex education, climate change and abortion.

June 29, 2012
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Governing: State and local government news and analysis

The New Black South

After nearly a century of moving north, African-Americans are reshaping cities and suburbs in the South.

May 31, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Citizens United’s Corporate Candidate

Now that private-sector groups are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money in state elections, who’s really running for office?

April 30, 2012
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Finance

Stockton, California’s Bankruptcy Makes 'Normal' Cities Nervous

Unlike many high-profile bankruptcies, Stockton’s financial woes are the result of many different factors that are not unusual for many localities.

April 30, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Governors Have 'The Best Job in Politics'

In his new book, political scientist Alan Rosenthal professes that no one gets what they want more than governors. Find out why.

April 30, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Caucus System Cracks Revealed During 2012 GOP Primary Season

Several states were embarrassed by faulty counts in their caucuses, which are run by political parties rather than by public officials.

April 30, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Wisconsin Recall Elections Draw Lots of Attention -- and Cash

The recalls of Gov. Scott Walker, his lieutenant and four state senators could top $100 million, but that's just a prelude to the fall when the parties will fight for control of the state House.

March 30, 2012
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Public Safety & Justice

GIS Mapping Helps Frogtown, Minnesota Track Neighborhood Data

Residents use geographic info systems to learn more about where they live.

March 30, 2012
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Education

Tuition? UC Riverside Students Say Bill Me Later

A student group called “Fix UC” suggests colleges take a share of each student’s salary for the first 20 years after they graduate.

March 30, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Kris Kobach Tackles Illegal Immigration

Kansas’ secretary of state is redefining immigration laws not only in his state, but in Arizona and elsewhere.

February 29, 2012
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Governing: State and local government news and analysis

Downtown Revitalization During a Recovery: Great Idea or Huge Mistake?

Only time will tell if Kansas City’s unusual and possibly risky move will pay off.

January 31, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Conservatives Question the War on Drugs

Some surprising political figures like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have started questioning how effective U.S. drug policy is.

January 31, 2012
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Politics & Elections

Elected as a Democrat, Now Governing the City Like a Republican

Some liberal leaders are pursuing a conservative economic agenda.

January 31, 2012
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Finance

More State Workers Face Personnel Cuts

With the ballooning cost of benefits, a poor job market and more lean-government advocates in power, states are cutting personnel more than they have in the past.

January 1, 2012
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Politics & Elections

In Kansas, It’s Conservative GOP vs. Moderate GOP

For years, there have been two kinds of Republicans in the Kansas statehouse: conservatives and moderates. This year, the conservatives want total control.

January 1, 2012
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Politics & Elections

States Legislate in Response to News Headlines

In the current 24/7 news cycle, scandals often lead to bills in several statehouses.

January 1, 2012
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Health & Human Services

America’s Least Active City Sits Down to Celebrate

After Lexington, Ky., earned the award for least active city, residents and the mayor took to the streets to boast their win in a Sedentary Parade.

November 30, 2011
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Public Safety & Justice

St. Louis Wants to Control Its Own Police Force Again

In the nineteenth century, some states took control of local police forces. Today, St. Louis is the last big city whose force is still under state control.

November 30, 2011
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Health & Human Services

Governments Abandon Fingerprinting for Food Stamps

Most states and cities stopped requiring that recipients be fingerprinted because it was costly and slowed the application process. New York City and Arizona are the last jurisdictions that still do it.

November 30, 2011
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Politics & Elections

California’s Money-Saving MVP

If finding ways to save money for a cash-starved state wasn’t enough, California’s Auditor Elaine Howle is adding the task of setting up a new redistricting commission to her to-do list.

November 30, 2011
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Finance

Taxing the Rich Isn’t Always a Moneymaker

Several states increased taxes on the wealthy in recent years. The move brought in extra revenue but didn’t solve all of states’ budget problems.

November 30, 2011
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Politics & Elections

ALEC Enjoys A New Wave of Influence and Criticism

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s conservative ideas are resonating in practically every area of state government. And its opponents aren’t happy about it.

November 30, 2011
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Education

New Headaches for ‘No Child Left Behind’

New NCLB waivers may impact the classroom more than the old law they’re trying to escape did.

October 31, 2011
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Management & Labor

What Can Cities Learn from Wasps?

An evolutionary biologist adapts his theories to help local officials plan parks and improve schools.

October 31, 2011
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Health & Human Services

States Cut Welfare Benefits -- Again

At a time when people need it the most, states are tightening work requirements, lowering payments and setting time limits for welfare recipients.

October 31, 2011
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Politics & Elections

Can Redistricting Ever Be Fair?

Several states are setting up independent commissions in the hope of removing bias from the line-drawing process.

October 31, 2011
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Management & Labor

South Carolina Says It's a 'Great Day'

A new etiquette directive from Gov. Nikki Haley has state employees sounding more chipper.

October 31, 2011
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Finance

Should Governments Start Borrowing Again?

The word "borrow" may be taboo still, but one economist says states and localities should take advantage of historic low interest rates.

September 30, 2011
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Politics & Elections

South Carolina's Ethics Problem

Scandal and corruption have plagued Palmetto State politics for years. Some say it’s because it's virtually a one-party state.

September 30, 2011
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Public Safety & Justice

Your Day in Court? Get in Line.

As San Francisco County closes more than a third of its courts, local lawyers are trying to find ways to raise more revenue.

September 30, 2011
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Education

Billionaires in the Classroom

Bill Gates and other philanthropists are reshaping public education policy with private cash. Can they succeed at making schools perform to their liking?

September 27, 2011
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Education

Will Education Cuts Lead to More Lawsuits?

States that are cutting their K-12 budgets by billions of dollars can expect more lawsuits, but they may not have an immediate impact.

July 29, 2011
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Politics & Elections

Kansas City Businesses Want to End the ‘Economic Border War’

Businesses are tired of jumping across state lines for wasted tax incentives.

July 29, 2011
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Governing: State and local government news and analysis

Are the Unions Winning the Fight?

Governors and mayors say their workers are demanding unsustainable benefits. Union rebuttals are not turning the tide.

June 30, 2011
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Infrastructure & Environment

Fixing Bridges ... Or Not

The lack of money for bridge repairs is symptomatic of a larger problem: Transportation projects in general are going to slip behind.

May 31, 2011
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Politics & Elections

States Roll Back Early Voting, Enforce Voter ID Laws

Democrats complain that GOP legislators are seeking to disenfranchise vulnerable groups of voters. Republicans say they're merely protecting the sanctity of the ballot.

May 31, 2011
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Education

Pink Slips Affect the Future of the Teaching Profession

Massive teacher layoffs have led to concerns that young people will shy away from entering the suddenly less-than-secure profession.

May 31, 2011
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Politics & Elections

Rahm Emanuel Takes on Chicago

Chicago's Richard M. Daley is a tough act to follow. But Rahm Emanuel is determined to make his own mark.

May 31, 2011
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Finance

Detroit's Disappearing Population -- and Revenues

With the loss of 25 percent of its residents, Detroit could also lose its ability to levy higher income taxes.

April 29, 2011
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Politics & Elections

Does the Popular Vote Matter?

While some states offer extra protection for statutes enacted by popular vote, legislatures can still overturn ballot initiatives in most states.

April 29, 2011
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Politics & Elections

New Governors Time Their Battles

Unpopular governors have good chances of winning re-election -- as long as they push their most controversial policies early on.

April 29, 2011
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Management & Labor

States Handing Off More Responsibilities to Cities

States are asking cities to take charge of more programs, but they may not provide enough support.

March 31, 2011
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Health & Human Services

The Troubled State of Mental Health Funding

States have cut mental health funding by more than $2 billion. Things may get worse this year.

February 28, 2011
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Politics & Elections

The Immigration Enforcement Divide

Legislators are trying to pass laws requiring immigration checks, but they're running into resistance from the people who would enforce them.

February 28, 2011
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Education

School Vouchers Are In ... Again

Different circumstances and a favorable political climate make school vouchers more attractive than before.

February 28, 2011
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Finance

Voters to Decide Fate of Earnings Tax

Two Missouri cities may soon be facing a huge drop in tax collections.

January 1, 2011
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Health & Human Services

The Increasing Opposition to the New Health-Care Law

Attorneys general in several states are seeking to overturn the federal health-care law.

January 1, 2011
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Management & Labor

Christie's Hands-On Approach With Local Government

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is playing an extremely active role in local government affairs.

