AUTHORS

J.B. Wogan -- Staff Writer. J.B. covers human services, immigration and gun regulation. He has written about city, county and state government for The Seattle Times and The Sammamish Review. In 2012, he wrote for PolitiFact's Obameter section, assessing the Obama administration's progress on dozens of campaign promises.

October 1, 2014

San Jose Election Tests Political Risk of Cutting Pensions

The California city’s November election will shed light on whether Democrats can risk the political fallout of cutting a prized union benefit to protect basic city services.
October 1, 2014

Government Gives Gas Stations Some Competition

In an effort to offer residents cheaper fuel, Somerset, Ky., opened what’s likely the nation’s first city-run retail gas station this summer.
September 23, 2014

When Public Housing Assistance Ends

A new study looks at what happens to people when they leave housing programs.
September 18, 2014

5 States Put Voting Reform to the Voters

Ballot measures in five states propose changes to early voting, voter registration and citizen-led initiatives.
September 11, 2014

Why Some Say Arkansas' Ethics Reform Is a Trojan Horse

A November ballot measure would limit the influence of lobbyists and corporations but also add time and flexibility to term limits.
September 10, 2014

After California, Massachusetts Voters Could Mandate Paid Sick Leave

Voters in Massachusetts will decide in November whether to make paid sick time a required benefit for most workers after California became only the second state to do so Wednesday.
September 8, 2014

Oregon Could Be the Next State to Let Undocumented Immigrants Get Licenses

Oregonians will decide in November whether they want to join the 10 states that already issue a driver's card or license to undocumented immigrants.
September 4, 2014

3 Cities to Collaborate in Anti-Poverty Fight

Louisville, Philadelphia and Nashville are the first cities in a new program that will dedicate $3 million in technical assistance to help cities reduce poverty.
September 3, 2014

In D.C., Most Gunshots Happen Near Schools

A new study uses gunshot-detection technology instead of police reports to track gun violence.
September 1, 2014

EPA Rules Could Breathe New Life into Cap and Trade

Cap and trade may be dead on Capitol Hill, but states could use it to meet new EPA targets for reducing power plants’ carbon emissions.
September 1, 2014

Cities Find New Ways to Go After Gun Violence

Widespread and comprehensive gun control legislation has failed at the federal and state levels. While cities don’t have the authority to ban guns, they’ve gotten creative trying to control them.
August 27, 2014

Cities to Compete for $45 Million Innovation Grants

Some cities will get grant funding to test a method of problem solving designed by the charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies.
August 26, 2014

Feds to Try Tying Work Requirements to Food Stamps

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking to fund state pilot projects that combine food assistance and job training in an effort to find the best way to get people out of poverty.
August 21, 2014

Rick Perry: Border Security Before Immigration Reform

In what resembled a presidential campaign speech, the recently indicted Texas governor called for increased federal controls against illegal immigration before Congress considers immigration reform.
August 8, 2014

Report: Cutting Jobless Benefits Doesn't Increase Employment

More than a handful of states cut unemployment benefits in recent years.
August 6, 2014

Missouri Voters Expand Constitutional Gun Rights

More than six in 10 voters approved a constitutional amendment pertaining to the right to bear arms and own ammunition and gun-related accessories.
August 4, 2014

Should States Expand Gun Restrictions or Gun Rights?

Ballot measures in Missouri and Washington state ask voters to weigh in on government's role in regulating firearms.
August 1, 2014

The Wyoming GOP's Civil War over Education

The state's Tea Party-backed superintendent created an intraparty rift over schools. Now, she's taking the fight to the next level and trying to unseat the incumbent governor from her own party.
July 29, 2014

City Pilot Uses Late Water Bills to Help the Poor

While Detroit used unpaid bills to cut off water service to thousands of people, five other cities are using those same outstanding payments to identify and help people in need.
July 24, 2014

Want to Govern? Survey Says, Attend Policy School

Senior public officials in state and local government say graduate school prepared them for their current careers, according to a new survey.
July 9, 2014

Former New Orleans Mayor Sentenced to 10 Years

Ray Nagin received a 10-year prison sentence after being convicted on corruption charges.
July 8, 2014

