July 30, 2015

Illinois Governor and Largest State Employee Union Agree to Contract Extension

The short-term contract extension, which prevents both sides from initiating a strike or lockout before Sept. 30, comes as a previous one-month contract extension was set to run out Friday.
July 30, 2015

Superstorm Sandy Still Impacting New Jersey

A study indicates that nearly three years after storm waters surged through the state more than one in four residents whose houses were damaged still experienced emotional distress.
July 30, 2015

Right-to-Work Applies to State Employees, Rules Michigan Court

The Michigan Supreme Court, in an opinion that has the effect of making state employees subject to Michigan's 2012 right-to-work law, ruled Wednesday that Michigan's Civil Service Commission never had the authority to impose union fees on state workers, even before the controversial law was passed.
July 30, 2015

Congressman Fattah Indicted on Charges Stemming From 2007 Mayor's Race

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and four associates were indicted Wednesday on racketeering conspiracy charges stemming from several alleged schemes to misuse campaign funds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money to further their political and financial interests.
July 30, 2015

On New Gun Law, Los Angeles Tells NRA to 'Bring It On'

Defying sharp warnings from gun rights groups, Los Angeles thrust itself into the national debate over gun control Tuesday, as city lawmakers voted unanimously to ban the possession of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
July 30, 2015

In Drought, Oregon Orders Agencies to Conserve

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared drought emergencies in 23 of the state's 36 counties and ordered state agencies to conserve water as another parched year threatens fish and forests, limits agriculture and recreation, and worsens the risk of wildfire.
July 29, 2015

Does Chris Christie Have a Chance?

Christie's gruff may be proof that he isn't another politician, but his positioning in the contest always relied on an appeal to establishment contributors and voters--especially in the Northeast.
July 29, 2015

Most Governors Running for President Have Mixed Economic Records

Scrutinizing the numbers beneath the rhetoric shows how bubbles, booms and outside forces can make state "miracles" look distinctly down to earth.
July 29, 2015

University of Cincinnati Officer Charged With Murder for Killing Unarmed Black Man

The city had been bracing from the possible fallout as the Hamilton County grand jury weighed the evidence in the case of Officer Ray Tensing, who on July 19 stopped Samuel DuBose for a missing front license plate.
July 29, 2015

Los Angeles Now a Possibility for 2024 Olympics

Olympic officials are insisting on a U.S. bid for the 2024 Summer Games.
July 29, 2015

Scott Walker Wants to Dramatically Reduce EPA's Role in Regulating Pollution

Gov. Scott Walker wants to all but eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and place each state in charge of controlling air and water pollution within its borders if he is elected president, he told a conservative newspaper.
July 29, 2015

Not Winning in Legislature, Washington Governor Will Impose Emissions Cap

Frustrated by legislative inaction on climate, Gov. Jay Inslee plans to wield his administration's executive authority to impose a binding cap on carbon emissions in Washington state.
July 29, 2015

From Army Man to Transportation Chief to Author: North Carolina's Tony Tata Resigns

Former Durham mayor Nick Tennyson has been named acting secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation following the Tuesday resignation of Secretary Tony Tata.
July 29, 2015

As He Undergoes Chemo, Maryland Governor Touts Baldness

Gov. Larry Hogan is sporting a new bald look as he undergoes chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
July 29, 2015

New Jersey to Equip State Troopers With Body Cameras

The New Jersey State Police will spend $1.5 million to purchase body cameras for 1,000 troopers, Gov. Christie's office said Tuesday.
July 28, 2015

Great Drought Coming to Great Plains States

Wells are running dry as farmers and ranchers across the Great Plains pump the ancient Ogallala Aquifer faster than it can be replenished naturally.
July 28, 2015

San Francisco Tries Special Paint to Stop Public Urination

Last week, crews with San Francisco Public Works began painting buildings in the city with a clear-coat sealant that will splash back urine, or any other liquid sprayed onto it.
July 28, 2015

Climate Change Is a Huge Risk to Florida Property

By 2030, $69 billion in coastal property could flood at high tide.
July 28, 2015

7,000 Emails From Baltimore Riots Reveal Chaos Among City Officials

Communications within city government broke down during the riots of April 27, as officials desperate for information exchanged rumors and subordinates questioned city leaders, emails and other documents released by the city Monday reveal.
July 28, 2015

Nation's First Offshore Wind Farm Gets Underway in Rhode Island

After days of waiting for the seas off Block Island to calm, Deepwater Wind on Sunday finally installed the first foundation for the five-turbine wind farm it's building in waters off Block Island.
July 28, 2015

New York's LaGuardia Airport Will Get a $4 Billion Makeover

LaGuardia Airport was born of controversy after Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, miffed that his city did not have its own airport, refused to exit a plane that had landed at Newark Liberty International Airport in neighboring New Jersey.
July 28, 2015

Oklahoma Court Orders State to Remove Ten Commandments Monument

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected a last ditch attempt by the state to keep a Ten Commandments monument next to the Oklahoma Capitol.
July 28, 2015

Chicago Public Schools' Debt Rating Takes Another Hit

A second financial ratings agency has downgraded Chicago Public Schools' debt rating to junk status, reinforcing Wall Street's dim view of the district's finances.
July 27, 2015

Several Governors Running for President Face Low Popularity at Home

Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal all get disapproving marks from the majority of their constituents.
July 27, 2015

Las Vegas Tries to Become a Wedding Destination Again

In the last decade about 47,000 fewer couples have tied the knot in the city. That's a 37 percent drop and a loss of $1 billion annually.
July 27, 2015

Boston Isn't Getting the 2024 Olympics

In a press conference barely an hour before the USOC board of directors had a Monday conference call to discuss the Boston bid, the city's mayor said he would not commit to signing the host city contract that would make Boston the financial backstop for any Olympic Games losses.
July 27, 2015

Detroit Gets Satanic Statue Meant for Oklahoma Capitol

Shofars sounded amid the chanting and cheering, clapping and crying as about 100 people crowded together on a strip of sidewalk in Eastern Market today to pray and protest the Satanic Temple's plans to unveil a Baphomet monument in Detroit later tonight.
July 27, 2015

Ohio Pioneers Push to Regulate Public Health Agencies

They spend taxpayer dollars for vital tasks such as uncovering contaminated foods and stemming the spread of deadly diseases.
July 24, 2015

Chicago's Pension Law Struck Down

A Cook County judge on Friday overturned the city's changes to two pension funds, declaring them "unconstitutional and void."
July 24, 2015

U.S. House Votes to Defund Sanctuary Cities Despite Obama's Veto Threat

Lawmakers voted Thursday to cut funding for cities and towns that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws as they debated how to respond to the fatal shooting of a young woman in San Francisco in which the suspect had been deported to Mexico five times.
July 24, 2015

Can Candidates Give Gift Cards to Campaign Volunteers?

In the critical days leading up to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's election last fall, his campaign handed out thousands of $25, $50 and $75 gift cards to people helping get the vote out for him.
July 23, 2015

University of California, State's 3rd Biggest Employer, Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Low-end University of California workers and contract employees will be getting a pay raise to $15 an hour by late 2017, with an initial boost to $13 on Oct. 1.
July 23, 2015

New York Approves $15 Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers

Fast food workers in New York state were all but assured a major raise Wednesday when a state Wage Board recommended increasing the state's minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 per hour.
July 23, 2015

NYC Mayor Ends Plan to Curb Uber After Celebrity, Political Backlash

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped a proposal to cap the growth of ride-hailing service Uber after the plan ignited a backlash from the company, its allies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and even model Kate Upton.
July 23, 2015

Ferguson, Mo., Finds New Police Chief in Arizona

Andre Anderson, a black U.S. Army veteran who previously oversaw criminal investigations for police in Glendale, Ariz., will become Ferguson's interim police chief.
July 22, 2015

Distracted Driving Laws Don't Work

An analysis of crash data in 12 Texas cities with cellphone rules found no consistent reduction in distracted driving wrecks after cities enacted bans. And that follows equally mixed reviews found by scientific studies on statewide bans on texting or handheld cellphone use while driving in other states.
July 22, 2015

Wisconsin Governor Wants National Guard to Have Guns

Gov. Scott Walker joins governors in six other states in calling for National Guard members to be armed.
July 22, 2015

Florida May Swap Statue of Confederate General for One of an Environmentalist

Each state gets two statues in the U.S. Capitol. Is it time to get rid of the one honoring Edmund Kirby Smith, a Confederate general who surrendered the last military force of the Confederacy in Galveston, Texas?
July 22, 2015

Colorado Governor Unlikely to Allow Execution of James Holmes

In the time since the Aurora shooting case got underway, Gov. John Hickenlooper has made it his policy that no one in Colorado will be executed as long as he is in office.
July 22, 2015

Imprisoned Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich Gets Some Convictions Thrown Out

More than three years ago, Rod Blagojevich stood with his family on the steps of his Chicago bungalow and vowed to dozens of supporters to fight to overturn his conviction on corruption charges and his 14-year prison sentence.
July 22, 2015

Video of Sandra Bland's Arrest Before Her Death in Jail

A 52-minute video of the arrest of a black woman who later died in the Waller County Jail includes a screaming match between the woman and a state trooper, who yells at her: "I will light you up!"
July 22, 2015

California Outlines Marijuana Regulations Before It's Legal

Even if California voters legalize cannabis in 2016, it will take "many years" of patience to figure out how to tax and regulate a multibillion-dollar industry that's forever been largely underground.
July 22, 2015

Kansas and Missouri Join States Calling for Investigation of Planned Parenthood

Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday called for an investigation into whether any Kansas facility is selling remains of aborted fetuses.
July 21, 2015

Kansas Is Running Out of Money

The state has lowered estimates for cash reserves less than a month into new fiscal year.
July 21, 2015

California Leads in Children's Health But Lags in Child Poverty

California was just one Mississippi away from dead last in a new national ranking of the economic well-being of children, an indicator of poverty and financial instability of families.
July 21, 2015

Chicago Will Soon Have the Highest Sales Tax of Any Big U.S. City

Chicago next year will once again have the highest sales tax rate of any major U.S. city, according to a new analysis from a tax policy research organization.
July 21, 2015

Scott Walker Makes Wisconsin the 14th State With 20-Week Abortion Ban

Republican presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker on Monday banned abortions in Wisconsin after 20 weeks of pregnancy -- a law that is sure to curry favor with conservative voters but could be successfully challenged in court.
July 21, 2015

The Uncertainty of John Kasich's Soon-to-Be-Official Presidential Run

For John Kasich, launching a bid for the Oval Office boils down to three questions: Can he raise enough money to be competitive?
July 20, 2015

Jerry Brown and Pope Francis to Discuss Climate Change

The California governor will travel to the Vatican for a symposium on climate change and human trafficking, along with several mayors. They're making the trip one month after Pope Francis issued an encyclical on the environment.
July 20, 2015

Detroit Officials Using Private Emails for Official Business

Mayor Mike Duggan apparently allows city employees to use Gmail accounts for city business, - a practice that concerns open records experts.
July 20, 2015

Philadelphia's Cigarette Tax Can't Fund Schools Forever

The $2-per-pack fee is helping Philly schools, but the tax revenue will decline starting in 2016.
July 20, 2015

Illinois Still Can't Reach a Budget Deal

Gov. Brue Rauner and the Illinois house speaker, Michael Madigan, have hit a wall on the state budget.
July 20, 2015

Tennessee Joins States Seeking More National Guard Protections After Shooting

Gov. Bill Haslam on Sunday ordered a review of security policies at Tennessee National Guard recruiting stations and armories following last week's assault on two U.S. military facilities in Chattanooga that left four U.S. Marines and a sailor dead.
July 20, 2015

Rain Washes Away Parts of Bridge Connecting California and Arizona

The 10 Freeway is shut in both directions near the eastern side of Joshua Tree National Park after rain from the weekend's unusual storms washed out a bridge in Desert Center on Sunday.
July 20, 2015

Ruling Could Be a Boon for Execution Drug Transparency in Missouri

Public agencies in Missouri that don't respond in three days to requests for public records under the state Sunshine Law give up their right to block the release of the records requested, a judge says in a lawsuit over the release of the pharmacy name in Missouri's executions.
July 17, 2015

Chicago Forced to Borrow at High Interest Rates

The city is paying rates that approach 8 percent on the $743 million in taxable debt sold Wednesday. Chicago's borrowing costs have risen dramatically relative to other borrowers as its credit rating has deteriorated.
July 17, 2015

Philadelphia Becomes Largest City to Ban Smoking in Public Housing

Philadelphia, with 80,000 low-income tenants, is the largest city in the country to enact such a prohibition.
July 17, 2015

Court Concludes Scott Walker's Campaign Didn't Violate Laws

Dealing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker a victory just as his presidential campaign gets underway, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a sweeping decision Thursday ruled the governor's campaign and conservative groups had not violated campaign finance laws.
July 17, 2015

15 Years After Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Hawaii Will Get Its First Dispensary

Fifteen years after Hawaii legalized medical marijuana, the state plans to begin licensing pot dispensaries.
July 17, 2015

Alaska Governor Expands Medicaid Without Legislature's Support

Gov. Bill Walker said Thursday he would use his executive power to expand the public Medicaid health-care program to newly cover as many as 40,000 low-income residents.
July 17, 2015

Can a Governor Veto Bills That Are Already Law? Maine's Tried.

The Maine Legislature on Thursday shut the books on a roller coaster of a session that stretched to become the longest in recent memory.
July 17, 2015

Arizona Faces Skeptical Judge in Immigrant License Case

Arizona's legal team came to Pasadena on Thursday to defend the state's refusal to issue driver's licenses to so-called Dreamers, and found that one member of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was in no mood for legal maneuvering.
July 16, 2015

New Jersey Doesn't Have Enough Judges on Its Federal Courts

Four of the state's 17 federal judges have retired or moved to part-time status, but the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, under GOP control, has taken no action on three pending nominations backed by New Jersey's Democratic senators.
July 16, 2015

Colorado and Wyoming Fight Over Where Buffalo Bill Is Buried

Cody, Wyo., conspiracy theorists insist the body of the frontier celebrity is buried somewhere atop Cedar Mountain, outside the town he founded, and not really in Colorado.
July 16, 2015

LAPD Arrested Hundreds After Ferguson, But Charge Few

The city attorney's office has filed charges against only 27 of the 323 protesters arrested _ fewer than 9 percent _ and has formally rejected charges against 181.
July 16, 2015

Alaska Will Start Giving Victims a Bigger Voice in Parole Hearings

During its annual public meeting, the state's Parole Board on Wednesday unanimously passed proposed changes to Department of Corrections regulations, including rules on who is allowed to attend parole hearings largely kept secret from the public.
July 16, 2015

Uber Ordered to Pay $7.3 Million or Leave California

California regulators on Wednesday ordered Uber to pay a $7.3 million fine and hand over required information about safety and accessibility -- or shut down in the ride service's home state.
July 16, 2015

Illinois at Risk of Shutdown as Lawmakers Fail to Override Vetoes

Democrats who control the General Assembly were unable to corral enough votes to completely override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of a new state budget on Wednesday, leaving the state without full spending power as the political stalemate that threatens to shut down portions of state government showed no signs of dissipating.
July 16, 2015

U.S. House OKs Short-Term Highway Fix With Intent to Reform Funding System

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend highway and transit funding through Dec. 18, in contrast with Senate Republicans, who want a longer extension.
July 16, 2015

Wisconsin Closer to Paying $400M for Bucks Stadium in Debt-Ridden County

After two days of backroom talks, state senators struck a bipartisan deal Wednesday and approved $250 million in public subsidies for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.
July 15, 2015

Uber Is the Future of the Economy

To Republicans, the boom in app-based services is welcome, unbridled free-market competition. To Democrats, consumers are navigating a marketplace without important government protections.
July 15, 2015

Wisconsin Secretary of State Sues Scott Walker Over Budget

Secretary of State Doug La Follette sued Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday, arguing the budget signed Sunday violates the state constitution by interfering with his ability to maintain state records.
July 15, 2015

Oregon Set to Become 2nd State to Offer Free Community College

Oregon embraces free community-college tuition at some schools ahead of other states, and outpacing the president's proposal.
July 15, 2015

Obama Lauds Connecticut's Criminal Justice Reforms

With the ink still drying on a second chance society initiative endorsed by black community leaders in Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was recognized Tuesday for his work by President Barack Obama at the NAACP's national convention in Philadelphia.
July 15, 2015

Scott Walker Sues Feds So He Can Drug Test Food-Stamp Applicants

Gov. Scott Walker's health secretary sued federal officials Tuesday in an attempt to allow the state to screen people with drug tests if they seek food stamps.
July 15, 2015

Missouri Bucks Nationwide Trend on Immigrant Tuition

Just one month before classes start, dozens, and possibly hundreds of Missouri college students are suddenly finding out their tuition is about to more than double because of a rule change passed by Missouri lawmakers.
July 15, 2015

The Only State in America to Cut College Tuition This Year

A state committee that oversees Washington's prepaid college tuition plan is considering refunding some, or even all, of the money parents and relatives poured into the plan in recent years.
July 15, 2015

How Oregon Is Tackling Police Profiling

Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation Monday aimed at curbing profiling by police.
July 14, 2015

What Can Undermine Democrats' Advantage in Illinois? Bruce Rauner's Money

As Illinois's gridlocked government stumbles toward a shutdown, the very rich governor sends cash to his party's lawmakers and bankrolls statewide TV ads vilifying Democratic legislative leaders who oppose his agenda.
July 14, 2015

NAACP Wants Georgia to Take Confederate Carving Off Stone Mountain

Richard Rose, the president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, says the carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson is a "glorification of white supremacy."
July 14, 2015

The Majority of States Are Now Suing the EPA

At least 28 states _ spread across five lawsuits _ seek to derail what was initially known as the "Waters of the United States" rule, which is intended to strengthen and clarify the Clean Water Act.
July 14, 2015

Californians Will No Longer Get Fined for Brown Lawns

Under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, cities and counties can't issue fines for improper "lawn maintenance" during droughts.
July 14, 2015

Philadelphia Doesn't Have Many Black Cops

The city is 44 percent black, but only the overwhelming majority new hires in the police department have been white.
July 14, 2015

Florida Governor Creates Special Savings Plans for Disabled

Gov. Rick Scott cut millions in aid to the state's disabled community, but the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act will allow the disabled to say save more of their own money.
July 14, 2015

Maine Lawmakers Say They'll End Session Despite Veto Fight

The Senate president and the speaker of the House said Monday that when they reconvene, they'll wrap up what little work remains on their calendars, due to a unusual legal fight with Gov. Paul LePage, and formally end legislative work.
July 14, 2015

How Long Can Pennsylvania Run on Reserves?