January 1, 2011
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Education

Thomas Payzant: Longevity Lessons

There are school superintendents who burst on the scene with a dramatic reform agenda, yet prove unable to bring the major constituencies along with them--the unions, the statehouse, the parents.

May 1, 2002
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Public Safety & Justice

Disorder in the Court

Attorneys in Illinois probably behave no worse than lawyers anywhere else. The state Supreme Court, though, thinks that they still could afford to learn some manners.

February 1, 2002
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Health & Human Services

Exit Strategy

One of the classic pick-up lines for those who live near the New Jersey Turnpike is to ask, "What exit?" So perhaps it was inevitable that a city along that highway would try to build some brand recognition around its exit number.

November 1, 2004
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Health & Human Services

Garnet F. Coleman: Health Crusader

Paying attention to details

November 1, 2001
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Public Safety & Justice

Cheaters by the Dozen

In the San Francisco Bay area, law-breaking motorists have to worry not only about red-light cameras taking pictures of their illegal behavior but also about fellow drivers doing the same.

March 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Pot or Not?

Strange things have been happening at governors' mansions all around the country. Last year, South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges fired the state's prison chief following a widely publicized guards-and-sex scandal that included inmates having sex at the governor's residence while he was away. In the aftermath of that episode, a pair of former South Carolina governors recalled other embarrassing incidents involving trusties and alcohol.

October 1, 2001
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Introducing Our Public Officials of the Year

John W. Hickenlooper

On A Roll

November 1, 2005
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Public Safety & Justice

Trade Offs

A growing number of states don't want to be part of free-trade pacts that block their purchasing preferences.

January 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Church Vs. Clock

Child-abuse victims are given many years to press charges. They're saying they need more.

November 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

In Wisconsin, Partisan Battles Rule the Legislature

In this January 2010 feature from our archive: State legislatures may not be as partisan as Congress, but they're getting closer.

December 31, 2009
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Finance

Local Government and Recall Fever

The printed agenda for meetings of the county board in Monroe County, Wisconsin, always reminds elected supervisors to wear name tags, because "it helps visitors."...

November 30, 2009
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Infrastructure & Environment

California Voters and the Water Spigot

California has just enacted a huge and enormously complicated package of bills meant to put an end to the state's longstanding water wars. But the...

November 30, 2009
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Education

The Standardizing of Classroom Standards

How well can Johnny add? Right now, states try to answer that question in troublingly disparate ways. According to one recent federal study, a fourth-grade...

November 30, 2009
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Health & Human Services

Bending the Law on Slots

Gambling interests seeking permission to move into a state like to tell voters that neighboring states are already profiting from casinos and lotteries, so they...

November 30, 2009
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Politics & Elections

For New York's Mayor, a Surprisingly Narrow Win

As the votes were counted in mayoral races across the country, the biggest shock of the night occurred in a race that turned out just...

November 4, 2009
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Health & Human Services

Tribal Trouble in Tennessee

Given the limited number of Native Americans, it would be natural to expect that today's tribes would welcome the recognition of any new group with...

October 31, 2009
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Management & Labor

The Search for Interstate Cooperation

In desperate budget times, more and more local governments are turning to their neighbors, hoping to save money by sharing services and equipment. This kind...

October 31, 2009
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Finance

Disappearing Dues in Kansas

Bankers, barbers and doctors in Kansas, who pay a fee to support the state organizations that monitors their professions, might want to take a close...

September 30, 2009
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Finance

A Spending Spree in Kentucky

Like governments everywhere, cities and counties in Kentucky seem to realize that the current budget environment requires them to keep a close watch on spending....

September 30, 2009
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Finance

For Louisiana's Governor, Jolts from Washington

No one really thinks of Bobby Jindal and Barack Obama as personal or even political rivals these days. But it seems like at every turn,...

September 30, 2009
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Public Safety & Justice

What is the Age of Responsibility?

Justin McNaull grew up in a hurry. By the time he was 23, McNaull had graduated from college, married and gone to work for his local...

September 30, 2009
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Management & Labor

Scandals at Home Weaken New Mexico's Governor

When federal officials let it be known that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson would not be indicted in the pay-to-play scandal that cost him a...

August 31, 2009
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Management & Labor

In Memphis, a Plea for Regionalism

The mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee, is one of the relatively few local officials in America who regularly conducts business across state lines. As mayor...

August 31, 2009
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Finance

Abdicating the Budget Role to the Governor

Legislators in many states this year, faced with huge budget shortfalls and difficult choices, must have been tempted to just sign off on any plan...

August 31, 2009
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Education

New Jersey's 'Non-Operating' School Districts

New Jersey has just 21 counties, but it has more than 600 school districts. Although merging small districts is a problem everywhere, New Jersey's system is so...

August 31, 2009
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Politics & Elections

A Succession Question

South Carolina is one of the most Republican states in the country, but picking a successor to Governor Mark Sanford is going to be a...

July 31, 2009
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Management & Labor

Taming of a Deficit

San Diego just closed an $83 million hole in its budget and is looking at a shortfall conservatively estimated at $115 million next year. For a place...

July 31, 2009
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Management & Labor

Mind Your Meters

Parking has gotten worse in Chicago, and many see Mayor Richard Daley's decision to privatize parking meters as the culprit. Daley has been a privatization...

July 31, 2009
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Politics & Elections

A Call to Order

People complained for decades that the New York State Senate was dysfunctional. But that was before it shut down altogether. In April, a special committee...

July 31, 2009
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Finance

Shortfall Shock

Given a climate of national recession, Maine's budget process went pretty smoothly in 2009. Despite some scary revenue shortfalls, the legislature passed a $5.8 billion budget bill...

June 30, 2009
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Politics & Elections

Vacuum in Oakland

Ron Dellums never really wanted to be mayor of Oakland. He expressed doubts when civic leaders recruited him to run in 2006, and ever since then,...

June 30, 2009
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Finance

Stalled Trains

Transportation might seem like the one issue best suited for local, state and federal cooperation. No transit system is built without affecting the planning process...

June 30, 2009
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Politics & Elections

The Full-Count Press

With the census less than a year away, cities across the country are gearing up fast. Although the census is a constitutional responsibility of the...

May 31, 2009
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Education

Arne's Cashbox

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has something none of his predecessors have had: billions of dollars in discretionary funds. The question is whether they will be...

May 31, 2009
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Public Safety & Justice

Squeezing the Cops

These days, even cops can't get immunity. Given state and local budget woes, governments are taking a serious look at cutting programs they'd rather hold...

November 30, 2008
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Politics & Elections

The Corzine Chase

Despite his abysmal poll ratings, it might be a mistake to rule out Governor Jon Corzine for reelection in New Jersey. This coming month may...

May 31, 2009
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Management & Labor

The Job of a Lifetime

Things were starting to go sour for Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. Earlier this year, both chambers of the state legislature quickly passed a new 3-cent...

May 31, 2009
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Public Safety & Justice

An Empire State Solution

With prison populations that have swelled by factors of six or eight over the last 25 years, many states, including California, are facing real problems regarding...

February 28, 2007
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Public Safety & Justice

Felon Fallout

A couple of years ago, the state of California did something surprising. It changed the name of its Department of Corrections, tacking on the words "...

February 28, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Gimme Coverage

This year, lawmakers in Washington tried everything to extend health coverage to the uninsured. They earmarked money to cover more children, allowed small employers to...

May 31, 2007
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Management & Labor

Golden-Rule Charlie

It's hard to imagine an entertainer anywhere in America more despised by the Republican right than pop singer Sheryl Crow. She's a boisterous supporter of...

July 31, 2007
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Education

Teaching Past the Test

Anyone who shops online knows how one purchase can quickly lead to another. It's not just the ease of clicking on an item and having...

August 31, 2007
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Education

Higher Purpose

California is home to slightly more nurses than lawyers, but that's about to change. According to state projections, there will be a glut of attorneys...

August 31, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Carnival of Democracy

After this month's elections, President Bush is likely to end up with a large memorial in San Francisco to visit during his retirement. It's neither "...

October 31, 2008
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Management & Labor

The Stuttgart Solution

If you want to see how regional consolidation works when it really works, you might take a look at Stuttgart, the manufacturing capital of southwestern...

October 31, 2008
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Politics & Elections

Blueburbs

Jeanne Kirkton was out canvassing a few weeks ago along Lilac Avenue in Webster Groves, an old rail-line suburb 5 miles west of St. Louis. Lilac...

September 30, 2008
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Education

A Union 'Yes'

Randi Weingarten likes to brag a little about the reading and math test scores posted this year at two New York City charter schools she...

