Cover Story

A Model for Decriminalizing Mental Illness in America

BY John Buntin

America’s jails are filled with people suffering from severe psychological problems. But largely thanks to one judge, Miami found ways to keep the mentally ill out of incarceration and in treatment.

FEATURES

Infrastructure & Environment

How Car-Centric Cities Learned to Love Light Rail

While other cities have struggled to finance their existing transit, Sun Belt cities like Phoenix have embraced light rail as a way to transform urban life. BY
Elections

The 2015 Race That Could Turn the South a Deeper Red

Republicans want to make Kentucky the next Southern state with a GOP governor. It won't be easy. BY
Finance

Are Governments 'Paying for Failure'?

A social policy experiment is spreading across the country as a new way to finance, deliver, and improve public services and problems. But its merits are so far unproven. BY
Politics

Ed Murray: One of America's Most Progressive Mayors

But can he survive in an increasingly liberal Seattle? BY

OBSERVER

Politics

When Governors Travel, Who Pays?

With so many governors running for president, new attention is being given to how out-of-state political trips are funded. BY
Health & Human Services

Conservatives Get a Stronger Voice on Poverty

There's been no national conservative organization pushing states to adopt their ideas about programs for the poor -- until now. BY
Management & Labor

Will Raising the Minimum Wage Raise Rents Too?

In some of the country’s most expensive cities to live, economists worry increased incomes will put even more pressure on housing markets. BY
Politics

Slain Senator Remembered as 'Moral Conscience' of Legislature

Clementa Pinckney was killed in the Charleston church shooting, but his legislative legacies will live on. BY

POLITICS + POLICY

Assessments

Hypergentrification and the Disappearance of Local Businesses

Wealthier people often move to gentrifying neighborhoods for the mom-and-pop stores, but their presence is driving the shops away. Can cities save them? BY
Potomac Chronicle

How Hurricane Katrina Made the Feds More Powerful

In the decade since the storm, the federal government's involvement in disaster relief has risen -- and so have tensions with localities. BY
Politics

Missouri Stays Purple While Other States Turn Red

Republicans may have a supermajority in the legislature, but they can't seem to win statewide offices. BY
Health & Human Services

New York's Big Medicaid Gamble

Can rewarding doctors for taking risks lead to better outcomes and cheaper costs? BY
Infrastructure & Environment

How Does a City Get to Zero Carbon Emissions?

Even before Obama released his rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, dozens of cities pledged to become carbon-neutral. But how they will achieve that isn't always known. BY
Economic Engines

Why the Word ‘Infrastructure’ Replaced 'Public Works'

Not that long ago, we hardly ever used or even knew the term. What changed? BY
Urban Notebook

Drowning in Data, Cities Need Help

Urban planners have historically had to do their jobs with only the dimmest understanding of what’s going on. Now they have more information than they can handle. BY

PROBLEM SOLVER

Finance

States Turn to Smokers for Band-Aid Budget Fixes

Fiscally and politically troubled states can solve some of their money problems by increasing cigarette taxes, but it’s no long-term solution. Here's why. BY
Smart Management

Exit Interviews: Increasingly Important But Often Forgotten

Knowing why employees quit might keep others on the job, something governments struggle to do. BY
Better Government

The Impact That Government Auditing Could Have (and Doesn't)

Auditors are irrelevant in most places. Two things could change that. BY
Tech Talk

The (Hidden) Cost of Open Data

For all of its advantages, cost isn't always one of them. But there are ways to keep them down. BY
Public Money

Are Muni Bonds an Income Equalizer?

A surprising look at who owns and who benefits the most from tax-exempt debt. BY
Management & Labor

A Cat Library, Just for Government Employees

The kitty loaner program helps humans relieve stress at work and helps cats acclimate to humans. BY

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REPRINTS

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