As a budget impasse between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature stretches on, everyone in the state Capitol is asking this question: When will the Legislature run out of money?
July 14, 2015

Chicago Schools' Budget Spends Half-a-Billion Dollars It Doesn't Have

Chicago Public Schools on Monday unveiled school spending plans that rely on a half-billion dollars more than the district has on hand -- an approach the head of the city's principals association compared to writing a bad check.
July 14, 2015

New York City to Pay $5.9 Million to Settle Eric Garner Case

Almost a year after Eric Garner's controversial death, New York City settled a case brought by Garner's relatives, agreeing Monday to pay $5.9 million.
July 14, 2015

Day 1 of North Carolina's Weeks-Long Trial on Voting Rights

The Rev. William Barber, head of the NAACP and an architect of the high-profile protest movement challenging much of the Republican agenda in North Carolina, has spent two years dogging key legislative leaders and the governor about sweeping changes to the elections law.
July 14, 2015

Missouri County Will Lower Flags to 'Mourn' Marriage Equality

Upset that the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last month, the Dent County Commission voted Monday to observe one year of "mourning."
July 13, 2015

California Proposes Innovative Immigration Fix

A state measure would allow work permits for farm workers who are in the state illegally.
July 13, 2015

Obama Uses Labor Department to Help States Fix Retirement Plans

Legislation Obama has proposed to require companies without retirement plans to automatically enroll workers in IRAs has gone nowhere in Congress. So he bypassed Congress.
July 13, 2015

Scott Walker Signs State Budget Into Law

The Wisconsin governor signed off on the $72.7 billion spending plan, after using his powerful veto pen to alter 104 items -- nearly twice as many as he has previously. This budget includes a $250 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System.
July 13, 2015

The Court Case That Could Test GOP States' New Voting Rules

Joseph Mat Windsor grew up in Surry County but was in graduate school in Australia in November 2012 when he sought an absentee ballot so he could vote in the presidential election.
July 13, 2015

Convicted Virginia Governor Loses Appeal

An appeals court on Friday upheld the corruption conviction of former Gov. Bob McDonnell in a decision that one analyst said makes it "highly likely" he will go to prison.
July 13, 2015

Almost a Year After Ferguson, Missouri Passes Court Reforms

Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday signed a broad municipal court reform bill that will cap court revenue and impose new requirements in an attempt to end what the bill's sponsor called predatory practices aimed at the poor.
July 13, 2015

Pennsylvania Governor Vetoes Pension Bill

Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday vetoed the Republican-crafted bill that eliminates guaranteed public pensions for new school and state employees.
July 10, 2015

State Alternatives to Medicare Expansion Have Serious Tradeoffs

The proposals--put forth by conservative policy organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute--generally would allow more flexibility in the type of health plans that can be sold. But the proposals are examples of the inescapable problems in health care reform.
July 10, 2015

Financial Crisis Causes Many Puerto Ricans to Flee Island

Across Puerto Rico, populations dropped in 68 of the 78 municipalities, including San Juan, from July 2010 to July 2013. San Juan's population dropped 5 percent in that period.
July 10, 2015

The Complicated Future of Latino California

Latino plurality in California points toward changes to come. Overall, Latinos have lower incomes, education and job skills than the average white Californian.
July 10, 2015

South Carolina's Confederate Flag Comes Down

The controversial banner was lowered for the last time Friday in front of the Confederate Soldier Monument by an honor guard of seven South Carolina Highway Patrol officers.
July 10, 2015

Uber Fights Lawsuit Over Drivers' Pay and Benefits

Uber drivers prefer the flexibility of being independent contractors, Uber said in a sharply worded response to a lawsuit from drivers seeking reclassification as employees.
July 10, 2015

Maryland Governor Creates Business-Led Group to Reduce 'Out of Control' Regulations

Vowing to free Maryland businesses from what he called "nonsensical, out-of-control" regulations, Gov. Larry Hogan launched a commission Thursday charged with reviewing every rule on the state's books with an eye to streamlining or eliminating them.
July 10, 2015

Florida Gets 100 Days to Redraw Congressional Maps

The Florida Supreme Court took a wrecking ball to Florida's political landscape Thursday, throwing out the state's carefully-crafted congressional districts drawn by the GOP-led Legislature and ordered a new map within 100 days.
July 10, 2015

The Actor Accused of Water Theft in California

It had all the makings of a latter-day water war, pitting a Ventura County water district against actor Tom Selleck.
July 9, 2015

Maine Governor Failed to Veto Bills He Opposed, Provoking Lawsuit

Gov. Paul LePage had more than 10 days to veto 19 bills sent to him by the Legislature in late June. Though he was outspoken in his opposition to the bills, he didn't get around to vetoing them and they will all take effect as law. But LePage on Wednesday said his administration just won't enforce them.
July 9, 2015

Houston Approved for Spaceport

A Federal Aviation Administration official presented Ellington Airport and city officials with the launch license establishing the airport as the nation's 10th federally designated commercial spaceport.
July 7, 2015

Indiana's Conservative Medicaid Expansion May Catch On

At a time when Obamacare remains deeply unpopular among Republicans, the Indiana plan, in which the poor pay a little for coverage, is attracting new interest as GOP governors seek ways to put a conservative stamp on expanding coverage.
July 7, 2015

David Vitter's Senate 'Field Hearings' Aid His Run for Louisana Governor

The U.S. Senator is holding hearings across the state about the issues that are important to his campaign for governor. And all of it's on the federal dime.
July 6, 2015

Do California's Continuation Schools Really Work?

California has more than 500 alternative high schools, designed to help students who are considered at-risk of not graduating at the normal pace. Their actual effectiveness is unclear, however.
July 1, 2015

Wisconsin Tenure Fight Likely to Spread to Other States

What's happening in the state is perceived as a bellwether for public universities across the country.
July 1, 2015

Why It's So Hard to Fix California Freeways

After years of neglect, state officials estimate it will cost $59 billion to fix the state's crumbling roads and freeways.
June 30, 2015

Budget Stalemate Cripples Illinois Government

Budget gridlock has been building since Bruce Rauner was elected governor in November. He campaigned on a pledge to cut spending, reform government and cut or hold the line on taxes. If he can't reach an agreement with the legislature, the government may shut down.
June 30, 2015

Billions in Property Tax Giveaways Strain Las Vegas Jails

The tax limitation in Clark County has cost $119 million in lost revenue since 2009. That, combined with the recession meant it had to fire 1,500 municipal workers. It still can't afford to cover the daily cost of each inmate held in county jail.
June 30, 2015

Supreme Court Will Hear California Anti-Union Case

In the fall, the justices will hear a direct challenge to the fees brought on behalf of Rebecca Friedrichs, a public school teacher in Orange County who objects to supporting the California Teachers Association.
June 30, 2015

Jerry Brown Signs Strict New Vaccination Law

The California governor signed legislation to require more children who enter school, or day care, to be vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough.
June 29, 2015

What's Scott Walker Got Against the University of Wisconsin?

Faculty at the state's universities, backed by national higher-education groups, say the Wisconsin governor is risking the quality and prestige of one of the country's leading state universities to fuel his presidential ambitions.
June 26, 2015

California Health Exchange to Collect More Health Data on Patients

The state-run marketplace is embarking on an ambitious effort to collect insurance company data on prescriptions, doctor visits and hospital stays for every Obamacare patient.
June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage Nationwide

Declaring that gay unions deserve equal respect and dignity under the law, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide without regard to their state's laws.
June 26, 2015

Maine Lawmakers Launching Effort to Impeach Governor

Six lawmakers said Thursday they will attempt to launch impeachment proceedings against Republican Gov. Paul LePage for his alleged role in pushing Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves out of a new job at Good Will-Hinckley School.
June 26, 2015

Court Strikes Down Law That Let NRA Sue Cities in Pennsylvania

A law that permitted the National Rifle Association to sue Philadelphia and other municipalities over local gun ordinances that are stricter than state law is unconstitutional, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
June 26, 2015

Drought Plaguing North Carolina Again

Drought has officially returned to Mecklenburg County and the rest of the state for the first time in at least two years, the State Climate Office at N.C. State University announced Thursday.
June 25, 2015

California Lawmakers Pass Some of Nation's Strictest Vaccine Requirements

A controversial proposal that would make California one of the strictest states in the country in requiring school vaccinations passed a critical vote Thursday, moving the bill one step closer to landing on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
June 25, 2015

Supreme Court Upholds Racial Discrimination Rules for Housing

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the broad reach of a federal law that forbids racial discrimination in housing, ruling the civil rights measure covers more than merely cases of intentional and blatant racial bias.
June 25, 2015

Still Lacking Safety Upgrades, Almost Every Transit Agency Could Face Fines

Metra will likely face fines or other penalties for failing to meet a federally mandated deadline for installation of a high-tech safety system at the end of the year, the nation's top railroad regulator said Wednesday.
June 25, 2015

Florida Quietly Ends Fight With Feds Over Hospital Funding

The tumultuous debate over the future of healthcare funding for the poor came to a quiet end Tuesday as the governor signed into law a budget that includes $1 billion in federal funds to pay for charity care and raise Medicaid rates at Florida hospitals.
June 25, 2015

Scott Walker Expands Gun Rights Soon After Charleston Shooting

Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday loosened gun restrictions in Wisconsin by signing a pair of bills that would make it quicker to buy guns and easier to carry them.
June 25, 2015

California Governor Signs Budget With Minimal Vetoes

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $115.4 billion general fund state budget on Wednesday, using his veto pen to wipe out $1.3 million in program increases sought by the state Legislature.
June 24, 2015

Maine Prisoner's Blogging Pushes Free Speech Limits

Convicted murder Randall Daluz maintains a website. But once he is sentenced and moved to the Maine State Prison, his writings will challenge a recent policy by the Maine Department of Corrections that has forbidden inmates from publishing their work.
June 24, 2015

After Delaware Decriminalizes Marijuana, Which States Are Next?

A host of ballot measures and legislative initiatives could push other states closer to decriminalization or legalization before the year is over.
June 24, 2015

Several Southern Governors Back Banning Confederate Flag License Plates

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday that the state will move "quickly" to erase the Confederate flag from state license plates, and to reclaim existing plates with the controversial emblem.
June 24, 2015

EPA Calculates the Lives and Money That Emissions Cuts Could Save

Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change could prevent tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of billions in economic losses in the United States, according to a new study by the Environmental Protection Agency.
June 24, 2015

Court Lets California Ban Ballot Measure That Calls for Killing Gays

Saying a proposed ballot measure calling for the killing of gay people is "patently unconstitutional on its face," a Sacramento County judge has ruled that the state attorney general can halt the proposal.
June 24, 2015

Autopsy Rules Freddie Gray's Death a Homicide

An autopsy that ruled Freddie Gray's death a homicide is likely to be a controversial piece of evidence in the criminal case against six police officers who are facing a range of charges.
June 24, 2015

Florida Governor's $461 Million in Vetoes Causes Confusion and Criticism

Moving with surprising speed and secrecy, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $461 million from the state budget Tuesday, enraging fellow Republicans for wiping out their priorities with the stroke of a pen.
June 23, 2015

Hawaii Raises Smoking Age to 21

The bill, which takes effect July 1, prohibits the sale, purchase, possession or consumption of cigarettes, other tobacco products and e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21.
June 23, 2015

Maine Legalizes Hemp Cultivation

Legislature overrides Gov. Paul LePage's veto to pass a law allowing growers to purchase hemp seeds from any certified seed source.
June 23, 2015

Maine's Not Going to Legalize Marijuana

Maine legislators overwhelmingly affirmed on Monday that they would not pass a law to legalize, tax and regulate recreational use of marijuana.
June 23, 2015

Insurance Companies Dropping Out of Alaska's Health Market

Aetna, State Farm, and Assurant Health have all decided to stop offering individual health insurance plans in Alaska. Now more than 5,000 Alaskans have to find new health care coverage.
June 23, 2015

Scott Walker Now Targeting College Professors

The Wisconsin governor's budget removes tenure protection from state law -- leaving it in the hands of a board of regents largely appointed by the governor.
June 23, 2015

As Maryland Governor Battles Cancer, Lt. Gov. Thrust Into Bigger Spotlight

Boyd Rutherford was shocked when he got a call more than a year ago from a little-known Republican businessman who was mounting an improbable campaign for governor.
June 23, 2015

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Joins Calls for Confederate Flag's Removal

Gov. Nikki Haley called Monday for legislators to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State House.
June 23, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Sides With Raisin Farmer in Crop Seizure Case

Striking down one of the last New Deal-era farm programs, the Supreme Court sided Monday with a California raisin grower in his decade-long legal battle over a federal raisin board's seizure of his crop to reduce supply and prop up prices.
June 23, 2015

Environmentalists Sue Florida Over Budget

Saying lawmakers defied the state constitution, three environmental groups sued the Florida Legislature Monday, claiming they ignored an amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in November to conserve the state's disappearing wilderness and protect its water supplies.
June 22, 2015

Pennsylvania Still Doesn't Have a Budget

Legislators and the governor have met behind closed doors for months, with little obvious progress on the issues that have dominated Capitol discourse: property-tax reform, liquor privatization, and a fix for skyrocketing pension costs. The deadline is June 30.
June 22, 2015

CBO Recalculates the Cost of Repealing Obamacare

Repealing the federal health law would add an additional 19 million to the ranks of the uninsured in 2016 and increase the federal deficit over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Friday.
June 22, 2015

Even Some Republicans Call for Confederate Flag's Removal From State House

Another S.C. Republican lawmaker said Saturday that he would support removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.
June 22, 2015

Among 2016 Candidates, O'Malley Makes Biggest Push for Stronger Gun Laws

Promising to "rebuild the heart of America's cities," former Gov. Martin O'Malley used an appearance at a meeting of the nation's mayors on Sunday to call for a federal ban on assault weapons and stricter regulations on gun purchases.
June 19, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court: Confederate Flag License Plates Are Government Speech, Not Free Speech

Texas has every right to declare the Confederate battle flag too divisive to be emblazoned on its specialty license plates, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a 5-4 decision that capped a heated debate over government regulation of speech.
June 19, 2015

Federal Investigation Into Kansas Governor's Campaign Results in No Charges

Federal prosecutors will bring no criminal charges after an investigation into loans made to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign by his lieutenant governor, the U.S. attorney's office said Wednesday.
June 19, 2015

Texas Lawmaker Calls New Police Shooting Law 'Envy of the Country'

Texas police agencies will soon have to notify the attorney general every time an officer shoots someone or gets shot.
June 19, 2015

Conflicting Rulings on Sex Offenders' Sentences Could End Up in U.S. Supreme Court

A federal appeals court upheld a voter-approved state law Thursday that allows sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences to be locked up for life if a jury determines they are mentally disturbed and dangerous.
June 18, 2015

Alaska Working to Reduce Skyrocketing Prison Population

Comprehensive crime bills were passed during the two previous legislative sessions to tackle the looming, costly threat. Now, the Pew Charitable Trusts, a global research and public policy nonprofit group, has agreed to provide free technical assistance to analyze what's driving the prison population boom.
June 18, 2015

Philadelphia Wasted $500k on a Computer System That Doesn't Work

The city spent a lot of money on a computer technology upgrade that was supposed to track how the city used a $30.8 million grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development to combat homelessness. It didn't work.
June 18, 2015

State Senator Killed in Charleston Church Shooting

State lawmakers grieved Thursday for slain state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, whose booming voice was silenced Wednesday night by a gunman at the Charleston minister's church.
June 18, 2015

California Poised to Fund Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants

Immigrant children who are in the country illegally would receive public health care coverage in California under a budget deal announced Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders.
June 18, 2015

California County Revives Health Care for Undocumented Immigrants

Sacramento County supervisors on Tuesday approved health care for undocumented immigrants and other new social service programs as part of the county budget for the fiscal year starting July 1
June 18, 2015

Uber Drivers Are Employees Not Contractors, Rules California

The California labor commissioner has ruled that an Uber driver is an employee of the company, not a contract worker as Uber has insisted all its drivers are, setting up another battle between state regulators and the ride-hailing giant.
June 18, 2015

Mayor Calls for Rachel Dolezal's Resignation From Police Oversight Commission

The actions of former NAACP chairman Rachel Dolezal and two other members of the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission threatened that group's impartiality and effectiveness, a city investigation has found.
June 17, 2015

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Announces He's Gay

First-term Democrat Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay executive in the state, and the highest elected official in Indiana to come out.
June 17, 2015

Tennessee Governor Not Planning for Adverse Ruling in Obamacare Case

Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday he sees little reason right now in preparing for the possibility that 155,000 Tennesseans could be left foundering.
June 17, 2015

Maine Legislature Finally Passes Budget, Could Avoid Shutdown

The $6.7 billion deal approved by the Legislature is significantly less broad than Gov. Paul LePage's wanted, but Republicans and Democrats both claimed victories.
June 17, 2015

The Latest State to End Film Tax Credits

Gov. Bill Walker has signed legislation ending a state subsidy program for the film industry, even while proclaiming his support for the motion picture business in Alaska.
June 17, 2015

Kansas Governor Signs Bills, Defends Tax Policies

Gov. Sam Brownback says a plan increasing sales and other taxes does not count as a tax increase because it comes on the heels of income tax cuts passed three years ago.
June 16, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Denies North Carolina's Appeal on Abortion Law

A North Carolina law that would have forced doctors performing abortions to do an ultrasound, display the sonogram for the woman and describe it in great detail suffered a final defeat on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.
June 16, 2015

Great Lakes States Reach Major Environmental Agreement

Leaders from Michigan, Ohio and Ontario have agreed to reduce phosphorus in the western Lake Erie basin by 40% by 2025. The nutrient is a key ingredient of widespread algae blooms in that portion of the lake -- including a toxic strain that disrupted water supplies to 400,000 people in southeast Michigan and the Toledo area last August.
June 16, 2015

Afraid of Losing Federal Funding, Kansas Tweaks New Welfare Law

A bill intended to ensure the state doesn't lose $100 million in federal aid as it sets new restrictions for welfare recipients has been signed by Gov. Sam Brownback.
June 16, 2015

Wildfire Destroys Structures in Alaska

A grass fire reported Monday afternoon on the Kenai Peninsula grew rapidly through the afternoon, burning six structures and prompting a voluntary evacuation alert covering hundreds of homes in the Sterling area, emergency officials said.
June 15, 2015

For People Here Illegally, California Health Services Vary by County

With health insurance coverage expanded to millions more Californians, people living here illegally _ who are barred from signing up for Obamacare _ now make up the single biggest group of uninsured state residents.
June 15, 2015

State Politics Really Impact Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Environmentalists are getting results in individual U.S. states, where environmental politics have significantly impacted greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and the present..
June 15, 2015

Court: Colorado Businesses Can Fire People for Smoking Pot

While it's legal to smoke pot in Colorado, the Colorado Supreme Court rules that employees aren't protected from termination for marijuana consumption.
June 15, 2015

Illinois Governor Uses Divide-and-Conquer Strategy to Try to Eliminate Democrats

Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to exploit tensions pitting Chicago against the rest of the state in order to elect more GOP lawmakers to the legislature.
June 15, 2015

White House Expands Aid to Drought-Stricken States

The White House expanded drought assistance to California and other western states on Friday with $110 million in new grants to aid farmers and communities.
June 15, 2015

Tears and Tax Increases Mark End of Kansas' Longest Legislative Session Ever

Kansas will avoid massive budget cuts after a plan to increase taxes crawled to passage in the Legislature on Friday.
June 15, 2015

With a Few Days Left in Session, Florida Still Has Unresolved Issues

Florida legislators on Monday begin the final week of their three-week special session that was required because they could not settle differences on health care and pass a budget in the regular session that ended April 30. This is the closest the Legislature has come to ending the fiscal year with no budget since 1992.
June 15, 2015

Where in the World Are the Prisoners Who Escaped From New York?