Mayors Group Scraps Cap-and-Trade Support

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has launched a new campaign to save energy and cut down on air pollution. But, due to GOP opposition, they're no longer urging Congress to pass cap and trade.
July 7, 2014

L.A. County Designs a Whole New Voting System

The nation's largest election jurisdiction is designing a voting system unlike any around the country. The administrator in charge of county elections explains why.
July 1, 2014

America's Looming Crisis in Voting Technology

The nation’s voting equipment is quickly becoming obsolete. But even if local governments could afford upgrades, no new machines exist to buy.
June 30, 2014

Supreme Court: Quasi Public Employees Exempt from Union Dues

The ruling creates a new class of "partial public employees" who can choose not to pay membership dues to unions representing them, laying the groundwork for overruling other precedents.
June 30, 2014

Michigan May Nix the Nation's Only Local Gun Boards

A bill in the legislature would end the policy requiring special county boards to review concealed gun applications. Critics worry the approval process will become too easy.
June 24, 2014

Why Every Foster Kid Should Have an 'Electronic Backpack'

Having a digital warehouse to hold foster kids' health and education records eases their many transitions from one home to another and makes it easier to apply for jobs and college. But few places have them.
June 18, 2014

Who Wants to Intern with the Government?

Women, minorities and community college students have more interest in government internships than the general student population, a survey finds.
June 16, 2014

How Government's Using Behavioral Economics to Get People to Make Better Decisions

Federally funded projects in several states and localities are testing ways to use convenience and peer pressure to get prison inmates and people who owe child support to make better decisions.
June 11, 2014

Americans Say States, Localities Need to Do More to Promote Affordable Housing

A recent survey shows most people think state and local governments aren't doing enough to ensure a sufficient supply of affordable housing. Several cities are trying to help.
June 6, 2014

After Isla Vista, Lawmakers Want to Take Guns from Dangerous People

California legislators proposed a bill to confiscate guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. Other states are already considering following suit.
June 3, 2014

States Push to Make Voting More Convenient

State legislatures have seen dozens of bills related to election reform so far in 2014. And unlike recent years, most of them are trying to make it easier to vote.
June 1, 2014

States and Localities Are Losing Their Influence in Washington

Increased partisanship in state and local government has caused the organizations representing them to lose some of their influence on federal policy. Can they get it back?
May 30, 2014

Report: Women Missing from Utah Politics

Women in Utah aren’t as politically engaged as their peers in other states. Current and former elected officials want to change that.
May 27, 2014

States Relax Medicaid Eligibility for Former Foster Kids

Eleven states are extending a provision of the federal health law to avoid punishing former foster kids for pursuing jobs or schools in other states.
May 19, 2014

Why's Vermont's Minimum-Wage Law Kind of a Big Deal?

It's the latest state to raise the minimum wage and the first this year that already linked automatic increases to inflation.
May 16, 2014

Why Government Should Help Poor People Get Bank Accounts

The former head of consumer affairs in New York City explains why helping the poor manage money wisely would also help governments manage their money better.
May 9, 2014

Some States Streamline Food Stamp, Medicaid Applications

Five states have used data from the federal food stamps program to quickly enroll more than 500,000 people in Medicaid.
May 7, 2014

Welfare Spending's Up, But Not for the Poorest

New research finds that federal spending on safety net programs has gone up since the 1970s, but it's not reaching the nation's poorest people and families.
May 5, 2014

Should Cities Limit the Number of Rideshare Cars?

Seattle recently became the first city to limit the number of rideshare cars. City Councilwoman Sally Clark talks about the controversial regulations that have since been suspended.
May 2, 2014

State Experiments Result in Increased Food Stamp Usage Among the Elderly

A lot of elderly people are eligible for food stamps but either don't know they are or face barriers to signing up.
May 1, 2014

Switzerland Takes the Minimum Wage a Step Further

Should everyone have a guaranteed minimum income even if they don’t have a job? It’s a radical idea on the Swiss ballot that also has some support in the United States.
May 1, 2014

What the U.S. Can Learn from Brazil's Less-Than-Universal Preschool

In 2009, Brazil became one of only three countries to mandate early education. But it quickly found that universal preschool is a simple idea that’s difficult to implement.
May 1, 2014

Lessons in Gun Control from Australia and Brazil

A recent book outlines other countries’ approaches to gun control that have significantly reduced violence. Should states look to these places as a model for gun laws?
April 28, 2014

Almost Half of Cities Have Cut Air Pollution

At least four in 10 American cities have cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. An April report details the extent to which a 2005 environmental campaign has spread to cities across the country.
April 23, 2014

Ad Attacks Republican Scott Smith for Ties to Mayors Group

A dark money group released a misleading TV ad that attacks Arizona gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith for liberal policy positions adopted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
April 22, 2014

Why Can't Oregon Get People Off of Welfare?

