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Alan Greenblatt -- 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.

September 20, 2017

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 19, 2017

To Wipe Out Corruption, Look to Philadelphia

The city went almost a decade without a single corruption scandal. What's its secret?
September 15, 2017

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

Most U.S. cities abandoned it in the mid-20th century.
September 13, 2017

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 8, 2017

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 6, 2017

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 5, 2017

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

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.
August 31, 2017

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 22, 2017

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 17, 2017

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 16, 2017

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 11, 2017

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 4, 2017

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 3, 2017

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 1, 2017

In State Budget Talks, Governors Play Hardball

Some negotiations have become so heated that legislatures have taken their fight to the courts.
July 25, 2017

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 14, 2017

California’s Tax Board of Confusion

The state has more tax agencies than most -- and one in particular is badly mismanaged.
July 12, 2017

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 10, 2017

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 5, 2017

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 1, 2017

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.
June 15, 2017

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

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 14, 2017

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

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 8, 2017

Firefighters' Clout Can Make Them Politically Untouchable

Their heroic image is a political asset -- one that makes changes to the profession difficult.
June 7, 2017

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 1, 2017

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

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

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.
May 30, 2017

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

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 23, 2017

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 18, 2017

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 10, 2017

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 8, 2017

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 5, 2017

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

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 4, 2017

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 1, 2017

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.
April 26, 2017

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 25, 2017

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

Every system has its own set of drawbacks.
April 24, 2017

Unlikely Political Allies: Urban Democrats and GOP Governors

When it comes to certain issues, they put pragmatism before politics.
April 12, 2017

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 11, 2017

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 10, 2017

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 7, 2017

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 4, 2017

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 1, 2017

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.
March 31, 2017

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 17, 2017

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 15, 2017

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 7, 2017

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 2, 2017

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

It’s time for a history lesson.
March 1, 2017

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.
February 28, 2017

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 23, 2017

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 15, 2017

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 13, 2017

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 9, 2017

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 3, 2017

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

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.
January 31, 2017

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 27, 2017

'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 23, 2017

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 19, 2017

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 18, 2017

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 13, 2017

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 12, 2017

The Democrats’ Geography Problem

An overwhelming share of their voters live in metropolitan areas. Will their appeal ever expand beyond?
January 10, 2017

Another Constitutional Convention Could Happen in New York

Once every 20 years, the state’s citizens get the opportunity to overhaul government. But first, they’ll have to beat back all the powerful interest groups fighting to block it.
January 6, 2017

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

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 3, 2017

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 1, 2017

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.
December 16, 2016

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

Their resignations, once rare, have seemingly become a frequent occurrence.
December 14, 2016

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 12, 2016

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 9, 2016

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 7, 2016

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 1, 2016

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.
November 18, 2016

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

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

It’s part of a new philanthropic approach to improving neighborhoods.
November 15, 2016

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 11, 2016

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 9, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 7, 2016

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 4, 2016

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 3, 2016

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 1, 2016

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

Who Should Judge the Judges?

That age-old debate got a fresh hearing in Georgia.
October 28, 2016

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 18, 2016

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 14, 2016

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 7, 2016

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 5, 2016

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.
September 30, 2016

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

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 29, 2016

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 23, 2016

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 21, 2016

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 20, 2016

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 16, 2016

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 9, 2016

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 7, 2016

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 2, 2016

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 1, 2016

New Minimum-Wage Laws Apply to More Industries

Exempting certain types of workers from raises is becoming a thing of the past.
August 26, 2016

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 24, 2016

1 Day, 2 Firings, No Explanations

The Atlanta mayor’s recent and abrupt termination of two agency leaders left many shocked.
August 19, 2016

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 12, 2016

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

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 8, 2016

Can Democrats Be Too Liberal, Even for Vermont?

In one of the country's bluest states, a Republican may be the next governor.
August 5, 2016

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 4, 2016

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 3, 2016

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 2, 2016

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 1, 2016

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

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.
July 29, 2016

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

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 25, 2016

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 22, 2016

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 21, 2016

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 19, 2016

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 14, 2016

What a Pence-Trump Ticket Means

There are implications not only for the presidential race but the Indiana governor's election as well.
July 8, 2016

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 5, 2016

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 1, 2016

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

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.
June 30, 2016

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 29, 2016

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 27, 2016

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

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 17, 2016

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 16, 2016

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 13, 2016

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 10, 2016

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 7, 2016

Why Mixing Business With Politics Is Becoming More Popular

Taking a stance can not only benefit a cause but also a company.
June 6, 2016

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 3, 2016

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 1, 2016

The Death Penalty’s New Skeptics

In states across the country, conservatives are starting to question the cost and legality of capital punishment.
May 27, 2016

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 25, 2016

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 24, 2016

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 20, 2016

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 16, 2016

Losing Control in Legislatures, Democrats Shift Focus to Ballots

To further their causes, Democrats are bypassing lawmakers and turning to voters.
May 13, 2016

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 12, 2016

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 6, 2016

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

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 5, 2016

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 2, 2016

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.
April 25, 2016

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 22, 2016

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 15, 2016

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 13, 2016

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 8, 2016

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 7, 2016

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 4, 2016

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

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 1, 2016

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.
March 25, 2016

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

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 16, 2016

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 11, 2016

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

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 9, 2016

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 4, 2016

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 2, 2016

'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 1, 2016

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.
February 26, 2016

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

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 25, 2016

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 19, 2016

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 12, 2016

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 9, 2016

What Would Happen If America Made Voting Mandatory?

Dozens of other countries force their citizens to participate in elections.
February 5, 2016

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

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.
January 29, 2016

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 22, 2016

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

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 20, 2016

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 12, 2016

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 6, 2016

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 1, 2016

Breaking Down the 2016 Governors Races

Republicans could strengthen their power in many states this year, but Democrats only have realistic chances in two.
December 25, 2015

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 21, 2015

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 18, 2015

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 16, 2015

Campaign Spending’s Gray Areas Getting Politicians in Trouble

High-level officials around the country have recently been caught misusing their campaign funds.
December 15, 2015

The Waning Power of State Political Parties

They’re far from irrelevant, but campaign financing laws have hurt their influence.
December 14, 2015

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

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 9, 2015

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.
November 18, 2015

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

States Are Putting the Brakes on Driver’s Ed

Over the last decade, many have stopped funding it. Are the roads more dangerous?
November 11, 2015

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 9, 2015

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 5, 2015

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 4, 2015

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

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 3, 2015

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

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.
October 30, 2015

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 22, 2015

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 19, 2015

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 14, 2015

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 5, 2015

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 2, 2015

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 1, 2015

The Most Important Mayoral Races of 2015

Most incumbents are safe bets for re-election, but races remain unpredictable in several big cities.
September 25, 2015

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 24, 2015

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 23, 2015

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 16, 2015

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 15, 2015

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 14, 2015

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 9, 2015

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.
August 18, 2015

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 13, 2015

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 11, 2015

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 6, 2015

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 5, 2015

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 1, 2015

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.
July 31, 2015

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 28, 2015

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 22, 2015

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 16, 2015

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 10, 2015

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 3, 2015

Hawaii Raises Smoking Age to 21

Hawaii recently became the first state to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21.
July 1, 2015

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

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.
June 26, 2015

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 23, 2015

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 19, 2015

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 2, 2015

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 1, 2015

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

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

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.
May 29, 2015

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 22, 2015

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 11, 2015

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 7, 2015

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 5, 2015

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 1, 2015

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

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

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.
April 29, 2015

The Next Baltimore?

Freddie Gray's death sparked the riots in Baltimore, but they reveal deep systemic problems that plague many American cities.
April 23, 2015

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 15, 2015

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

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 7, 2015

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 2, 2015

Do Protests Impact Whether and How People Vote?

History shows that large-scale protests are no guarantee for change.
April 1, 2015

The Battle for Alamo City

The San Antonio mayoral race is crowded.
April 1, 2015

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

Common Core Critics Are Loud But Losing

The nationwide pushback against the education standards hasn't been very successful.
April 1, 2015

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.
March 31, 2015

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 19, 2015

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 16, 2015

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 10, 2015

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 1, 2015

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

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.
February 18, 2015

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 13, 2015

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 11, 2015

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 1, 2015

Do Cities Need Kids?

Seattle is one place that’s trying to figure that out.
February 1, 2015

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.
January 26, 2015

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 21, 2015

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 19, 2015

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 14, 2015

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 1, 2015

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

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.
December 31, 2014

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 26, 2014

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 24, 2014

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 8, 2014

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 2, 2014

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 1, 2014

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

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.
November 21, 2014

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 12, 2014

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 5, 2014

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

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 3, 2014

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

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 1, 2014

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

City Hall Drama Takes Center Stage in New Play

An interactive show casts theatre-goers as participants in a city council meeting.
October 29, 2014

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 28, 2014

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 27, 2014

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 22, 2014

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 17, 2014

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 15, 2014

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 13, 2014

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 8, 2014

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 6, 2014

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.
September 29, 2014

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 25, 2014

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 23, 2014

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 17, 2014

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 5, 2014

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 1, 2014

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.
August 15, 2014

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.
July 1, 2014

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.
June 1, 2014

A Conservative Group Goes Local

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is expanding its reach beyond the states to local governments.
April 1, 2014

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.
March 1, 2014

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.
February 1, 2014

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.
January 1, 2014

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 31, 2013

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.
December 28, 2012

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

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

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

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.
November 30, 2012

Rural Areas Lose More Legislative Representation

With fewer state lawmakers representing rural districts, issues important to rural areas may go unheard.
November 30, 2012

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.
October 31, 2012

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

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

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.
September 28, 2012

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.
August 31, 2012

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

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

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 10, 2012

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 9, 2012

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.
July 31, 2012

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.
June 29, 2012

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

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

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.
May 31, 2012

The New Black South

After nearly a century of moving north, African-Americans are reshaping cities and suburbs in the South.
April 30, 2012

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

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

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

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?
March 30, 2012

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

GIS Mapping Helps Frogtown, Minnesota Track Neighborhood Data

Residents use geographic info systems to learn more about where they live.
March 30, 2012

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

Sunday Alcohol Sales Making a Comeback

In the last decade, 15 states have repealed so-called blue laws that banned Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor.
February 29, 2012

Kris Kobach Tackles Illegal Immigration

Kansas’ secretary of state is redefining immigration laws not only in his state, but in Arizona and elsewhere.
January 31, 2012

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

Elected as a Democrat, Now Governing the City Like a Republican

Some liberal leaders are pursuing a conservative economic agenda.
January 31, 2012

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 1, 2012

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

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

States Legislate in Response to News Headlines

In the current 24/7 news cycle, scandals often lead to bills in several statehouses.
November 30, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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.
October 31, 2011

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

What Can Cities Learn from Wasps?