As a large manhunt for two escaped murderers stretched into its ninth day in upstate New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that "we don't know if they are still in the immediate area or if they are in Mexico by now."
June 12, 2015

State GOP Kills Iowa Straw Poll

How the Republican tradition went down in flames.
June 12, 2015

Police Raid California Pot Shop, Then Get High

The pot shop's surveillance video shows Santa Ana police officers entering Sky High Holistic, a marijuana dispensary, and forcing patrons to the ground as they raid the facility. Then an officer appears to toss an edible into mouth and flash a thumbs-up.
June 12, 2015

Christie Aide Lawyers Will Continue Fight Over Bridgegate Evidence

Lawyers for former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni wrote in court papers that a proposal to limit disclosure of the evidence in the case prior to the trial would hamper their defense.
June 12, 2015

Alaska Lawmakers Keep Oil From Shutting Down the Government

The Alaska Legislature formally stamped its approval on a long-awaited bipartisan budget deal Thursday, then shut down for the summer.
June 12, 2015

Emotions High at 4 a.m., Kansas House Passes Tax Plan

A tax plan crawled to passage in the Kansas House in the early hours Friday morning, after Gov. Sam Brownback warned lawmakers that massive budget cuts would occur Monday if they failed to act on taxes.
June 12, 2015

Cleveland Cop Who Killed 12 Year Old Could Be Charged After All

An Ohio judge found probable cause to bring criminal charges against the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year, but the decision whether to prosecute is still likely to rest with a county grand jury, officials said Thursday.
June 12, 2015

New Michigan Law Lets Adoption Groups Refuse Gay Couples

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a package of bills Thursday that will allow faith-based adoption groups in Michigan to refuse to serve prospective parents, like same-sex or unmarried couples, if doing so would violate the groups' religious beliefs.
June 12, 2015

Despite Governor's Say, North Carolina Will Let Officials Refuse to Perform Gay Marriages

In a matter of minutes, the state House on Thursday morning overrode the governor's veto of the same-sex marriage bill that allows magistrates to opt out of performing marriages.
June 12, 2015

Minnesota Legislature Plans to Pilliage Landfill Cleanup Money

The Legislature's proposed spending bill for agriculture and the environment temporarily empties the Metropolitan Landfill Contingency Action Trust (MLCAT), which currently contains $8.1 million. The state says it will pay the money back later.
June 11, 2015

Colorado Springs Utilities Have Too Much Water

Record-breaking spring rains in Colorado Springs lessened city water usage and has cost Utilities about $17 million in revenue
June 11, 2015

North Dakota Approves More Money for State Employees

The state approved $3.86 million for housing and salary boosts for some state employees for oil-rich parts of the state where the cost of living has skyrocketed.
June 11, 2015

Tennessee Leading School Choice Movement for Special Needs Students

Gov. Bill Haslam ceremonially signed the Individualized Education Act on Wednesday in Nashville, allowing the families of children with special needs additional educational options.
June 11, 2015

Maine Legislature Overrides 9/10 of Governor's Spite Vetoes

Nine of 10 Democratic-sponsored bills vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage triggered lopsided rebukes of the governor in both the House and Senate.
June 11, 2015

Pension Ruling Sets Up Showdown Over New Jersey Budget

Democrats who control the New Jersey Legislature say they are planning a new budget that still makes a full pension-fund payment that's no longer required by law, setting up another showdown with Gov. Chris Christie.
June 11, 2015

Florida Governor Signs Abortion, Utility Bills

Diving into an issue that continues to polarize the country, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a requirement that Florida women visit a doctor and wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion.
June 10, 2015

Dannemora Escaped Prisoners Are Beating the Odds

Between 2002 and 2012, of the 29 inmates who escaped from New York state prisons, none of the escapees lasted longer than three days before being recaptured,
June 10, 2015

Miami-Dade Principal Fired After Defending Pool Party Policeman

Miami-Dade County school district announced Wednesday that Alberto Iber had been removed as principal after going online to defend Texas cop who waved a gun at black teens while responding to a call about an unruly pool party.
June 10, 2015

How Massachusetts' Former Governor Hid Millions in Public Funding

Former Gov. Deval Patrick's administration secretly diverted $27 million in public funding to skirt the state Legislature and evade state budget cutbacks during the recession.
June 10, 2015

McKinney Police Officer Resigns Over Pool Party Incident Caught on Video

The police officer whose aggressive response to an unruly teenage pool party ignited a national controversy resigned Tuesday, leaving critics relieved and supporters disappointed that an officer they considered a hero had been forced out.
June 10, 2015

Court Tosses States' Lawsuit Against EPA's Proposed Climate Change Rules

A federal appeals court has turned down legal challenges filed by Murray Energy and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey over the Obama administration's proposed rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
June 10, 2015

Half the Signatures to Recall Ferguson Mayor Dismissed

The likelihood of Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III being ousted just got a lot smaller.
June 9, 2015

New Jersey Supreme Court Sides With Christie Over Pension Cuts

The New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that public workers do not have a legally enforceable contract to greater pension funding, handing Gov. Christie a significant victory in a yearlong battle with public-sector unions.
June 9, 2015

Alaska Offers 'DIY' Budgeting Solution to Residents

The Department of Revenue unveiled an interactive revenue and expenditure model Saturday. By downloading the Revenue and Expenditure Model, users can change the lines on future budgets by adjusting dozens of revenue and spending assumptions.
June 9, 2015

Indianapolis Council Will Sue City to Prevent Electric Cars

By a 23-6 vote, the council authorized the council attorney to file a suit to nullify the $32 million no-bid contract with California-based Vision Fleet on the grounds that it was signed illegally.
June 9, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds San Francisco's Gun Regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected efforts by gun owners and the National Rifle Association on Monday to halt San Francisco's enforcement of a 2007 ordinance requiring residents to keep handguns locked when stored at home.
June 9, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Weigh In on Maine's Medicaid Mayhem

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case pitting Maine Gov. Paul LePage against the federal government that could have resulted in thousands of low-income young adults losing their health care coverage.
June 9, 2015

Maine Governor Vetoes Every Democratic Bill Out of Spite

Gov. Paul LePage on Monday made good on a previous threat to veto all Democrat-sponsored bills if the Legislature rejected his constitutional amendment to kill the income tax.
June 9, 2015

Ohio Town Raises Smoking Age to 21

Students who picked up a smoking habit during their first year of college won't be buying cigarettes if they're home for the summer in Upper Arlington.
June 9, 2015

Few Contingencies in Place If Court Rules Against Obamacare Subsidies

Millions of Americans could soon lose health insurance when the Supreme Court decides the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act this month, but states have made few plans to deal with the potential fallout, and they may get little help from Washington, President Barack Obama warned Monday.
June 9, 2015

South Carolina Police Officer Indicted in Fatal Shooting Caught on Video

The white South Carolina police officer whose shooting of a fleeing, unarmed black man was captured in a chilling cellphone video earlier this year has been indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury.
June 8, 2015

Missouri May Expand Dental Care to Poor Adults

Starting in the fall, about 250,000 low-income Missourians may have access to dental care for the first time in a decade.
June 8, 2015

Michigan Considers Tightening Home-Schooling Rules

Michigan is one of only 11 states that does not require home-schooling parents to register with the state or have any contact with officials.
June 8, 2015

California's Troublesome Budget Surplus

Jerry Brown wants to keep the budget under control, but other Democrats want to spend.
June 8, 2015

California Drought Is Killing Fish

The plight of California's fish is not a new element in the state's protracted water wars. Several species have been listed by the government as endangered or threatened for years, bringing legal protections and sparking conflicts with farmers and others over the state's limited water supply.
June 8, 2015

Rahm Emanuel's Pension Plan Won't Address Serious Problems

The governor of Illinois has called the Chicago proposal a "kick-the-can-down-the-road" approach.
June 8, 2015

Kansas Averts Shutdown But Still Has No Budget

The Kansas Legislature rapidly pushed through a bill Saturday to avert a midnight government shutdown, with Gov. Sam Brownback signing it despite concerns about its legality.
June 8, 2015

New York Offers $100,000 for Help Capturing Escaped Prisoners

The massive manhunt for two escaped killers from Clinton Correctional Facility entered its second day Sunday, with state officials saying the prisoners could be anywhere in New York state, Vermont or Canada.
June 5, 2015

Trouble Over Ferguson's Unspent Protest Money

Two social justice organizations raised money food, travel, and gas for protesters. What happens to the $50,000 that's left?
June 5, 2015

Has California Outgrown Its Water Rights System?

The water rights enjoyed by about 4,000 farmers, companies and public agencies _ some dating back to the Gold Rush _ are the latest casualties of the historic drought.
June 5, 2015

2016 Michigan Budget Heads to Governor's Desk

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign a $54.5 billion state budget.
June 5, 2015

An Alaska Government Shutdown Could Cost the State $175 Million

The state's leave payouts in the event of shutdown because of budget problems would likely exceed the budget stalemate amount.
June 5, 2015

Clinton Crusades Against State Voting Restrictions

Hillary Rodham Clinton positioned herself as a crusader for voting rights Thursday, calling for an overhaul of election laws so that every citizen would automatically be registered to vote on their 18th birthday.
June 5, 2015

Governor Vetoes Bill to Make Missouri 26th Right-to-Work State

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Thursday vetoed a controversial "right-to-work" bill, calling it a threat to unionized workers and wages.
June 5, 2015

'Glitch' Could Send Colorado's Marijuana Revenue to Taxpayers Instead of State

Colorado voters will be asked in November whether the state can retain an estimated $58 million in recreational marijuana taxes that have been collected this fiscal year.
June 5, 2015

Ex-Politicians Propose Putting Pension Reform to California Voters

Under a proposed initiative filed Thursday for the November 2016 ballot, voters would decide on pension benefits offered to government workers in California.
June 4, 2015

North Carolina Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto of “Ag-Gag” Bill

The bill discourages undercover investigations of farm and workplace conditions. The State House also delayed an override vote on an anti-gay marriage bill.
June 4, 2015

Lincoln Chafee Joins 2016 Race Talking ISIS, Snowden and the Metric System

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his White House bid on the lakefront of the city where his political career began. Florida Sen. Marco began his quest in Miami, surrounded by friends and family. If former Rhode Island Gov. and Sen. Lincoln Chafee takes the White House, history will show that his quest started a few metro stops away, on a college campus in Virginia _ and that he mused about an American "rapprochement" with the Islamic State.
June 4, 2015

The Only State to Shield Residents From Upcoming Obamacare Ruling

Gov. Wolf this week formally proposed setting up a state-based insurance marketplace, potentially protecting hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents from the consequences of a Supreme Court decision that could gut Obamacare later this month.
June 4, 2015

As Rain Stops in Oklahoma and Texas, Downriver States Brace for Flooding

It finally stopped raining this week in Oklahoma and Texas, where a nearly nonstop series of storms resulted in deadly flooding and made for the wettest month in both states' recorded history.
June 3, 2015

Alabama Senate Votes to Abolish State Marriage Licenses

The bill would end the requirement that couples obtain marriage licenses from probate judges prior to a wedding. Instead, marriages would be a legal contract, witnessed by a clergy member, attorney or notary public, and filed with the state through the probate office.
June 3, 2015

Indiana Court Ruling Allows One Town to Absorb Another

Zionsville can now reorganize and take over Perry Township.
June 3, 2015

Local Politicians in Early Voting States Benefit From Presidential Races

Presidential hopefuls court local officials in states like Iowa.
June 3, 2015

11 Indicted in Landfill Scheme That Robbed Baltimore of $6 Million in Revenue

One morning in March, commercial trash hauler Adam Williams Jr. sent a text message to a Baltimore Department of Public Works employee at the city-owned Quarantine Road Landfill that read, "N. The. Gum."
June 3, 2015

Efforts to Eliminate Teacher Tenure in North Carolina Struck Down

In a state where public schoolteachers have marched on the state Capitol and staged walk-ins to protest pay and policy reforms, the N.C. Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday that buoyed the spirits of the rallying educators and struck a blow to the Republican education agenda in North Carolina.
June 3, 2015

How Nevada's GOP Governor Got Tax Increases Through the Legislature

The Nevada Senate concurred on a $1.5 billion omnibus tax plan the Assembly passed Sunday, sending Gov. Brian Sandoval a historic measure to bolster education funding by more than $600 million in the next two years.
June 2, 2015

Wisconsin Will Create Office of Open Government

State Attorney General Brad Schimel is creating an office to help the public obtain government records more quickly and consistently.
June 2, 2015

North Carolina Senate Overrides Governor's Veto of Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

State senators also approved a bill restricting abortions.
June 2, 2015

Utah Lawmaker May Have Committed Fraud in Raising Money for Lands Fight

The Campaign for Accountability filed complaints with the attorney generals of Montana, Utah and Arizona alleging that Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory defrauded taxpayers funds by telling them the federal government can be forced to transfer public lands to the states.
June 2, 2015

Preparing for Shutdown, Alaska Sends 10,000 Layoff Notices

Gov. Bill Walker said Monday he's still hoping for a budget solution from the Alaska Legislature but that without one he has no choice but to move forward with planning for a shutdown of unfunded government agencies.
June 2, 2015

Medicaid Expansion Poised for Failure as Florida Begins Special Session

House and Senate committees met separately but simultaneously to discuss Medicaid expansion on the first day of the special session.
June 2, 2015

Lax Enforcement of Aging, Unsafe Dams Puts Ohioans At Risk

Hundreds of aging earthen dams in Ohio are in disrepair and many are unsafe. Thousands of people downstream could be in the path of floodwater if those dams fail.
June 2, 2015

Oregon Finds Out Pension Ruling's Big Price

Another budgetary storm is brewing in Oregon's public pension system, according to figures shared Friday with the pension system's board and the five-member citizens panel that oversees its investments.
June 2, 2015

2 Philadelphia Democrats Plead Guilty in Sting Case

A current member and former member of the state House of Representatives pleaded guilty Monday to corruption charges, bringing to three the number of Philadelphia Democrats convicted in the resurrected "sting" case.
June 1, 2015

Supreme Court Rejects Arizona's Bail Ban for Immigrants

The measure had been adopted in 2006 by the state's voters, and it said judges may not release on bail persons who have "entered or remained in the United States illegally" and were arrested for "serious felony offenses." The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law last year. The court said it would not hear the appeal.
June 1, 2015

May Was Baltimore's Deadliest Month in 40 Years

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said it's time to stop finger-pointing and assigning blame for the recent violence.
June 1, 2015

Kansas Governor Proposes Yet Another Tax Cut

Gov. Sam Brownback said his plan to exempt the lowest-wage earners from the income tax and raise the sales tax would close the current $400 million budget deficit and leave a reserve of about $75 million for 2016.
June 1, 2015

Chicago Schools Chief Resigns

Amid a federal criminal investigation into a no-bid contract, Chief Executive Barbara Byrd-Bennett has announced she's leaving.
June 1, 2015

O'Malley Gets Uneven Support From Earlier Constituents for Presidential Run

Sixteen years ago, then-City Councilman Martin O'Malley chose the intersection of Harford Road and The Alameda in Clifton Park to announce his candidacy for mayor of Baltimore.
June 1, 2015

Need for Storm Aid Spotlights Texas' Complicated Relationship With the Federal Government

The world is filled with stormy relationships. North and South Korea. Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys. Texas and Washington.
June 1, 2015

Ruling on Idaho Abortion Law Could Jeopardize Other States' Laws

Three federal judges have unanimously struck down an Idaho law that banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
May 29, 2015

North Carolina Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

Pat McCrory won't sign a bill that would have allowed magistrates to opt out of performing weddings if they have religious objections.
May 29, 2015

Chris Christie Rejects Common Core Education Standards

The New Jersey governor eyes developing state standards, despite two years ago saying he and other governors were "leading the change" in support of Common Core.
May 29, 2015

Obama Adjusts His Legal Strategy in Immigration Case

Lawyers for the Obama administration said Wednesday that they were refocusing their legal strategy in an effort to restart the president's plan to grant temporary legal protection to millions of illegal immigrants.
May 29, 2015

Anticipating a Government Shutdown, Alaska Freezes Hiring

The state of Alaska is instituting a hiring freeze Friday across much of state government as a result of the Legislature's inability to approve a fully funded budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
May 29, 2015

Unfazed by Boycotts, Indiana Won't Even Study LGBT Protections

Lawmakers on Thursday released some 40 topics they plan to study before the General Assembly returns to the Statehouse in 2016.
May 29, 2015

Texas Lawmakers Can't Even Agree on Texting-While-Driving

With the death of a bill that would have created a statewide texting-while-driving ban, the measure’s author said Thursday that legislators “have not done our job as lawmakers to protect the life and safety of all Texans.”
May 28, 2015

Kentucky May Comply With EPA Regulations, Accidentally

More than a quarter of the coal-fired plants in the state have already shut down, because cheap natural gas is flooding the market.
May 28, 2015

Anti-Gay Marriage Bill Goes to North Carolina Governor's Desk

In March, Gov. Pat McCrory voiced concerns about a bill to allow magistrates to opt out of performing marriages and said he won't sign it. He stopped short, however, of saying he would veto it. The governor can allow bills to become law without his signature.
May 28, 2015

George Pataki, One of New York's Few Republican Governors, Runs for President

George E. Pataki ambled his towering frame into the center of this quintessential New England town Thursday to announce he is running for president, prompting many here and around the nation to ask: "Who's he?"
May 28, 2015

Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Could Soon Be Legal in California

The measure would allow motorcycles to travel between cars at speeds up to 15 mph faster than the flow of traffic, up to a speed of 50 mph.
May 28, 2015

Philadelphia School Official Accused of Giving $900,000 Contract to Associates

A Philadelphia County grand jury has recommended that Priscilla Wright be charged in connection with the contract awarded to Murphy's Transporting and several subcontractors, all who were owned by either Wright's friends or her relatives.
May 28, 2015

Former Aide to Chicago Alderman Howard Brookins Gets Prison Sentence for Bribery

Curtis Thompson, then Brookins' chief of staff, was arrested in February 2014 after prosecutors alleged he had accepted the bribe at the alderman's holiday party two months earlier from an FBI mole posing as a real estate developer in need of a liquor license for a new convenience store.
May 28, 2015

White House's New Clean Water Rule Sets Up Clash With Congress

The White House on Wednesday finalized a rule intended to strengthen and clarify the Clean Water Act, setting up a clash with Republicans in Congress and the agriculture industry.
May 28, 2015

Nebraska, the First Conservative State to Ban the Death Penalty Since '73

In a climactic political showdown, Nebraska's lawmakers overrode a veto and banned the death penalty Wednesday.
May 28, 2015

Medical Marijuana Clears Legal Hurdle in Florida

Florida regulators said they expect to provide access to a limited strain of non-euphoric marijuana for medical purposes by the end of the year after a Tallahassee judge on Wednesday dismissed the final challenge to the long-awaited rule.
May 28, 2015

Why Did Florida Release 13,000 Residents' Social Security Numbers?

For the second time in two months, Gov. Rick Scott's administration has acknowledged it inadvertently released confidential personal data of private citizens, prompting the state to offer free credit monitoring services to protect people from being victims of identity theft.
May 27, 2015

Is the Orange County Government Center Historic, or Just Ugly?