August 31, 2008
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Public Safety & Justice

The Corruption Puzzle

These are nervous days in Montgomery. Federal prosecutors, investigating corruption in Alabama's two-year college system, have subpoenaed legislators by the dozen -- in some cases...

June 30, 2008
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Politics & Elections

Virginia Firebrand

Jeff Frederick won't give up. Ousted as chairman of the state Republican Party last month, he may seek the post again at the party convention...

April 30, 2009
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Finance

Slumping Slots

Gambling proponents typically overstate the amount of revenue that lotteries and casinos will generate for state treasuries. But the numbers rarely fall as far short...

April 30, 2009
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Public Safety & Justice

A Little Bit of Gun Control

A flurry of gruesome shootings nearly always brings the issue of gun control back into public debate. That's happening again, in the wake of cop...

April 30, 2009
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Health & Human Services

Gay Rights: The Not-So-Lethal Issue

Last month, the Iowa Supreme Court threw out a state law banning gay marriages, while the Vermont legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto to allow same-sex...

April 30, 2009
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Politics & Elections

Recipe for Respect

Each branch of the federal government is housed in its own palace in Washington. The White House -- always surprisingly small to visitors -- is...

January 31, 2008
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Finance

Just Say No. Then Shut Up.

A three-quarters majority is required to raise taxes in Arkansas, but the legislature has done it twice in the past year. How did that happen?...

March 31, 2009
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Infrastructure & Environment

Tanks for the Memories

The gas tax is, as you may have heard, about to run out of gas. It's not hard to see why this is happening. Motorists...

March 31, 2009
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Finance

Wild West Budgeting

It's like one of those thrillers where one thing blows up after another. Trying to patch big holes in the state budget earlier this year,...

March 31, 2009
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Finance

Digging for Dollars

It's boom time for grant writers. Cities across the country are lining up to collect their share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package, and they're...

March 31, 2009
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Politics & Elections

Obama and the Cities

For the past 40 years, through the Great Society initiatives of Lyndon Johnson, the Enterprise Zone programs of HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, and the Hope VI...

March 31, 2009
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Politics & Elections

Austin's Surprise Speaker

Everybody in the Texas House of Representatives knew Joe Straus was one of its brightest newcomers, but nobody expected him to become speaker this year...

February 28, 2009
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Public Safety & Justice

Predators' Reprieve

Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act in 2006 to create uniform national tracking standards for sex offenders. President Bush signed it amid White House fanfare. But...

February 28, 2009
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Education

Intense Rheeaction

As superintendent of schools in Washington, D.C., Michelle Rhee has become the most celebrated - and controversial - schools chief in the country. Her...

February 28, 2009
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Management & Labor

A Metro View

I talked with Steve Heminger, head of the Bay Area's regional transportation agency and a member of a bipartisan commission that recommended overhauling the federal...

February 28, 2009
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Public Safety & Justice

Immigration Fizzle

Immigration has emerged as a pervasive issue in this year's politics, a part of seemingly every state and local campaign and presidential debate. The lesson...

December 31, 2007
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Management & Labor

Reformer in Power

If you want to understand how Joe Hackney operates as speaker of the North Carolina House, it's worth thinking about the other things that he...

December 31, 2008
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Management & Labor

Private Instigator

Indiana likes to fashion itself as "the crossroads of America," with 14 interstate highways moving people into and through the state. As in so many other...

December 31, 2007
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Infrastructure & Environment

In the Zone: Berkeley Lears a Planning Lesson

The tallest new structure to be built in Berkeley in 30 years opens in June. But it will be opening without meeting the zoning requirement that made its size possible.

February 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Trying Times

Cities that host high-profile trials seek ways to mitigate the costs and local impact.

April 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Water Diplomat

William Ruckelshaus has had lots of tough assignments. He's got another one now.

July 1, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Goodman the Pitchman?

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman's affinity for Beefeater gin martinis is well known on the local scene. Soon, he may become even more famous for that fondness.

January 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Why Are We Meeting Like This?

Many legislatures didn't get their work done in regulation time this year. Some aren't getting it done in overtime, either.

August 1, 2002
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Management & Labor

Maine Rehires Its Retirees

Under a new law, Maine state employees are allowed to retire, collect their full benefits and then be instantly rehired for the same job. The state saves $20,000 to $30,000 on each position, because health insurance and other benefits are funded through the separate retirement system.

August 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Auditor In Charge

Mark Funkhouser has to make the switch from pointing out problems to solving them.

July 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Rancor In Little Rock

The city famous for civil rights turmoil is arguing over race in schools again.

July 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Shareholder Heaven

If you own stock in a company, you might want it to move to North Dakota.

July 1, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Medical Mayhem

With malpractice insurance rates spiking again, it's time to look at alternative solutions.

April 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

A Billion Bucks a Mile

Why Seattle is rethinking mass transit

August 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Tarnished Coin

Can all the ethical problems of the Ohio GOP be laid at the governor's feet? Some Republicans hope so.

August 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Reward for Release

States are opening ballot boxes to ex-felons.

August 1, 2005
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Management & Labor

Evanston Cuts Off Its Bad Customers

The idea of treating citizens like customers is a managerial touchstone in municipal governance. The city of Evanston, Illinois, is taking that idea literally, expecting its citizen-customers to pay their bills.

April 1, 2002
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Public Safety & Justice

Ape Scrape

Should animal rights be extended to include choice of domicile? That issue is being hotly debated between two towns in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles.

August 1, 2002
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Public Safety & Justice

Inner-Ring Recovery

Some close-in suburbs have found renewal strategies that work.

August 1, 2005
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Health & Human Services

A Pound of Prevention

Lawmakers are weighing ideas to fight obesity in children.

April 1, 2003
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Health & Human Services

Skeeter Shooting

On the home front, America is battling mosquitoes.

April 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Getting Smarter

The smart-growth movement isn't making much noise these days, but it's learning how to win.

August 1, 2005
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Infrastructure & Environment

Humbling Rumbling

That reverberating vroom-vroom sound they've been hearing up in Maine may soon be reduced to a purr.

April 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Camelot It's Not

At a time when Jesse Ventura's approval ratings have sunk below 50 percent for the first time since he was elected governor of Minnesota, and a thinly disguised novel about him by humorist Garrison Keillor languishes on remainder tables in bookstores, it's hard to say what the public's response will be to a Broadway musical called "The Body Ventura."

April 1, 2002
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Public Safety & Justice

Lucky Streak

In Maine, letting it all hang out takes some doing.

April 1, 2002
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Finance

The Calculator

California's new finance director, Donna Arduin, is bringing tough- love budgeting to a deficit-addicted state.

January 1, 2004
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Finance

Localities Take State Budget Cuts To Court

As states slash aid to local governments, some localities are fighting back--in court.

April 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

The Four-Legged Mayoral Race

The town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, not only has a funny name but a funny way of electing its mayors. Voters pay $1 per vote--as many as they care to cast--and among the candidates in the November 2 election are a pot-bellied pig, a donkey and a labrador retriever.

November 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Governing in the Fast Lane: A Frantic First Year in New Mexico

Bill Richardson has been a fixture in New Mexico politics for 25 years, but the state is still getting used to him. New Mexico has always been, politically at least, a rather sleepy sort of place.

January 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

States of Frustration

Most of the 24 governors who took office a year ago haven't made much headway on their agendas for change.

January 1, 2004
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Public Safety & Justice

Death Be Not Allowed

Florida has become the center of controversy over the right to die, following the legislature's decision to extend the life of a severely brain-damaged woman.

January 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

The Two-Sided South

Southern politics is settling into a pattern of two parties--one black and one white. Republicans are reaping the benefits.

July 1, 2003
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Public Safety & Justice

Lost and Found

States are doing a better job of tracking the children in their care.

December 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Wastebasket Cases

People who work in government don't expect their workplaces to be glamorous. But neither do they expect to find heaps of smelly garbage piling up in the lobby.

January 1, 2007
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Infrastructure & Environment

Mayor From Lodo

John Hickenlooper revived one of Denver's oldest neighborhoods. Can he do it again citywide?

July 1, 2003
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Public Safety & Justice

Revolving Doors?

Renovating a building is expensive. It becomes even more costly, as the Connecticut judiciary is learning, if you've already thrown out some of your best original features.

January 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

San Diego Goes for a Regional Gambit

Whether they're ready for it or not, San Diego County's 18 municipalities and 135 separate jurisdictions are heading toward greater regional cooperation.