An evolutionary biologist adapts his theories to help local officials plan parks and improve schools.
October 31, 2011

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

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

South Carolina Says It's a 'Great Day'

A new etiquette directive from Gov. Nikki Haley has state employees sounding more chipper.
September 30, 2011

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

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

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 27, 2011

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?
July 29, 2011

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

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.
June 30, 2011

Are the Unions Winning the Fight?

Governors and mayors say their workers are demanding unsustainable benefits. Union rebuttals are not turning the tide.
May 31, 2011

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

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

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

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.
April 29, 2011

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

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

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.
March 31, 2011

States Handing Off More Responsibilities to Cities

States are asking cities to take charge of more programs, but they may not provide enough support.
February 28, 2011

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

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

School Vouchers Are In ... Again

Different circumstances and a favorable political climate make school vouchers more attractive than before.
January 1, 2011

Voters to Decide Fate of Earnings Tax

Two Missouri cities may soon be facing a huge drop in tax collections.
January 1, 2011

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

Christie's Hands-On Approach With Local Government

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is playing an extremely active role in local government affairs.
June 1, 2010

Playing Dumb

Liability rather than serendipity is the focus of playground design. Some are trying to change that.
May 1, 2010

Death From Washington

Federal prosecutors are increasingly eager to invoke capital punishment--even in states that don't like it.
May 1, 2010

Greenhouse Shift

By one vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has altered the politics of air pollution.
May 1, 2010

Horrendous Honeymoon

It's hard to imagine a worse start than the one Nevada's governor is off to.
May 1, 2010

New Clout In a Big County

L.A. County supervisors have done something unusual--given up power voluntarily.
May 1, 2010

King of Swing

In an all-but-deadlocked Montana House, iconoclast Rick Jore holds the balance of power.
December 31, 2009

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.
November 30, 2009

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

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

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

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 10, 2009

Spending Election Night Online

I have to admit that I'm a very late adopter. I'm a big music fan, but all my friends had iPods before I ...
November 4, 2009

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...
October 31, 2009

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

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 26, 2009

The United Not-States

There's been a debate of sorts in recent days in the liberal blogosphere on the question of whether states should be eliminated. Matthew Yglesias, ...
October 20, 2009

Dayton Foreclosure Update

I wrote a cover story early last year on foreclosures, looking at Dayton, Ohio, to give a sense of what the effects were like in ...
October 19, 2009

Suburban Diversity

The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University on Long Island will be hosting a big academic conference later this week on the increasing ...
October 14, 2009

Hyperlocal New Jersey

If you're following the news about the news, you've probably heard that many media companies are hoping to find successful niches in so-called ...
October 14, 2009

Postcard From New Mexico

I spent several days in New Mexico last week, speaking at the Council of State Governments' western regional meeting and enjoying much of the stunning ...
October 2, 2009

Smokers Need Not Apply

Nothing is certain but death and taxes. That doesn't mean they have to occur in the same place. Anne Gannon, the tax collector in ...
September 30, 2009

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

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

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

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 29, 2009

Polanski Case Deserves an Ending

I'll admit to feeling some ambivalence about the Roman Polanski case, but my bottom line is that if he's extradited and serves time, ...
September 23, 2009

'Julie & Julia' and Bureaucrat Bashing

I finally got around to seeing Julie & Julia. No one told me how anti-government-work it is.
September 22, 2009

Where to Meet the Mayor

Before I went to Memphis for our September 2009 cover story on Shelby County, Tennessee, Mayor A C Wharton Jr., at least two people had told ...
September 17, 2009

Why Washington, D.C. Is Rich

To live in Washington, D.C., is to have friends and family in other parts of the country. And while talking to people I know ...
September 16, 2009

Why Tourists Are Sustaining Local Culture

I've had the chance this year to visit Chicago and Memphis and in both cities I took in at least one blues show. Judging ...
September 15, 2009

Blogging Metros

One of the positive developments in the fracturing of the media world is that real experts are now blogging on just about every subject, obviating ...
September 9, 2009

Two Towns, One Street, One Way, Both Ways

This story is about a week old but it's too amusing not to pass on. In fact, I first heard about it on NPR'...
August 31, 2009

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

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

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

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...
July 31, 2009

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

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

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

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 30, 2009

Cash-Strapped Zoo: "Give Us Money or the Gorilla Gets It"

I was up in Boston earlier this week, so of course I heard lots of talk about the Henry Louis Gates/Officer Crowley controversy. But ...
July 29, 2009

NCSL: Too Liberal?

The National Conference of State Legislatures' Grasscatcher blog, being a good sport, links to a Paul Rolly column looking at how legislators in Utah and ...
July 14, 2009

Check Your Gubernatorial Scorecard

Everybody who attends meetings of the National Governors Association wears a name tag imprinted with a photograph. Everyone, that is, except governors. But as governors ...
July 13, 2009

Obama's Urban Policy Gets Going

It's not getting much attention here in Washington, with all eyes on the Sotomayor hearing, but President Obama's Office of Urban Affairs held ...
July 4, 2009

Retreating, Not Advancing

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin offers a sobering variation on the Peter Principle -- the idea that because talented people are usually promoted, they "rise ...
July 2, 2009

Sanford Saga: No Crime Involved

Saying his agency doesn't "intend to be used in a political battle about the governor," Reggie Lloyd, head of South Carolina's ...
July 1, 2009

Under Pressure

Always finding new ways to look bad, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford is backing away from a promise to release financial records relating to his ...
July 1, 2009

SC Senate President Calls for Sanford Resignation

Glenn McConnell, Senate President Pro Tempore, joins the chorus: "That decision is his alone. I do believe, however, that the Governor has lost the ...
July 1, 2009

Will Sanford Be Forced Out?

The number of Republican senators signing Majority Leader Harvey Peeler's petition for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to resign is up to 12, out of 27 ...
July 1, 2009

Resignation Drumbeat Deepens

If S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford hoped to quiet his personal controversy by laying out more of his past indiscretions, the strategy hasn't worked. ...
June 30, 2009

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

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

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

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

Sanford Fuels Fire

Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post suggests that Mark Sanford's AP interview today, in which he admitted to non-line-crossing encounters with additional women and ...
June 30, 2009

McGreevey's Second Act

A blog called Shankbone outlines former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey's good works: McGreevey volunteers at Exodus Ministries at the Church of Living Hope ...
June 30, 2009

Sanford Tells AP of Earlier Meetings With Chapur

AP has interviewed Gov. Mark Sanford: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he "crossed lines" with a handful of women other than his ...
June 30, 2009

Bauer Makes His Case

The State uses its turn to interview South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer to profile the man and his career. Bauer confirms yesterday's news ...
June 29, 2009

Sanford Lays Out Reasons for Not Resigning

Mark Sanford has posted an open letter on his Web site offering apologies and offering a spiritual explanation for staying in office. Immediately after all ...
June 29, 2009

Maybe He Can Go Hiking

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch says he'd consider furloughing himself as part of the state's budget-cutting efforts. "I think we are all ...
June 29, 2009

Sanford: Week Two Begins

The lead story in The State brings us up to date on the latest buzz on lawmakers wanting Gov. Mark Sanford to resign. As has ...
June 28, 2009

"Women?! Women?!"

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford tells the Associated Press today that he has considered resigning but won't. "Resigning would be the easiest thing ...
June 27, 2009

NYT: Jealous Boyfriend Source of Emails

New York Times : A business associate of Mr. Sanford's Argentine mistress said Friday that private messages between the two lovers had been sent anonymously to ...
June 26, 2009

Setting a Good Example for the Boys

Washington Post : "I go back to this larger voyage we're all on, and so you take everything a day at a time," ...
June 26, 2009

Bauer, Knotts Refuse to Call for Resignation

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has issued a cagey statement that does not call for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign: However, do not look ...
June 26, 2009

"Puttin' Y'all in a Bad Spot"

AP is reporting that Gov. Mark Sanford wanted more time and meetings in Argentina during last year's trade mission, citing a state Commerce Department ...
June 26, 2009

Will Sanford Survive?

Here's a sure sign that the Sanford story may start cooling off: Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer tells The Associated Press in an interview this ...
June 25, 2009

More Calls for Resignation

I have to admit that when I heard the news about Sanford taking time out from an official trade mission to meet up with his ...
June 25, 2009

Hunting for the Governor

South Carolina state troopers didn't know where Sanford was during his absence and couldn't find out from staff, the Washington Post reports. The ...
June 25, 2009

Politico: Sanford Planned 10-Day Trip

Update: Gossip site TMZ quotes Guido's owner Carlos Soto as saying he's seen Sanford and Maria Belen Chapur in his place several times ...
June 25, 2009

Sanford Had Dalliance During Trade Mission

Every time I stick my neck out for this guy, more bad news follows. As noted earlier, Sanford went to Buenos Aires on a trade ...
June 25, 2009

Spartanburg Paper Calls for Resignation

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal calls for Sanford's resignation: Mark Sanford cannot navigate a deep and painful personal crisis and lead the state through its economic ...
June 25, 2009

A Previous Encounter?