The Brutalist structure in Goshen, N.Y., was completed in 1971. Now preservationists and officials are fighting over whether or not to demolish it.
May 27, 2015

Scott Walker May Want to Be President, But He Has to Fix Wisconsin's Budget First

The governor's planned cuts to address a billion-dollar shortfall are proving unpopular, even among many Republicans.The final outcome of a struggle over the next few weeks will define the governor's image and could help determine whether he has any chance at all at the White House.
May 27, 2015

Prisoner Asks Indiana Governor for Historic Pardon

If Keith Cooper's request is granted _ and his felony record is erased _ legal experts say it will mark the first gubernatorial pardon they can recall in the state's history based on a claim of innocence.
May 27, 2015

Rick Scott Rejects Florida Senate's Budget Compromise

The state's governor stepped up his criticism of what he called the Senate's "Obamacare Expansion Plan" and accused his fellow Republicans of trying to impose higher taxes on Floridians.
May 27, 2015

The 13 Important Rulings Coming From the U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is heading into the final month of its annual term and will issue rulings on many cases important for state and local government.
May 27, 2015

Appeals Court Sides With States Against Obama's Immigration Order

The Obama administration suffered another immigration setback Tuesday, as a divided federal appeals court declined to lift a injunction imposed by a Texas-based trial judge.
May 27, 2015

Feds to Closely Monitor Cleveland Police Under Settlement

Federal monitors will begin closely watching the activities of Cleveland's beleaguered police department under a settlement announced Tuesday in response to a string of high-profile, racially inflamed incidents that have rattled the community.
May 27, 2015

Houston Begins to Recover From Fatal Storms

As the sun came up Tuesday, just hours after an overnight torrent that flooded highways and inundated neighborhoods, greater Houston faced yet one more painful recovery brought on by its occasionally lethal mix of climate and topography.
May 27, 2015

New York Taps Fired Florida Superintendent for Education Commissioner

ne month after being named Florida's "superintendent of the year" by her peers in December, MaryEllen Elia was booted from her job in a 4-3 vote that stirred debate there and nationally as education reformers rallied to her defense.
May 26, 2015

Who's Really Writing Missouri's Agricultural Laws?

Missouri legislators -- led by recipients of Smithfield Foods' political donations -- pushed through a controversial, last-minute measure to allow up to 1 percent of Missouri's agricultural land to come under foreign ownership. Now Shuanghui International of Hong Kong legally own the company's Missouri land. How did that happen?
May 26, 2015

California Drought Means Electricity Production Is Down at Many Dams

Electricity production at some hydropower plants is expected to be less than 20 percent of normal because of low water levels.
May 26, 2015

The Perils of Building a Bottled Water Plant in Drought-Stricken Oregon

Critics say Nestle shouldn't be allowed to profit from a natural resource as drought spreads across the state.
May 26, 2015

In Unprecedented Deal, California Farmers Agree to Water Cuts

When California officials struck an unprecedented conservation deal Friday with a group of farmers who have the strongest claims on the state's dwindling water supply, it showed no one was immune from the fallout of the drought.
May 26, 2015

Cleveland Strikes Deal on Police Misconduct After Officer Is Acquitted

The Justice Department and Cleveland officials have agreed to settle a case alleging widespread misconduct by the city's police, the first such agreement reached under the new attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who took office last month.
May 26, 2015

Texas Governor Tours Sites of Historic Flooding

On a day that brought a new round of fierce thunderstorms and torrential rains, authorities continued a grim search Monday for 12 people still missing after being swept from riverfront homes, and property owners returned to dramatic scenes of destruction.
May 26, 2015

Millionaire Tax Question 3 Votes Shy of Passing Illinois House

Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan's effort to ask voters to approve a measure to impose higher income taxes on millionaires failed in the House on Thursday, but provides the powerful Southwest Side politician ammunition to attack Republicans in next year's legislative campaigns.
May 22, 2015

Some States Call for Bigger Cuts in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Gov. Jay Inslee has failed so far to convince state legislators to go along with his proposal to meet official state greenhouse-gas-reduction targets through a new charge on carbon emissions.
May 22, 2015

Ex-Virginia Lawmaker Vows to Marry the Teenager He Got Pregnant (and Run for Senate)

Former Del. Joe Morrissey promised Thursday to marry the mother of his latest child, which would cement a relationship that got him tossed into the jail cell that served as his nightly home during the last legislative session.
May 22, 2015

6 Baltimore Police Officers Indicted in Freddie Gray's Death

A Baltimore grand jury returned indictments against the six officers charged earlier this month in the in-custody death of Freddie Gray, State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced Thursday.
May 22, 2015

Judge Legalizes Gay Marriage in Alabama, But Not Yet

The federal judge who struck down Alabama's laws banning same-sex marriage reaffirmed her decision Thursday evening, but delayed its implementation.
May 22, 2015

Hackers Shut Down Alabama Legislature's Email

The Alabama Legislature's email was hacked Thursday morning by an outside entity, causing lawmakers to briefly avoid using their accounts while the issue was addressed.
May 22, 2015

After Failed Tax Hike, Michigan Finds $400 Million for Roads

The House, Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder have agreed to inject $400 million into the states's crumbling roads in the 2015-16 budget year.
May 22, 2015

Veto of Education Bill Sets Minnesota Up for Special Session

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the state's education budget Thursday, setting up a special session of the Legislature in the coming weeks.
May 21, 2015

For the First Time in America, a Doctors Organization Drops Opposition to Assisted Suicide

The California Medical Association has become the first state medical association in the nation to drop opposition to what has long been known as "physician-assisted suicide," it said, acknowledging a shift in doctor and patient attitudes about end-of-life and aid-in-dying options.
May 21, 2015

Company Responsible for California Oil Spill Has High Rate of Safety Infractions

Plains Pipeline, the large Texas-based company responsible for the pipe that ruptured in Santa Barbara County, has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, according to federal records.
May 21, 2015

Conservative Nebraska Could Be Next to Abolish the Death Penalty

The death penalty may be holding on by its last thread in Nebraska.
May 21, 2015

Colorado Reduces Time Spent Taking Standardized Tests

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bills Wednesday morning that will reduce the time Colorado students spend taking standardized tests by an estimated 30 hours between kindergarten and graduation.
May 21, 2015

Judge Halts New Fracking Permits in North Carolina

A Wake County judge on Wednesday barred the state commission that regulates fracking from issuing drilling permits, pending the outcome of a lawsuit between the governor and legislative leaders.
May 21, 2015

Kentucky AG Wins Democratic Nomination for Governor

In the least suspenseful contest of the night, Attorney General Jack Conway secured the Kentucky Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination Tuesday.
May 21, 2015

GOP Primary for Kentucky Governor Too Close to Call

Republican James Comer asked Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes late Wednesday for "a full and complete check and recanvass" of Tuesday's vote in the GOP primary election for governor.
May 20, 2015

Rick Perry Would Enter the Presidental Race Still Under Indictment

The former Texas governor has set June 4 in Dallas for an announcement about his intentions to run. But unlike the more than a dozen other Republicans who are either in the presidential race already or on the verge, he is under indictment on charges of abuse of power.
May 20, 2015

Pittsburgh Pride's Iggy Azalea Problem

Many LGBT groups are angry over Pittsburgh Pride headliner Iggy Azalea because of because of tweets from the singer that they consider to be homophobic and racist.
May 20, 2015

Indiana Gov. Pence Opts to Run for Re-Election, Not President, in 2016

Gov. Mike Pence is putting aside, for now, any dreams of national office, and will announce next month he is running in 2016 for a second four-year term as Indiana's chief executive.
May 20, 2015

Los Angeles' $15 Promise Boosts Minimum-Wage Movement

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday backed a plan to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour, joining a trend sweeping cities across the country as elected leaders seek to boost stagnating pay for workers on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
May 20, 2015

Republican Beats Democratic Incumbent in Jacksonville Mayor's Race

Lenny Curry, the energetic Jacksonville businessman-turned chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, defeated Mayor Alvin Brown Tuesday, only the second time in recent history a sitting mayor has lost re-election.
May 20, 2015

U.S. House Approves Short-Term Highway Funding

The U.S. House voted to keep federal money flowing for highways and mass-transit programs for two more months, through the end of July.
May 19, 2015

Kansas Governor Says He's Been Using Private Email for Official Communication for Years

It's unclear if Gov. Sam Brownback's e-mails might be subject to the open records act.
May 19, 2015

Chris Christie Wants Bigger U.S. Military

The New Jersey governor staked out the most hawkish position of all the would-be candidates for the presidency in a speech he made in New Hampshire.
May 19, 2015

Maine Governor Wants to Drug Test Every Welfare Applicant

Paul LePage is proposing a bill to require any applicant to the TANF program -- regardless of whether they have any kind of criminal record related to drugs -- to undergo a written, 93-question screening test and then, depending on the results, a urine test.
May 19, 2015

Obama Cuts Off Local Police's Supply of Some Military Equipment

President Barack Obama on Monday ordered the federal government to stop distributing a limited inventory of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country because, he said, it makes police seem like an "occupying force" instead of public servants.
May 19, 2015

Obama Lauds Camden Police's Success

Camden's recently formed police force has made headway in cutting crime and gaining the trust of the community, but still has a way to go and cannot do the job of lifting up the struggling city all by itself, President Obama said Monday.
May 19, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Adds Protections for Workers With 401(k) Plans

In a move that could brighten retirement prospects for millions of Americans, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers have a duty to keep watch over 401(k) plans to guard against high management fees that can erode retirement savings.
May 19, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Keep Political Donors' Names Private

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy dealt a speedy setback Monday to conservative advocacy groups that had sought to shield the names of their major donors in California.
May 19, 2015

Florida Joins Growing List of States Seeking Online Voter Registration

Gov. Rick Scott, citing "some hesitation," signed legislation Friday requiring Florida to create an online voter registration system by 2017.
May 19, 2015

Court Strikes Down New Hampshire's Voter Residency Law

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Friday unanimously struck down a 2012 state law that required voters be state residents, not just domiciled here, in order to vote.
May 18, 2015

How Duke Energy's Guilty Plea Could Impact States Outside North Carolina

Many environmentalists see Duke Energy's guilty plea and sentencing here last week as a potential turning point in their battle against coal ash, a turning point that could have implications well beyond North Carolina's borders.
May 18, 2015

Amtrak Resumes Service After Philadelphia Crash

Baltimore's Penn Station will be buzzing this morning and later tonight as Amtrak's Northeast Corridor reopens for full service -- enabling travelers on the nation's busiest section of commuter rail to move from New York to Washington, D.C., for the first time since a deadly crash in Philadelphia last week.
May 18, 2015

Drought Emergency Declared for All of Washington State

Washington has a statewide drought emergency that will likely lead some farmers to go without water for their crops and some small water districts to look at reductions for their customers.
May 18, 2015

Tumultuous Missouri Legislative Session Ends With House Speaker's Resignation

Pat Dougherty, a former legislator who lobbies for social welfare issues for Catholic Charities of St. Louis, left the Missouri Capitol five hours before the legislative session ended Friday.
May 18, 2015

Florida Governor Warns Agencies to Prepare for Possible Government Shutdown

Gov. Rick Scott issued dire warnings of a "government shutdown" Thursday as he ordered state agencies to draw up lists of critical services that must continue if the Florida Legislature cannot pass a budget by July 1.
May 14, 2015

California's Bullet Train Might Be One of the Cheapest in the World

The current estimate for a ticket, $86 from Los Angeles to San Francisco , would result in one of the world's cheapest high-speed rail trips on a per-mile basis.
May 14, 2015

Utah City Intervenes in Dad's Cardboard Fort, Touches Off Internet Hysteria

Jeremy Trentelman builds "a completely awesome box castle" in his front yard and gets a $125 fine from the city. Then the Internet trolls got involved.
May 14, 2015

Philadelphia Train Lacked Technology That Would Have Prevented Deadly Crash

An electronic train-control system designed to prevent the kind of accident that killed at least seven people Tuesday was not in place where Amtrak Train 188 crashed, as it was entering one of the sharpest curves on the Northeast Corridor.
May 14, 2015

White House Seeking Local Support for New Deportation Policy

As the Obama administration prepares to change the way it enforces immigration laws, top officials have been conducting weeks of shuttle diplomacy, touring the country to try to re-enlist police chiefs and mayors in the cause of deporting people convicted of crimes.
May 14, 2015

Pension Ruling Hurts Chicago Schools' Debt Rating

Chicago's beleaguered public school system faces a likely increase in borrowing costs, tough bank negotiations and even calls for emergency state oversight after a major rating agency on Wednesday lowered the school district's debt rating to junk status.
May 14, 2015

Governor's Plan to Nix Maine's Income Tax Hits Roadblock

A majority of the Legislature's Taxation Committee voted Wednesday to reject Gov. Paul LePage's plan to eliminate Maine's income tax, citing a projected $1.8 billion loss in state revenue and no plan to offset it.
May 14, 2015

Missouri House Speaker Apologizes for Sexting Intern

House Speaker John Diehl issued a statement Wednesday apologizing and seeking forgiveness for exchanging sexually charged messages with a college freshman who worked as an intern in the state Capitol.
May 13, 2015

Why Does Jeb Bush Hate High Speed Rail?

His war against Florida fast trains shows his governing style.
May 13, 2015

Housing Advocates: Fannie Mae Neglected Foreclosured Properties in Minority Neighborhoods

The National Fair Housing Alliance and 19 local fair housing organizations filed a complaint alleging the institution maintained and marketed its foreclosed houses in white areas--including in the Baltimore region--better than in minority areas.
May 13, 2015

Alaska Legislative Recess Ends With Talk of Shutdown, and Without a Budget

At an Anchorage press conference Gov. Bill Walker warned that budget inaction threatens to cause a damaging government shutdown.
May 13, 2015

Philadelphia Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect

Passed in February, the law, which goes into effect Wednesday, requires employers in the city with 10 or more workers to offer paid sick time.
May 13, 2015

Train Derails in Philadelphia, Killing At Least 5

At least five people were killed and more than 50 were injured when a northbound Amtrak train derailed Tuesday night in Port Richmond.
May 13, 2015

Chicago Credit Rating Plummets After Pension Ruling

Chicago took yet another hit Tuesday when a major credit rating agency downgraded much of the city's debt to junk status, making it more difficult for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fix the financial mess without a major tax increase.
May 13, 2015

Body Camera Bill Among 300 Signed by Maryland Governor

Gov. Larry Hogan signed a body camera bill Tuesday that supporters say would pave the way for equipping cops across the state with video equipment.
May 13, 2015

DA Won't Charge Wisconsin Police Officer in Fatal Shooting

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday that Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny won't face criminal charges in a fatal shooting that sparked protests in Madison and drew national attention as the country grapples with police shootings of unarmed black men.
May 12, 2015

Stress of Baltimore Unrest Is Likely to Stick Around

Sociologists liken the mental health effects of a riot to those of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a hurricane, but with the added twist of being inflicted by other humans rather than happenstance.
May 12, 2015

Florida Doesn't Have a Plan for Rising Sea Levels Yet

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting sea levels will rise as much as 2 feet by 2050 and by as much as 6.6 feet by 2100, Florida is way behind when it comes to recognizing the threat and launching efforts to combat it.
May 12, 2015

Why Reclaiming Public Lands Is So Alluring in Western States

For rural communities that have watched their economic fortunes tumble and now struggle to pay for basic services including law enforcement, roads and schools, public lands look like a way out of economic problems.
May 12, 2015

GOP Presidential Candidates Will Have a Tough Time With State Pot Laws

If the candidates are hewing to the views of Republican voters on the question of legalization, they are running against the tide of opinion in the country overall, a conundrum the party faces on a host of social issues, including same-sex marriage.
May 12, 2015

Florida Governor May Be Hospitals' Biggest Critic and Biggest Beneficiary

The same day Gov. Rick Scott created a health care commission to probe the bottom line at Florida hospitals, his political committee collected $100,000 in contributions from one of the state's biggest hospital chains.
May 12, 2015

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Common Core Ban

Citing the state's economic competitiveness, Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed a bill that would prohibit the Department of Education or the state Board of Education from implementing Common Core standards in any school in the state.
May 12, 2015

Another Top New York Politician Resigns Amid Corruption Charges

Striving to put back together a fractured Republican conference, GOP senators Monday quickly galvanized support to make Suffolk County's Sen. John Flanagan their new majority leader and a member of Albany's exclusive three-men-in-a-room system of government.
May 12, 2015

Ohio Faces Federal Lawsuit Over Its Voting System

Hillary Clinton's top campaign lawyer and others are challenging Ohio voting laws enacted by the Republican-dominated legislature and Gov. John Kasich, claiming in a lengthy federal lawsuit the measures were designed to suppress the votes of such traditional Democratic constituencies as blacks, Latinos and the young.
May 11, 2015

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Landmark Pension Law

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled unconstitutional a landmark state pension law that aimed to scale back government worker benefits to erase a massive $105 billion retirement system debt, sending lawmakers and the new governor back to the negotiating table to try to solve the pressing financial issue.
May 11, 2015

Georgia Lawmakers Refuse to Even Study Pension Reforms for Teachers

Lawmakers effectively killed a bill Thursday that sought to overhaul Georgia teachers' pensions, refusing to allow a study of the potential financial effects.
May 11, 2015

U.S. Justice Department Opens a 3rd Investigation Into Baltimore Police

The nation's top law enforcement officials are likely to have a watchful presence over Baltimore police for the next few years, as the U.S. Department of Justice examines whether officers commonly use excessive force and violate residents' constitutional rights.
May 11, 2015

Tennessee Increases Restrictions on Abortion Providers

With little fanfare, Gov. Bill Haslam on Friday signed into law a measure that requires Tennessee abortion providers to meet stricter standards as outpatient surgical care treatment centers.
May 11, 2015

Michigan Lawmaker a Suspect in Shooting, Sources Say

State Sen. Vigil Smith is a suspect in a domestic dispute outside his Detroit home earlier Sunday in which shots were fired at a woman's vehicle, two police sources told the Free Press.
May 8, 2015

Connecticut's State Fraud Investigator Accused of Mortgage Fraud

The state employee who manages fraud investigations for the state welfare department was charged with fraud himself Wednesday for lying about his assets on an application to refinance his home mortgage.
May 8, 2015

Ohio State Freezes Tuition for First Time in Decades

For the first time in at least four decades, Ohio State University plans to freeze all of its costs -- tuition, fees, room and board -- for in-state, undergraduate students, who represent most of the university's enrollment.
May 8, 2015

Kansas in Court Over Education Funding, Again

The chief judge of the state's special-school finance court assigned the state's top education finance official some homework Tuesday:
May 7, 2015

Andrew Cuomo Bypasses Legislature to Give Fast-Food Workers Higher Wages

The New York governor's maneuver is the culmination of a fight for $15-an-hour wages for fast-food workers that started in New York City almost three years ago.
May 7, 2015

A Very Busy Last Day for the Colorado Legislature

The final day of this legislative session resulted in a compromise to reduce the amount of state-mandated student testing and rein in red-light cameras and photo radar.
May 7, 2015

How Did a Consultant Bill Atlantic City $70,000?