December 1, 2000
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Politics & Elections

Setting Limits: Maine Tries to Curb Overtime Abuse

With the passage of an overtime law this summer, Maine has become the first state to cap the number of hours employers can demand of their employees.

December 1, 2000
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Politics & Elections

Eliot Spitzer: Seizing the Initiative

Among the biggest legal developments of the past decade is the U.S. Supreme Court's weakening of federal power in favor of states' rights. And no politician has taken greater tactical advantage of this new federalism than Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general of New York State.

July 1, 2002
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Public Safety & Justice

Lack of Coverage Puts Localities At Risk

A growing number of municipalities are losing their zoning insurance, the result, in part, of property owners going to court to claim governments have lowered the value of their land through zoning decisions.

July 1, 2003
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Health & Human Services

Chilling Out on Food Safety

The duck carcasses that hang in many a Chinese restaurant window may not be an appetizing sight for all diners. But unlike most meat, Peking duck has been deemed safe to serve at room temperature.

December 1, 2000
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Health & Human Services

Lucky Strike

States are finding that a few billion dollars in tobacco money can go a long way toward smoothing out differences.

October 1, 2000
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Public Safety & Justice

Contraband on The Auction Block

A 52-pound "mountain of miscellaneous used hand tools" sold for about $150. A lot of 200 Swiss-style (but Chinese-made) knives went for a bit more--at slightly over $1 per knife. Bidding was just getting underway on a pile of 30 pounds of scissors (22 scissors per pound).

June 1, 2003
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Finance

Arizona's $483 Million Headache

Seeking to rectify an embarrassing and expensive mistake, the Arizona legislature met in special session in October to call to a halt an alternative-fuel tax-incentive program it had approved only five months earlier.

December 1, 2000
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Public Safety & Justice

Parking Place Passion

Danielle Steel has just completed her 54th book, and more than 470 million copies of her romance novels have been sold worldwide.

July 1, 2002
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Education

Weighty Subject

Schools are being asked to consider ways to relieve the burden of heavy backpacks.

July 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Where Campaign Money Flows

Stung by aggressive attorneys general, business is placing big bets on races it used to ignore.

November 1, 2002
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Infrastructure & Environment

Seeing Through A Sound Barrier

Federal transportation authorities in May approved the use of a transparent sound barrier along part of the rebuilt Woodrow Wilson Bridge, a major section of the Interstate 95 system south of Washington, D.C.

June 1, 2003
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Education

The Left Behind Syndrome

The federal government is telling school systems exactly what they must accomplish. It isn't doing much to help them accomplish it.

September 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

That Clean-All-Over Feeling

Maine's reformers believe they are washing the special interest money out of state politics. But critics say they are just laundering it.

July 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Everybody Into The Pool

Localities Join Forces to Increase Efficiency.

June 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Fresh Start

After a series of scandals, Connecticut is taking ethics seriously. Governor Jodi Rell has a mandate to push for change.

September 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Spoils 2005

A little old-fashioned patronage isn't the world's worst sin.

July 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Minnesota Maverick

Getting reelected as a party outcast isn't easy, but Randy Kelly is trying.

July 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Fanny-Pack Flack

Can you imagine John Wayne packing heat in a fanny pack? Some prosecutors in Illinois are warning that the Duke would get arrested if he tried to get away with such a thing there.

February 1, 2001
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Public Safety & Justice

An Alarming Discovery

Having personal bodyguards isn't one of the perks of being the mayor of Albuquerque. Nevertheless, Jim Baca was understandably concerned when he activated the emergency alarm system in his City Hall office and it failed to bring any assistance.

February 1, 2001
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Education

Lost Art

The fine print in NCLB is worth reading.

July 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Bus Blues

Ed Rendell logged nearly 50,000 miles on a bus emblazoned with his image while campaigning for governor of Pennsylvania in 2002 ["The Gubernatorial Baby Boom," January 2003]. Once in office, he planned to use bus trips to make himself more accessible. Now dubbed "Commonwealth One," the latest bus was unveiled to much fanfare last May.

February 1, 2004
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Health & Human Services

Payback Time on Rx Fraud

Two major drug companies agreed to pay $345 million in fines in the largest Medicaid fraud settlement ever. The federal government, 49 states and Washington, D.C., will split most of the settlement, with the states divvying up $147 million in amounts per state that will range from tens of milions to a few thousand. California, for instance, will receive $32.2 million; Maine, $2.5 million, and South Dakota, $260,000.

June 1, 2003
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Education

A Little Ethics Left Behind

It's easy to boost school test scores--if you don't care how you do it.

July 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Regulators Say No To The Blues

Momentum has shifted in a hot area of insurance regulation. State approval of the conversion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans to for-profit status is no longer a foregone conclusion. Although a dozen or so states have approved such sales since 1995, regulators in two states recently said no.

June 1, 2003
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Finance

The Visitor View: Tourism Taxes on the Rise

As states and localities continue to struggle with budget problems, they are increasingly turning to a time-honored source for more dollars: out-of-towners. Tourism taxes are going up all over, with states taking their share from a traditionally local revenue stream.

February 1, 2004
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Finance

Voters Opt to Pay to Play

Everybody loves a park. This past year, taxpayers and legislators voted to put up real money to show their affection.

February 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Fran Pavley: Legislative Prodigy

Before entering the California Assembly last year, Fran Pavley taught civics at a junior high school. That experience left her ill prepared, though, for the political realities she encountered during the year and a half she spent pushing a landmark greenhouse-gas regulation bill through the legislature.

September 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Enemies of the State

State-versus-local tension is getting worse. Locals fear state budgets will be balanced at their expense. They may be right.

June 1, 2002
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Management & Labor

Ostrich Politics

The American people have a demonstrated tolerance for fiscal deceit, as long as it is carried off with a certain amount of style. When Governor Earl Long pushed through a tax increase in Louisiana, immediately after winning election on a no-new-tax platform, reporters asked him how he planned to explain his actions to the people.

February 1, 2004
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Infrastructure & Environment

Segway Rolls

Even in an age of high-tech hype, the Segway human transporter stands out. The launch of the device, which its makers insist shouldn't be called a motorized scooter, was a nationally televised event last December.

September 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Courting Trouble

Indicting corrupt judges and exposing a shady judicial-selection system isn't winning Charles Hynes many friends.

May 1, 2004
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Public Safety & Justice

The Great Drain Robbery

Even if it's nailed down, thieves are stealing government property to sell for scrap.

July 1, 2005
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Finance

Squeezing The Federal Turnip

This isn't the easiest time for localities to get money out of Washington. But they aren't about to quit asking.

March 1, 2003
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Infrastructure & Environment

Money Trail

Public interest in the Lewis and Clark bicentennial should benefit tourism in many states.

March 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Casting Aspersions By Ballot

Tim Eyman has launched a number of successful anti-tax ballot initiatives in Washington State in recent years. Does that make Eyman a "horse's ass"?

March 1, 2003
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Education

Changing School Rules

In response to growing complaints over the No Child Left Behind school testing law, federal education officials have announced changes that will make it easier for some schools and teachers to meet requirements.

May 1, 2004
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Health & Human Services

The Courts Back Access to Care

Illinois must beef up its Medicaid program.

December 1, 2004
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Infrastructure & Environment

A Powerful California Commision Survives A Demise

California's Coastal Commission was down--but now it is not necessarily out. Despite state and federal court rulings that deemed the agency unconstitutional, the California legislature is reviving it.

March 1, 2003
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Health & Human Services

The Drag On Tobacco Bonds

An illinois court recently ruled against cigarette maker Philip Morris in a consumer fraud case. But the real losers may have been the states.

May 1, 2003
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Infrastructure & Environment

Finders Keepers

"Upright Form V" was not the most beloved piece of public art in Wichita. The city never displayed the sculpture and the local paper described it as "11 tons of ugliness." Still, city officials are angry that parts of the piece were bought at auction for a fraction of its value.

December 1, 2004
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Health & Human Services

A Dose of Medicaid Stress

The feds are sending auditors to every state to scour Medicaid accounts.

September 1, 2004
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Infrastructure & Environment

On The Road To Repair

Despite universally tough budget environments and the wait for Congress to reauthorize transportation spending, states are initiating new programs geared toward saving them money in road construction, repair and maintenance.

February 1, 2003
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Health & Human Services

Air Most Foul

It's a simple fact: Some communities just stink.

August 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

No Local Ink In State Pen

Prison inmates in Boscobel, Wisconsin, won't be able to read all about it. In response to requests from the city council, the local school district and the union representing prison guards, the weekly Boscobel Dial will not sell subscriptions to convicts at the super-maximum- security penitentiary there.