On the misuse of funds watch, here's a tidbit from CNN: Sanford visited Argentina in June 2008 as part of a state-funded trade mission, according ...
June 25, 2009

Gov. Sanford: Don't Resign

Josh has a post over at Ballot Box suggesting that Sanford's viability, like that of any politician caught in a big scandal, depends on the depth of the reservoir of popularity and goodwill he may have enjoyed before getting caught out.
June 25, 2009

Sanford Mid-Afternoon Update

Gov. Mark Sanford has flown out to Sullivan's Island to be with his wife and sons, AP reports. That's a shot of a ...
June 25, 2009

Other Cheaters Weigh In

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey was booked on the Today show and says honesty is Sanford's best policy. Says McGreevey: "He can be ...
June 25, 2009

Emails May Have Triggered Confession

In its story today, The State of Columbia, S.C., indicates that although the paper had emails between Gov. Mark Sanford and his lover since ...
June 25, 2009

Paper Was Tipped About Flight

Gina Smith of The State has expanded her story from yesterday about her Atlanta airport interview with Gov. Mark Sanford, turning it into "how ...
June 24, 2009

Don't Miss the Emails

In case you're joining us late, another link to the emails between Gov. Sanford and "Maria" at The State.
June 24, 2009

CNN Interviews Tom Davis

Campbell Brown got an interview with Tom Davis, the South Carolina state senator and former top Sanford aide whom Sanford repeatedly apologized to during his confessional news conference.
June 24, 2009

Sanford's Appreciation of Argentina

DemConWatch notes that Sanford has traveled to and referred to Argentina quite often, including in two State of the States. hat tip: Ben Smith
June 24, 2009

Sanford Lied to Staff

From Sanford's post-news conference statement: I apologize to my staff. I misled them about my whereabouts, and as a result the people of South ...
June 24, 2009

Are Sanford's Enemies Working the Press?

A theme in our coverage here and on Ballot Box has been that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has been the type of politician to ...
June 24, 2009

Here Come the Emails

The State has some of the emails between Gov. Sanford and Maria, the woman with whom he's had an affair. The paper has removed ...
June 24, 2009

Sanford's Wife: We're Separated

During his news conference, Sanford kinda sorta ducked the question of whether he and his wife Jenny are separated. South Carolina's first lady has ...
June 24, 2009

Sanford Then and Now

Mark Sanford was elected to Congress as part of the "Republican Revolution" Class of 1994. If you were a reporter, he was always great ...
June 24, 2009

More Unresolved Sanford Questions

If I were a reporter in South Carolina, I would be tracking down Sen. Tom Davis and some of the other Sanford friends that the ...
June 24, 2009

Sanford Fallout

If you scroll down, you'll see that I tried to be a willing dupe for Sanford as long as I could. I took his ...
June 24, 2009

Sanford Resigns as RGA Chair

Update: Here's video of Sanford's announcement, if you missed it: 2:33 - Sanford announces he will resign as chair of Republican Governors Association, both ...
June 24, 2009

Live Blogging the News Conference

2:10 - hasn't started. crowded hallway space not good optics. 2:12 - someone just said, "guys, it's going to be about 15 minutes, just to ...
June 24, 2009

Sanford Enemies Go to Town

South Carolina Sen. Jake Knotts, the lead whistleblower/critic of Gov. Sanford's disappearance, tells MSNBC: "Lies. Lies. Lies. That's all we get ...
June 24, 2009

Lessons in PR from Mark Sanford

If there's one thing Mark Sanford's trip down South America way illustrates, it's the notion that public officials need to get out ...
June 24, 2009

The Skeptics Were Right

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has spent the last several days in Argentina, he tells The State. Sanford said he had considered hiking on the ...
June 23, 2009

Where's Sanford Been Hiding?

Plenty of chatter questioning whether SC Gov. Mark Sanford really was on the Appalachian Trail during his absence from Columbia/duty. TPM has been on ...
June 23, 2009

Governors Gone Wild: Sanford's Not the First Governor to Go AWOL

The news that Gov. Mark Sanford had taken off without telling even his wife where he was -- and not letting Lt. Gov. Andrew Bauer ...
June 18, 2009

Separating Mayors From the Administration

In case you hadn't heard, pickets by firefighters angry over negotiations with Providence Mayor David Cicilline kept Vice President Joe Biden and other administration ...
June 18, 2009

Policy Making Through Budget Cuts

Everyone in government knows about the Washington Monument strategy. When budget times are tough, you threaten to shut down the most visible and popular programs ...
June 17, 2009

The Whole World Is Twittering

The central role of Twitter in helping to organize the protests in Iran and getting news and pictures out of that country despite the ban ...
June 12, 2009

Cities and Counties Find Common Cause

Fans of regionalism and metro cooperation will want to read a column that William Stafford has up on Citiwire.net. Stafford is president of the ...
June 1, 2009

Tax What You Love

While I was in Arkansas recently to report this profile of Gov. Mike Beebe, I visited Searcy, where he practiced law for many years. Beebe ...
May 31, 2009

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

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

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

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

George Tiller Shot, Killed

George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who was one of the few physicians in the country to perform late-term abortions, was shot dead today as he ...
May 29, 2009

Lawn Chairs in Times Square

Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, posted this picture on his blog of Times Square, through which car traffic on Broadway is now ...
May 18, 2009

Big Cities Still Attract

Creative class guru Richard Florida is guest blogging in Andrew Sullivan's space this week. His first entry ponders where college grads, facing an uncertain ...
May 15, 2009

Huntsman Shocker

AP is reporting that President Obama will name Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican, his ambassador to China on Saturday. Huntsman has been mentioned ...
May 13, 2009

State Budgets Get More Grim

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has updated its report on state budgets. Not surprisingly, the news is pretty bad. According to the Center, ...
May 5, 2009

Gay Marriage Momentum

I have a piece in our May issue about how the political dynamics have shifted on the question of same-sex marriage, with momentum suddenly on ...
May 1, 2009

"A Bureaucratic Nightmare"

Dayo Olopade, a reporter with The Root Web site, has written a story suggesting that President Obama's Office of Urban Affairs, and his urban policy ...
April 30, 2009

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

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

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

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

The Time Has Come for National Standards

State education officials have adopted a new mantra: "Fewer, clearer, higher." The term refers to education standards -- what each state feels its ...
April 29, 2009

"I'm Calling About My Light Bill"

The Washington Post ran a long article about Greenwood, South Carolina, looking at how the community is faring thus far in the age of Obama (...
April 28, 2009

Now, That's Harsh

One of today's popular apocalyptic fantasies is to imagine the world without human beings. This premise has been the subject of a bestselling book ...
April 28, 2009

Journalism Implosion Watch

Only one of last week's Pulitzer winners had already been laid off. Here's this week's early winner for the cheap irony award ...
April 13, 2009

Weekend Reading

The least surprising headline in yesterday's Washington Post was bannered across the top of the front page: "At Nationals Park, District of Dreams ...
April 7, 2009

SWAT Regulation

Last night, the Maryland Senate unanimously cleared a bill for Governor O'Malley's signature that would allow the state to oversee local deployment of ...
March 31, 2009

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

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

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

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

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 25, 2009

Anyone Can Clean Up Litter

Will Kempton, California's transportation chief, said that the state can't bar a group from its Adopt-a-Highway anti-litter program based on distaste for the ...
March 19, 2009

Mayors Want Service

Lots of mayors support a proposal, which the U.S. House approved yesterday, to expand national service programs. The bill would boost the number of ...
March 18, 2009

We Don't Get No Stinking Chiefs of Staff

This year's Washington meeting of the National League of Cities was all about the love from the Obama administration. Multiple cabinet secretaries addressed the ...
March 2, 2009

How to Select Judges

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case tomorrow regarding conflicts of interest for judges. The case resolves around a West Virginia justice who ...
March 2, 2009

Government Uncovered

Yesterday's Washington Post was filled with stories about the decline of the newspaper business, with two stories touching directly on state and local government ...
February 28, 2009

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

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

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

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 26, 2009

I Knew Installing a Water Park Was a Mistake

I just read a story about a man charged $27,000 in Internet access fees for watching a football game on his laptop. That's nothing. Yesterday, ...
February 26, 2009

Medicare Scare

For all their problems paying for Medicaid, state employee health benefits, SCHIP and retiree plans, the one source of soaring health costs states don't ...
February 25, 2009

Can Congress Change Infrastructure Policy?

Much of the National Governors Association's winter meeting here in Washington this past weekend was devoted to discussions about infrastructure. The message out of ...
February 18, 2009

Not All Schools Are Created Equal

The Washington Post ran a story the other day that was quite revealing about the politics of school closures. Everyone knows it's politically difficult ...
January 15, 2009

Mayor, True to His Team, Changes His Name

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday in the AFC title game. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl found that, under the circumstances, he ...
January 12, 2009

Rendell on Building Well

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has made infrastructure the centerpiece of his presidency of the National Governors Association and, along with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and ...
December 31, 2008

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 30, 2008

Confronting Carbon

California lawmakers are finishing another ordinary year. Once again, their budget is a mess, with lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arguing about how to close ...
December 19, 2008

Grim Headline

Here's the darkest headline I can remember seeing on a press release: Cities Officials Hold the Worst Outlook in the Nation's Direction in ...
December 16, 2008

Splitting the Difference With Duncan

Barack Obama managed to find someone acceptable both to teachers unions and the education "reform" crowd with his selection of Arne Duncan, the ...
December 11, 2008

Tobacco Turns Into Porn

The British government plans to force merchants to keep cigarettes and other tobacco products under the counter and ban their public display. If this policy ...
December 5, 2008

City Council Weighs in on Torture

John Yoo provided the legal justification and framework for the Bush administration's torture policies as head of the Office of Legal Counsel, but he ...
November 30, 2008

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 24, 2008

The Curse of Corporate Sponsorship

Unlike my colleague Chris Swope, I still am uncomfortable with the whole trend of corporate naming rights -- naming stadiums and high school hallways after ...
November 21, 2008

Hometown Pride

Daily City was featured in Life magazine in the 1950s as a classic postwar suburb (see image).
November 20, 2008

Napolitano's Successor?