A recent audit says Oregon, which mirrors national trends in some ways, hasn't done enough to get citizens off public assistance and into the workforce.
April 17, 2014

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to Lead Mayors Group

After Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith stepped down from the presidency to run for governor, Johnson assumed the top position this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
April 16, 2014

The Business Case for Asking Applicants About Criminal History

Some states and cities want to to use "ban the box" legislation to stop employers from screening job applicants with criminal records. Here's why some businesses oppose such measures and how some lawmakers eased their concerns.
April 10, 2014

Why Connecticut's Paid Sick Leave Law Didn't Kill Jobs

Businesses reported little increase in costs since the state became the first to require companies to compensate workers for sick days.
April 4, 2014

4 Red States That May Raise the Minimum Wage

Four states with Republican-controlled legislatures may raise the minimum wage through ballot measures this year.
April 3, 2014

Baltimore May Ban Criminal History Question on Job Applications

Baltimore may become only the sixth city to "ban the box" to prevent companies from asking prospective employees about their criminal background early on in the application process.
April 1, 2014

Can Cities and Rural Counties Come Together?

Recent political battles have highlighted the decades-old divide between urban and rural areas, making groups that occupy a middle ground more necessary than ever.
April 1, 2014

Jason Kander: Young, In Charge and Taking on Ethics Reform

The 32-year-old secretary of state wants to make Missouri’s ethics laws, which are currently among the nation’s weakest, some of the strongest.
March 31, 2014

The Case for Ethics Reform in Missouri

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander explains why he wants to see tighter controls of campaign contributions and lobbyist gifts.
March 25, 2014

Is There a Better Model for Housing Vouchers?

A Baltimore program that requires participants to use their government rental aid in low-poverty, mostly white suburbs sheds light on how government can implement housing vouchers more effectively.
March 24, 2014

A Plan to Take the Stigma Out of Breastfeeding

With the help of a first-place award from a national public policy contest, a team of graduate students plans to increase breastfeeding rates in New York City.
March 24, 2014

Can Cities Change the Face of Biking?

There's a growing trend of teaching young people (especially those from demographic groups that historically haven’t embraced biking) how to repair and ride bikes.
March 18, 2014

Americans Still Love Their Libraries

Most Americans enjoy their public libraries and use them frequently, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.
March 12, 2014

Report: States Neglect Road Repairs

A new report by Smart Growth America charges that states are spending too much on new roads while existing infrastructure deteriorates.
March 6, 2014

Gay Rights Movement Sees Historic Gains in Many States

A new report details state legislation that impacted the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. While much of the report strikes a hopeful note, it also anticipates more political battles ahead.
March 5, 2014

Obama Pitches Major New Investments in Budget Plan

Here’s a rundown of the proposals that would most affect states and localities and how stakeholders reacted to the president's budget.
March 3, 2014

How Mayors Used the Stimulus for Energy Efficiency Projects

A new survey shows how cities used money from the 2009 stimulus package to invest in energy efficient infrastructure.
March 1, 2014

Is Increasing the Minimum Wage a Good Way to Alleviate Poverty?

Wage hikes have become the highest-profile antipoverty proposals in states and localities. But some advocates say boosting the Earned Income Tax Credit would be better for the working poor.
March 1, 2014

Fighting Traffic One Paint Brush at a Time

Frustrated by government inaction, citizens in cities across the country are taking traffic problems into their own hands. But the cities aren't always thankful.
February 28, 2014

Why Is the City of New Haven Selling Gift Cards?