August 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Church and State

In Kansas politics, the Christian Right doesn't just pressure the establishment anymore. It is the establishment.

July 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Strong Governor

Arnold Schwarzenegger may have been elected as a political novice, but he's outsmarting the pros at every turn.

July 1, 2004
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Finance

Pray For Peace

Combative and unpredictable, Steve Peace isn't your typical state budget director. But a $35 billion shortfall isn't your typical state budget problem.

March 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Cleansing Agent

Some say the words 'reform' and 'Rhode Island' don't belong in the same sentence. Phil West is proving them wrong.

July 1, 2004
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Finance

Squeezing The Federal Turnip

This isn't the easiest time for localities to get money out of Washington. But they aren't about to quit asking.

March 1, 2003
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Finance

The Impatience of Paul Vallas

Philadelphia's school superintendent is brimming with ideas about how to improve things, and he's trying all of them at once.

September 1, 2005
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Infrastructure & Environment

Floating Absurdity

During the 1980s, Iowa was one of the earliest states to approve of casino gambling. And it pioneered a new idea for how to control the games: It required that its casinos be water-borne. In Iowa's case, they had to be actual riverboats offering no fewer than 100 excursion tours per year.

April 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Labor's List

Unions are playing offense for the first time in quite a while.

April 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Political Hack

Ever been riding in a taxi and gotten into a discussion about politics with the driver? Did he happen to be a politician himself? You could have that experience in Boston, where Phil Scapicchio, a member of the city council, has taken to driving a cab.

July 1, 2004
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Education

Data? What Data?

The school reform movement learns to ignore bad results.

April 1, 2007
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Infrastructure & Environment

Re-LAX

Residents of Los Angeles spend an average of 93 hours stuck in traffic per year, according to the Texas Transportation Institute--by far the highest degree of congestion in any American city. Frustrated drivers who turn to L.A.'s public transportation system--historically something of a joke--don't find the going much smoother, as the feature on p. 44 of this magazine shows.

February 1, 2006
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Health & Human Services

Remote Control

Newly chartered cities can outsource almost anything--and some are doing it.

February 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Challenges to Abortion

States are the main forum for debate on reproductive issues, and the trend is for greater restriction.

February 1, 2006
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Health & Human Services

Heavy Trash

A new book traces what happens to all our garbage.

February 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Strong Enough

In a city that doesn't hand its mayors much power, Phil Gordon knows how to go out and get it.

May 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Altered State

In the post-Rowland era, Connecticut is moving left.

February 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Red Alert

Republicans are losing special elections in places where they usually win.

May 1, 2006
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Health & Human Services

Lead Into Gold?

Lead paint is a serious health problem. Will it become a hot litigation subject? Probably not.

May 1, 2006
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Introducing Our Public Officials of the Year

The Deal in The Details

A shared-sacrifice approach to expanding health coverage.

November 1, 2006
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Education

The Grade 9 Solution

How do we keep kids in high school? One answer: Get them through freshman year.

May 1, 2006
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Introducing Our Public Officials of the Year

Steady in A Storm

Reassuring and rebuilding Mississippi after Katrina.

November 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

The Mapmaking Mess

Drawing new political districts is always chaotic, but this round promises to be the wildest yet. Everyone at the table has an agenda.

January 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Randall Gnat: Mushroom Power

Three years ago, Randall Gnant founded what he called the "Mushroom Coalition," a group of moderate Republicans in the Arizona Senate who thought their leadership kept them in the dark and covered with bull droppings. Now Gnant himself is the Senate president. He says his first order of business will be "embarking on a new course" of making the legislative process more open.

January 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Blackberry Mayor

Nobody does constituent service better than Adrian Fenty. But as D.C.'s chief executive, he'll need a much bigger repertoire.

November 1, 2006
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Health & Human Services

A Brig Too Far

California's new institution for sex offenders is in such a remote place that it may never function efficiently.

November 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Land Law

A Supreme Court win for a Connecticut city could end up curbing some uses of eminent domain.

August 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Nothing but a Street

For some functions of government, two Texarkanas may be one too many.

September 1, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Smoke Signals

No-smoking ordinances have proved surprisingly resistant to challenge.

November 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Sweetheart Deals

States all over the country are eager to privatize services in the worst way. That's just how some of them are doing it.

December 1, 2004
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Infrastructure & Environment

An Airport's Big Deal

LAX reaches out to keep expansion problems at bay.

March 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

The Gubernatorial Baby Boom

State politics is awash in fresh faces. Will that mean fresh ideas as well? Perhaps.

January 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

States of Sin

Bans on unmarried couples living together are under fire.

December 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

A Rage to Reorganize

Governors are bent on reshaping and updating the way their governments work.

March 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Trading Places

Exchange programs for local officials promote common ground rather than competition.

January 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Fiscal Finagler

Illinois politicians admire John Filan's ability to balance a budget. Not all of them admire his way of doing it.

March 1, 2005
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Education

School Finance Forever

When it comes to education funding, only one word seems to count: more.

September 1, 2005
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Public Safety & Justice

The Immigration Challenge

Some bureaucracies know how to solve human problems. Some don't.

September 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Haunted House--Or Senate

The people who work in the North Carolina state capitol building ain't afraid of no ghosts. But that's not because they think the apparitions are a hoax.

January 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Security by the Barrel

The politics of staying safe is still politics, whatever you choose to call it.

September 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Stuck on Contracts

Everybody agrees John Rowland made a mess managing Connecticut. What they don't agree on is how to fix it.

September 1, 2005
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Finance

Tabling Tabor

The drive for tax and spending limits is running out of steam.

January 1, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Not Getting Married

Short of reaching the altar, the gay-rights campaign is making gains.

September 1, 2005
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Management & Labor

The Real Deal

Letting Private Companies Handle State Property

February 1, 2004
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Health & Human Services

Cancer Offensive

In fighting the nation's most insidious disease, states have long deferred to the feds. Georgia is changing that.

December 1, 2001
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Education

Merit Pay Moves Forward

A number of states and cities are piloting a much-debated management tool to pay teachers.

January 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

The Avengers General

State AGs have accumulated an enormous amount of power. Too much, some people think.

May 1, 2003
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State News

Crossing the Delaware

Two states that share a river can't agree on what to do with it.

January 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

What's a Lobbyist?

Colorado's new "cooling-off" law is making legislators nervous.

January 1, 2007
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Public Safety & Justice

Thinking Inside the Jury Box

Courts are trying to make their proceedings less baffling and more bearable to jurors.

March 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Flag Fight Finale

The ever-changing state flag of Georgia may finally have a settled design. Voters in March overwhelmingly approved a flag proposed by the legislature last year, closing years of controversy over a Confederate emblem.

April 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Robo-Ducks Shot Down

What flirts these mortals be! Humans have tried for millennia to lure ducks closer to them for hunting purposes. But today's high-tech devices are making the task so easy that the state of Washington recently banned the use of electronic decoys.

November 1, 2001
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Public Safety & Justice

Bare Necessity: DMVISAGE

If you want to get a driver's license, you're going to have to show your face. In light of security concerns, states are ending their previous practices of allowing religious exemptions for some individuals who didn't want to have their photographs taken.

February 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Kent Willever: Swamp Specialist

Kent Willever has taken on a job whose very title sounds to some like an oxymoron: He is the executive director of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission. Not only does the state have a long history of corruption in its politics but the agency itself has suffered from apparent conflicts of interest in recent years.

November 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Crash Course

In a term-limited legislature, there isn't much time available for learning the ropes.

November 1, 2001
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Public Safety & Justice

Public Workers Hit the Picket Line

Frustrations over small salary increases and big boosts in health costs are fueling a surge in union activities.

November 1, 2001
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Management & Labor

Sun to Shine on Tennessee's Private Providers

Private contractors who provide government services and depend largely on the government for their revenues are subject to state audit and must open their records under the state's Public Records Act.

December 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Anatomy of a Merger

Greater Louisville is about to be born. How much greater will it be?

December 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Sudden Summons

Dave Heineman has done all sorts of jobs in Nebraska government. With his boss leaving for Washington, he's about to get the big one.

January 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Underdog

An accidental governor takes on the Big Guy.

March 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

The Loathsome Local Levy

Despite skyrocketing home values and shrinking revenues, few governments are considering major property-tax hikes.

October 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Total Recall

In the wake of California's attempt to recall Governor Gray Davis, it seems likely this tactic will be tried in other states.