Kevyn Orr, the former Detroit emergency manager, got that much for about three months' work.
May 7, 2015

Days After Feds Announce New Rules, Oil Train Explosion Evacuates Town

When the Obama administration imposed new safety rules on oil trains last week, the railroad industry said its goal was to have zero accidents in the future.
May 7, 2015

Missouri's GOP Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto of Welfare Cuts

Republicans used their supermajorities in the Missouri Legislature on Tuesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto and enact a bill that the GOP says will reform welfare.
May 7, 2015

California, Suffering With a $26 Billion Deficit Not Long Ago, Now Has an $8 Billion Surplus

In the clearest sign yet that the Great California Recovery is proceeding on pace, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins announced Tuesday that the state's revenue has climbed as much as $8 billion in the last four months.
May 7, 2015

Justices Debate Christie's Pension Cuts

The Christie administration on Wednesday told the New Jersey Supreme Court that granting public workers a contractual right to pension funding would violate the state constitution and place a "fiscal stranglehold on the state in perpetuity."
May 6, 2015

Portland Has World's First Vegan Mini-Mall

Portland has a vegetarian pedigree that stretches back to the late 1800s, when members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who adhere to strict health and dietary rules, began to settle there.
May 6, 2015

Baltimore Mayor Asks Justice Department to Investigate Police

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also announced that Baltimore officers would have body cameras by the end of the year.
May 6, 2015

California Discovers What Nevada Already Learned: You Can't Have a Lawn in the West

The American lawn could become an ornament of the past, at least beyond the Rockies.
May 6, 2015

Michigan Voters Refuse Tax Hike for Roads

Proposal 1, likely one of the most complicated and confusing questions ever placed on a Michigan ballot, was soundly rejected Tuesday as many voters expressed anger at lawmakers and state government for failing to come up with a better solution to the sorry state of the roads.
May 6, 2015

Why Uber Is Pulling Out of Kansas

Uber halted its service in Kansas on Tuesday afternoon after state legislators overrode the governor's veto of a bill regulating on-demand transportation companies.
May 5, 2015

Drought Has Killed 12 Million California Trees

Traditionally by spring, the forest is green and lush due to a substantial rainy season. But four years of drought and warm temperatures have taken their toll.
May 5, 2015

School Rules on Junk Food Don't Improve Student Health Much

Efforts to limit sugary drinks and junk foods in California elementary schools appear to have resulted in fewer kids who are overweight or obese. The benefits were limited to children at wealthier schools, however.
May 5, 2015

Kansas and Texas Join Florida's Health-Care Lawsuit Against Obama Administration

Kansas and Texas are joining in Gov. Rick Scott's lawsuit against the Obama administration, Scott's office said Monday.
May 5, 2015

Another Top New York Politician (and His Son) Arrested for Corruption

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son were arrested Monday by federal authorities, who alleged the state's top Republican extorted bribes and campaign contributions from companies in exchange for steering key real estate legislation and rigging a lucrative Nassau County environmental contract to his son's benefit.
May 5, 2015

Christie Associates Plead Not Guilty in Bridgegate Scandal

The prosecution of Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni has just begun in the George Washington Bridge saga, but the two have already made part of their legal strategy clear: Neither is stupid enough to have closed lanes at the bridge to punish Fort Lee's mayor. And the government's key witness is a liar.
May 5, 2015

Raising Taxes for Roads Faces a Test in Michigan

Important statewide elections don't normally happen in May, but Tuesday's vote on Proposal 1 is a blockbuster -- and not just for Michigan's battered roads.
May 4, 2015

Rick Scott Absent in the Midst of Florida Budget Crisis

At a time when legislative leaders desperately needed intervention to break a budget deadlock, the governor was far from the action -- attending political fund-raisers, casting for jobs in California and dedicating a new amusement park ride in Orlando.
May 4, 2015

Feds Unveil Rules to Make Oil Trains Safer

The U.S. and Canadian governments on Friday unveiled a long-awaited new standard for the tank cars used to transport crude oil and ethanol that includes numerous safety improvements.
May 4, 2015

Baltimore Lifts Curfew

After days of demonstrations and unrest, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted the 10 p.m. curfew across the city, sparking a burst of celebrations.
May 4, 2015

Court Overturns Ohio's 'Jock Tax'

Cleveland's unusual method of taxing professional athletes is illegal, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unanimously in a pair of opinions released this morning.
May 4, 2015

Scott Walker Signs Statewide Standards for Uber and Lyft

Late Friday night, Gov. Scott Walker announced that he signed a bill into law that creates statewide standards for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.
May 4, 2015

Missouri Governor on Welfare Cuts: I Don't Sign Bills That Hurt Kids

It's another year, and state Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, has found himself on the receiving end of an impassioned veto of one of his bills by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
May 1, 2015

6 Baltimore Officers Charged in Freddie Gray's Death

All six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest and transport of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured while in police custody, will face serious criminal charges ranging from second-degree murder to assault, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said on Friday.
May 1, 2015

Christie Ally Pleads Guilty in Bridgegate Scandal

A former ally of Gov. Christie's pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to conspiracy in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, admitting the closures were retribution against a local mayor for failing to endorse the Republican governor's 2013 reelection.
May 1, 2015

In Kansas, Legal Marijuana Faces Off Against Child Protective Services

After her state takes her child, a Kansas woman is at center of a national marijuana debate.
May 1, 2015

Governor Proposes a Plan to Eliminate Detroit Schools' Debt Problems

Rick Snyder wants to split Detroit Public Schools in two to eliminate its crippling debt but at the expense of other districts across Michigan.
May 1, 2015

Obama Signs Energy-Efficiency Bill

President Obama on Thursday signed into law the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), Mr. Portman's office announced.
May 1, 2015

Judge Reduces Sentences for 3 Educators in Atlanta Cheating Scandal

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter called on the three supervising educators that he resentenced Thursday to start giving back to the community while they wait for their appeals to be heard.
May 1, 2015

Pension Reform Partially Overturned by Oregon Supreme Court

The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a key piece of the Legislature's 2013 reform work on the Public Employees Retirement System, setting the stage for a heavy financial cost to government agencies across the state while restoring lost benefits to retirees.
May 1, 2015

Georgia One of Last States to Require Autism Coverage for Kids

Georgia Republicans who have long rejected the mandates in President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul managed to find one insurance requirement they could get behind.
April 30, 2015

Detroit's Downtown Revitalization? Bring Some of That Out to the Neighborhoods.

While many in downtown and Midtown are hailing upcoming developments as things that will boost the local economy while bringing people together, man residents sees them as just more projects serving others.
April 30, 2015

House GOP Hesitates to Interfere with D.C. Abortion/Birth Control Law

The law would protect employees in Washington, D.C., from being fired for reproductive health choices. Members of Congress who want to see the law overturned say that it discriminates against employers who have religious objections to birth control and abortion. But is it worth fighting?
April 30, 2015

North Dakota Legislature Adjourns With a Budget Issue Remaining

The House and Senate were unable to reach a final agreement this week on several policy issues contained within the state's Retirement and Investment Office and Public Employees Retirement System budget, which means the governor may call a special session.
April 30, 2015

Kansas Gives Lawmakers a Way to Keep Public Business Off Public Record

Public officials in Kansas can conduct public business on private e-mails without those e-mails becoming public records, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Tuesday.
April 30, 2015

Baltimore Releases Many Arrestees Without Charges, Detains Others With 'Excessive' Bail

After arresting more than 200 people this week while bringing order to the streets of Baltimore, police said Wednesday they had to let half of them go.
April 30, 2015

Cities Across the U.S. Protest in Solidarity With Baltimore

The high-profile unrest in Baltimore triggered protests in several American cities Wednesday.
April 30, 2015

Ohio to Create Statewide Standards for When Police Can Use Deadly Force

Pledging that "we are going to heal our communities," Gov. John Kasich created an advisory board on Wednesday to develop first-ever standards for law-enforcement agencies statewide as a step toward "bridging the gap" between officers and those they serve.
April 30, 2015

California Intensifies Targets for Emissions Cuts

Gov. Jerry Brown accelerated California's effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions Wednesday, burnishing the state's reputation as a pacesetter in the battle against climate change.
April 30, 2015

Supreme Court Sharply Divided in Execution Drug Case

A sharply divided Supreme Court engaged in an hour of contentious arguments Wednesday about the effectiveness of an Oklahoma lethal injection drug and whether death penalty "abolitionists" were actually making executions more painful.
April 29, 2015

Florida Governor Sues Federal Government Over Health Care

Gov. Rick Scott filed a lawsuit claiming that the federal government tried to force Medicaid expansion on the state after federal health officials said they would be more likely to continue a $2.2 billion hospital funding program if state lawmakers voted to expand healthcare coverage to low-income Floridians.
April 29, 2015

Transportation Safety Board: Chicago Trains Need Update

An NTSB report said that a March crash near O'Hare Airport shows CTA should update and add safety systems, changes that would cost tens of millions of dollars.
April 29, 2015

Privatized Medicaid Companies in Kansas Lost $170 Million

The state privatized its Medicaid services in 2013 under the KanCare umbrella. None of the three companies awarded a state contract have turned a profit.
April 29, 2015

Under Curfew, Baltimore Is 'Stable' After Riots

With the National Guard on patrol and the city under curfew, officials struggled Tuesday to prevent a second night of rioting and appeared to succeed.
April 29, 2015

A Frustrated Obama Calls for Focus on Roots of Baltimore Riots

President Barack Obama forcefully condemned the riots in Baltimore as "counterproductive" on Tuesday, labeling the rioters as "criminals and thugs" and striking a new tone of frustration with the cycle of allegations of deadly police abuse followed by violent protests.
April 29, 2015

Kennedy Unexpectedly Expresses Doubt During Gay Marriage Arguments

Gay rights lawyers went to the Supreme Court hoping to find a majority of justices ready to support a historic ruling that would declare same-sex couples have an equal right to marry nationwide.
April 29, 2015

Execution Drug Ruling Could Impact Several States

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday on Oklahoma's execution protocol, specifically whether or not the use of a particular drug in the state's lethal cocktail is constitutional.
April 29, 2015

Florida House Adjourns Early, Killing Prison Reform Bills

The House's decision to leave town Tuesday, three days earlier than scheduled, is ending the chance many bills will make it to Gov. Rick Scott's desk for his signature.
April 29, 2015

California Governor Wants to Fine Water Wasters $10,000

Waste California's water, risk a $10,000 fine.
April 28, 2015

Alaska Governor Demands Legislature Return to Finish Budget

The state legislature approves budget with funding shortfall. Gov. Bill Walker calls members back into special session to fix the problem.
April 28, 2015

Member of Atlantic City Emergency Management Team Leaving

Attorney Kevyn Orr had been a consultant after leading the Detroit bankruptcy case.
April 28, 2015

Baltimore Invokes Curfew and National Guard After Riots Erupt Throughout City

After two weeks of tension over the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore devolved into chaos Monday.
April 28, 2015

Baltimore Police Chief Has Record of Handling Police Killing Protests

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, who struggled Monday to stop rioting in the city, spent most of his law enforcement career in California, confronting unrest during a rocky two-year tenure in Oakland.
April 28, 2015

Tulsa Undersheriff Resigns After Culture of Intimidation Claim

Fallout from a shooting earlier this month involving a reserve Tulsa County sheriff's deputy continued Monday with the resignation of the department's undersheriff.
April 28, 2015

Uber Regulations Fail in Kansas, Then Company Hires Within State

Ride-share giant Uber has signed several high-profile lobbyists -- including Gov. Sam Brownback's former campaign manager -- to represent it in an expected legislative fight over new regulations for the ride-share industry.
April 28, 2015

Portland, Maine, Bans E-Cigarettes in Public

The City Council voted 7-1 Monday night to prohibit people from using e-cigarettes in public places, making Portland the 275th U.S. community to restrict use of the relatively new technology.
April 28, 2015

Justice Kennedy's Long Road From Sacramento to Landmark Gay Marriage Case

Anthony M. Kennedy was a 44-year-old appeals court judge in Sacramento, Calif. _ a Republican appointee and happily married Catholic _ when he first confronted the question of whether the Constitution protected the rights of gays and lesbians.
April 27, 2015

The 45-Minute Mystery in the Death of Freddie Gray

Investigators with the city police and other agencies are still trying to recreate the events that caused Gray to sustain a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody.
April 27, 2015

Police Killing Divides Albuquerque's Top Law Enforcement

The region's two top law enforcement agencies have been locked in a conflict over last year's fatal police shooting of a mentally ill homeless man--a case the officers said was self-defense, but which the city's chief prosecutor alleged was murder.
April 27, 2015

Baltimore Police Protests Turn Violent

A day of mostly peaceful demonstrations against the death of Freddie Gray turned confrontational as dark fell over Baltimore Saturday evening, as protesters blocked traffic near the Inner Harbor, smashed police car windows and shouted, "Killers!" at officers in riot gear.
April 27, 2015

New England States Shift Approach to 'Energy Crisis'

The five New England governors at a closed-door energy meeting Thursday updated their agreement to pursue major investments in natural gas pipelines and transmission wires.
April 27, 2015

As Washington's Legislative Session Ends, Medical Marijuana Changes Begin

A few hours before the gavel came down on the regular session, Gov. Jay Inslee signed one of the most-discussed laws, one that brings medical marijuana under much of the same state control and oversight as the newer recreational pot system.
April 27, 2015

Guns-in-Parks Bill Gets Tennessee Governor's Approval

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Friday signed into law a bill that immediately overrides city and county bans on permit-holders bringing firearms into local parks, playgrounds and ballfields.
April 27, 2015

Immigrant Tuition Bill Fails by 1 Vote in Tennessee

As the Tennessee House debated a bill Wednesday that could determine whether he can eventually afford college, 15-year-old Carlos Reyes was in the balcony.
April 24, 2015

Illinois Governor Makes Cuts to Health Care for State's Poor

Brue Rauner's budget will make roughly $106 million in cuts to the Medicaid health care program for the poor, much of which takes the form of a 16.75 percent reduction to reimbursement payments to doctors and pharmacies.
April 24, 2015

Dear Obama, This Is Why Maine's Governor Opposes a New National Park

While proponents continue their efforts to set aside 150,000 acres in northern Maine for a national park and recreation area, Gov. Paul LePage voiced his opposition to the plan in a letter addressed to President Barack Obama.
April 24, 2015

Florida House Seeks End to Budget Stalemate

The Florida House made an offer on health care funding Thursday in hopes of ending a budget stalemate with the Senate in the final day of the legislative session.
April 24, 2015

Vets' New Gig: Catching Child Predators?

North Carolina is the first state to consider spending money to hire graduates from a new national internship program that trains military veterans as computer forensic analysts to catch people who sexually abuse children.
April 24, 2015

A Transportation Shift in Maryland

State Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn is expected to name Paul Comfort as the new head of the Maryland Transit Administration on Friday, a day after the resignation of the head of the State Highway Administration.
April 24, 2015

Michael Brown Family's Lawsuit Calls for Police Training Reform

The parents of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer in August, are suing the city of Ferguson.
April 24, 2015

Wife of Slain L.A. County Mayor Indicted on Manslaughter Charge

Since Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo was gunned down by his wife last year, she has waged a public battle with his brother over who was to blame.
April 23, 2015

Kate Brown Urges Oregon Legislature to Pass Campaign Donation Limits

The state's new governor pointed out that voters have twice since 1994 backed measures sharply limiting contributions, but this hasn't gone anywhere due to Oregon's strict protections on "free speech."
April 23, 2015

Georgia Governor Signs School Takeover Bill

Gov. Nathan Deal's plan, which must be approved by a majority of voters in November 2016, would put 100 schools deemed to be persistent failures under state control.
April 23, 2015

In Wake of Freddie Gray's Death, Baltimore Mayor Turns to Post-Ferguson Playbook She Helped Write

The morning after Freddie Gray's death, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sat at a table with two dozen clergy members, activists and community leaders she had invited to City Hall.
April 23, 2015

California Lawmakers Amend Mandatory Vaccine Bill to Satisfy Critics

A bill that would make vaccines mandatory for California schoolchildren passed its toughest committee Wednesday and now heads to a panel dominated by lawmakers who support the proposal.
April 23, 2015

Why Raisins Are the Star of a U.S. Supreme Court Case

The California raisins were back before the Supreme Court, and the justices sounded ready to rule in favor of a Fresno farmer in his long battle against a Depression-era law that allows the government to seize privately grown crops to reduce supply and prop up prices.
April 23, 2015

Michigan Police Chief Resigns After Video-Captured Cop Beating

After intense pressure from civil rights advocates, the police chief of Inkster resigned Wednesday, three months after the beating of an autoworker in her city sparked national outrage.
April 22, 2015

Scott Walker to Lay Off 57 People in State's Department of Natural Resources

Happy Earth Day. DNR staff received layoff notices from the Wisconsin governor amid talk of budget cuts.
April 22, 2015

New Jersey Teachers Union Breaks Off Pension Talks With Christie

New Jersey Education Association accuses Chris Christie of mischaracterizing its agreement for political gain. On Tuesday, it formally abandoned talks with the governor's commission.
April 22, 2015

Almost No One Recycles in Detroit, Despite Curbside Pickup

The city's shift to privatized trash pickup last March brought with it the opportunity for homeowners citywide to opt in to curbside recyling. But a year later, the recycling program remains largely unused.
April 22, 2015

Justice Department Opens Criminal Investigation Into Freddie Gray's Death

Officials and community leaders welcomed Tuesday the Justice Department's announcement that it is opening a criminal investigation into Freddie Gray's death in Baltimore police custody _ an incident that continues to spark angry demonstrations.
April 22, 2015

Feds Warn 2 More States to Expand Medicaid or Risk Hospital Funds

Add Tennessee and Kansas to the list of states that have been warned by the Obama administration that failing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act could jeopardize special funding to pay hospitals and doctors for treating the poor.
April 22, 2015

Kansas' Revenue Projections Sink Again After Deep Tax Cuts

Fed new revenue forecasts Monday, Kansas lawmakers now face roughly $400 million in tax increases or budget cuts in the wake of deep income tax cuts.
April 22, 2015

Oklahoma Geologists Issue Strongest Statement Yet Linking Earthquakes to Drilling

Using some of its strongest language to date, the Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday the state's ongoing earthquake swarm is "very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process."
April 21, 2015

Aides Form Super PAC to Promote Illinois Governor's Agenda

Called "Turnaround Illinois," the fund will be able to raise an unlimited amount of money as a super political action committee to support legislative candidates who will implement Gov. Bruce Rauner's reforms.
April 21, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Sends Redistricting Maps Back to North Carolina for More Review

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling that had upheld the state's Republican-drawn legislative and congressional districts.
April 21, 2015

California Governor Calls Water Ruling a 'Straitjacket' for Conservation

A state appeals court dealt a potentially serious blow Monday to local governments' attempts to encourage water conservation in drought-parched California, ruling that they cannot charge higher rates to big users simply because those customers guzzle more water.
April 21, 2015

Half of Employees Resign After Town Elects Its First Black Mayor

The drugstore is long gone. So, too, are the bank and the barbershop, the opry house and the hardware store.
April 21, 2015

Chicago Cop Acquitted in Fatal Off-Duty Shooting

In a stunning, abrupt end to the first trial in years of a Chicago police officer for a fatal off-duty shooting, a Cook County judge acquitted the veteran cop Monday on a legal fine point, drawing outrage from the black victim's family and leaders in the African-American community.
April 21, 2015

Koch Brothers Announce Their Pick for President

Gov. Scott Walker appears to have some key allies in the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination: influential conservative political donors Charles and David Koch.
April 21, 2015

Uber Regulations Vetoed by Kansas Governor

Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed a bill Monday that would have put new regulations on Uber and other rideshare services in Kansas, citing the importance of innovation.
April 20, 2015

In California, Addicts No Longer Need a Prescription for Anti-Overdose Drug

California pharmacists can hand out an overdose antidote to patients on powerful painkillers without requiring a prescription under new rules aimed at curbing drug-related fatalities.
April 20, 2015

Georgia Legalizes Medical Marijuana Oil But Patients Have to Move to Get It

Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Thursday that legalizes medical marijuana in Georgia, though tremendous hurdles remain for patients who want to get the drug.
April 20, 2015

Drought Declared in Almost Half of Washington State

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a drought emergency in nearly half of usually damp Washington on Friday, and officials said the entire state could be classified as drought-stricken by early May.
April 20, 2015

Baltimore Police Under Investigation After Black Man's Death

A 25-year-old Baltimore man died Sunday a week after reportedly suffering a partially severed spine during an arrest, and the mayor vowed "to find out exactly what happened" and "hold the right people accountable."
April 17, 2015

Many Red States May Consider Climate Change Gag Rules

While Wisconsin and Florida are the first states to outright ban employees from working on climate change, at least publicly, Republican legislators have long tampered with how governments address global warming.
April 17, 2015

California Residents Get Really Creative About Water Recycling

Sewer plants? Do-it-yourself water recycling takes off in the state's drought.
April 17, 2015

Federal Probe Causes Chicago Schools CEO to Take Leave of Absence

The city of Chicago put Barbara Byrd-Bennett on leave due to a federal investigation of a no-bid contract with a company she once worked for.
April 17, 2015

Obama's Climate Change Policy Appears to Survive Early Court Challenge

President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to battle climate change by forcing power plants to reduce their greenhouse gases appeared to survive its first court challenge Thursday, but only because the formal rules are still pending at the Environmental Protection Agency.
April 17, 2015

Washington State Auditor Indicted

State Auditor Troy Kelley was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of concealing stolen property, lying to federal investigators, filing false tax returns and "corrupt interference with Internal Revenue laws."
April 17, 2015

Bill to Make Bible Tennessee's Official State Book Fails

Efforts to designate the "Holy Bible" as Tennessee government's official book failed in the state Senate Thursday after the controversial bill, which had attracted national attention, was forced back to committee.
April 16, 2015

Maine Clergy Rejoice as Legislator Gives Up on 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Actual ministers support the decision of Maine Sen. David Burns to withdraw his bill, which was nearly identical in substance to the controversial religious freedom law passed in Indiana.
April 16, 2015

Sam Brownback Signs Legislation Restricting How Welfare Recipients Can Spend Money

Gov. Sam Brownback will sign a welfare reform bill that has gained national attention Thursday morning at the Department for Children and Families service center in Topeka.
April 16, 2015

Wisconsin Governor Shows Support for Trade Agreement Between U.S. and E.U.