Some cities are using government-issued prepaid cards to fight poverty and increase public safety. New Haven, Conn., is using them to stimulate the local economy. Should other cities do the same?
February 25, 2014

Why the District of Columbia Wants to Count LGBT Homeless Youth

The LGBT population makes up a disproportionate share of homeless youth, so the District wants to make its shelters safer and more accommodating for them.
February 13, 2014

Common Themes in the 2014 State of the State Addresses

Governors used their annual speeches to introduce proposals on education, pension reform, raising the minimum wage and more.
February 7, 2014

What Government Can Learn from Colleges about Transportation Policy

A new report details transportation policies on college campuses that could help municipalities promote public transit, biking and car-sharing services.
February 6, 2014

States See Mixed Results in Attempts to Improve Financial Security

A new report details which states are enacting policies aimed at helping low-income Americans become more financially secure and whether those policies translate into change.
February 1, 2014

Forget Technology; Denver Turns to Its Employees to Fix Problems

Instead of looking for better results through data analytics, new technology or paid consultants, Denver looks to its own employees for simple, straightforward reforms.
January 31, 2014

Jersey City Joins Paid Sick-Time Movement

Two New Jersey cities decided to join the handful of cities across the country that require employers to offer paid-sick time. We spoke with the mayor of Jersey City about the issue.
January 29, 2014

Obama to Mayors, Governors and State Legislators: Raise the Minimum Wage

After bills to raise the federal minimum wage stalled in Congress last year, Obama asked state and local officials to raise the minimum wage in their jurisdictions.
January 28, 2014

Arizona Makes Child Safety a Priority

Gov. Jan Brewer abolished the child protective services division in her state in the hopes of creating an independent agency that reports directly to her -- something only 10 other states have done.
January 24, 2014

Meet the First Woman Appointed to the Idaho Potato Commission

Peggy Grover made history in January when Idaho Gov. Butch Otter appointed her as the first woman to serve on the state's potato commission.
January 24, 2014

Minnesota Mayor Announces Competition to End Veteran Homelessness

After Phoenix used competition to effectively eliminate veteran homelessness, Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, Minn., will challenge towns in Iowa and Ohio to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015.
January 23, 2014

New Jersey Program Marks Cars for Emergency Responders

The state's Yellow Dot program allows counties, cities and towns to offer car decals that tell emergency responders that critical health information is stored in the motorist's glove compartment.
January 15, 2014

California Proposal Would Extend Health Insurance to Undocumented Immigrants

Under Obamacare now, undocumented immigrants and children who are legally present under Obama’s Deferred Action program are ineligible for Medicare, non-emergency Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
January 14, 2014

Maine Struggles with Welfare Misuse at ATMs

As states work to comply with new federal welfare rules that restrict recipients from withdrawing cash benefits from liquor stores, reports released by Maine's Department of Health and Human Services show some doing just that.
January 9, 2014

Rubio Unveils Poverty, Income Inequality Plan

A key part of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's proposal is handing over funds and discretion to states.
January 9, 2014

Amid Slow Recovery, Some States Turn to Tax Credits for Working Poor

Last year, at least 15 states sought to help the working poor by building upon the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
January 7, 2014

Cities That Raise the Minimum Wage May Have to Pay Their Workers More

State and local governments that look to raise the minimum wage may have to boost their own workers' pay first.
January 1, 2014

The Top 10 Legislative Issues to Watch in 2014

Plus six trending issues that could be big this year.
January 1, 2014

Are Governors’ State of the State Speeches All Talk?

Governors only succeed about half the time in passing legislative proposals they push for in their annual address.
December 23, 2013

Despite Broken Website, Maryland Enrolls Homeless in Medicaid

Medicaid enrollment assisters in Maryland are finding ways to sign up homeless people for public health insurance despite huge technical problems.
December 17, 2013

District of Columbia Council Finalizes Vote on Minimum Wage Hike

For a second and final time, the District of Columbia City Council voted unanimously to increase the minimum wage.
December 9, 2013

How Salt Lake City Solved Chronic Veteran Homelessness

Officials in Salt Lake City say that by the end of this month, they will have zero chronically homeless veterans.
December 9, 2013

How D.C. and 2 Maryland Counties Coordinated a Minimum Wage Hike

Legislators in Montgomery and Prince George's counties teamed up with the District of Columbia to raise the region's minimum wage. To do so required some compromise and trust in one another. This is how it happened.
December 4, 2013

District of Columbia to Consider Voting Rights Bill for Non-Citizens

A new bill would make D.C. join the handful of municipalities that give legal permanent residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections. So far, more than a quarter of the Council supports the measure.
December 1, 2013

But What Did Cory Booker Actually Accomplish in Newark?