I put up a very quick sketch on our other blog of Jan Brewer, the Arizona secretary of state who would fill Janet Napolitano';s ...
November 20, 2008

Waxman Beats Dingell

Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, has ousted John Dingell as chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. This has repercussions for state ...
November 17, 2008

Weingarten Willing to Talk

The election of Randi Weingarten as president of the American Federation of Teachers this past summer signaled a greater willingness from that union to accept that new ideas and education "reforms" are inevitable.
October 31, 2008

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

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 29, 2008

Candidates Get Ideas From States

The Washington Post devotes a sizable chunk of its front page today to comparisons of health coverage plans put out by John McCain and Barack ...
September 30, 2008

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 15, 2008

How to Pull Off a Convention

Laudatory praise of the logistics seems to reflect consensus opinion about the Democratic National Convention in Denver. To find out how the city pulled it off, GOVERNING spoke with Guillermo Vidal, Denver's deputy mayor and director of public works.
August 31, 2008

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 14, 2008

Will $4 Gas Kill the Suburbs?

One of the most common points of speculation coming out of escalating gas prices has been that people won't want to pay $100 to fill their tank and drive from distant suburbs to their jobs every day.
August 13, 2008

Curious Quote for the Day

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey gave a speech Tuesday saying that people wrongfully passed over for Justice Department jobs due to the politicized hiring ...
July 30, 2008

My Problem With Batman

The central question I tried to address in my recent feature in Governing ["The Corruption Puzzle," July 2008] is whether prosecutors step across a ...
July 29, 2008

How Not to Fire Someone

Yesterday, the Alaska legislature approved a $100,000 investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's motivations in firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Palin has drawn criticism due to ...
July 29, 2008

Is States' Rights a Cover?

The Tampa Tribune has an article looking at various issues on which presidential candidate John McCain has, in effect, punted, citing states' rights. These include ...
July 23, 2008

Bloomberg Tells Gates Where to Spend It

It's not enough that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked smokers out of restaurants and onto the curb. He wants them to kick the ...
June 30, 2008

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 26, 2008

Winning Through Simplicity

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is not a details guy. No matter how big the issue, he leaves it up to others in the legislature or ...
June 18, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

Seeing the pictures of same-sex marriages taking place throughout California puts me in mind of another "only in San Francisco" phenomenon I experienced ...
May 8, 2008

Bookshelf: Pensions

The NY Times review of Roger Lowenstein's book, While America Aged , makes it look worth reading for people in government. It's about pensions and although ...
May 5, 2008

Cruz Cashes In

I just got a press release announcing that Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, whom I wrote about in Governing's February issue, is leaving for private ...
April 28, 2008

Govs Agree Cowgill Not Qualified

Last fall, when I was working on a feature about how states are rethinking their approach to higher education, naturally I turned to Kentucky, which ...
April 10, 2008

Department of Hidden Costs

Prince William County, Virginia, is our region's hotbed of immigration policy as enacted at the local level. Immigration was a particularly hot issue in political ...
April 9, 2008

Memories of 1984

All the anxiety about the Olympic torch passing through San Francisco today -- will it elicit the same kind of disruptive protests seen in London ...
April 9, 2008

Wishful Thinking

Here is a story that demonstrates the triumph of governmental hope over experience as well as anything I've come across in a long while.
April 2, 2008

Banned Gambler Loses $10,000

Remember the policy set up in Iowa to ban those with addiction problems from casinos? The Des Moines Register has a fascinating story about a ...
April 1, 2008

Migden-FPPC Brawl Finds New Venue

The ever-escalating war of words between state Sen. Carole Migden and California's Fair Political Practices Commission will move formally into the judicial realm today, with ...
March 31, 2008

The Cost of Blocking a Bill

Plenty of committee chairs have killed legislation that they didn't like, but few have done so as publicly and boldy as Kathy Stein. Despite enormous ...
March 28, 2008

Taxing Gay Couples

Here's a wrinkle to the same-sex marriage debate I admit I hadn't thought of before reading about it in the Hartford Courant's Capitol Watch blog. ...
March 27, 2008

Double Dipping: Caught in the Crossfire

In the wake of Florida Sen. Evelyn Lynn's decision to forego a big salary from a university she'd sent earmarks toward, Mike Haridopolos is coming ...
March 26, 2008

Psst... Wanna Buy a Book?

To the dismay of Hoosier booksellers, Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed into law a bill to fine businesses that sell sexually explicit material. Their concern ...
March 26, 2008

Hiring From Outside

This story in the Washington Post is about federal employment, but I'd be surprised if the same dynamics didn't apply in the states, which will ...
March 25, 2008

Florida Conflicts of Interest

Sara Gonzalez, recently appointed by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to a lucrative state post, withdrew in the face of adverse publicity, the Miami Herald reports. ...
February 26, 2008

Would Montana Secede?

With the Supreme Court ready to hear a gun rights case for the first time in decades, Brad Johnson, Montana's secretary of state, sends a ...
February 20, 2008

I'm Not Campbell

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon hosted a chat Tuesday on washingtonpost.com. The policy stuff isn't terribly compelling ("Diversity is among our many strengths"), ...
February 19, 2008

Advertising Everywhere

Zach's post about TSA's latest experiments in crowd control reminds me that the other day, while flying through Denver, I noticed that the plastic bins ...
February 11, 2008

Persistence Pays Off

Last week, the Nebraska Supreme Court abolished electrocution, the state's sole method of execution. "Condemned prisoners must not be tortured to death, regardless of ...
February 5, 2008

Snub, You Lose

If you're wondering why San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom endorsed Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama, the SF Chronicle reports that it's because Obama snubbed the ...
February 1, 2008

Bandwagon Effect

Rick Perry of Texas, a former Giuliani backer, has become the latest in the sudden series of Republican governors to endorse John McCain. This is ...
January 31, 2008

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

Competition Out West

One of the major ongoing political stories over the past couple of years, and certainly this year, is renewed two-party competition in the Mountain West. ...
January 31, 2008

Full-Time Headaches

Not surprisingly in tough budget times, the Michigan legislature is highly unpopular with the public. Voters there will decide on a ballot initiative this year ...
January 31, 2008

Embrace of the Governator

Governor Arnold will endorse McCain shortly, which seems about right. Both are pro-business Republicans who have been able to find common cause with Democrats from ...
January 30, 2008

McCain's Florida Win

I covered the big tobacco bill that John McCain carried in the U.S. Senate back in 1998. Does anyone even remember that one? At any ...
January 29, 2008

The Battle for the 26th

Illinois is the rare state that is holding legislative voting at the same time as its presidential primary. (It was always an early-primary state). On ...
January 28, 2008

Flogging Two Dead Horses

A Field Poll shows that only a quarter of Californians would consider voting for Michael Bloomberg for president, while two-thirds would "definitely not." ...
January 25, 2008

You Know You're in Trouble When...

Columnist Chip Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle gives Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums some props for shaking up his staff and approach -- but not ...
January 25, 2008

One Way to Look at It

Just out of curiosity, I ran the numbers to see how many states have elected women to major statewide office, which I'm defining as governor ...
January 25, 2008

The Half-Life of a Winner

I've just finished reading David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest. Reading this history of how we got into Vietnam certainly sheds instructive light on ...
January 24, 2008

No Surprise Here

Support is weakening for California's Proposition 93, which would change the state's term limits law. According to the latest Field Poll, "yes" and "...
January 23, 2008

Cold Brother

With the U.S. Conference of Mayors in town, we were just treated to an interesting visit from Melvin "Kip" Holden, the mayor-president ...
January 22, 2008

What the GOP Wants

We're now mostly through the quadrennial discussion of why Iowa, New Hampshire and the other early voting states are not representative of the nation as ...
January 22, 2008

Wrath of Aguirre

Michael Aguirre, the city attorney in San Diego, has earned both praise and enmity for his frequent criticism of other city officials. He was early ...
January 19, 2008

Cassandra Moments

In this year's presidential contest, we are once again seeing candidates punished for daring to tell the truth. The conventional wisdom holds that McCain lost ...
January 18, 2008

The Inside Game

Here's a story you've read somewhere before. John Leopold, county executive in Anne Arundel County, Maryland (that's Annapolis for you auschlanders), raised $504,325 in campaign funds ...
January 9, 2008

All Hail Partisanship

"The punditocracy has been humbled once again. (But it won't work--you won't see much humility from them, now or ever!)" -- Bob Kaiser, ...
January 8, 2008

What Obama Says About Race

Assuming Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination -- not such a risky bet at this point -- we will have at least nine months of conversation and coverage about what his candidacy means.
January 4, 2008

Thoughts on Iowa: Dems

Obama looks like a winner. His big Iowa victory will remove lingering doubts from many minds about whether he is for real, whether people will ...
January 4, 2008

Thoughts on Iowa: GOP

There hasn't been a Republican primary season like this in my memory. Even when Republicans haven't started with a clear frontrunner, as in 2000, they quickly ...
December 31, 2007

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

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 27, 2007

Easy Street

Philadelphia Mayor John Street's Christmas present to himself is going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of his constituents. He has decided to ...
December 1, 2007

