Will Wilson  |  Former Correspondent

Will Wilson is a former GOVERNING correspondent.

June 1, 2010

CSI, Stand Aside: DNA Databases Raise Alarms

State legislators are taking a new interest in DNA databases and in whether the evidence stored in them skirts rules about privacy and security.
May 1, 2010

Lone Star Contract Less

A privatization program unravels in its first year and raises questions about how it could go so far south so fast.
June 30, 2009

Hold That Hire

"It's not an easy job being a jailer," says Captain Hunter Petray, who works in the sheriff's office in Benton County, Arkansas. Few would dispute...
May 4, 2009

Not a Pretty Picture

From Google, state-by-state and county-by-county graphs of unemployment figures for easy comparison. Soon, we'll be able to do this with more data. Hat tip: ...
April 21, 2009

Finally, Data We Can Use: Per Capita Beer Brewing by State

Here's a map, courtesy of SloshSpot, of brewery density per capita in these United States: As a native Montanan, I'm not surprised we'...
March 31, 2009

The Pain of Cutting Payroll

Whacked by budget deficits and with no end to sluggish economies in sight, states, cities and counties have been forced to make the hardest cuts...
March 25, 2009

Florida Workforce and the Budget Crisis of 2009

The Florida Legislature is considering cutting every state worker's salary by 5%. Let's put that in some context. In the 2008 Grading the States, here'...
March 12, 2009

If You're A Happy State And You Know It...

Utah is the happiest state;  West Virginia the least. That's according to a Gallup self-reporting happiness survey. Broadly speaking, there seems to be a &...
February 10, 2009

That Pesky 17th Amendment

Some state budget stabilization funds wound up on the stimulus cutting room floor yesterday. Matthew Yglesias wonders why seemingly strong political constituencies like state-level politicians ...
February 9, 2009

Watch That Stimulus

Stimulus Watch looks like a website that probably should have been around long before the stimulus package: a thumbnail glance at all of the "...
January 26, 2009

Is Government Technology Intentionally Frustrating?

Apropos of the Obama staff's rude tech awakening in the White House, Megan McArdle asks, "Why is government IT so awful?" And ...
January 5, 2009

Start-Up Government

Today's Washington Post has a nice story on DC chief technology officer Vivek Kundra. The opening of the article especially underscores how Kundra not ...
December 31, 2008

Second Spin

When Steve Gendler retired 16 years ago from a career as an Arizona law enforcement officer, he figured he'd spend a lot of his time doing...
December 22, 2008

Will the Census Save the GOP?

Recent thrashings at the ballot box have many Republicans as well as other political commentators wondering about the health of the party. Has the party ...
December 18, 2008

The Yankees and the Mayor's Office

When the stories began leaking out about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office pressuring the Yankees for a luxury suite in the new ...
December 16, 2008

The Answer is No. What's Your Question?

Washington state is looking at about a $5 billion budget shortfall over the next couple years, given current projections. That doesn't necessarily mean legislators in ...
November 4, 2008

WA-GOV: Gregoire Wins

Both MSNBC and ABC are projecting Christine Gregoire's reelection as governor of Washington. The local news is a bit more cautious.
November 4, 2008

Yes on Assisted Suicide--WA Initiative 1000 Passes

The "Assisted Suicide" initiative in Washington has passed, at least according to Seattle Times projections.
November 4, 2008

Reading Tea Leaves: Guam edition

Guam has voted. Unofficially, Obama has won. Even when it becomes official, it won't actually count for any electoral votes at all. But one ...
November 4, 2008

Reading Tea Leaves: King County Turnout edition

Yesterday, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer stirred controversy with an article suggesting that early turnout figures were a bad omen for Governor Christine Gregoire's reelection bid ...
November 4, 2008

Reasons to Stay Up Late, Even If the Oval Office is Taken Early

Democrats expect to gain several Senate seats tonight. But four races in particular could make for a late night if they are to seize a ...
November 3, 2008

For Contrarians

Rock the Vote! Get Out the Vote! or simply Vote! You will receive lots of encouragement to head to your local polling location tomorrow. At ...
September 26, 2008

Financial Crisis's Non-Economic Impact on States

States were already facing big revenue hits before Wall Street started to melt down. The fall of AIG might portend regulatory effects on states as ...
September 17, 2008

Good News for Gregoire(?)