He promised to rescue his troubled city as mayor. Did he deliver?
November 26, 2013

What Newtown Report Says About Gun Laws and the Mentally Ill

A report on the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., digs into the shooter's history of mental illness. Nothing suggests the state's new guards against arming the mentally ill would have stopped the incident.
November 25, 2013

Census Report: Poverty Could Be Worse Without Food Stamps

The new data comes at a time when Congress is considering deep cuts to the program in the farm bill.
November 15, 2013

New York City to Test New Tax Credit for Working Poor

It's unusual for a city to create its own tax credit, but New York has launched a pilot project that supplements the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to help lift low-income, single adult workers with no children out of poverty.
November 13, 2013

Alabama's Anti-Immigration Law Gutted

Alabama state officials have agreed to a settlement that guts most of the controversial provisions in the toughest anti-immigration law in the country.
November 7, 2013

Takoma Park Sees High Turnout Among Teens After Election Reform

In the nation's first local election with 16-year-olds voting, many teens took advantage of their new right to cast a ballot this week.
November 6, 2013

Seattle Voters Reject Public Financing of Council Campaigns

Seattle voters rejected a ballot measure that would have made the city one of a handful that match private contributions with public funds in council races.
November 6, 2013

As States Lose Food Stamp Money, Substitutes Are Scarce

A temporary boost in food stamp benefits expired on Nov. 1. Now hungry families must turn to food banks and other public programs for help.
November 1, 2013

One Office, Two (Sometimes Competing) Interests

Oklahoma is one of only a few states in which one executive oversees both cornfields and oil fields.
October 28, 2013

Should Taxpayers Fund Seattle City Council Campaigns?

A ballot measure in Seattle is asking voters to make it one of a handful of cities that uses public funds to pay for city council races.
October 22, 2013

New Poverty Measure in California Finds 2 Million Additional Poor

Researchers updated the federal tool for measuring poverty and found more Californians can't afford a basic standard of living.
October 18, 2013

Why Connecticut Bought a Tennis Tournament

Connecticut may be the first state in the nation to purchase a pro tennis tournament. The deal has its skeptics, but Gov. Dan Malloy and other state officials say it will generate millions.
October 14, 2013

How the Shutdown is Hurting Public Housing

Planned affordable housing projects are experiencing shutdown-related delays, and deals may fall through if the federal government doesn't re-open soon.
October 10, 2013

How Michigan Got Better at Counting Homeless Veterans

Homeless veterans are notoriously difficult to count. Michigan found a way to test the accuracy of its numbers and deepen the state’s understanding of veteran homelessness today.
October 1, 2013

As Shutdown Begins, State Unemployment Offices See Surge in Federal Worker Applications

On the first day of the shutdown, state unemployment offices in the mid-Atlantic received an unusual number of applications from federal employees -- some getting more in one day than an entire year.
October 1, 2013

How Will the Sharing Economy Change the Way Cities Function?

Ride-sharing services and the uncertainty about how or whether to regulate them like taxi cabs illustrate a world where “ownership” is a rapidly changing concept.
October 1, 2013

Federal Shutdown Could Disrupt Ceremony for Fallen Firefighters

A national memorial service for fallen firefighters would lose access to a venue, and other needed facilities, if the federal government shutdown persists.
September 24, 2013

Poverty Rates Remain Stubbornly High in Big Cities

In 54 big cities and towns, at least a quarter of the population lived below the federal poverty line last year, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
September 1, 2013

How Connecticut’s Breaking Down the Traditional Caseworker Model

Facing smaller staffs and budgets, nearly every state or local agency serving the poor has struggled to do so in a timely manner. A new approach in Connecticut is getting social services to people cheaper and faster.
August 27, 2013