Tougher than Wall Street

Jon Corzine worked miracles at Goldman Sachs. Doing it in Trenton is a different story.
December 1, 2007

Buyouts in the Balance

The elusive savings of retirement incentives
December 1, 2007

The Wrong Message

Governments shouldn't consider it inevitable that they will get bad press.
December 1, 2007

Zoned Out

D.C.'s cab system will soon cease to be an irrational anomaly. Not everyone approves of that change.
December 1, 2007

Evening Star

Steve Beshear once hoped to be Kentucky's wonder-boy governor. Now, he's coming in as an elder statesman.
November 2, 2007

Support the Troops? -- Not If You Tax Health Clubs

Over in Annapolis, Maryland lawmakers are meeting in special session to debate a bunch of possible tax code changes to fill a $1.5 or $1.7 billion budget ...
November 1, 2007

Bridgeport's Burdens

Is the city's problem bad election choices--or something deeper?
November 1, 2007

Putnam's Paradox

Diversity accomplishes many things--but it may not make us better citizens.
November 1, 2007

Scheming Magnolias

Republicans have most of the power in Mississippi. They'd like more.
November 1, 2007

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

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.
October 29, 2007

Gambling Against Gambling

I have a short piece in Governing's November issue about how the Kansas legislature this year passed a bill that will make theirs the first state to own its own casinos. Since then, I've noticed gambling is a topic of debate in a number of states. Which makes me wonder -- why?
October 26, 2007

Voting Overseas

I just had lunch with two secretaries of state, Jennifer Brunner of Ohio and Beth Chapman of Alabama. For both, their jobs have been made complicated by the fact that their predecessors were so controversial.
October 18, 2007

A Huckabee Surge?

Here on the 13th Floor, we have, unsurprisingly, paid more attention to the state and local officials running for president than the Washington types. In ...
October 18, 2007

Lethal Injunction

There's a lot of speculation right now about whether the Supreme Court will rule that lethal injections -- by far the most common method of ...
October 11, 2007

You Can't Recall Me, I Quit

Every once in a while, a city elects an underaged mayor. In the case of Hurley, South Dakota, this idea didn't work out too well. ...
October 1, 2007

Diagnosis for a Disorder

States step in to provide services for children with autism.
October 1, 2007

Bart's Gamble

For even the most popular officeholder, raising taxes is risky.
October 1, 2007

How Clean Is Clean?

Campaign reform laws yield modest but tangible results.
October 1, 2007

City Hall Solution

Can mayors really help schools by running them? Perhaps.
October 1, 2007

Eliot's Shaky Summer

New York's tough-talking governor tries easing up a bit.
October 1, 2007

Mighty Malcontent

For nearly 40 years, Ernie Chambers has made his colleagues mad--and made them listen.
October 1, 2007

Other People's Money

Our readership, which is largely made up of public officials, might like to read this exchange from one of The Washington Post's regular political online ...
September 19, 2007

Annals of Academic Freedom

In Governing's September issue, I wrote about how the University of California is establishing a law school at its Irvine campus, over the objections of of some state policy makers. So far, the institution is off to a rough start.
September 13, 2007

Releasing Sex Offenders

If you've been following the flurry of state legislation in recent years to punish sex offenders and prevent their future crimes, you'll want to know ...
September 11, 2007

A Pointless Exercise?

Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee has a characteristically smart column today about the end of California's legislative session, which looks like the usual mad ...
September 10, 2007

Party vs. Principle

In Gabriel Garcia Marquez's celebrated novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, Colonel Aureliano Buendia leads the Liberal revolutionary forces, without success, through nearly 20 years of ...
September 1, 2007

Electric Exuberance

A commuter-train experiment in California may have big implications
September 1, 2007

Nothing But a Street

For some functions of government, two Texarkanas may be one too many.
September 1, 2007

A Regional Mess

Cooperation can end in corruption. Iowa learned that the hard way.
September 1, 2007

Rod Reeling

Bashing the legislature is one way to get elected governor. It's a lousy way to govern.
September 1, 2007

Suburban Strains

In many legislatures, suburbs have the votes to prevail--if they can find a way to work together.
September 1, 2007

Nothing but a Street

For some functions of government, two Texarkanas may be one too many.
August 31, 2007

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

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 15, 2007

Wrong About Everything

We sometimes entertain foreign guests on the 13th Floor, local officials from other countries who are touring our country courtesy of the State Department. Yesterday, ...
August 14, 2007

Praying for Disaster

Here's my nominee for worst column of the year.
August 9, 2007

Don't Fight City Hall

The death march continues through the 200-plus policy sessions here at NCSL's annual meeting in Boston. Some of them are lively, though, including one on he question of whether school boards should give way to mayoral control.
August 8, 2007

Taking on Task Forces

NCSL's annual meeting this week in Boston is dominated, as you would expect, by sessions covering issues such as taxes, health care costs and homeland security.
August 1, 2007

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.
July 31, 2007

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 23, 2007

Memorial Upkeep

The Sacramento Bee has a story about the capital city's statue commemorating and honoring Mexican American soldiers. It's not in terrible shape but it could ...
July 20, 2007

Stand for Something

I just got off the phone with Jay Pfeiffer, the deputy commissioner of education in Florida. He mentioned a counseling program in the state called ...
July 20, 2007

What's in a Name

My colleague Chris Swope is an unabashed fan of naming rights -- letting corporations slap their names and sometimes logos on everything from stadiums to ...
July 5, 2007

Freedom to Photograph

I happen to live in Silver Spring, a Maryland suburb of Washington that has staged a successful revitalization of its downtown. Silver Spring landed the ...
July 5, 2007

Pet Peeve Department

Every once in a while, a word or phrase or rhetorical trope will spread throughout the writing world like kudzu. A few years ago, there ...
July 2, 2007

Forget Public Financing

Events of the past week have not been cheery for fans of campaign finance laws.
July 1, 2007

Auditor In Charge

Mark Funkhouser has to make the switch from pointing out problems to solving them.
July 1, 2007

Rancor In Little Rock

The city famous for civil rights turmoil is arguing over race in schools again.
July 1, 2007

Shareholder Heaven

If you own stock in a company, you might want it to move to North Dakota.
July 1, 2007

Water Diplomat

William Ruckelshaus has had lots of tough assignments. He's got another one now.
July 1, 2007

Hackneyed Gab

Politicians and the media "do democracy a disservice" by resorting to cliches.
July 1, 2007

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

Deal in Denver

An 11th-hour compromise shores up an overburdened state retirement system.
July 1, 2007

Down on The Gown

The demand for fiscal accountability is graduating to the college level.
July 1, 2007

Perks That Kill

When voters think legislators are living too well at public expense, they pounce.
July 1, 2007

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

Graduation Time

When the term-limit clock starts ticking for legislators, state jobs begin to look more attractive.
July 1, 2007

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

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

Trenton's Folly

New Jersey's budget has been built on illusion for a long time. This year, reality intruded.
June 22, 2007

Mr. Olympia

View former Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine.
June 22, 2007

Newsom's Problems

When I wrote a piece (5th item) about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's potential electoral problems, I erred on the side of good taste and ...
June 20, 2007

Suburban Supervisor

Don't know whether you've been following the saga of Ed Jew, a San Francisco supervisor accused of having shaken down constituent business owners for $40,000 to ...
June 11, 2007

What Florida Could Learn

Starting tomorrow, Florida lawmakers will take a swing in special session at revising the state's dozen-year-old cap on property taxes, which has led to gross ...
June 6, 2007

The New Yorker's View of Los Angeles

My copy of the May 21 New Yorker got delivered to a neighbor's house, so I've only just gotten around to reading Connie Bruck's profile of ...
June 1, 2007

A Muni Bond Warning

Current law prohibits it, but the SEC chairman is talking about reasons to regulate the municipal bond market.
May 31, 2007

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

The Return of Romneycare

It's good to see Mitt Romney finally taking some credit for the health insurance mandate bill he signed into law last year as governor of ...
May 31, 2007

You Know What

Normally I don't publish off the record remarks, but this one is so charming and innocuous -- and I'll keep the person in question anonymous ...
May 24, 2007

Portentous Idol?

Am I the only one who thinks Jordin Sparks' victory on "American Idol" is a good omen for Barack Obama, based on their ...
May 23, 2007

Will Mike Run?

Chris Cillizza, the political columnist for Washingtonpost.com, presents a good overview of the potential upsides of a presidential run by New York Mayor Michael ...
May 14, 2007

Good Night, Tommy

Tommy Thompson was one of the great governors of recent years and no doubt possessed the ability to have done great things as a Cabinet ...
April 26, 2007

Dry Cleaning Disputes

Early in my career at Governing, I wrote this feature about methods that courts were using in order to speed along their dockets. The lead, ...
April 24, 2007

Frayed Nerves

A student was waving a gun late Monday night outside the University of Virginia's engineering building. It turned out that his reasons were entirely innocent ...
April 19, 2007

Guns and Dorms

Stateline.org reports that the Virginia Tech shootings have already inspired legislation, with a Louisiana state representative dropping a bill that would make it clear ...
April 17, 2007

Corzine and the Budget

After days of stories detailing New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's recovery from a severe car accident, The New York Times weighed in Sunday with the ...
April 16, 2007

Everything's Up to Date in Omaha

About a year ago, I was working on a short feature about how cities are trying to promote their local scenes. Fritz Junker, the head ...
April 11, 2007

So Much for That Boomlet

Fred Thompson, the actor and former U.S. senator, has announced he has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Although his prognosis is good -- he says the cancer ...
April 11, 2007

Another Bad Idea

I have an iPod. I use it every day. It offers me a much greater choice of music and downloaded radio shows (aka podcasts) to ...
April 11, 2007

Clear Path to Corruption

Last fall, I appeared at a conference hosted by the American Enterprise Institute about financing higher education. I spoke about campus financial aid offices and ...
April 10, 2007

Nice Guys Finish First?

