TABLE of CONTENTS October 2012

Cover Story

Can You Separate Federal Issues from State Elections?

BY Alan Greenblatt

Many state candidates are asked less about their stance on issues affecting the state and more about federal matters they can do little about.


Milwaukee Police Give 911 a Facelift

Milwaukee has overhauled how it responds to serious crimes -- but not without criticism. Are the risks of challenging policing's status quo worth the rewards? BY John Buntin

What Will Government Look Like in 2037?

This month marks Governing’s 25th anniversary, so we asked leaders for their predictions on how government will have changed 25 years from now. BY Ryan Holeywell

Cyberattack Could Leave States in the Dark

A cyberattack could leave whole regions with no Internet, phone service or electricity. State cybersecurity officers must plan for the unthinkable. BY David Hatch


State News

Felons' Voting Rights Could Impact 2012 Election

States have wildly different policies when it comes to voting rights for convicted felons. Some say those discrepancies may impact the outcome of elections. BY Tina Trenkner
Public Workforce

Public Workers Bid for Their Jobs

As cities seek new ways to save money, more and more are requiring their employees to bid against the private sector for work in a process known as “managed competition.” BY Brian Peteritas

Sports Leagues Sue New Jersey over Betting

According to the four major sports leagues and the NCAA, the state violated a 1992 federal law that prohibited sports gambling and is ruining the fun for fans. BY Brian Peteritas
By the Numbers

Ranking the Nation’s Worst Friday Afternoon Commutes

Which areas have the worst traffic on Friday afternoons? View data for 100 metro areas. BY Mike Maciag

Social Impact Bonds: Finding Funding for an Ounce of Prevention

Social impact bonds are a relatively new financial instrument that promises to earn returns for investors while giving state and local governments the upfront capital they need to pursue money-saving programs. BY Brian Peteritas

Electric Vehicles’ Role in Meeting New Efficiency Rules

One man’s test of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure along the West Coast highlights the hurdles ahead for states and localities in meeting the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency rules. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Potomac Chronicle

Global Libor Scandal Cost States and Localities Millions

State and local governments have sued banks, claiming that they cheated them out of enormous investment returns at a time when their budgets were already badly damaged from the recession. BY Brian Peteritas

Alaska Sues Feds Over Voting Rights Act

The state wants to end federal oversight of its elections. BY Ryan Holeywell
Health & Human Services

As Health Exchange Deadline Looms, States Race Against the Clock

The more than 30 states that are scrambling to set up health insurance exchanges as mandated by the federal health-care law have several options for meeting a Nov. 16 deadline. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Energy & Environment

Can Credit-Exchange Programs Clean Up Lakes?

The concept has been used for the past 40 years as a means of restoring the health of rivers, streams, lakes and oceans -- but it's getting new attention. BY Brian Peteritas
Economic Engines

How Private Services Became Public

Things we take for granted today -- public police, roads and libraries -- were only achieved through long, hard political battles that lasted decades and sometimes centuries. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Urban Notebook

DIY Urbanism Makes Creative Use of Public Spaces

As the economy continues to take big bites out of arts and city planning budgets, this bottom-up approach is changing the look of some cities. Are governments ready to embrace these grassroots ideas? BY Caroline Cournoyer


Health & Human Services

Parents Owing Child Support Avoid Jail (Not For Free)

In Virginia, where parents owe more than $2 billion, a program helps solve the underlying issues that keep them from paying up. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Smart Management

What Killed Alabama’s Performance Measurement Plan?

Less than a decade after the state enacted its first real performance measurement plan, it -- like a number of other similar programs in the states -- has fallen on hard times. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Idea Center

Washington Offers Voter Registration on Facebook

Partnering with the social media site and Microsoft, the state has created an application that it hopes will boost voter registration. BY Brian Peteritas
Idea Center

Kansas Pays Schools to Boost Skilled Labor

The state is going to pay school districts $1,000 for every student that graduates with credentials in high-need jobs. BY Brian Peteritas
Tech Talk

What Makes the Best Government Website?

The ‘Best of the Web’ winners showcase must-have features for effective public-sector sites. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Money

Cities, Counties and the Urge to Merge

Consolidating governments is hard to do, but the idea keeps coming up. BY Caroline Cournoyer