HUD Releases Emergency Funds to Soften the Sequester's Impact

Local housing authorities are in dire straits. Without funds, some may have to eliminate rental assistance.
August 8, 2013

Oakland's Debit-ID Cards That Aim to Help Unbanked, Immigrants Catching On

In the hopes of helping immigrants and the unbanked, the city was the nation's first to offer cards that act as an ID and a prepaid debit card. For a product targeted at low-income people, though, critics charge the cards are too expensive.
August 1, 2013

More States Consider Billing Risky Rescues to Make Thrill-Seekers Think Again

At least three states already allow and more are considering allowing localities to charge citizens for what can be dangerous and expensive rescues that occur when recklessness (like kayaking during a flood) is involved.
July 30, 2013

Cities Launch Anti-Poverty Centers

With federal support for social service programs dwindling, cities are looking for new ways to combat poverty.
July 26, 2013

Connecticut May be 1st State to Codify Animal-Assisted Therapy for Trauma Victims

State officials found dogs to be helpful therapeutic aids for counseling the surviving children of the mass school shooting. A new law may make Connecticut the first state with a formal animal-assisted therapy program for trauma victims.
July 25, 2013

Justice Dept. Targets Texas in New Voting-Rights Challenge

A month after a Supreme Court ruling freed jurisdictions from having to get federal approval to change their election laws, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a lawsuit to require Texas to do just that -- and "it will not be our last," he said.
July 23, 2013

Better Building Challenge Helps Los Angeles Track Energy Use

Even big cities like L.A. don't have the capacity to collect energy data in a timely fashion. But a federal program helps the city’s building owners measure consumption.
July 1, 2013

Study: Most of Mayors' Talk of Lowering Crime is Symbolic

Mayors talk a lot about lowering crime, according to a new study, but their words often carry no weight for creating change.
June 28, 2013

Cities, Counties Praise Senate for Immigration Bill

Local government associations support the basic principles for immigration reform that are in the Senate bill.
June 28, 2013

Mississippi AG Jim Hood: The Last Democrat in Dixie

Somebody forgot to tell Mississippi’s attorney general that his party doesn’t win in the Deep South anymore.
June 28, 2013

Who Should Regulate Guns?

After gun control measures failed in Washington, states are taking matters into their own hands.
June 25, 2013

New Child Well-Being Rankings Released

The 2013 Kids Count data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation had some unexpected surprises.
June 25, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Part of Voting Rights Act

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the key provision that provided a formula for deciding which states must ask for permission before making changes to its elections procedures.
June 21, 2013

Report is 1st to Detail Lost, Stolen Guns by State

A first-of-its-kind audit shows that about 190,000 firearms were reported to police as lost or missing in 2012. The data may inform current debates about whether people should have to report missing guns.
June 19, 2013

Arizona's Proof-of-Citizenship Requirement for Voters Struck Down

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court blocks proof-of-citizenship requirements on federal voter registration forms, but leaves open the possibility of amending the form to include Arizona's stricter standard for verifying citizenship.
June 14, 2013

Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush Sell Immigration Reform as Economic Boost for States

Immigration reform could save states money and boost the economy, said former governors Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush at a recent forum.
June 14, 2013

Localities Push Pennsylvania to Reconsider Requiring People to Report Missing Guns

After 30 municipalities passed laws requiring residents to tell police when their guns disappear, the legislature is reconsidering a statewide proposal that failed in 2008 to do just that.
June 6, 2013

Gun-Control Group Sues Nelson, Georgia over New Law Requiring Gun Ownership

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is suing the city of Nelson, Ga., over its new ordinance requiring residents to own firearms. The lawsuit's outcome could impact other places with gun mandates.
June 5, 2013

How Former OMB Director Shelley Metzenbaum Plans to Restore Public Confidence in Government

A former leader at the Office of Management and Budget hopes to use her new position to restore public confidence in government. Here's how she plans to do it.
May 31, 2013

Technology Threatens Public Officials’ Personal Safety

Several high-profile government officials were killed this year. Standing in the public light has always had its risks, but they’re higher than ever as tracking an official’s whereabouts can be as simple as following their Twitter feed.
May 28, 2013

How Do State and Local Government Officials View Gun Control?