The Public Disclosure Commission has ruled that the Building Industry Association of Washington violated campaign finance laws by not properly reporting money it moved to ...
September 16, 2008

Probably a Good Idea

I'm usually a fan of hard line approaches and creative incentives. But Edmonds (WA) School District went a little overboard, even for me, and it's ...
September 10, 2008

McCain Favored

For the first time, John McCain is trading above 50 on Intrade. Until today, Barack Obama hadn't traded below 50 since May. McCain was trading at 1 in ...
September 10, 2008

Architect Bullfighter Designs by Committee

The centerpiece of Seattle's now complete "Libraries for All" initiative is the downtown Central Branch co-designed by Rem Koolhaas, one of the creators ...
September 5, 2008

What a Week for Palin!

I'm not sure how long this will last or what to really make of these numbers, but the next two months will be fascinating. Unknown ...
September 4, 2008

Palin's Speech: What the Markets Say

Two days ago, Intrade opened a market on Sarah Palin being withdrawn as McCain's VP choice. The graph below charts the likelihood (chart is in ...
September 3, 2008

Are you experienced?

I still don't think that the experience issue in general is a winning one for Barack Obama. In fact, questions about Sarah Palin's experience could ...
August 29, 2008

If Palin, then...

by Will Wilson I'd like to venture a couple thoughts about what Sarah Palin's selection might indicate about what we have to expect for the ...
August 22, 2008

Bayh a nose!?

The url now redirects to: Update: Or seemed to a minute ago? At least ...
August 22, 2008

Slow Leaks

For all the suspense the campaigns have pumped into their VP selections, decision markets are starting to coalesce around Joe Biden and Mitt Romney. In ...
August 1, 2008

How McCain Could Win New York

David Paterson outlines the paths for the respective candidates to win NY.
July 29, 2008

So Goes Texas So Goes the World?

Maybe I'm not reading these numbers right, but the YTD change in Texas' state revenues by major tax type (second table) shows Franchise Tax down 68.5% ...
July 23, 2008

A VP Pump Fake?

I've seen the suggestion that John McCain's campaign fed reporters rumors that, if spliced together, implied he would select his VP this week, likely offering ...
June 30, 2008

Venture Governmentalist

Aneesh Chopra has entered the nail-biting phase of the venture capital investing cycle. He has scoured his market carefully for new uses of technology. And...
June 27, 2008

Campaigning in an E-World

From the Department of Why Didn't I Think of That: Patchwork Nation has set up email accounts  for imaginary voters in 11 different regions of ...
June 24, 2008

What does an electoral landslide look like?

It is hard to believe that John McCain should be worried about a 52-33 lead in a Utah poll--until one considers that that is just ...
June 18, 2008

Traffic Congestion Scorecard: A Reason to Hit the Snooze?

Inrix just released a national traffic scorecard, including a list of the 100 most congested metro areas. The great thing about the report is that it ...
May 30, 2008

Tough Crowd

from Governing's Managing Technology Conference in Seattle Bill Gregoricus, a senior consultant in Tennessee's Office of State Planning and Policy, had an interesting--and somewhat disheartening--explanation ...
May 22, 2008


Seattle has just launched a new initiative to get drivers off the roads in the interests of meeting Mayor Greg Nickels pledge of making the ...
May 9, 2008

Bearers of Bad News

It's getting pretty hard to remain an optimist about the mortgage/foreclosure mess. This week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke displayed a set of maps (cycle ...
April 22, 2008

Franken Flanked

The Providence Journal looks at a challenge from unexpected quarters to Al Franken's bid for the Senate; but I think we're all more interested in ...
April 22, 2008

Paper vs. Plastic: A Third Way

With Earth Day looming over my quick-trigger guilty conscience again, the Boston Herald raises an old debate that has never been satisfactorily settled in my ...
March 27, 2008

Choose Your Own Prediction

Just what are the chances that Hillary Clinton could receive more total votes than Barack Obama? Now you can decide for yourself--choose your own adventure ...
March 11, 2008

Political Ewing Theory

by Will Wilson ESPN's SportsGuy has fostered what's called the Ewing Theory, after former NY Knicks center Patrick Ewing, which has two basic components: A ...
March 7, 2008

Party Poopers

by Will Wilson Jay Cost has another great post over at HorseRaceBlog examining the systematic biases of the Democratic party's nomination process (note that Jay ...
March 5, 2008

What Happens Now?