September 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Lobby Decoration

There are some tough-sounding new lobby laws. It remains to be seen how much they amount to.

March 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

The Mod Squad

Two California legislators pursue long-shot reform

March 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Politics in Bulk

Joint-purchasing deals are a win-win proposition--except for those who lose.

March 1, 2006
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Finance

Scholarships Inc. for K-12 Kids

Starting this year, Florida is making it possible for corporations to give donations to private scholarship-granting foundations in return for a dollar-for-dollar credit on their tax bills.

May 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Bloomberg's Wager

Is there anything new to try in fighting poverty? The mayor of New York thinks so.

December 1, 2006
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Infrastructure & Environment

Closed Until 2010

It's repair time on a lot of urban interstates. Drivers fear the worst; DOTs are trying to calm them down.

December 1, 2006
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Finance

Colorado Calms its Sales Tax Chaos

Figuring out how much sales tax a customer owes is about to get easier for Colorado retailers, thanks to a new electronic system developed by the state Department of Revenue.

September 1, 2001
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Finance

L.A. Comes Down to Earth on its Property Base

Talk about expanding the definition of taxable property. Los Angeles County Assessor Rick Auerbach wanted to tax eight satellites that hover 22,000 miles over the earth. Auerbach came across the satellites during a routine audit of Hughes Electronics. He figured they were fair game, since they were owned by a business based in the county and no other jurisdiction was taxing them.

September 1, 2001
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Management & Labor

The Latest Road Rage

Florida's hottest fashion item isn't to be found in the shops of Miami's trendy South Beach area. Instead, it can be observed along the turnpikes.

September 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Posse Politics

A new law gives the president broader authority to call out the National Guard.

December 1, 2006
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Finance

Rebalancing Act

The growth in rainy day accounts is not what it seems.

November 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Paradise Insolvent

For years, people saw San Diego as a model for good government. That's because they weren't looking very closely.

November 1, 2005
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Finance

Wichita's Adventure in Budgetland

What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one? If you've lost count, you're in good company with the Wichita City Council.

September 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Hoping to Be Heard

States believe the new Congress will listen to them more than the old one did.

December 1, 2006
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Education

The Campus Crowd

A decade ago, colleges were doing everything they could to attract more students. Now they've got more than they can handle.

September 1, 2001
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Infrastructure & Environment

Bus Buy

L.A.'s transit authority satisfies a lawsuit over inner-city service.

October 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

The Washington Offensive

Republicans may be suspicious of federal power, but they're imposing it on states and localities every chance they get.

January 1, 2005
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Introducing Our Public Officials of the Year

Mike Huckabee

Trim Waist, Hefty Record.

November 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Reload and Fire

The NRA's list of agenda items was getting a bit thin--until it found some juicy new ones.

October 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Pupusa Politics

It's impractical to ban street vendors and difficult even to restrict them.

October 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Wired to Win

The 2006 campaign is being fought with digital weapons--and candidates aren't always at the controls.

October 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Fair-Weather Federalism

One critic argues that state complaints about Washington are just posturing.

November 1, 2005
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Infrastructure & Environment

Texas Sends Mass Transit to the 'Burbs

Suburbanites in Texas may soon have new ways to get around. The state legislature recently approved a bill that will allow suburban counties to create their own mass transit authorities.

August 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Fit to be Tied

When voters create a legislative deadlock, the legislators have to try extra hard to make things work. Often they don't succeed.

August 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Error Trail

Fancy new voting machines work pretty well if everyone knows how to use them. In much of the country, that's still a big if.

October 1, 2006
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Education

The Classroom Numbers Lobby

If more school dollars went straight into teaching, maybe education would improve. Or maybe not.

November 1, 2005
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Public Safety & Justice

The Right To Go Postal

Gun owners are pushing their constitutional liberties a big step further.

November 1, 2005
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Public Safety & Justice

Running on Pins and Needles

Boasting that he had a doctorate didn't help Omar Bradley in his bid for a third term as mayor of Compton, California. But then, he wasn't exactly an Ivy League graduate anyway.

August 1, 2001
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Health & Human Services

Gross Anatomy

States are using graphic advertising to discourage people from smoking.

August 1, 2001
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Public Safety & Justice

Death From Washington

Federal prosecutors are increasingly eager to invoke capital punishment--even in states that don't like it.

May 1, 2010
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Politics & Elections

Beyond Control

Reducing drug prices is an understandable goal, but it's hard to achieve by fiat.

November 1, 2005
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Health & Human Services

Ready To Roll Out Care In An Emergency

The state of Missouri signed a contract in November with a consortium of health care professionals and other emergency responders to provide medical care in case of disaster. The team, known as MO-1 MDAT, was formed four years ago to address federally declared disasters.

February 1, 2003
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Health & Human Services

Pudding and A No. 2 Pencil

Anyone who has felt a little wobbly in the late afternoon understands the value of grabbing a quick snack as an energy boost. Apparently, some public schools in Virginia are applying a similar principle in preparing students to take the statewide achievement exams.

February 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

The Post-Earmark Era

Lots of juicy local plums won't be ripening this year.

February 1, 2007
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Management & Labor

Getting to Know You: Cities in Iowa Turn to Citizens for Performance Inputs

Many states and localities collect performance measurement data but don't necessarily make good use if it. In Iowa, a group of cities has used the data to make real changes in policy as the result of a program that actively solicits input from citizens' panels.

February 1, 2005
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Finance

Tax Saving: Illinois Takes A Hard Line On An Exemption

The Illinois Department of Revenue has revoked the tax-exempt status of a hospital in Champaign, finding that it doesn't provide enough free care to justify that status. The move was unprecedented for a state agency but was just one salvo in the war Illinois regulators are waging against nonprofit hospitals.

December 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Trenton's Folly

New Jersey's budget has been built on illusion for a long time. This year, reality intruded.

July 1, 2007
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Public Safety & Justice

Down The Hatch

Over the past 18 months, visitors to state capitols have noticed many structural changes designed to enhance safety. But one change they won't get a chance to see is an old dumbwaiter that Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has converted into an escape route.

February 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Unsought Power

Indiana Governor Joseph Kernan still insists he's going home at the end of next year. Democrats wish he wouldn't.

November 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Spitzer's Gamble

Who's got more clout in a state--the governor or the attorney general? In New York, that's not an easy question.

July 1, 2007
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Education

Summer School

The old custom of starting class after Labor Day is gone in most of the country. Not everyone likes that.

July 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Graduation Time

When the term-limit clock starts ticking for legislators, state jobs begin to look more attractive.

July 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Turnover at the Top

While competition and turnover have just about disappeared at the state legislative level, they remain a fact of life for governors.

October 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

The Dung and the Ruthless

Florida state Representative Nancy Argenziano recently poo-pooed a nursing home bill she did not like. Literally.

July 1, 2001
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Finance

The Budget Fix Is In

Budgeting is not going to get easier for states anytime soon. In a Rockefeller Institute report released in August, fiscal analyst Nicholas W. Jenny concluded that "underlying state revenue trends in fiscal year 2003 were still down."

September 1, 2003
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Health & Human Services

Paying More to Look Like a Million

What do Botox injections and a box of crayons have in common? Answer: They're both taxable in New Jersey.

October 1, 2004
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Finance

Too Broke to Fix?

Fiscal shortfalls in the tens of billions of dollars are virtually an annual occurrence in California. But this year, the state's voters seem even more...

June 30, 2009
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Politics & Elections

Cleanup Man

Miami built some reform momentum, then squandered it. Pete Hernandez will try to bring it back.

September 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Star Turn

I'm not just a mayor--I play one on TV.

November 1, 2005
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Public Safety & Justice

Bishop L. Robinson: Rejuvenator

A few months after he took over as Maryland's Juvenile Justice secretary, Bishop Robinson asked an aide for some numbers on the budget and juveniles. The aide said he had the numbers in his office and offered to bring them right back. After the man had been gone an hour, Robinson wondered what the problem was.

July 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Whatever Happened to Competitive Elections?

Florida looks very close for president again this year. Perhaps not as close as in 2000, the year of the hanging chads and butterfly ballots, but competitive enough that President Bush and John Kerry will each have campaigned there numerous times before the contest ends.

October 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Cleaning the Machine

New Jersey legislators hope that a new law providing public financing for their own campaigns will help clean up the corruption that is rife in their state.

October 1, 2004
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Education

Schoolhouse Art

Inventories of artwork in public schools reveal surprisingly valuable collections.