Most state and local public officials favor universal background checks, however, support varies when it comes to other proposals to prevent gun violence.
May 23, 2013

Florida, LexisNexis Partner to Combat Public Assistance Fraud

A pilot program, which could soon spread to other states, uses software to automatically verify a person's identity when they apply for Medicaid, welfare or food stamps.
May 15, 2013

Will San Francisco's Kindergartener Bank Accounts Catch On?

San Francisco was the first city to create college savings accounts for every kindergartener in public school. Now other jurisdictions are contemplating a similar program.
May 10, 2013

Cities' Anti-Terror Grants at Risk Under President's Reform Proposal

Federal grants that aided police in the Boston Marathon bombing have shrunk in recent years and are at risk of further cuts under the president's reform proposal.
May 1, 2013

10 New State Laws That Loosen Gun Restrictions

While some states have tightened gun restrictions since last year's mass shootings, many in the South and Midwest have passed new laws being celebrated by the National Rifle Association.
April 30, 2013

States Look to Reduce Part-Time Lawmakers’ Bias

Most state lawmakers supplement their legislative job with one in the private sector. To reduce the conflicts of interest that inevitably arise from this, states are considering revising their ethics laws.
April 29, 2013

Why States Are Using Welfare to Pay for Housing

A program to lift people out of homelessness under President Obama's stimulus package yielded some encouraging early results, but lacks a long-term funding source. Some states are turning to welfare.
April 22, 2013

Tying Welfare Benefits to Grades Meets Resistance in Tennessee

Should welfare benefits be tethered to a students' performance in school? One Tennessee legislator thinks so, but he's gotten national backlash for his proposal.
April 16, 2013

Chronic and Veteran Homelessness Declined in 2012

Despite some troubling economic conditions, chronic and veteran homelessness both dropped by more than 6 percent last year, according to a new report.
April 15, 2013

Study: Citizen Budgeting Related to Better Outcomes

Inviting public comment early in the budget process, and doing so in multiple ways, is closely associated with better performance outcomes, according to a new study.
April 10, 2013

5 Gun Safety Measures in Obama's 2014 Budget

The administration has asked Congress to fund better record keeping for background checks and scientific research related to gun violence. For full coverage of the president's proposed budget, click here.
April 1, 2013

When Colleges Create Their Own DREAM Acts

As granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants becomes more popular, some universities aren't waiting for the green light from state lawmakers to do it.
March 29, 2013

Tea Party Running the Show in Georgia County

Most of Fayette County’s elected leaders are Tea Partiers, shedding light on how Tea Party reformers -- if given full control -- might shape public policy and overhaul Republican politics at the local level.
March 26, 2013

NYC Social Service Nonprofits Compete for Prize Money

To win, they'll need to prove they have the most novel and effective way to help low-income New Yorkers.
March 26, 2013

Liquor Prohibition Ending in Parts of the South

Eighty years after Congress repealed prohibition, some cities in Mississippi have decided to permit the sale of hard alcohol.
March 14, 2013

Report: High-Skill Worker Funds Target Wrong Parts of Country

Money raised through visa applications to pay for high-skill worker training doesn't actually match geographic demand, according to a new report.
March 13, 2013

Advancing the Debate: Should Teachers Carry Guns?

South Dakota is the first state to explicitly allow school employees to carry guns. Critics fear accidents, while supporters view the law as a way to give districts more autonomy.
March 7, 2013

Study: DREAM Acts Would be Economic Boon for States

When state lawmakers consider granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, they tend to focus on strict university-related spending and tuition revenues. A new study finds that government and society would see a net economic benefit.
March 5, 2013

How Many Undocumented Immigrants Would Take In-State Tuition? No One Knows.

The price tag of tuition equity bills can save them or kill them. But figuring out those actual costs is anybody's guess.
March 4, 2013

Advancing the Debate: Why Legalize Sports Betting?