Scott Walker backs trade deal, signs research pact on a trip Walker designed to bolster his foreign affairs credentials.
April 16, 2015

EPA Carbon-Cutting Rule Heads to Court Over Drafting Error

A congressional drafting error and clunky phrase is putting a second of President Barack Obama's signature endeavors in jeopardy. This time it's climate change.
April 16, 2015

Feds Threaten to Withhold $1 Billion If Florida Doesn't Expand Medicaid

Federal health officials turned up the pressure on Florida Tuesday, saying the future of $1.3 billion in federal funding for hospitals that treat low-income patients is tied to whether the Legislature expands Medicaid.
April 16, 2015

Anti-Vaccine Parents Stall Bill in California

A bill to prevent parents from opting their children out of school-required vaccinations could be headed for a major rewrite after lawmakers heard impassioned testimony from hundreds of parents who threatened to take their kids out of school.
April 16, 2015

Judge Rules Against Sheriff Arpaio in Racial Profiling Case

A San Francisco appeals court said it again: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies can't detain car occupants simply because they're Latino.
April 15, 2015

Jeb Bush Promises Not to Attack Marco Rubio

Bush vowed Tuesday that he would not criticize his "friend," the Florida Senator.
April 15, 2015

After Cheating Educators Reject Sentencing Deal, Atlanta Judge Teaches Them a Lesson

The longest criminal trial in Georgia history ended Tuesday with two former educators admitting guilt in the nation's largest test-cheating conspiracy and eight others proclaiming innocence as a judge ordered them to prison.
April 15, 2015

Chris Christie Pitches Overhauling Social Security and Health Care

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent his first day in New Hampshire pitching overhauls to Social Security and federal health care, visiting a pizzeria and courting Republicans during what appeared to be a campaign trip in all but name.
April 15, 2015

Missouri Replaces State Auditor Who Committed Suicide

Nicole Galloway, a certified public accountant and the Democratic county treasurer in Boone County, was tapped by Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday to replace the late Tom Schweich as state auditor.
April 15, 2015

Missouri Medicaid May Have to Repay $34M to Feds

A new audit recommends that Missouri refund more than $34 million to the federal government because the state did not comply with Medicaid regulations.
April 14, 2015

DOJ Says Miami Isn't Working to Settle Police Shooting Cases

The head of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section said two weeks ago that the city had stopped responding to phone calls and emails about an excessive force investigation.
April 14, 2015

Atlanta Judge Has Change of Heart Sentencing Cheating Educators

Ten former Atlanta educators convicted of racketeering in a test cheating scandal have been given an evening to make a life-changing decision: apologize for their crimes and waive a right to appeal or go to jail.
April 14, 2015

Tulsa Deputy Charged With Manslaughter in Unarmed Man's Death

A volunteer Oklahoma sheriff's deputy was charged with manslaughter Monday after prosecutors said he was negligent for shooting an unarmed suspect with a gun instead of a Taser during an arrest.
April 14, 2015

South Dakota Will Complete Obama's 50-State Circuit

President Barack Obama is crossing South Dakota off his list.
April 14, 2015

Indiana Hires PR Firm to Rebuild Image in Wake of Religious Freedom Controversy

Indiana's economic development and tourism agencies announced Monday they have hired global PR firm Porter Novelli to help rebuild the state's image in the wake of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act debacle.
April 13, 2015

Are Race Relations Best in California?

Nearly two-thirds of California voters say race relations in the state are better than elsewhere in America.
April 13, 2015

U.S. Pot Legalization Hinges on 2016 California Ballot Measure

Because the state is so big, the impact of a change in the law is likely to matter significantly for the rest of the nation.
April 13, 2015

Body Camera Video Shows Tulsa Police 'Accidentally' Shoot Suspect

A reserve sheriff's deputy accidentally shot an unarmed man with a gun instead of a Taser, and Oklahoma law enforcement officials berated the man as he lay dying on the ground, according to body-camera footage released this weekend.
April 13, 2015

Facing a $271 Million Budget Shortfall and $1 Billion in Back Taxes

As they scramble to balance the state budget, N.C. lawmakers could use a little help from Koren Robinson.
April 13, 2015

Tuition Increases Coming Some University of Wisconsin Students' Way

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents finalized tuition increases for nine campuses on Friday, and pushed back against a key lawmaker who blasted UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank for proposing a 35% tuition increase over four years for nonresident undergraduates.
April 10, 2015

Court Rules Christie Can't Use Low-Income Housing Funds to Stabilize Budget

The New Jersey governor wanted to take $160 million out of trust funds to build low-cost housing units for poor, disabled and elderly people.
April 10, 2015

Former Georgia Legislator Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Tax Charges

Former Rep. Tyrone Brooks Jr. says he misappropriated almost $1 million in charitable funds.
April 10, 2015

Ex-Gov. Lincoln Chafee Could Run Against Hillary

Lincoln Chafee on Thursday became the second Republican-turned-Democrat to offer himself as an alternative to all-but declared presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
April 10, 2015

Seniority Doesn't Matter Anymore on Wisconsin's Supreme Court

Voters on Tuesday approved letting state Supreme Court justices choose who will lead them -- a change to a 126-year-old system that is likely to result in the demotion of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.
April 10, 2015

In North Charleston, Residents Say Jim Crow Lives On

To many black residents, the overt hatred and segregation that ruled this place during the Jim Crow era has morphed into something more insidious: the routine traffic stop.
April 10, 2015

Kansas AG Asks Supreme Court to Block Voter-Approved Marijuana Measure

Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the state Supreme Court to strike down the ballot initiative Wichita voters passed Tuesday to reduce penalties for marijuana possession.
April 9, 2015

Scott Walker Will Avoid Foreign Policy Criticism While Abroad

The Wisconsin governor says he will avoid sharp foreign affairs comments on his visit to Europe.
April 9, 2015

Chris Christie's Poll Numbers Are Dropping in His Own State

Some 54 percent of registered voters in New Jersey disapprove of the governor's job performance.
April 9, 2015

Advocates Say Latest Shooting Shows Need for Major Changes in Policing

The body camera bill will get a hearing in the South Carolina Senate as soon as next week.
April 9, 2015

Teacher Pension Law Upheld in Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court, rejecting arguments from unions, has upheld a 2012 state law requiring teachers and other school employees to put more of their pay toward their pension plans or face cuts to benefits such as post-retirement health care.
April 9, 2015

Florida's Not the Only State Banning Some From Discussing Climate Change

A Wisconsin state board made up of elected officials voted 2-1 Tuesday to ban staff members of a small agency from on-the-job discussion or work related to climate change.
April 9, 2015

Obama Comes Out in Support of Banning Gay Conversion Therapy

The Obama administration spoke out Wednesday against using so-called conversion therapy on minors, saying the practice, in which mental health providers try to change a person's sexuality or gender identity, "is neither medically nor ethically appropriate."
April 9, 2015

Pennsylvania AG Fires Official Who Testified in Her Case

Attorney General Kathleen Kane fired the head of her appeals office Wednesday and had armed agents escort him from the office.
April 9, 2015

Ohio Urges Every Local Government to Post Their Spending Online

Putting the checkbooks of cities, counties, villages, townships and schools online, state Auditor Dave Yost says, could accomplish that rarest of things: restoring Ohioans faith in government.
April 8, 2015

California's Rich People Pretty Bad at Water Conservation

Wealthier Los Angeles neighborhoods consume three times more water than less affluent ones.
April 8, 2015

The North Charleston Shooting Isn't Ferguson

What will the cop's defense be? Murder charges against officers for shootings are rare.
April 8, 2015

Detroit Sues Churches and Schools Over Unpaid Light Bills

The city has filed a batch of lawsuits against various nonprofit organizations the city says are in arrears for a combined $834,000.
April 8, 2015

With Increased Turnout, Ferguson Voters Elect 3 Black Councilmembers

For the first time in Ferguson's 120-year history, the City Council will have three black members, but even so, Tuesday's election was less than a clear victory for the throngs of volunteers who poured into the city in a last-minute push to sway voters.
April 8, 2015

South Carolina Police Officer Charged With Murder in Shooting of Unarmed Black Man

A South Carolina police officer was charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man after authorities obtained a video that showed him unleash a volley of gunfire while the victim ran away, officials said.
April 8, 2015

Chicago's Rahm Emanuel Wins Re-Election; Now Comes the Hard Part

With his re-election victory Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel renewed his lease on a municipal fixer-upper, one with buckling and painful-to-repair financial underpinnings caused by decades of deferred maintenance.
April 8, 2015

Judge Refuses to Lift Hold on Obama's Immigration Plan

A federal judge refused late Tuesday to lift a temporary hold on President Obama's executive action seeking to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation.
April 8, 2015

What Caused the White House and Much of Washington to Lose Power

A downed power transmission line in southern Maryland caused a momentary loss of power that led to "widespread outages" in the nation's capital Tuesday afternoon, according to officials.
April 8, 2015

Voters in Kansas Approve Looser Marijuana Penalties

Now that a win for marijuana reform is in the books in Kansas' largest city, the focus shifts to Topeka, where the attorney general has called Wichita's voter-approved initiative unlawful and the Legislature could consider as many as three marijuana-related bills in the coming weeks.
April 8, 2015

Florida Governor Flip-Flops on Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Rick Scott threw more cold water Monday on the state Senate's push for expanding health insurance for low-income Floridians, saying it was too risky to rely on support from the federal government.
April 7, 2015

New Fracking Rules in Kansas Might Be Reducing Earthquakes

Since the state imposed new rules two weeks ago on the energy industry aimed at reducing suspected man-made earthquakes, people are noticing a difference. It might be a coincidence, however.
April 7, 2015

Southern California's Water Wholesaler Will Ration Water It Supplies to Cities

The cuts, which will take effect July 1, were planned well before Gov. Jerry Brown imposed a 25 percent mandatory restriction on urban water use last week.
April 7, 2015

Hawaiian Elementary School to Reopen After Volcano Closure

On Monday, the state Department of Education announced that Keonepoko Elementary will reopen in the coming school year because the threat from a nearby volcano has subsided.
April 7, 2015

Chris Christie Will Do Town Hall Events in New Hampshire

Now, with his approval rating at home at an all-time low and his rankings in presidential polls dropping, the New Jersey governor will take the events that helped him gain a reputation as a straight shooter to a key early voting state.
April 7, 2015

Jeb Bush Calls Checking Hispanic on Voter Form a 'Mistake'

Jeb Bush admitted Monday that he made a "mistake" in 2009 when he listed his ethnicity in a Miami-Dade County voter-registration form as "Hispanic."
April 7, 2015

Virginia Bans Criminal History Questions From State Job Applications

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday signed an executive order to eliminate questions about criminal history from applications for most state jobs.
April 7, 2015

Ferguson Election Offers Chance for Change

This week, Crystal Stovall will choose between two black candidates running to represent her City Council ward in Ferguson, Mo. The election is the first chance at citizen-led change in the St. Louis suburb nationally notorious for racial turmoil.
April 7, 2015

Chicago Voters Head to the Polls Again

Voters go to the polls Tuesday in the city's first mayoral runoff election, with the outcome determining not only Chicago's future but the direction of its Democratic politics.
April 6, 2015

Writer Creates Play About Pennsylvania School Funding

"School Play" is based on interviews with parents, students, teachers and state policymakers about the state's funding issues.
April 6, 2015

Emails Show Ex-Gov. Kitzhaber Cleared Way for Fiancee's Conflicting Roles

Former Gov. John Kitzhaber was more active than previously known in clearing the way for fiancée Cylvia Hayes to be active in his administration even while working as a paid consultant to outside interests, according to newly released state emails.
April 6, 2015

Kansas Becomes 6th State to Let Residents Carry Concealed Weapons Without a Permit

Kansans will be able to carry a concealed weapon without training under a bill signed by Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday.
April 6, 2015

Religious Freedom Bill Dies in Georgia

Georgia's brush with the "religious liberty" controversies engulfing Indiana and Arkansas appeared to fizzle Thursday as the end of lawmakers' annual legislative session approached without passage, putting off an issue likely to be back here next year.
April 6, 2015

Ferguson Releases Racist Emails Cited in Justice Department Report

Local police and a city official in Ferguson, Mo., sent racially charged emails comparing minority welfare recipients to dogs and made insensitive comments about Muslims, copies of the emails released by the city show.
April 3, 2015

Jerry Brown's Plan to Address California Drought Is Pretty Easy on Agriculture

The vast majority of the governor's plan is focused on urban water use--lawns, golf courses, parks and public medians--which constitute less than 25 percent of Californians' overall water use.
April 3, 2015

Arkansas, Indiana Governors Sign Amended Religious Freedom Laws

The governors of Arkansas and Indiana on Thursday quickly signed revised versions of their respective religious freedom laws, hoping to quell a national uproar that united business leaders and gay rights activists who fought the measures as potentially discriminatory.
April 3, 2015

Madison, Wis., First in Nation to Ban Discrimination Against Atheists

In what is believed to be a first in the nation, the Madison City Council has voted to amend the city's equal opportunities ordinance to make "nonreligion" a protected class.
April 3, 2015

Judge: California Must Fund Inmate's Sex-Change Operation

A federal judge Thursday ordered that a California prison inmate be allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
April 3, 2015

Judge Orders Ohio to Restore Medicaid Benefits to Some But Not All Who Lost Them

A federal court judge ordered Medicaid coverage continued or reinstated to several low-income Ohioans in a lawsuit against the state.
April 2, 2015

Gay Rights Comes to Mississippi

Gay marriage is likely coming to Mississippi, either at the hands of a New Orleans federal appeals court or when the U.S. Supreme Court takes action in June. But hostility toward homosexuality here explains why many gay families predict their problems won't end with a legal victory for same-sex marriage.
April 2, 2015

State Gambling Legalization Spurs National Effort

Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada have moved forward with laws to legalize websites offering casino-type games including poker, blackjack and slot machines. Now a Texas congressman is hoping to legalize online poker with bill.
April 2, 2015

Indiana Changes Religious Freedom Law to Protect Against Gay Discrimination

The proposed amendment explicitly says the law cannot be used as a legal defense by those who deny goods and services to customers because of their sexual orientation or gender.
April 2, 2015

Californians Face New Water Restrictions, But This Time, They're Not Voluntary

Standing in a browned meadow that should have been buried in deep snow, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered California's first-ever mandatory water cutback, imposing a 25 percent reduction to force residents and businesses to significantly tighten up water use.
April 2, 2015

Why Arkansas' Governor Reversed His Stance on the Religious Freedom Bill

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday had been expected to sign his state's version of legislation billed as a religious freedom measure, despite complaints that it could lead to discrimination, especially against gays and lesbians.
April 2, 2015

John Kasich's Latest Veto Satisfies Critics

Earning praise from frequent critics, Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed language on Wednesday crafted by fellow Republicans that would have required out-of-state residents who register to vote in Ohio to obtain an Ohio driver's license and vehicle registration within 30 days.
April 2, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Reach Deal to Avoid Cuts, Freeze Tuition

Senate and House budget negotiators on Wednesday reached accord to avoid multi-million-dollar cuts to the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, and to freeze tuition at all six state regents universities for the next two years.
April 1, 2015

11 Guilty in Atlanta School Cheating Case

A jury found 11 of 12 former teachers, principals and administrators guilty of conspiring to change student answers on standardized tests.
April 1, 2015

Florida Could Have For-Profit Mental Health Services

How can a chronically underfunded system have room for big companies to make profits?
April 1, 2015

Detroit Mayor Says It's Time to End Emergency Management of Schools

Mayor Mike Duggan says emergency management hasn't improve the public school system.
April 1, 2015

Tennessee Governor's Medicaid Expansion Plan Fails Again

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposed Insure Tennessee plan flopped for a second time Tuesday in a Senate committee and that's thrown the House effort into confusion with two top supporters disagreeing over whether to try to move it today in a subcommittee there.
April 1, 2015

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rejects AG's Bid to End Criminal Probe

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's challenge to a grand jury investigation that concluded with a recommendation that she face criminal charges.
March 31, 2015

Fort Collins, Colo., Pledges to Be Carbon Neutral

Defying partisan politics, one Colorado city vows to be carbon neutral.
March 31, 2015

Who's Behind Scott Walker's Rise to Power?