September 1, 2004
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Management & Labor

Detroit Builds a Health Partnership

City seeks a means of managing access to health care services

August 1, 2004
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Health & Human Services

Who's Buried in Billy's Tomb?

Billy the Kid, the notorious Old West outlaw, was buried in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, about 150 miles southeast of Santa Fe. That is, unless he was buried in the middle of Texas. Or, possibly, northern Arizona.

September 1, 2004
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Infrastructure & Environment

Zoned Out

D.C.'s cab system will soon cease to be an irrational anomaly. Not everyone approves of that change.

December 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Evening Star

Steve Beshear once hoped to be Kentucky's wonder-boy governor. Now, he's coming in as an elder statesman.

December 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

100-Proof Zoning

Telling people not to drink is usually futile. Telling them where to drink may serve a public purpose.

September 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Sudan Squeeze

Disinvestment remains a powerful human-rights weapon--as long as it's done carefully.

September 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Read Their Lips

Congress hates to raise taxes--unless it can force other levels of government to collect them.

September 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

The Wrong Message

Governments shouldn't consider it inevitable that they will get bad press.

December 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Monster Maps

Has devious district-making killed electoral competition?

October 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Growing Wild

The D.C. area's boomingest county is about to start booming even more.

May 1, 2005
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Health & Human Services

Good Neighbor Policy

As sprawl puts neighborhoods in close proximity to military bases, creating buffer zones of open space can ease conflicts.

August 1, 2004
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Finance

Fired up Over a New Standard

Localities may soon feel pressure to boost--by more than 10 percent-- the number of fire fighters on their payrolls.

July 1, 2001
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Management & Labor

Counting Pays Off: Audits Provide A Basis for Streamlining

Many public management audits don't amount to much, but when they do find evidence of malfeasance or questionable practices, they can lead to some severe consequences and major management decisions.

October 1, 2003
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Management & Labor

Buyouts in the Balance

The elusive savings of retirement incentives

December 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Nothing Scandalous

Wisconsin politics used to be squeaky clean. Now "jaded" would be a better word.

May 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Diamond in the Rough

How a 600-page book became a must-read in rural Montana.

May 1, 2005
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Finance

Stinging the Blues

When Blue Cross Blue Shield plans convert to for-profit status, states are entitled to big money. But they have to ask for it.

July 1, 2001
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Public Safety & Justice

Tying The Legal Knot

Common-law marriages are going the way of dowries.

December 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Intern Injunction

You might think that the recent release of Bill Clinton's memoirs would serve as a reminder to politicians of the perils of fooling around with interns. Apparently, however, legislators in New York State need a set of rules to discourage the practice.

August 1, 2004
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Management & Labor

Department of Recoup-Eration: a County Collects on a City's IOUs

National City, California, was only getting a paltry 6 percent collection rate on the tardy sewer bills it had turned over to a private collection agency. Then San Diego County's Office of Revenue and Recovery made the city an offer it couldn't refuse: The county promised to collect on at least 40 percent of the overdue bills.

June 1, 2001
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Finance

Found Money

State finances are looking better, but it's due more to luck than design.

May 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Tougher than Wall Street

Jon Corzine worked miracles at Goldman Sachs. Doing it in Trenton is a different story.

December 1, 2007
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Education

Post Script

Schools still teach cursive writing. But hardly anyone uses it anymore.

March 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Raising a Stink About Stench

How much is contending with a bad smell worth? Courts in San Francisco and Kentucky may soon decide.

June 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Flee-Bitten

Twice this year, Democrats in the Texas Legislature have scooted across state lines to block passage of a Republican redistricting plan. Although exerting such effort to prevent a quorum is unusual, it is not entirely without precedent.

October 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Sagging in Sacramento

Somewhere between last year and this year, Arnold Schwarzenegger forgot how to focus.

June 1, 2005
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Finance

Courting A Supermajority

A Nevada ruling may open a way for other states to challenge their tax-vote restrictions.

October 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Rustbelt Dilemma

Nobody knows more about Buffalo than Byron Brown, its new mayor. One thing he knows is that revival won't come easily.

December 1, 2005
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Finance

Vouchsafed: Colorado's New Take on College Spending

Colorado has set up a voucher program for higher ed. The new law also creates the nation's first fee-for-service system, in which colleges will contract with the state to provide various academic programs.

August 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Docket Science

File a civil suit these days, and you can actually get it heard without waiting years.

June 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

What Makes Alec Smart?

You don't hear too much about this right-leaning state pressure group. Maybe that's why it wins so often.

October 1, 2003
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Finance

Tax Revolt Turns Tepid

Raising taxes isn't proving fatal to most politicians who risked doing it.

December 1, 2005
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Public Safety & Justice

Born Leaders?

It's not easy to look good in moments of crisis, but some public officials have a knack for it.

December 1, 2005
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Management & Labor

Portfolio Pressures

A Regular Way to Run a Pension Fund

June 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

One Man's Trash...

You never know what you're going to find when you clean out your closet. Robert Carney, the district attorney of Schenectady County, New York, found lots of interesting items in his evidence safe during a recent inventory--including an early 1970s print of the legendary porn film "Deep Throat."

December 1, 2003
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Finance

No Shelter From Wall Street's Storm

The Dow's decline is racking up pension fund losses, but money managers aren't panicking--yet.

May 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Rhode Island and Reform: Still an Oxymoron?

Legislators balk at giving up power.

April 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Special Assignment

Chicago's procurement process has been broken for years. Mary A. Dempsey has been given a mandate to repair it.

April 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Dan Gerlach: An Outsider Moves In

Dan Gerlach is a smart guy. That's what everybody says about the recently appointed senior policy adviser to North Carolina Governor Mike Easley. Gerlach is especially sharp when it comes to taxes.

March 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Who Won? Sometime's There's No Real Answer

In the closest elections, there are issues impossible to resolve.

April 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

The Urge to Merge: Still Waiting For a Surge

Consolidating local governments is as difficult a political task as it ever was.

April 1, 2005
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Public Safety & Justice

Taking Back the Street

Cars have been pushing pedestrians around forever. Pedestrians are starting to push back.

May 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Term Limits Aren't Working

Does that bother anybody? Not the voters, at least so far.

April 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

The Ultimate in Nonpartisan Politics

West Virginia Delegate Emily Yeager describes herself as "100 percent a Democrat." That doesn't make her unique in the legislature, where Democrats hold a 3-to-1 margin in the state House.

March 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

The Spouse of Representatives

Like most married couples, Andy Dawkins and Ellen Anderson disagree about lots of things. What makes their domestic squabbles unusual is that they are as likely to revolve around the state of Minnesota's affairs as those of their own household.

June 1, 2002
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Health & Human Services

Safety-Net Squeeze

In this prolonged fiscal crisis, every state has cut into social programs. But what is happening in Minnesota suggests a new direction entirely.

June 1, 2004
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Finance

A 2 Percent Solution: Orange County Has a Real Property Evaluation Problem

A California court's ruling this April could cost Orange County $285 million in property tax refunds.

March 1, 2002
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Health & Human Services

Where Truckers and Soccer Moms Dine

Chicago is one of the great restaurant cities in America, but some suburban residents prefer to eat out closer to home. In fact, locals have become so enamored with the new dining options at tollway rest areas that the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority is working to ease pedestrian access and construct parking spaces along local access roads.

February 1, 2005
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Health & Human Services

Big Blues Merger

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi approved the merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies Anthem and WellPoint in November, allowing the creation of the nation's largest health insurer.

January 1, 2005
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Finance

Florida Buys Up Edison

A public pension plan invests in private educators.

December 1, 2003
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Finance

Back in the Black: Orange County May Pre-Pay Its Old Debt

Officials in Orange County, California, are hoping that they've finally found a cure for the decade-long hangover stemming from the county's 1994 bankruptcy.

October 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Turnover at the Top

While competition and turnover have just about disappeared at the state legislative level, they remain a fact of life for governors.

October 1, 2004
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Finance

Making Due

In fiscal straits for three years in a row, states are hanging tough and tight.

December 1, 2003
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Finance

The Sales Tax Goes Online

Happy days are here again for tax collectors. The ongoing Streamlined Sales Tax Project went live in October, with 150 small to large Internet retailers signing up that month. With the backup of third- party service providers, they will collect sales taxes on online purchases in the 18 states that participated in the streamlining effort.

December 1, 2005
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Management & Labor

Remaking State Boards

Rhode Island tries to cap a conflict of interest.

June 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Whatever Happened to Competitive Elections

Nearly 6,000 state legislators will be elected next month. Most of them face little or no opposition.