In response to my post about Montana House Education Chairman Rick Jore, Kurtis writes in to comment that Jore has won praise for being upfront, ...
April 9, 2007

Going Native

I've been working on a profile of Rick Jore, who chairs the Montana House's education committee despite being the only representative in the state from ...
April 6, 2007

Think It's a Big Deal, Fran?

"This victory was a great victory for those of us who care about the biggest environmental and economic issue of the 21st century." ...
April 1, 2007

Data? What Data?

The school reform movement learns to ignore bad results.
April 1, 2007

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

Labor's List

Unions are playing offense for the first time in quite a while.
March 30, 2007

Decongestion Pricing

Sorry to be a homer, but I have to point out this welcome news for Washingtonians. The head of Metro, our transit system, has announced ...
March 29, 2007

Crime or Punishers?

There have been a lot of prominent public officials prosecuted in recent years. Here on the 13th Floor, we often have internal debates about whether ...
March 22, 2007

Extreme Propaganda

Here's a legislative example of the phenomenon I described the other day with the anti-Hillary YouTube video. Two videos have been posted on YouTube deriding ...
March 21, 2007

Information Devolution

By now it's become a tired cliche that independent voices, granted new power and tools by technology, have up-ended traditional public discourse, challenging both media ...
March 19, 2007

Wild Crime Spree

Rich Smith, a British journalism student, spent one Christmas day playing board games. He came across reference to an obscure law in Florida that made ...
March 19, 2007

Chichester's Retirement

John Chichester, a 29-year veteran of the Virginia Senate and a 2004 Governing "Public Official of the Year," has announced his retirement. He gets ...
March 15, 2007

Federalism For and Against

The Bay Area is a rich source of stories today concerning federalism. First, there is what appears to be the final chapter in the federal ...
March 14, 2007

Park in the Dark

I was hunting around for examples of dumb laws -- never mind why -- and found one that was just repealed. For decades, Pekin, Illinois, ...
March 13, 2007

The Demand-Side Management Version of a Rock Star

Obama is one, of course. So is Clinton -- actually, both Bill and Hillary are. Even Junichiro Koizumi is one. I refer, of course, to ...
March 12, 2007

Strong County Leader?

We've seen the trend toward strong mayoral control in many large cities in recent years, with Richmond, San Diego, Oakland and many others taking big ...
March 8, 2007

Government Keeping Us Safe

Lately, I've been thinking about "nanny state" issues. Sometimes governments require citizens to do common-sense things, but at what point do such laws ...
March 8, 2007

Dirty Word?

Three female students at a Westchester County, New York, high school have been suspended. Their offense? They said the word "vagina" at a ...
March 7, 2007

A Compelling Subject

Jerry Seinfeld got some laughs at the Oscars a couple weeks ago in giving out "best documentary" and announcing "the five extremely ...
March 7, 2007

Dumpster on Wheels

Gavin Newsom has finally found a place to put the homeless. The San Francisco mayor wants his local bus system to offer free rides to ...
March 6, 2007

Massachusetts Mill Cities

Remember the "Massachusetts miracle"? The state continues to be a New Economy winner -- or rather, the Greater Boston area does. Much of ...
March 6, 2007

TMI or Not Enough?

Our parent company, the St. Petersburg Times, commissioned a survey of residents in Largo, Florida, and the surrounding county to find out what people thought ...
March 5, 2007

Revolving Door

There's no end to revolving door stories. This Houston Chronicle piece offers a good look at how prevalent the practice has become in Texas -- 70 ...
March 1, 2007

Pre-Cambrian Legislator

Fred Risser, president of the Wisconsin Senate, has served for 50 years -- longer than any other state legislator in the country. You can learn about ...
March 1, 2007

Annals of Bigotry

A columnist with AsianWeek in San Francisco was fired after publishing a column entitled "Why I Hate Blacks." Naturally, the paper has taken ...
February 28, 2007

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

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 27, 2007

Stick a Fork Time?

If you're following gubernatorial politics at all this year, you know that Ernie Fletcher is in trouble. We'll have an item about this in the ...
February 23, 2007

So Long, Vilsack

For a while, it looked like Tom Vilsack was going to be the only governor or ex-governor in the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, so those of ...
February 23, 2007

A Dissatisfied Customer

I had a lengthy phone conversation the other day with a legislator full of complaints about press coverage of a bill he had sponsored. What ...
February 23, 2007

Daisy, and More

Have you forgotten what Michael Dukakis looked like in a tank? Do you have a hankering to hear Richard Nixon talk about busing? Then look ...
February 21, 2007

The New Permanent Record

Henry Jenkins, who runs MIT's comparative media studies program, says that the Internet is "the new permanent record." Any jackass behavior you allow ...
February 21, 2007

Pension Envy

For Governing's upcoming March issue, I wrote a little piece about how there could be some grumbling about the generosity of government employee pensions and ...
February 21, 2007

Merck's Miracle Cure

If you've followed the march of states lining up to require middle school girls to receive vaccinations for HPV, a sexually-transmitted disease that often leads ...
February 13, 2007

iPodGoverning.com

Lately I've been acting the part of the cranky libertarian, writing pieces about government overreach. So allow me to complain about an example of corporate ...
February 12, 2007

Is This Really Necessary?

Al Franken, the semi-famed comedian and radio talk show host, is set to announce on Wednesday whether he'll run for the U.S. Senate next ...
February 9, 2007

Is Spitzer Doomed?

A few months ago, when it was already clear that New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer would be elected governor, I wrote an article ...
February 8, 2007

Tin Cup Dept.

The Des Moines school district is thinking about setting up a foundation that would be a vehicle for raising money for classroom projects and programs. ...
February 7, 2007

Good Idea, Bad Legislation

Here's what may be the ultimate "nanny state" legislative proposal. A New York State senator wants to impose $100 fines on anyone who crosses ...
February 7, 2007

Corruption in PA

We've been thinking a lot about the Pennsylvania legislature, wondering whether ethics reform will remain a priority. As you may know, legislators gave themselves a ...
February 7, 2007

New Hope for Cities?

John Cochran, at our sister publication CQ Weekly, has written an article suggesting that cities have reasons to believe that they will get more help ...
February 6, 2007

Never Had a Chance

Leo McCarthy, a former lieutentant governor of California and speaker of the state Assembly, died on Monday. If you read the obituaries (Chronicle; Bee; LA ...
February 6, 2007

Council Should "Think Twice"

Here's a classic example of reactive law-making. The Chicago City Council's transportation committee has approved an ordinance that would significantly increase fines for motorists who ...
February 6, 2007

Good News Is No News

Have you heard? Meth use is down. Both in terms of overal use and the number of new users. So says a National Survey on ...
February 1, 2007

The Post-Earmark Era

Lots of juicy local plums won't be ripening this year.
February 1, 2007

Strange Bedfellows

In the new issue of Governing, I write (6th item) about the potential opposition to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. I resisted the urge to ...
January 30, 2007

Earth Out of Balance

My son is too young as yet for school, but I already have the sense that kids are pretty heavily propagandized when it comes to ...
January 29, 2007

A Metric Problem

posted by Alan Greenblatt San Francisco is an expensive city to park in. Even if you can find a space on the street with a ...
January 25, 2007

Victory for the Louse Lobby

The public schools in Oakland, California, have decided to drop their zero-tolerance policy against lice. Kids with itchy nits will be welcome to stay in ...
January 22, 2007

Out of Fashion

One of the states where the legislature has spent recent years arguing about social issues, arguably to the detriment of other policies such as budgeting ...
January 22, 2007

Think Globally, Act Locally

The city clerk of Evansville, Indiana, is urging residents to send in money for a worthy cause: shipping golf balls to soldiers in Iraq. Apparently, ...
January 18, 2007

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

There are musical groups that seem to have been around forever -- the Platters, the Orioles, the Drifters. One reason for their longevity, which we've ...
January 16, 2007

Downtown MBAs

Many cities are trying to attract college campuses -- or at least parts of them -- to their downtowns. I've written in Governing about how ...
January 11, 2007

STOP It Already

I read outgoing Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's book about weight loss when I was writing a story for Congressional Quarterly about his having shed 110 pounds. ...
January 10, 2007

So Much for Savings

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson has put forward a crime-fighting plan that he says will cost an additional $85 million per year. Putting aside the merits of ...
January 10, 2007

Where the Poor Are

Our friends at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program have put out a study looking at where poor people live. It looks at growth in poverty ...
January 9, 2007

Nest Feathering

Here's a plea to all government officials: Come up with a better reason to justify high public-sector salaries and benefits. The Sacramento Bee today reports ...
January 8, 2007

Koppel Adds to Overcrowding

Overcrowding in California's prisons has become a huge issue -- so much so that Ted Koppel is apparently planning to produce a TV documentary about ...
January 5, 2007

New Day for Daley

It's looking increasingly likely that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is set to win a sixth term this year. The Chicago Sun-Times has this story ...
January 1, 2007

Merit Pay Moves Forward

A number of states and cities are piloting a much-debated management tool to pay teachers.
January 1, 2007

Crossing the Delaware

Two states that share a river can't agree on what to do with it.
January 1, 2007

What's a Lobbyist?

Colorado's new "cooling-off" law is making legislators nervous.
January 1, 2007

Tabling Tabor

The drive for tax and spending limits is running out of steam.
January 1, 2007

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

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.
December 20, 2006

Okay, We'll Bite

We've gotten emails from the office of Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, encouraging us to give more coverage to the city-county police merger set to happen ...
December 18, 2006

"A Love Card"

The Washington Post ran a soft as mush profile of incoming D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in one of its Sunday lifestyle sections. It does ...
December 14, 2006

Love Your Enemies

We've written a lot about Arnold Schwarzenegger's tendency to veer in policy approach -- conciliatory in even-numbered years, confrontational in the odd ones. Now that's ...
December 14, 2006

Is Obama For Real?