The Bradley Foundation is the conservative group behind the Wisconsin governor's political success.
March 31, 2015

New Arizona Law Restricts Abortions

Gov. Doug Ducey signs a law that bars women from buying healthcare plans through the federal marketplace that include abortion coverage and requires abortion providers to tell women they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion.
March 31, 2015

Why the Execution Drug Shortage Will Likely Worsen

States searching for drugs to use in executions by lethal injection may soon find another door slammed in their face, this time by the pharmacists who are the last-ditch source for execution drugs.
March 31, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Puts States' Sex Offender Monitoring Into Question

A North Carolina program that uses GPS systems to monitor sex offenders will get scrutinized again by the state's highest court.
March 31, 2015

Indiana GOP Working to Clarify 'Religious Freedom' Law

Republican leaders in the Indiana General Assembly said Monday they are looking at options to clarify the state's controversial religious freedom law, though they don't believe the law would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians as opponents fear.
March 31, 2015

Second Suicide in 1 Month Shakes Missouri GOP

Police were working Monday to piece together the final days and hours of Robert "Spence" Jackson's life, as Missouri Republicans struggled to make sense of the second suicide of a prominent state party member in four weeks.
March 30, 2015

Navajo Nation Experiments With Junk Food Tax

The tribe begins a 2 percent tax on junk food in an attempt to curb rampant obesity, diabetes and heart disease, the first of its kind nationwide.
March 30, 2015

Maryland Overcharged Feds $28.4M for Health Exchange Launch

A year-long probe by the Department of Health and Human Services found no fraud or criminal wrongdoing, but auditors said the state lacked oversight and internal controls.
March 30, 2015

Districts Try to Block Kansas' School Funding Law

Lawyers representing Wichita and 47 other Kansas school districts petitioned a court Thursday to block a new school finance law signed by Gov. Sam Brownback.
March 30, 2015

One of Rahm Emanuel's Biggest Critics Endorses His Re-Election

Standing in the basement dining room of a West Loop Greek restaurant Sunday afternoon, Mayor Rahm Emanuel accepted the endorsement of one of his chief antagonists -- former mayoral candidate and outgoing 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti.
March 30, 2015

Indiana Governor Won't Say Whether Businesses Can Now Legally Refuse Gay Customers

It's a simple question -- but also one of the most contentious in Indiana, which is under siege by LGBT activists urging a boycott of the state.
March 30, 2015

O'Malley: Presidency Isn't a Crown to Be Passed Between 2 Families

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley sounded Sunday like someone who plans to challenge Hillary Rodham Clinton in Democratic primaries.
March 27, 2015

Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested on Drug Charges

Keith Foster and four others were arrested on federal drug charges, was arrested on federal charges to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone, heroin and marijuana.
March 27, 2015

Chris Christie Rails Against Estate Taxes New Jersey Needs

The governor says he wants to eliminate New Jersey's very high estate taxes, but the state has no alternative revenue source to make up the difference.
March 26, 2015

New York's Fracking Ban Leads to Secession Talk

Many poor towns want the fracking money Pennsylvania has, regardless of health risks.
March 26, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Alabama's Redistricting Plan

The Supreme Court delivered a rare victory for minority voting rights Wednesday, finding that a 2012 Alabama redistricting plan appeared to violate federal law by shifting black voters into districts they already dominated to dilute their influence elsewhere.
March 26, 2015

Conservative Justices Weigh Cost and Benefit of EPA Emissions Rule

The Supreme Court's conservative justices sharply questioned the high cost of a new Obama administration environmental regulation Wednesday, raising the prospect they may block the strict emissions standards for coal-fired power plants.
March 26, 2015

Kansas Overhauls School Funding Formula

A bill that overhauls the way schools are funded in Kansas was signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in a closed ceremony Wednesday.
March 26, 2015

Medical Marijuana Measure Dies in North Carolina

A state House committee unanimously rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana after an emotional hourlong hearing that ended with a legislator saying he was assaulted by a marijuana advocate.
March 26, 2015

Chicago Gets High Early Voting Turnout

Chicago voters turned out in large numbers for the first two days of early voting ahead of the mayoral runoff, and suburban voters in the upcoming election will get newly designed stickers to show everybody they cast ballots, election officials announced.
March 25, 2015

DHS Official Offered Virginia Gov. McAuliffe Special Treatment

A top Homeland Security Department official intervened to help projects backed by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Harry Reid in a program aimed at attracting foreign investments in exchange for U.S. residency, the agency's internal watchdog said.
March 25, 2015

Bankruptcy Not in the Cards for Atlantic City's Recovery Team

Warning of a liquidity crisis though 2015 and a situation "a lot more severe" than they had anticipated, Atlantic City's emergency management team has recommended $10 million in budget cuts, hundreds of layoffs and mediators appointed to negotiate with casinos and unions.
March 25, 2015

After 1 Month on the Job, Maine's Chief Health Officer Resigns

Dr. Sheila Pinette has resigned as the state's chief health officer a month after taking the job, hastening an organizational shakeup at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
March 25, 2015

'Smoothie Lady' Helps Reverse Some Marijuana Restrictions in Alaska Town

The "Smoothie Lady" can celebrate: Some of Alaska's strictest municipal regulations on marijuana got rolled back Monday night in light of concerns that they could violate state law.
March 24, 2015

Alaska Governor Appoints Environmentalist to Fisheries Board

Bill Walker appoints conservationist for a position usually held by sportfishing interests.
March 24, 2015

Ohio’s Red-Light Camera Restrictions Blocked by Toledo Judge

Columbus and Dayton both turned their traffic cameras off at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, but Dayton announced Monday it would resume issuing camera citations because of the Toledo decision.
March 24, 2015

Christie Will Decide About Running for President Later This Year

The New Jersey governor will make a decision in "late spring or early summer."
March 24, 2015

Michigan State Police Still Dominated by White Men

There are only 59 blacks among the 1,134 Michigan state troopers.
March 24, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Lets Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Stand

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to Wisconsin's voter identification law, restoring the measure it had dramatically blocked ahead of last November's election but not in time for the April 7 ballot.
March 24, 2015

Utah Governor Signs Bill to Allow Firing Squad Executions

Inmates on Utah's death row can now be executed by a firing squad, under new legislation signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert on Monday.
March 24, 2015

Justice Department Makes 91 Recommendations to Reform Philadelphia's 'Deadly' Police Practices

A long-awaited U.S. Justice Department report on police shootings in Philadelphia concluded Monday that there is "significant strife between the community and the department," and recommended wholesale changes in procedures and training.
March 24, 2015

Christie Sends DUI Bill Back to the Legislature

Gov. Christie on Monday conditionally vetoed legislation that would have repealed the mandatory suspension of driver's licenses for first-time drunk drivers and instead required them to install devices that would be able to detect alcohol and stop cars from starting.
March 23, 2015

Secrecy and Mistrust in Philadelphia Schools Under Arlene Ackerman

Philadelphia School District had a great fear of leaks.
March 23, 2015

Expanded Medicaid Under Obamacare Helps Poor People with Type II Diabetes

A recent diabetes study shows great benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
March 23, 2015

Abortion Doctor Requirements Ruled Unconstitutional in Wisconsin

A federal judge on Friday struck down a Wisconsin law requiring doctors performing abortions to get hospital-admitting privileges, concluding that the measure was enacted to bar women from getting abortions.
March 23, 2015

Federal Agents Search Washington Auditor's House

Eleven days before federal agents searched state Auditor Troy Kelley's Tacoma home on March 16, they demanded records related to a state employee and longtime business partner of Kelley's whose name appears in an acrimonious lawsuit tied to Kelley's past business dealings.
March 23, 2015

Less-Strict Gun Laws Take Effect in Ohio

A new state law effective today will allow hunters to use suppressors on guns; permit Ohioans to buy rifles, shotguns and ammunition from any state; and implement a more-rigorous background check for concealed-carry permits.
March 20, 2015

The Company Getting the Most State and Local Tax Breaks

Boeing is the biggest winner of state and local tax incentives, receiving more than $13 billion of them, according to a nonprofit watchdog group that tracks the subsidies.
March 20, 2015

Standardized Testing Had Major Problems in Colorado Springs

A computer attack during testing delayed some exams in the Colorado Springs school district.
March 20, 2015

People of Oregon Are Responsible for the Legal Fees of John Kitzhaber's Girlfriend

Cylvia Hayes is now being represented by two federal public defenders in the influence-peddling investigation by the FBI and the IRS.
March 20, 2015

Tesla Can Now Sell Cars Directly to Consumers in New Jersey

Tesla Motors can go back to selling its luxury electric cars directly to consumers in New Jersey as Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday signed legislation that allows the car maker to do so at up to four locatio
March 20, 2015

Judge Lets Wisconsin's Right-to-Work Law Proceed

A Dane County judge declined to issue a temporary injunction Thursday that would have put Wisconsin's new right-to-work law on hold, finding that there wasn't adequate proof that unions would suffer irreparable harm without the injunction.
March 19, 2015

Joe Arpaio Admits Violating Judge's Orders

The controversial sheriff ignored a federal judge’s orders to stop detaining people simply because of a suspicion they may be in the country illegally.
March 19, 2015

California Imposes More Water Restrictions on Lawns, Hotels and Restaurants

Acknowledging that California's water conservation efforts are falling short as the state descends into a fourth year of punishing drought, the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday imposed new mandatory water conservation rules that will affect millions of people -- from how homeowners water their lawns to how restaurants and hotels serve their guests.
March 19, 2015

Court: Seattle's Rejection of Anti-Israel Ads Not a Free Speech Violation

Ads attacking U.S. military aid to Israel were posted on Muni buses in San Francisco this year without incident. But Seattle's public transit line rejected the ads after threats of violence, and on Wednesday a divided federal appeals court upheld its decision.
March 19, 2015

Governor Orders Inquiry After Black UVA Student Is Arrested and Bloodied

Virginia's governor has ordered an investigation into a black University of Virginia student's arrest after photos and video of the student's bloodied face went viral on social media.
March 19, 2015

Feds Warned Premera About IT Issues Before Hackers Hit 11 Million

Three weeks before hackers infiltrated Premera Blue Cross, federal auditors warned the company that its network security procedures were inadequate.
March 18, 2015

'Alaska, Inc.' and the Rise of the State's Permanent Fund

One of the most successful investments in the history of the Alaska Permanent Fund grew out of a chance conversation by two men waiting in line at Boston's Logan Airport for a flight to Seattle. A friend introduced the president of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to a portfolio manager for the Alaska Permanent Fund.
March 18, 2015

Oregon Becomes First State to Automatically Register People to Vote

Americans are required to register if they want to vote; as of this week, Oregonians will have to register not to.
March 18, 2015

San Diego Fails to Hold Police Accountable

Failures in the hiring and supervision of San Diego police led to a series of misconduct cases, but the Police Department remains "progressive, sound and very effective," according to a federal review released Tuesday.
March 18, 2015

Georgia Supreme Court Clears Last Hurdle for Falcons Stadium Funding

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the city of Atlanta's plans to help finance the new $1.4 billion Falcons stadium, allowing the city to move forward with issuing $200 million in bonds toward the project.
March 17, 2015

A Big Federal Fight Over One Urban School District's Voucher Program

Republicans on Capitol Hill are trying to protect the Washington, D.C., school voucher system, a GOP pet program championed by Speaker John A. Boehner and others with no impact on the rest of the country.
March 17, 2015

Alaska's Reserve Funds Are Earning More Money Than Oil

The state now expects that earnings from the Constitutional Budget Reserve in 2016 will be about $357 million. How long the account might last after that will depend on oil prices, state spending and tax policy.
March 17, 2015

Unclaimed Property up for Auction in Illinois

People can type in their names at illinoistreasurer.gov to see what they may have lost. Starting Monday and ending Friday, anyone can click on the "Unclaimed Property Auction" link on the website to bid on the forgotten items.
March 17, 2015

Obamacare Ruling Could Devastate Hospitals

As the nation's largest private health care provider, Hospital Corporation of America owns 155 hospitals, 112 surgery centers and three psychiatric facilities across the country.
March 17, 2015

Health Law Has Helped Insure 16.4 Million

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month – a “historic” reduction in the number of uninsured, the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday.
March 17, 2015

In Case on Governor's Power, Judges Rule in Favor of McCrory

In what Gov. Pat McCrory hailed as a historic decision, a three-judge panel Monday unanimously ruled in his favor in a landmark challenge to the General Assembly.
March 17, 2015

Emanuel, Garcia Spar Over Chicago Finances in First Debate

Rahm Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia engaged in a contentious first debate Monday night, as the mayor accused his challenger of having no plans to deal with the city's financial problems while Garcia contended Emanuel served only "the rich and powerful."
March 16, 2015

Missouri's Really Troubled Municipal Court System

Sheltered from the scrutiny of the state courts, the municipal courts are a system run by municipalities and lawyers that often serve to enrich municipalities and lawyers.
March 16, 2015

Alaska's Financial Foundation Is Built on Oil. That's a Huge Problem.

Alaska is staring down a $3.5 billion deficit. Investment income from state savings has shown remarkable resiliency and has overtaken oil-production taxes in their value to the state. But the deficits will require the Legislature to spend down those savings accounts.
March 16, 2015

Handful of Ohio Sheriffs Have Misspent Public Funds

Two former county sheriffs convicted of misspending public money are cited as examples of what not to do in a state training manual for sheriffs.
March 13, 2015

San Quentin's Inmate-Run Media Enterprise Earns Praise

The prison radio program and a partner newspaper, the San Quentin News, represent a burgeoning media enterprise produced by inmates in the home of California's death row.
March 13, 2015

Why 14 States Want Obama's Immigration Program

Fourteen states are joining in the push to salvage President Barack Obama's plan to grant legal protection to millions of people in the U.S. illegally _ even if it's only revived in their parts of the country.
March 13, 2015

In Missouri, Democratic Governor Endorses Medicaid Work Requirement

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday said he was willing to work with Republicans on a plan to expand the state's Medicaid program and even offered endorsements for conservative ideas that have drawn reproach from some health advocates.
March 13, 2015

Right-to-Work Bills Likely Dead in New Mexico

Two bills that New Mexico Republicans call their "right-to-work" package are probably dead after a Senate panel blocked them Tuesday night.
March 13, 2015

Illinois Democrats Seek Tax Hikes to Offset Rauner's Budget Cuts

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's opposition to raising the income tax and proposal to slash the state budget have Democratic lawmakers pushing more than a dozen other tax hikes as they try to bring in more money to save social service programs that are on the chopping block.
March 12, 2015

Maine's Complicated Struggle Over Obamacare and the AG's Role

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that if the attorney general is in active opposition to the state, as Janet Mills is over health care policy, she loses her right to oversee the use of outside counsel. But it's a limited victory for Gov. Paul LePage
March 12, 2015

Pennsylvania AG Hopeful After Positive State Supreme Court Decision

Here's the latest chapter in the complicated tale of Kathleen Kane's legal problems.
March 12, 2015

Police Chief the Latest Ferguson Official to Fall

Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned Wednesday, saying he always wanted to do what's best for his community and realized that now meant leaving it.
March 12, 2015

2 Ferguson Officers Shot During Protest

Two St. Louis County police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department during another night of protests in the troubled Missouri city, police confirmed early Thursday.
March 12, 2015

Ex-CIA Officer Picked to Lead Illinois Health Exchange

The new executive director of Get Covered Illinois is Karin Zosel, a former CIA intelligence officer and college director, the group said Tuesday.
March 12, 2015

Illinois Pension Law Greeted with Court Skepticism

A lawyer for the state faced skeptical questioning from Illinois Supreme Court justices Wednesday as she defended a landmark pension reform law by arguing that benefit cuts to public workers were a response to a financial emergency tied to the Great Recession.
March 11, 2015

New Jersey Courts Will Now Supervise Affordable Housing

The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the governor's Council on Affordable Housing wasn't effective.
March 11, 2015

Ferguson City Manager Resigns

Ferguson city manager John Shaw, the city's most powerful official, resigned Tuesday night.
March 11, 2015

West Virginia Drops Common Core Repeal

Legislators have approved removing from a bill a mandatory repeal of the state's Common Core standards -- following great opposition from state education officials, who said the legislation could disrupt West Virginia's entire K-12 system, cost more than $100 million and threaten federal funding.
March 11, 2015

Utah Could Become Only State with Executions by Firing Squad

Utah will be able to use a firing squad to execute death row inmates when lethal-injection drugs are unavailable, as long as the governor signs a bill that cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.
March 11, 2015

Medical Marijuana Gets a Bipartisan Boost in Congress

Marijuana legalization got a boost on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as a trio of rising stars in the Senate launched an effort to rewrite federal drug laws.
March 10, 2015

Tiny Town Opens First Government-Owned Pot Shop

Of all the steps taken since Washington legalized marijuana, North Bonneville's might be boldest.
March 10, 2015

Florida Discovers the Big Problem with Online Standardized Testing

State officials says the problems with tests last week were due to a cyber attack.
March 10, 2015

Missouri Supreme Court Takes Over Ferguson Cases

The Missouri Supreme Court announced Monday that it will take the "extraordinary action" of reassigning all Ferguson municipal court cases to the circuit court, starting next week.
March 10, 2015

Florida Governor Denies Environmental Agency Banned Term 'Climate Change'

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday denied that administrators in his Department of Environmental Protection were banned from using the terms "global warming" or "climate change."
March 10, 2015

Suicide Rate Highest Among Rural Youths

Rural youths are nearly twice as likely to commit suicide as their urban counterparts, according to a study by Ohio State University researchers.
March 9, 2015

Scott Walker Makes Wisconsin the 25th Right-to-Work State

Gov. Scott Walker on Monday signed the contentious right-to-work bill at a factory in Brown Deer, making Wisconsin the 25th state with such a law.
March 9, 2015

Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Address Questionable Actions by State AG

The justices will consider a case crucial to Kathleen Kane's political future. After a seven-month investigation a grand jury concluded the attorney general had illegally leaked confidential information to embarrass a political foe and then lied about it to the jury.
March 9, 2015

Wisconsin Cop Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Black Man Had Prior Shooting

A Madison, Wis., police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 19-year-old African American man Friday had been exonerated in a previous fatal shooting, officials disclosed Saturday.
March 9, 2015

Florida Officials Reportedly Banned from Using the Term 'Climate Change'

Florida's government may have figured out a way to beat climate change: ignore it.
March 9, 2015

Oregon Abolishes State Health Exchange

A bill dissolving Cover Oregon, the state's dysfunctional health insurance exchange, has been signed by Gov. Kate Brown.
March 9, 2015

University of Oklahoma Disbands Fraternity Over Racist Videos

The University of Oklahoma became a trending topic Sunday night on Twitter as videos allegedly showing members of one of the school's fraternities shouting a racist chant made their way across the Internet on YouTube and Instagram.
March 6, 2015

Wisconsin's Right-to-Work Bill Heads to Scott Walker

In a powerful illustration of the state's increasingly polarized politics, the Wisconsin Assembly passed so-called right-to-work legislation Friday on a strictly party-line vote, with two Republicans who had previously sided with unions now lining up against them.
March 6, 2015

Ferguson Fires Bureaucrat Over Racist Emails

Two veteran police commanders have resigned and a city court clerk has been fired over racist emails cited this week in a Justice Department report critical of the city of Ferguson's law enforcement
March 6, 2015

Illinois Governor's Budget Would Hit Foster Kids Hard

Under Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed cuts to the Department of Children and Family Services, thousands of older state wards for whom Illinois failed to find permanent placement before they aged out of foster care will be forced to fend for themselves.
March 6, 2015

Colorado Legislature Introduces Job Training and Education Bills

Democrats and Republicans unveiled six bills designed to help create pathways to jobs in construction, information technology and health care.
March 6, 2015

Christie's Involvement in Lower-Than-Expected Exxon Settlement Questioned

New Jersey announced Thursday that it has settled an environmental damage claim against Exxon Mobil Corp. for $225 million, $25 million less than originally reported last week and far less than the $8.9 billion it had originally sought.
March 6, 2015

Feds Add UW-Madison to Schools in Campus Sexual Violence Probe

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is now under investigation as part of a growing federal probe into the handling of sexual violence complaints.
March 6, 2015

Record-Breaking Snow Strands Thousands on Kentucky Highway

A record-breaking snowstorm slammed Kentucky on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, stranding thousands of motorists on interstates and prompting a statewide emergency declaration for the second time in 21/2 weeks.
March 5, 2015

Philadelphia Mayor Proposes 9.3% Property Tax Hike

Currently, the tax bill for a house assessed at $113,000 is $1,112. If Nutter's proposal is approved, it would go up to $1,216.
March 5, 2015

Maine Governor Will Now Focus Only on Tax Reform

Paul LePage vows to spend the "rest of my days" fighting opponents of his plan to cut income taxes and hike sales taxes.
March 5, 2015

No One Likes the Governor of Ohio's Tax Plan

Gov. John Kasich's tax plan takes fire from both the left and right.
March 5, 2015

Justice Dept. Won't Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown's Shooting

It was reasonable for police Officer Darren Wilson to be afraid of Michael Brown in their encounter last summer, a Justice Department investigation concluded, and thus he cannot be prosecuted for fatally shooting the unarmed 18-year-old.
March 5, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Scrutinizes the Meaning of 'Legislature'