I'm probably going to be eating some humble pie pretty soon. A month ago, I predicted in this space that the Democratic nominee would be ...
February 20, 2008

Wisconsin by the Numbers

Barack Obama won Wisconsin's Democratic primary yesterday by 17%--a crushing victory in a state where the Clinton camp was really hoping to stanch the bleeding. ...
February 13, 2008

Leveraging the Edwards Endorsement

Watching John Edwards deliberate between Clinton and Obama, I imagine many people are, like me, wondering, "What's the problem? Endorse Obama and get it ...
December 5, 2007

Are You Nuts?

A new Gallup poll reports that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to consider themselves in good mental health. Of course, the study also notes ...
July 24, 2007

What Is a Speed Limit?

I had to find out for myself if Virginia's new speeding fines  were slowing down the traffic and if officers were fleecing speeders. So ...
July 18, 2007

Where Do Old Ballparks Go When They Die?

Detroit can't decide whether to blow up the old Tiger Stadium in order to make room for new development or to renovate the old stadium.
July 12, 2007

Ballpark Gestation

Yesterday, Josh offered an intriguing comparison of pandas and baseball stadiums as economic development strategies. If you're wondering just how that stadium is coming along, ...
July 1, 2007

A Counselor's Calling

If there's a way to tame long-term-care costs, a program that puts patients in control may be it.
July 1, 2007

How Green Is My Blacktop

Illinois is Moving Ahead With a New Formula for Rubber-Tire Roadways.
June 15, 2007

The Good Gets Bad and Ugly: DC Vote

DC Vote, the bill that would give DC and Utah each one new representative, just made it through Senate committee and is headed to the ...
June 12, 2007

Poor Management Compartmentalization

I just received a call from my cell phone service company asking if I wanted to renew my contract. I said, "No. I have ...
May 22, 2007

Water Wars

Things are heating up in Montana v. Wyoming . Earlier this week, the Supreme Court asked the U.S. Solicitor General for his thoughts on the ...
May 16, 2007

Representative Government: A Follow Up

Three weeks ago, Montana House Majority Leader Michael Lange got nasty on the chamber floor, replete with profanity and unpleasant anatomical imagery. As of yesterday, ...
May 9, 2007

Pigskin Politics

The NFL has banned mayors and governors. Team owners have decided that the political pressure applied by elected officials "detracted" from Super Bowl ...
May 3, 2007

Yuppies Want Camden Town

posted by Will Wilson On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure to participate in a focus group conducted by the team that will be designing ...
May 1, 2007

Highway Helper: States Add Leverage To P3 Deals

Chicago and Indiana were the pioneers: They tapped into public-private partnerships--known as P3s--to improve their highways and infuse their coffers with billions of dollars.
April 27, 2007

Representative Government

In one of yesterday's "Heads Up" links, Montana House Republican Majority Leader Michael Lange lashes out at Governor Brian Schweitzer with ugly temper ...
April 27, 2007

Let's Make "Rovers" Official

The Ohio legislature is setting up a committee on how to handle "e-mails about government business sent through private e-mail accounts." "It ...
April 23, 2007

The Tough Fifth-Grade Lobby

Auto emissions regulations are the rage in Vermont. The state recently adopted the "California standards," a policy stance that is now playing out ...
April 18, 2007

Does ANYTHING Sound Tastier than Salmonberry Wine?

Alaskan salmonberry wine might be the tastiest stuff on earth, but the world would never know. Alaska's anti-Alaskan wine laws have kept the sweet sauce ...
April 9, 2007

A New Twist on a Last Period Problem

Kansas legislators wonder if they cut a little too deep. Actually, only the state senators feel that way about the tax cuts the legislature passed ...
March 30, 2007

Aerial Wolf-Killing

Today, Alaska Superior Court Judge Bill Morse will preside over an injunction hearing that should be an unintentional comedy goldmine -- if rather darkly-humored gold. ...
March 21, 2007

Super Drunk and Drive

Michigan could soon become the 36th state to enact "super drunk and drive" legislation.  Gov. Jennifer Granholm is working with the legislature ...
March 16, 2007

Constitutional Stability on the Rockies

In the legislative Man Bites Dog story of the day, Colorado state legislators are examining bills that would make it harder for voters to change ...
March 13, 2007

Hometown INS

The ACLU won't often get caught up defending the Bush administration's right to regulate, but that is the situation developing in the federal case regarding ...