The last thing I want to get involved in is speculation about the next presidential election, but I think some of the initial reaction to ...
December 12, 2006

The French Will Never Change

This is outside our normal scope, but fans of French-style protectionism will enjoy this passage from 1491 , Charles Mann's fascinating and unusually well-written book about North ...
December 12, 2006

Latino or Hispanic?

There's often newsroom debate about how to refer to members of various subgroups of Americans. Some editors think that "Native Americans" is still ...
December 12, 2006

Blue Suburbia

Following an election, it's always good to check in with Rhodes Cook, my old coworker at CQ and author of an important political newsletter. We ...
December 12, 2006

Hooray for Chains

The contrarian essay is a staple of magazine journalism. There's one such essay in the December Atlantic that's of interest to this readership. Virginia Postrel ...
December 8, 2006

Some Bright Spots in New Orleans

There's been nothing but bad news about New Orleans in recent days. Louisiana's largest commercial property insurer has announced that it's pulling out of the ...
December 7, 2006

Abortions Decline in S. Dakota

Everyone knows that South Dakota voters overturned a ban on abortion approved by lawmakers earlier this year. That doesn't make the procedure popular in the ...
December 7, 2006

Megaphone in Washington

When I was calling people after the elections last month, trying to figure out what they meant for states, the point that was generally made ...
December 7, 2006

Worth Emphasizing

Otis White, over on our "Urban Notebook" page, makes a point about units of local government in St. Louis that is worth highlighting: &...
December 6, 2006

Michael Guido

Michael Guido, the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, died Tuesday after battling cancer for months. Although just 52, he had served for 21 years as the city's mayor. ...
December 6, 2006

Maybe They'll Cut Their Conference Fees

I'm not in the habit of posting press releases, but thought this was interesting news for this audience: Philadelphia, PA, December 5, 2006: The Alliance for Regional ...
December 4, 2006

Best Practices?

Can a city be led based on the best ideas of mayors in other cities? Adrian Fenty, the incoming mayor of Washington, seems intent on ...
December 1, 2006

Jebocracy

Jeb Bush's eight-year reign in Florida is almost over. Tallahassee may never be the same.
December 1, 2006

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

Hoping to Be Heard

States believe the new Congress will listen to them more than the old one did.
December 1, 2006

Posse Politics

A new law gives the president broader authority to call out the National Guard.
December 1, 2006

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

Bloomberg's Wager

Is there anything new to try in fighting poverty? The mayor of New York thinks so.
December 1, 2006

Annals of Medical Privacy

You might recall that the attorneys general of Kansas and Indiana received national attention for their efforts to examine medical records from abortion clinics. They ...
December 1, 2006

Way Too Many

Should California increase its number of state legislators? Steve Wiegand, of the Sacramento Bee, has an amusing column about this idea. Because of California's population, ...
November 30, 2006

You Could Look It Up

The Oakland Public Library is making available online historic images from its collection -- 200 to start. Most are of local buildings and bridges as they ...
November 10, 2006

Friends in High Places

posted Alan Greenblatt States should start getting along better with Congress. Issues that congressional Democrats are touting, such as stem cell research and a minimum ...
November 10, 2006

New Majorities

It makes sense that Republicans were able to make gains this year in Oklahoma and Montana. Oklahoma is a conservative state and the Montana legislature ...
November 9, 2006

Too Bushed to Bash Both

I'm not a great believer in the idea that foul language should necessarily be more prevalent on a blog than in a print publication. But ...
November 9, 2006

Unto the Sons

Here's a fun bit of trivia out of this year's elections. Four of the new state attorneys general are the sons of former governors. Andrew ...
November 8, 2006

Sore Winners

What does it mean to claim victory before others declare you the winner? I think it's another symptom of our bruising, in-your-face political culture. The ...
November 8, 2006

Govs: Who's In, Who's Out

Here's a cheat sheet on the overall scoreboard in races for governor: THE GOVERNORS Next Year Republicans     22 Democrats       28 ...
November 8, 2006

Ridiculous Spin Dept.

Al From, the head of the Democratic Leadership Council, has released a statement celebrating "a broad and deep Democratic win." Fair enough. But ...
November 7, 2006

Do You Know the Way?

Most Bay Area incumbents are winning easily, but scandals are having an effect there as elsewhere. It looks like Chuck Reed will be the new ...
November 7, 2006

Stem Cells

posted by Alan Greenblatt At nearly 3 am, still not seeing any definitive call on the stem cell vote in Missouri, but the pro side is ...
November 7, 2006

Dem Gains in Legislatures

Democrats are claiming control of a majority of chambers, including new majorities in the Indiana House, New Hampshire House and Senate, Iowa House and Senate, ...
November 7, 2006

Wrapping Up Governor's Races

Otter wins Idaho. O'Malley is solid in Maryland. AP isn't calling, but looks like Pawlenty wins another term. He'll have to deal with a Democratic ...
November 7, 2006

Newest Arnold Pun

SF Chronicle site has headline, "He's The Two-Terminator."
November 7, 2006

A Democratic Senate?

McCaskill wins Missouri. Tester is still ahead in Montana. That's a tied Senate, with VP Cheney breaking the tie. Webb has declared victory in Virginia. ...
November 7, 2006

Michigan

Michigan voters passed a ban on affirmative action. Remember that it was a University of Michigan case that led the Supreme Court to uphold the ...
November 7, 2006

Oklahoma

Republicans picked up the two Senate seats they needed to force a tie. Democrats picked up one House seat, far from enough to end the ...
November 7, 2006

More Chambers

No change in Tennessee Senate. Democrats pick up a minor party seat in the House. Democrats pick up 10 seats in the Vermont House, plus one ...
November 7, 2006

They Can't Win Everywhere

There was a lot of 13th Floor chatter about whether big gubernatorial victories could help Democrats pick up legislative seats in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania ...
November 7, 2006

Democrats Storm Iowa

In addition to their House seat gains and Chet Culver's election -- the first time Iowa has elected one Democrat to succeed another as governor ...
November 7, 2006

Some More GOP House Losses

Still no Dem losses. As of now, Democrats are up 19 seats, with about three dozen yet to be called. Nick Lampson has just been declared ...
November 7, 2006

Ballot Measures

Jennie Bowser of NCSL sums up the major measures here. I checked that site to see what else was happening on abortion, after we've noted ...
November 7, 2006

Black in a Landslide

Jim Black, the scandal-prone speaker of the North Carolina House, will doubtless face a recount after winning reelection by -- get this -- 7 votes. That's ...
November 7, 2006

Dem Senate Hopes

Jim Webb is speaking now, sounding a lot more upbeat than George Allen did a while ago. That one will drag on for weeks, I'm ...
November 7, 2006

More California Results

California voters, having rejected every measure on the special election ballot last November, are feeling in a more positive frame of mind, it seems. As ...
November 7, 2006

Thoughts from Kansas

I asked Burdett Loomis, a political scientist at the University of Kansas, his thoughts on the results there. (Note that Loomis has worked for Governor ...
November 7, 2006

Non-Arnold California Results

These are all early results, about 11 percent of precincts: Voters are overwhelmingly approving Proposition 83, one of the toughest versions of the tough-on-sex-offenders "Jessica's Law&...
November 7, 2006

Carcieri Reelected

Don Carcieri survives the Democratic storm in Rhode Island, winning another term 51-49. Note that AP still is not calling Maryland gov.
November 7, 2006

Tennessee Senate

Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga, wins the Tennessee Senate seat, according to MSNBC. That gives Republicans 49 seats. George Allen is thanking God and ...
November 7, 2006

Minor Party Spoilers

We were having some dialogue on this page in recent days about the impact of third party candidates. Note that a Green Party candidate has ...
November 7, 2006

A Democratic Congress

Tester has been holding a big lead since polls closed in Montana. Webb is still up by 2,000 in Virginia. If those results hold, that means ...
November 7, 2006

30 Dem Govs?

Note that the five states where Josh reports the governor's race is still in doubt -- MN, RI, NV, AK, ID -- are all held ...
November 7, 2006

Chamber Gain for Dems

NCSL reports that Democrats will take the Michigan House. I was just trying to find numbers on the Michigan Senate, where Democrats have had hopes ...
November 7, 2006

Jump Ball

There's been a tied chamber after every election going back to the 1980s. It looks like the Oklahoma Senate will have that distinction this time ...
November 7, 2006

Protecting Property Rights

Eminent domain measures are passing all over the country. Our friends at NCSL say ballot measures have passed in six states, with Arizona looking good ...
November 7, 2006

Webb Takes Lead in Virginia

Webb, who has been behind all night, has taken the lead over Allen as the last few percent of precincts are coming in. Apparently the ...
November 7, 2006

Toting Up the Governors

Dem gains: New York (of course), Ohio, Colorado. Hatch is ahead in Minnesota, 47-45. AP has called Maine for incumbent John Baldacci, with an unimpressive 40 ...
November 7, 2006

Four More Years of Arnold

AP calls California for incumbent Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. No surprise there, but still it's one of the amazing political comeback stories of the year.
November 7, 2006

Maryland: The New Florida?