New Jersey passed a law to legalize sports betting at casinos and race tracks, which is already allowed in four states. But the feds and major sports leagues have been working to block it.
February 28, 2013

Some State Legislators Want to Work More, Not Less

Four state legislatures meet every other year instead of annually. Lawmakers in North Dakota and Texas want to leave biennial budgeting in the past.
February 28, 2013

Cities Rethink Gun Buyback Programs

The programs were found to be ineffective in reducing violent crime, but cities are revisiting -- and in some cases, revamping -- them in the wake of last year's mass shootings.
February 26, 2013

New Group Studies International Social Services Programs

The U.S.-based firm Mathematica Policy Research will evaluate the success of programs aimed at helping the world's most vulnerable children.
February 25, 2013

Advancing the Debate: Why Give Illegal Immigrants In-State Tuition?

Oregon may become the next state to grant in-state tuition to young illegal immigrants. We review the arguments for and against state tuition equity laws, which 13 states currently have and at least a dozen are considering.
February 20, 2013

Advancing the Debate: Should Pennsylvania’s Lottery Go Private?

Pennsylvania's attorney rejected a contract to privatize the state lottery. The governor is scrambling to find a solution. Local newspapers give their take on the controversy.
February 15, 2013

North Carolina Will Grant Driver's Licenses to Young Illegal Immigrants

North Carolina will become the ninth state to grant driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants, the state's transportation secretary announced Feb. 14.
February 13, 2013

Obama Calls for More for Infrastructure, Jobs, Energy

In his State of the Union address, the president laid out a second-term agenda that could result in more federal aid to state and local governments.
February 11, 2013

Advancing the Debate: Political, Fiscal Costs of the Medicaid Expansion

11 GOP governors have rejected the Medicaid expansion, but some are endorsing it -- even though they lambasted so-called "Obamacare."
February 7, 2013

Pew Study: Not All Immigrants Want Citizenship

A new study examines why some eligible immigrants choose not to seek naturalization. For some, it's because they don't want to be U.S. citizens.
February 6, 2013

At Immigration Hearing, Mayor Julian Castro Spars with House Committee

In its first hearing of 2013 on immigration reform, Republicans on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee sparred with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro over the merits of comprehensive immigration reform.
February 4, 2013

Advancing the Debate: Why 2013 Is (or Isn’t) Right for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Pundits think the stars are aligned for comprehensive immigration reform.
January 30, 2013

Survey Finds Broad Support for Universal Background Checks, Not Weapons Bans

A new survey to be published in The New England Journal of Medicine finds that most gun owners and non-gun owners support criminal-history background checks for all gun sales. Proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were less popular among gun owners.
January 28, 2013

Op-Eds Offer Fresh Perspectives on Gun Control

Some news commentary has escaped the binary of second amendment rights vs. a full-scale firearms ban.
January 25, 2013

Gun-Control Advocates Drop 'Gun Show Loophole' Talking Point

Gun-control advocates are instead focusing on universal background checks and closing the private-sales loophole. Here's why.
January 24, 2013

Mayors Group Backs New Assault Weapons Ban Bill in Congress

Michael Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, voiced the group's support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill to ban assault weapons.
January 21, 2013

Police Verify Dangers First to Reduce False Alarms

An Urban Institute report describes how three police departments saved time and money by reducing the incidence of false alarms.
January 17, 2013

State Immigration Compacts Signal Bipartisan Principles for Reform

Colorado is the latest state to publish guiding principles for federal immigration reform.
January 15, 2013

Governors Weigh In on Gun Violence in State of State Speeches

Some state leaders aren’t waiting for Congress to address last year’s mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo. So far five governors have alluded to gun violence in their annual state-of-the-state addresses.
January 14, 2013

Maryland Gov. O'Malley to Push for State Assault Weapons Ban

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has announced his legislative agenda for gun control includes a ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
January 10, 2013

States Consider Closing the Gun-Show Loophole

Only a handful of states require background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows, but some legislators are trying to change that this year.
January 8, 2013

Maryland Task Force Recommendations Could Take Guns from Mentally Ill

As part of a re-examination of Maryland state laws on firearms and the mentally ill, a task force has recommended that the state should require mental health professionals to contact police if an individual seems dangerous. The policy, if it becomes law, could lead to new gun seizures.
January 4, 2013

Wind Energy Tax Credit Extended in Fiscal Cliff Deal

Under last week’s fiscal cliff deal, states that depend on wind as part of their energy portfolio got the production tax credit renewed for another year.