Supreme Court justices raised tough questions Monday about Arizona's use of an independent commission to draw legislative maps, in a case crucial for political operators and reformers in California and beyond.
March 5, 2015

Florida's Redistricting Maps on Trial

Florida's congressional redistricting maps should be rejected because they are the product of a shadowy process infiltrated by Republican political operatives in violation of the law against partisan gerrymandering, lawyers argued before the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday.
March 5, 2015

Cleveland, Tenn., Police Department Gets 3rd Leader in 4 Days

The Cleveland Police Department got its third leader in four days Wednesday after Tennessee's police regulatory agency told City Manager Janice Casteel she couldn't serve in that position.
March 5, 2015

Kansas Considers Tax Incentives for Artists

When the 1951 flood swept through north Topeka, the business district never quite recovered.
March 4, 2015

Justice Kennedy Invites Another Lawsuit in Online Tax Case

The Supreme Court justice's view could open a revisitation of question about web sales taxes.
March 4, 2015

Democratic Party Schism Reflected in Chicago Mayoral Race

Rahm Emanuel's dilemma echoes that of Hillary Clinton, widely expected to run for the Democratic presidential nomination: how much should progressives matter in the party?
March 4, 2015

Not Just Ferguson: Many Places Facing Federal Policing Reforms

Some about two dozen American law enforcement agencies are under investigation by the Justice Department.
March 4, 2015

Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Dramatic Changes to How Education Is Funded

Gov. Tom Wolf today proposed an expansive plan for Pennsylvania state government that would shift the burden of education funding from the property tax toward the personal income tax while drawing on natural gas drilling to increase money for schools.
March 4, 2015

Alabama Governor Defends Abandoning No-New-Taxes Pledge

Gov. Robert Bentley defended his proposed $541 million tax increase in his State of the State address Tuesday.
March 4, 2015

Rick Scott Calls for Cutting Taxes, Spending More on Schools and Jobs

The 2015 session of the Legislature began Tuesday with two starkly different visions of Florida, as Republicans and Democrats used the opening day to mark their political territory and set contrasting priorities for the next two months.
March 4, 2015

Feds to Fault Ferguson Police and Courts for Violating the Constitution

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce Wednesday that a Department of Justice investigation found patterns of racial bias in Ferguson's police and municipal court that violate the Constitution and federal law.
March 4, 2015

Alabama Supreme Court Defies Federal Judge's Gay Marriage Ruling

Alabama's highest court once again ordered judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, defying a federal judge who struck down the state's ban on such unions as unconstitutional and ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to intervene.
March 4, 2015

West Virginia Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed legislation Tuesday that would ban abortions at 20 weeks' pregnancy, noting that the law would not pass constitutional muster.
March 3, 2015

Indianapolis Comes Closer to Passing a Homeless Bill of Rights

The ordinance, modeled after similar laws in Rhode Island and Illinois, establishes specific protections that would make it more difficult to displace homeless people from public property.
March 3, 2015

Head of North Carolina Court System Retires After Gay Marriage Battle

John W. Smith, who has worked in the court system for more than 40 years. will retire as director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts effective May 1.
March 3, 2015

New Jersey Mayor Forbids Questions at Town Council Meetings

Evesham Township Mayor Randy Brown provokes an outcry after he decides that residents would not be permitted to question council members during public meetings,
March 3, 2015

Massachusetts Governor Says Early Retirement Plan Will Save Money

Gov. Charlie Baker hopes to convince about 4,500 state workers to take early retirement. It'll cost the state $50 million, but his administration says the overall budget savings will more than make up for it.
March 3, 2015

Obama's Policing Task Force Releases Recommendations

A national policing commission set up by President Barack Obama after the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson is recommending independent investigations of police-involved deaths.
March 3, 2015

Sex Offender Housing Restrictions Overturned in California

The California Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday that blanket statewide restrictions on where sex offenders may live violate the constitutional rights of parolees in San Diego County -- and potentially those in other counties.
March 3, 2015

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski's Retirement Creates Rare Opening in Maryland

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's startling announcement Monday that she will not seek re-election in 2016 after more than four decades in elected office set off a political free-for-all as Maryland's most powerful politicians began to position themselves for the opportunity to run for a rare open seat.
March 3, 2015

Ex-Superintendent in Atlanta Cheating Scandal Dies Facing Criminal Charges

Beverly L. Hall, the former Atlanta schools superintendent whose renown as an education reformer dissolved amid the ignominy of the nation's largest test-cheating scandal, died Monday of breast cancer. She was 68.
March 3, 2015

Nebraska's Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down

A federal judge on Monday blocked Nebraska's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, though the ruling will not take effect immediately.
March 2, 2015

Trouble for Some States, Lower Gas Prices Bring Relief to Mississippi

Few places in the U.S. are benefiting from lower gas prices as much as Mississippi. Residents spend about 6 percent of their after-tax income on gasoline, more than any other state.
March 2, 2015

Pennsylvania Governor Fires Philadelphia School Reform Commissioner

Tom Wolf called Bill Green yesterday to inform him that he was removing him as chairman of the city's School Reform Commission.
March 2, 2015

Florida's Privatized Prison System Is Chronically Underfunded

The festering troubles at the state’s prison system have emerged as a problem that won’t go away.
March 2, 2015

Christie Quietly Reaps Obamacare's Budget Benefits

Gov. Christie's proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 assumes hundreds of millions of dollars in savings achieved through the expansion of Medicaid under President Obama's health-care law.
March 2, 2015

GOP Governors Carry Their States' Fiscal Baggage to CPAC

After bolting to national prominence on a record of bringing public employee unions to heel and taming runaway pension costs like those that have challenged state governments across the country, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hit a very large hurdle recently.
March 2, 2015

Thousands Rally Against Right-to-Work in Wisconsin

Their numbers may pale in comparison to the peak protest rallies of 2011, but the passion was much the same for those who showed up Saturday to demonstrate their opposition to right-to-work legislation in Wisconsin.
February 27, 2015

Missouri Auditor Dies in 'Apparent Suicide'

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich _ a lifelong high achiever who appeared poised to make a strong run to be the state's next governor _ died Thursday in St. Louis in an apparent suicide.
February 27, 2015

Border Surge Hampering Policing in Other Parts of Texas

The deployment of additional state police and Texas National Guard troops to the southern border last June has reduced illegal border crossings but cost more than $100 million and compromised the Department of Public Safety's ability to combat crimes elsewhere, according to an internal DPS assessment prepared for Gov. Greg Abbott and lawmakers.
February 27, 2015

81,000 Ohioans to Lose Medicaid Coverage

About 61,000 Ohioans will lose their tax-funded health coverage at the end of this week.
February 27, 2015

Scott Walker Says Union Protesters Prepared Him for Fighting Islamic Terrorists

Gov. Scott Walker told thousands of conservative activists Thursday that his experience standing up to 100,000 protesters in 2011 has prepared him to face the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists
February 26, 2015

FCC Kills State Laws Blocking Municipal Broadband

People living and working near the Western Hemisphere's first location to get gigabit-per-second Internet service should soon have access to the same speedy broadband their neighbors
February 26, 2015

West Virginia Legislature Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban

Federal judges have stopped similar pre-viability abortion bans in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Arkansas and North Dakota.
February 26, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Restricts State Licensing Boards' Power

The Supreme Court on Tuesday cut back on the power of state licensing boards to restrict competitors from offering low-cost services, a victory for consumers that could prove significant in industries as disparate as taxicabs, funerals and cosmetology.
February 26, 2015

D.C. Legalizes Marijuana Despite Congress' Threats

The city that brought America government shutdowns and all-night filibusters is set to make pot legal on Thursday. But by the time the chaos over implementing the law is settled, most everyone in the District of Columbia might wish they were smoking some.
February 26, 2015

Obamacare Architect Among Those Ousted from Massachusetts Health Board

Gov. Charlie Baker moved to seize control of the state's Health Connector board yesterday forcing out four members -- including MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, the controversial architect of Obamacare
February 26, 2015

Iowa's GOP Governor Reluctantly Raises the Gas Tax

With little fanfare Wednesday, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a fuel tax increase that would hike prices at Iowa pumps for gasoline and diesel by 10 cents per gallon beginning on Sunday.
February 26, 2015

Right-to-Work Bill Passes Wisconsin Senate

With echoes of 2011's labor battle, Republican state senators approved so-called right-to-work legislation Wednesday, less than a week after they announced they were fast-tracking the measure.
February 26, 2015

What Hurt Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

When President Barack Obama dropped into his hometown a few days before the city election to designate the historic Pullman district a national monument and heap praise on Rahm Emanuel, rivals decried the move as pure politics aimed at pumping up African-American support for the mayor.
February 25, 2015

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Running for U.S. Senate

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will seek to challenge Republican Sen. Rob Portman next year, launching what could become one of the top-tier Senate races of 2016.
February 25, 2015

Michigan's Fighting a Cyber Battle Government Will 'Never Win'

The number of daily attacks on the state government's computer systems is staggering and growing in both incidents and cost.
February 25, 2015

Rahm Emanuel Forced into Chicago's First Mayoral Runoff

Rahm Emanuel failed to win a second term Tuesday, suffering a national political embarrassment as little-known, lesser-funded challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia forced the mayor into the uncharted waters of an April runoff election.
February 25, 2015

Teachers Union Denies Christie's Claim of Pension Deal

Gov. Christie said today that a plan has been outlined to fix the state's chronically underfunded pension system, claiming an "unprecedented accord" with the state's largest teachers' union on the issue.
February 25, 2015

California Wants an Embassy in Washington

A California lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow the most populous U.S. state to establish an embassy in Washington.
February 25, 2015

Ohio's John Kasich Pushes Tax Reform in State Address

Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday used a small southwest Ohio town to demonstrate that a resilient state is back on its feet even as he challenged lawmakers to have the courage to "follow the plan" to continue the progress.
February 24, 2015

Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline Bill

President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday that would have approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, the first veto of a year that seems likely to feature repeated such moves as the Democratic president confronts the Republican-led Congress.
February 24, 2015

Alaska's Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect

Alaska's minimum wage will rise Tuesday to $8.75, a $1-per-hour increase that will affect thousands of workers' paychecks, according to the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
February 24, 2015

Ohio Judge Who Banned Local Fracking Regulations Backed by Oil Industry

An Ohio Supreme Court justice lamented last week that "the oil and gas industry has gotten its way" in a decision that says local governments can't regulate drilling.
February 24, 2015

Christie's Pension Cuts Ruled Unconstitutional

A New Jersey judge ruled Monday that Gov. Christie violated public-sector unions' contractual rights when he cut the state's payment to the pension system for public workers in June, and she ordered him to work with the Legislature to find a solution.
February 24, 2015

With Ex-Mayor in Prison, Charlotte Tightens Ethics Rules

The Charlotte City Council tightened its ethics rules for elected officials Monday, requiring council members to tell the public more about their business dealings and forbidding many gifts.
February 24, 2015

Chicago Voters Head to Polls to Decide Rahm Emanuel's Fate

Chicago voters head to the polls Tuesday and will decide whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel collects a majority and quickly wins a second term or faces six more weeks of campaigning and a politically risky runoff election.
February 23, 2015

Obama Administration Argues States Lack Legal Standing to Challenge Immigration Order

The Obama administration is seeking to block a federal judge's ruling last week that halted programs intended to grant deportation waivers to up to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
February 23, 2015

Repealing Common Core Would Cost $4 Million in Tennessee

A bill requiring Tennessee's State Board of Education to drop Common Core education standards and develop new requirements has a math problem: It's projected to cost $4.14 million over a three-year period.
February 23, 2015

Philadelphia Enters a Litigious Era in Charter Schools

Late Wednesday night, after the Philadelphia School Reform Commission approved five of 39 charter applications, KIPP Philadelphia CEO Marc Mannella gave his assessment of the decisions.
February 23, 2015

Maryland Offers State Employees $15,000 to Retire Early

Maryland is offering state workers $15,000 to leave their jobs, part of a cost-saving plan to shrink the government workforce and save millions.
February 23, 2015

A Fire Chief and a Police Chief: One Marriage, Two Resignations

City officials announced the resignation and retirement of longtime Greensburg Fire Chief Scott Chasteen Friday, three days after criminal charges were filed against his wife, the former Greensburg Chief of Police.
February 23, 2015

Ohio Governor Wants to Nearly Triple E-Cigarette Taxes

This plan might take a smoker's breath away: The price to use electronic cigarettes could almost triple under a tax proposed by Gov. John Kasich.
February 23, 2015

Scott Walker Abandons His Re-Election Pledge to Unions

After saying in his re-election bid that he wouldn't push so-called right-to-work legislation, Gov. Scott Walker committed Friday to signing it, acting after GOP leaders fast-tracked the proposal for a Senate vote next week.
February 23, 2015

Why Boston Is Probably Jealous of Anchorage, Alaska

Less snow in Anchorage is bad for skiing, but a boon for the city's maintenance budget.
February 20, 2015

Maureen McDonnell Sentenced to a Year in Prison

Virginia former first lady gets a prison term for corruption.
February 20, 2015

Sheldon Silver Indicted on 3, Instead of 5, Charges

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Sheldon Silver, the powerful former leader of New York's state assembly, on charges that the legislator used his position and state funds to earn millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks for himself.
February 20, 2015

UMass Reverses Ban on Iranians in Science Grad Programs

The University of Massachusetts, under pressure for a policy that barred Iranian nationals from seeking admission to certain graduate science courses, reversed itself on Wednesday and announced it will now accept the students.
February 19, 2015

Critics Say Illinois' Governor's 'Turnaround Budget' Is a Wrong Turn

Bruce Rauner's new budget has cuts his opponents call "reckless."
February 19, 2015

Alaska Governor Saves Money on Medicaid, Finds More for Ferries and the Homeless

Bill Walker's proposal was his last chance to tweak his budget before the state Legislature begins reviewing and adjusting it.
February 19, 2015

Why Scott Walker Still Has Some Union Support

Unions that backed the Wisconsin governor are faring better than others in the state.
February 19, 2015

California Congresswoman Retiring to Run for Local Office

Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., will forgo a congressional re-election campaign next year and instead run for an open seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, where her populist father, the late Kenneth Hahn, served for four decades.
February 19, 2015

Oregon's New Governor, Kate Brown, Stresses Restoring Faith in Government

Kate Brown made history in more ways than one Wednesday, when she was sworn in as Oregon's new governor while her mother and husband stood proudly by.
February 19, 2015

Robert Taylor Replaces Kate Brown as Oregon Secretary of State

Kate Brown's deputy, Robert Taylor, took over as Oregon's acting secretary of state when Brown was sworn in as governor Wednesday.
February 19, 2015

Scott Walker Refuses Federal Funding for Medicaid Expansion, Again

The state would stay the course and turn down federal money to expand Wisconsin's health programs for the needy, under Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal.
February 18, 2015

After 15 Years of Rick Perry, Greg Abbott Lays Out His Plans for Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas should reorder its fiscal priorities to do more for education, roads and border security -- and hand out $4.5 billion in tax cuts -- even as it clamps down on spending for many programs.
February 18, 2015

Why GOP Governors Call Medicaid Expansion Medicaid "Reform"

There's an awkward political dance that's being performed nationwide as more Republican governors push for Medicaid expansion, despite tepid support from GOP state lawmakers and a continuing assault on the health care law by Republicans in Congress.
February 18, 2015

Japanese Interment Camp in Hawaii Will Be a National Monument

President Barack Obama will designate the plot of land in western Oahu that was the site of the World War II Honouliuli camp as a national monument.
February 18, 2015

Obama Vows to Fight Courts, Congress and States on Immigration Ruling

The Obama administration promised Tuesday to fight against opposition from both the courts and Congress to keep in place its expansive new programs to shield millions of immigrants from deportation, a key piece of the president's effort to shape his legacy in his final years in office.
February 18, 2015

Obamacare Enrollment Expected to Exceed Last Year's

Approximately 11.4 million people have signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act this year, President Barack Obama announced Tuesday, signaling a strong conclusion to the federal health law's second enrollment period.
February 18, 2015

New York's Top Judge Calls for Grand Jury Reform in Police Shootings

In the wake of polarizing grand jury decisions in the police-related deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, New York's top judge wants judges to oversee the grand jury process in cases involving deadly and near-deadly incidents involving police and civilians.
February 18, 2015

Texas Judge Rules State's Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A Travis County judge ruled Tuesday that the Texas ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, but there was no rush to the altar after county officials _ scrambling to assess the effect of the judge's 3 p.m. order _ declined to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, at least for now.
February 17, 2015

Time to End Longevity Pay in Tennessee?

Gov. Bill Haslam is seeking to end a benefit under which state workers get pay for years of service.
February 17, 2015

Pennsylvania Governor Facing Battle over Proposed Police Commissioner

Tom Wolf will likely have a hard time getting acting State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown.confirmed.
February 17, 2015

Judge Halts Obama's Executive Order on Immigration

A federal judge in south Texas issued an injunction Monday temporarily blocking a program President Obama announced in November that would defer deportation for about 5 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.
February 17, 2015

Now That Kate Brown Is Oregon's Governor, Who Will Be Secretary of State?

Speculation is brewing over who will succeed Kate Brown as Oregon's next secretary of state when she becomes governor next week, replacing John Kitzhaber.
February 17, 2015

Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia Renews Safety Questions

The derailments this week of two trains carrying crude oil have raised new questions about the adequacy of federal efforts to improve the safety of moving oil on tank cars from new North American wells to distant refineries.
February 17, 2015

Maryland and Maine Join Multistate Task Force to Combat Heroin

Calling heroin a crisis that crosses state boundaries, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said Thursday that his office will join counterparts in the Northeast to share information and jointly prosecute drug traffickers.
February 17, 2015

At Least 30 Days Til Boston's Transit Is Back on Track

The blizzard-battered commuter rail and subway will not be back to normal for "at least" another 30 days, the transit authority's embattled general manager admitted yesterday, forecasting a bleak month of long, expensive slogs for hundreds of thousands of commuters -- as another storm looms.
February 13, 2015

$106 Million Cuts to Michigan Budget

State appropriations committees approved the cuts recently proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
February 13, 2015

Tennessee Bill Would Let Undocumented Immigrants Pay In-State Tuition

As many as 25,000 Tennessee high school graduates could benefit.
February 13, 2015

University of California System Leads Israel Divestment Push

It is primarily at UC campuses where student leaders have voted to condemn Israeli actions and ask that billions of dollars in endowment funds be removed from companies with identifiable ties to the country's military.
February 13, 2015

Athens, Ohio, Sheriff Sent Immediately to Jail Following Corruption Conviction

Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove revoked Pat Kelly bond, saying he posed a flight risk.
February 13, 2015

'Megadroughts' Predicted to Ravage the Southwest

The Southwest, including California, along with the Great Plains states, will endure long-lasting “megadroughts” in the second half of this century, worse by far than anything seen in the past 1,000 years, a team of climate experts said Thursday.
February 13, 2015

After Several Vetoes, Philadelphia Mayor Signs Paid Sick Leave Law

Mayor Nutter signed mandatory paid sick leave into law Thursday, the same day City Council passed the legislation before a crowd of cheering workers.
February 13, 2015

Nebraska Judge Halts Keystone Pipeline

In a temporary victory for opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, a Nebraska state judge sided with landowners seeking to stop Canadian energy firm TransCanada from taking land from dozens of properties in the northern half of the state.
February 13, 2015

Rand Paul Asks Kentucky GOP for Presidential Caucus in 2016

Looking for a greater voice for his state — and an advantage for his own likely campaign — S