Note that the Washington Post has withdrawn its call for Ben Cardin in the Maryland Senate race. Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich still leads the governor's ...
November 7, 2006

Maybe Beebe

Have we called Arkansas for Beebe yet? He'll be yet one more AG-turned-governor. Despite a successful 10-year run by outgoing Republican Mike Huckabee, Democrats have ...
November 7, 2006

No on Abortion Ban

CNN projects that the South Dakota ban on abortion will go down to defeat. The legislature and governor had signed off on a ban without ...
November 7, 2006

A Democratic House

Obviously, what a Dem House means right now is a rebuke to the Bush White House. The cable commentators have been talking about whether the ...
November 7, 2006

Lingle: Four More Years

CNN says Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has won four more years. Have to say, despite the call for O'Malley, Ehrlich's lead is holding steady with ...
November 7, 2006

Democrats Win U.S. House

CNN says Dems have the net gain of 15 seats that they need to take the U.S. House. There are plenty of races yet to ...
November 7, 2006

More Dem Legislative Gains

Dems have made three pickups in the Delaware House, according to NCSL. Check out the NCSL blog, where Bill Wyatt reports: "The Democratic pickups ...
November 7, 2006

Dems Take Indiana House

Democrats are claiming victory in Indiana, where they appear to have erased the GOP's slender 52-48 lead. Here's the statement from the DLCC. Can't believe ...
November 7, 2006

Legislative Races

Legislative returns are slow in coming. Looks like Democrats have knocked off 8 GOP incumbents in the Vermont House, adding to their majority. Democratic candidate/former ...
November 7, 2006

Crist Wins

CNN calls Florida for Charlie Crist, the Republican state attorney general who will succeed Governor Jeb Bush. Exit polls showed 66 percent approval among voters for ...
November 7, 2006

Scandal Seats

Mark Foley/Joe Negron still hanging tough in Florida, but Republicans have lost one of the other "scandal seats." The Ohio seat held ...
November 7, 2006

No Habitat

Hodes beats Bass in New Hampshire. Bass was, along with defeated Republican Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chaffee and Connecticut's Nancy Johnson, a classic GOP moderate ...
November 7, 2006

Gubernatorial State of Play

CNN calls Ed Rendell's reelection in Pennsylvania. Also, another term for Jim Doyle, the governor of Wisconsin. Democratic candidates holding big leads right now in ...
November 7, 2006

Dem Sweep in Indiana

The networks finally recognizing that it's election night. ABC is calling all three contested Indiana House seats for the Democrats. Nancy Johnson, a 24-year Connecticut ...
November 7, 2006

Turning Kansas Purplish?

Kansas really is fascinating. Sebelius won four years ago largely because the state GOP there is so fractured. She has been popular but has struggled ...
November 7, 2006

It's Official in DC

Adrian Fenty, the new mayor of DC, is making his victory speech right now.
November 7, 2006

Dewey Defeats Truman

Just kidding.
November 7, 2006

Crist Pulling Away

State Attorney General Charlie Crist is up 54-44 percent in the FL governor's race with 58 percent of the vote in. There could be as many ...
November 7, 2006

Meanwhile, in Congress...

Yarmuth wins in Louisville. That's a big win for Democrats in the House. They also have taken the Rhode Island Senate seat. That's three of ...
November 7, 2006

Maryland Governor

That was another Maryland race that Bob Ehrlich, the incumbent Republican governor, kept close. Ehrlich has always had an appealing persona and I'll disagree with ...
November 7, 2006

Maryland Senate

Ben Cardin wins. That shouldn't have been a race. Maryland is a very blue state, but it stayed close until the end. Cardin has been ...
November 7, 2006

Joe-mentum

How can a political blog ignore the fact that networks are calling Connecticut for Lieberman?
November 7, 2006

Governors Winning Easily

MSNBC calling governor races -- Napolitano, Spitzer, Freudenthal, Heineman, Perdue, Richardson, Henry all win. Granholm wins Michigan, too. I was in Michigan a few weeks ...
November 7, 2006

Top of the Hour

Wow. Amy Klobuchar and Debbie Stabenow are being projected winners in Minnesota and Michigan Senate races, right along Hillary and other never-in-doubt winners. Klobuchar has ...
November 7, 2006

Here Comes Spitzer

Polls about to close in several states. Some tossup House seats (North Carolina 11, even the Mark Foley seat) are nearly tied at the moment. Yarmuth ...
November 7, 2006

Enough for or of Allen?

MSNBC calls Ohio Senate seat for Democat Sherrod Brown. Dems getting the gimmes for Senate, but George Allen up 50-49 in Virginia with 55 percent reporting. ...
November 7, 2006

All Three in Indiana?

Joe Donnelly is pulling away from Chris Chocola in the South Bend district but it's still early (32 percent). Baron "The Baron" Hill is ...
November 7, 2006

Class of 1994

CNN has called IN-08 for Ellsworth. John Hostettler was elected in 1994 and since has been a perennial target for Democrats. It took a Democratic year ...
November 7, 2006

Crist Ahead Out of Gate

posted by Alan Greenblatt Crist is up 60-38 for Florida gov with 8 percent reporting So far that's a hold for Brother Bush.
November 7, 2006

Ohio River Results

posted by Alan Greenblatt Ellsworth still way up with 29 percent of vote in. Baron "The Baron" Hill barely ahead in other southern Indiana ...
November 7, 2006

Head Games

posted by Alan Greenblatt I'm still getting calls from Democratic friends saying they don't believe their party can actually pull off a win tonight. Meanwhile, ...
November 7, 2006

Very Early Results

posted by Alan Greenblatt But who can wait any longer? With 37 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat John Yarmuth is leading in Kentucky's 3rd District in ...
November 7, 2006

Corruption Is Tops

posted by Alan Greenblatt National Review blog has the Senate numbers also, along with issue questions. Corruption is top concern, followed by terror, economy, Iraq. ...
November 7, 2006

Bad for Bush

posted by Alan Greenblatt Early exit polls (and we know how accurate those can be) show bad news for Bush. Nearly 6 in 10 disapprove of the ...
November 7, 2006

A Democratic Senate?

I just saw some exit polls for U.S. Senate races. Many are close but if the numbers hold, Democrats would get the gain of ...
November 7, 2006

Promises Made

We've been talking a lot here on the 13th Floor about what we expect the new governors to do once they take office. There will ...
November 6, 2006

Races to Watch

As Josh says, we'll be blogging and offering election coverage well into the night tomorrow. If you want to know whether Democrats are really going ...
November 6, 2006

When a Stranger Calls

Talkingpointsmemo.com, a liberal-leaning blog, is chockablock with stories about robocalls sponsored by the National Republican Campaign Committee. People in some swing districts are being ...
November 6, 2006

Defending Third Parties

We don't get a lot of comments, unfortunately, here on the 13th Floor. But I did get a couple in response to my post the ...
November 3, 2006

Lateral Movement

Nearly seven years ago, Governing ran a cover story about Oakland, noting that the city was undergoing a unique experiment in shared power between the ...
November 3, 2006

Good Government = Bad Politics?

All year, I've kept one eye on the Minnesota governor's race. Not because it's one of the closest in the country -- although there is ...
November 2, 2006

Just South of Big Beaver

If I lived in suburban Detroit, I'd be tempted to accept the invitation I just got from a candidate there, if only because of the ...
November 2, 2006

Giving Credit Where It's Due

If you arrived at this blog via Governing's home page, you'll note that Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi adorns our current cover, which celebrates our ...
November 1, 2006

Smoke Signals

No-smoking ordinances have proved surprisingly resistant to challenge.
November 1, 2006

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

Church Vs. Clock

Child-abuse victims are given many years to press charges. They're saying they need more.
November 1, 2006

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

Steady in A Storm

Reassuring and rebuilding Mississippi after Katrina.
November 1, 2006

The Deal in The Details

A shared-sacrifice approach to expanding health coverage.
October 31, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work

I don't collect stories about waste in the wide world of homeland security, but if you do, here's a good one. A high-tech $160,000 machine was ...
October 31, 2006

As Goes Idaho...

What's happening in Idaho? The Gem State is one of the most solidly Republican in the country. It's a sure entry in the "red&...
October 30, 2006

Conflict Perverse

With Election Day just over a week away, naturally the closest races are getting the most attention. But does that mean that citizens are receiving ...
October 27, 2006

Just Guns, No Butter

This story about Daley, Bloomberg and about 100 other mayors forming a coalition to protest the easy availability of "illegal guns" gives me an ...
October 20, 2006

How Big a Tide?

posted by Alan Greenblatt As everyone knows, things are also looking grim for Republican control of the U.S. House. Even conservative commentators, such as ...
October 19, 2006

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Democrats, who currently hold 22 governorships, will have several more after the November elections. So says Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts and head of the ...
October 18, 2006

Erasing the Opposition

Indiana Democrats have real hopes of taking back the state House next month. One GOP incumbent they won't beat, however, is Kathy Kreag Richardson. She's ...
October 16, 2006

New York, Blue York

If there's any state where it's clear that Democrats will clean up next month, it's New York. Hillary Clinton will get a big win in ...
October 13, 2006

Dogs Bite Men

Most reports and studies have no impact. But one released just this week has already resulted in a change in state policy. Human Rights Watch ...
October 10, 2006

Making a Hash of Things

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short article about the mayoral race in Rabbit Hash, a small town along the Ohio River in ...
October 5, 2006

Living Out of Bounds

When I saw the headline of this story in the Des Moines Register, "Election watchdog calls residency law out of date," I have ...
October 4, 2006

A Politics of Doubt

Twenty years ago in his novel Roger's Version, John Updike wrote, "The Devil is the absence of doubt." That's a sentiment that Andrew ...
October 2, 2006

Free Riders

Commuters in Washington, as in many other big cities, are often handed free tabloid newspapers nowadays. For some reason, the freebies generate more litter than ...
October 1, 2006

Wired to Win

The 2006 campaign is being fought with digital weapons--and candidates aren't always at the controls.
October 1, 2006

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

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

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

Pupusa Politics

It's impractical to ban street vendors and difficult even to restrict them.
September 28, 2006

Voting Early and Often

With Election Day not much more than a month away, we're already on the hunt for clues about what the mood of voters will really ...
September 28, 2006