October 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Real Power

The real estate lobby is under serious competitive challenge, but no pressure group is better at bending legislatures to its will.

June 1, 2006
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Education

Great Walls of Fire

It's an American tradition to walk into your child's classroom and find the walls plastered with reams of paper--self-portraits, trees and cows, and fingerpainted masterpieces of all kinds. It's a tradition--but is it also a fire hazard?

November 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Florida Keeps Contracting

Florida Governor Jeb Bush may award a $701 million contract that would turn over the functions of determining eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps and other social service programs to a private company.

February 1, 2005
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Finance

The Soft-Money Crackdown

There's a lot that state political parties still don't know about the new campaign finance law. They need to learn fast.

March 1, 2004
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Politics & Elections

Shirt Tales

West Virginia has long been the butt of jokes about backwoods ways and poor vocabulary. Residents roll their eyes when they hear references to their state bird being the satellite dish or a laptop being where the cat sleeps.

June 1, 2004
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Health & Human Services

Reform Storm: Governors Feel the Heat on Health IT

The Bush administration is pushing health providers to get up to speed on information technology, and it wants states to help. President Bush issued an executive order in August directing federal agencies to demand that health vendors step up their use of IT to make quality and price information more transparent, and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has been lobbying governors to do likewise.

October 1, 2006
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Health & Human Services

Health Care Deja Vu

Massachusetts tried universal health coverage once before.

June 1, 2006
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Health & Human Services

Bitter Pill Fight

Two drug-pricing initiatives are duking it out in California.

October 1, 2005
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Politics & Elections

Slow March to the Polls

If more Hispanics voted, they could change American politics. But there are reasons why they don't.

June 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Policy Fulcrum

Fabian Nunez doesn't think compromise is a dirty word. California's Assembly speaker has played a classic legislative leadership role as the bridge between a Republican governor and a strongly liberal majority Democratic caucus, helping to forge and shepherd through a long list of impressive legislation over the past couple of years.

November 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

A Need for Magic

Cory Booker's gifts are such that his political future seems limitless. But to move on, he has to make a record in Newark.

July 1, 2007
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Infrastructure & Environment

Seattle Finally Green-Lights Light Rail

Sound Transit, a regional transportation agency in the Seattle area, is planning to break ground on a $2.1 billion light-rail project by mid-year.

February 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Fiscal Guardian

Natwar Gandhi knows how to make red ink turn to black. This spring, he was approached by Amtrak, which hoped to lure him to erase an enormous deficit as he had already done as chief financial officer for Washington, D.C. City officials did everything they could think of to keep Gandhi in his current position, including boosting his salary by nearly $100,000. And this money maestro, who arrived in America from India 40 years ago with $7 in his pocket, chose to stay put.

November 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Jebocracy

Jeb Bush's eight-year reign in Florida is almost over. Tallahassee may never be the same.

December 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Perks That Kill

When voters think legislators are living too well at public expense, they pounce.

July 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Huge Turnover in Hard Times

A bumper crop of new state leaders will move in next January. Some may soon wonder why they wanted the job.

October 1, 2002
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Infrastructure & Environment

Setting Up a Water Swap

California is always trying to get its local water authorities to cooperate on a regional basis. The state recently put its money where its mouth is, awarding a grant of $22 million to Sacramento-area water agencies that will help them swap water.

October 1, 2002
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Management & Labor

Domain Doctor: Utah Puts a Mediator in Charge

Most states are debating new ways of handling eminent-domain cases, but Utah already has a means: a private-property ombudsman--the first (and still only) such ombudsman in the country.

June 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Deal in Denver

An 11th-hour compromise shores up an overburdened state retirement system.

July 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Down on The Gown

The demand for fiscal accountability is graduating to the college level.

July 1, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Playing Dumb

Liability rather than serendipity is the focus of playground design. Some are trying to change that.

June 1, 2010
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Health & Human Services

Putnam's Paradox

Diversity accomplishes many things--but it may not make us better citizens.

November 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Scheming Magnolias

Republicans have most of the power in Mississippi. They'd like more.

November 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Little Mergers on The Prairie

Although Iowa failed in its efforts to make municipalities consolidate, collaboration is happening at the grassroots level.

July 1, 2007
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Management & Labor

Taxpayer Revolt: Taking 900 Numbers to Court

In Michigan, as in many other states, citizens can get some public information they need quickly by calling 900 numbers. There are fees attached to such calls, however, and now Michigan is being sued over the issue.

October 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Bridgeport's Burdens

Is the city's problem bad election choices--or something deeper?

November 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Hackneyed Gab

Politicians and the media "do democracy a disservice" by resorting to cliches.

July 1, 2007
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Finance

States Probe a Kickback Scam

Title insurance is focus of investigation

April 1, 2005
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Finance

A Muni Bond Warning

Current law prohibits it, but the SEC chairman is talking about reasons to regulate the municipal bond market.

June 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Mighty Malcontent

For nearly 40 years, Ernie Chambers has made his colleagues mad--and made them listen.

October 1, 2007
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Public Safety & Justice

Alan Thompson: Revolt in Ravalli

When he owned a shoe repair and Western-wear shop in Hamilton, Montana, Alan Thompson believed there was always a right way to do things. "It was necessary if you worked for me," he says, "that you worked correctly."

January 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

City Hall Solution

Can mayors really help schools by running them? Perhaps.

October 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Eliot's Shaky Summer

New York's tough-talking governor tries easing up a bit.

October 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

The Politics of Parity

Republicans and Democrats are more closely matched in state politics than they have been in a long time. They may stay that way for quite a while.

January 1, 2002
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Education

One Correct Answer

Standardized testing has become an article of faith for elected officials all over the country. Many teachers and parents aren't true believers yet.

May 1, 2002
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Politics & Elections

Bart's Gamble

For even the most popular officeholder, raising taxes is risky.

October 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

How Clean Is Clean?

Campaign reform laws yield modest but tangible results.

October 1, 2007
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Public Safety & Justice

Tightening Budgets, Heightening Security

Budget crunchers in Ohio must feel like they can't win. They've spent the past several years looking for billions of dollars in funding for school construction to meet mandates set by the state Supreme Court.

January 1, 2002
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Health & Human Services

Diagnosis for a Disorder

States step in to provide services for children with autism.

October 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

The Truth About Term Limits

Term limit laws have created some clear winners and losers. Among the losers are the legislatures themselves.

January 1, 2006
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Infrastructure & Environment

Opening Up Gridlock

Voters put their money where the pain is.

January 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Lonesome Leader

Nobody likes John Leopold but the voters. They've put him in charge of one of Maryland's biggest jurisdictions.

January 1, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Medical Experiment

Should doctors run EMS programs? Louisville thought so--that's how Neal Richmond got there.

January 1, 2006
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Management & Labor

Budget Band-Aid

Increasingly, state and local governments are expecting their workers to pay a greater share of their own health care and prescription drug costs.

August 1, 2007
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Public Safety & Justice

When to Say When

Why some public officials in trouble don't step down

January 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

A Little Bit of Reform

Governors and other state leaders are launching major reorganization plans. They're achieving minor successes.

August 1, 2003
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Politics & Elections

Chips Fall In North Carolina

The nation's newest lottery may be more of a gamble than anybody thought.

January 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

The Fellow Behind the Tree

A business-dominated commission may help Texas out of its school funding mess.

January 1, 2006
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Politics & Elections

Rod Reeling

Bashing the legislature is one way to get elected governor. It's a lousy way to govern.

September 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Suburban Strains

In many legislatures, suburbs have the votes to prevail--if they can find a way to work together.

September 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

King of Swing

In an all-but-deadlocked Montana House, iconoclast Rick Jore holds the balance of power.

May 1, 2010
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Politics & Elections

A Regional Mess

Cooperation can end in corruption. Iowa learned that the hard way.

September 1, 2007
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Politics & Elections

Turning Off Turnover Payouts

Bergen County, New Jersey, is a great place to retire if you're a public servant. Retirement benefits are so generous, in fact, that they've become the subject of both state legislation and a lawsuit.

August 1, 2003
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Infrastructure & Environment

Electric Exuberance

A commuter-train experiment in California may have big implications

September 1, 2007
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Infrastructure & Environment

Nothing But a Street

For some functions of government, two Texarkanas may be one too many.

September 1, 2007
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Health & Human Services

Maine Embarks On A Bold And Broad Health Plan

Maine is on its way to becoming the first state to offer its citizens universal health care. Governor John Baldacci, who made health care the top priority in his campaign for office last year,