TABLE of CONTENTS February 2011

Cover Story

The Nation's Only Health Insurance Commissioner Takes on the Health-Care System

BY John Buntin

Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher Koller set out to transform an industry.

Features

U.S. Border Cities See Profits in Bridges to Mexico

Forget the border wall. Leaders see economic development opportunities in opening and updating international bridges. BY Ryan Holeywell

New Strategies for Controlling Stormwater Overflows

With stormwater a major pollutant, cities are coming up with innovative "gray" and "green" ways to control its impact. BY Linda Baker

A Tour of New York City's Croton Water Filtration Plant

This photo gallery spotlights New York City's first and only water filtration plant, which will sit below a golf course in the Bronx. BY Tod Newcombe

Are State Efficiency Commissions Effective?

Why are some state efficiency commissions helpful in streamlining government and others an expensive waste of time? BY Jonathan Walters

Departments

Dispatch

Keeping Track of What's Important

A list of priorities and issues helps public officials remember what really matters in tough fiscal times. BY Paul W. Taylor

Politics + Policy

Health & Human Services

Food Safety Regulations and the GOP Mood

Now that Republicans control the U.S. House and state legislatures, more business-friendly food safety measures may be on the table. BY Zach Patton
Economic Development

Making the Case for Regional Taxes

Regions have supplanted cities as the nation's economic centers. Local tax structures don't recognize this shift. BY Zach Patton
Infrastructure & Environment

Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

A U.S. PIRG report says gas taxes and other user fees don’t cover the cost of building and maintaining our nation’s highways, roads and streets. BY Ryan Holeywell
Politics

The Congressional Map Glows Red

A review of the 2010 census findings and its implications. BY Louis Jacobson
Potomac Chronicle

Medicaid, Incentives and the Future of Federalism

States are unhappy with Medicaid costs, but they’re not willing to surrender federal incentives to cut them. BY Donald F. Kettl
Public Safety & Justice

Packing Pistols and Pulling Pints

More states are allowing patrons to bring guns into bars, but what effect will the laws actually have? BY Andy Kim
Health & Human Services

Taking Action on Alzheimer's

The National Alzheimer's Project Act incorporates the state perspective in implementation. BY Jessica Mulholland
Energy & Environment

Pushing Ahead on Clean Energy

Without a national clean energy standard, states find new ways to grow green technology. BY Russell Nichols
Economic Engines

Infrastructure Stoppage: Fiscal Prudence or Politics?

Infrastructure projects were once largely bipartisan, but such efforts have been tied up in partisan battles over the role of government. BY Alex Marshall
Urban Notebook

The Rust Belt Has Arrived

Interest in cities that have fallen on hard times in the Midwest and Northeast brings new cachet to living and working in the Rust Belt. BY Tod Newcombe

Problem Solver

Public Safety & Justice

Chicago's Police Misconduct Cases Go to Court

To cut costs and save face, all of Chicago's police misconduct cases are going to trial instead of settling out of court. BY Heather Kerrigan
Smart Management

Using Data to Guide Education Policymaking

Louisiana learns to use information about its students to create real-life benefits for them. BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Tech Talk

Micro-Grants Help Colorado Fund Tech Innovation

Small loans help cities and counties make initial investments in money-saving technology. BY Steve Towns
Public Money

Curing a Health Care Cost Curve

With health care driving state spending, a focus on quality care could cut costs. BY Girard Miller
Politics

Big Things Ahead for Nebraska's Speaker

Mike Flood, a lawyer and broadcaster, leads the nation's only unicameral Legislature. BY Tina Trenkner