TABLE of CONTENTS January 2012

Cover Story

Legislative Issues to Watch in 2012

BY John Buntin

These nine topics will shape debate in state legislatures in 2012.


12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012

The 50 state legislatures have a lot of talent, but these 12 individuals are ones to watch. BY Louis Jacobson

How Language Fits Into the Immigration Issue

The dramatic rise in the number of people who speak limited English has prompted very different responses from local governments. BY Ryan Holeywell

The Boss of Boston: Mayor Thomas Menino

Boston's longest-serving mayor has started to think big. (But he still sweats the small stuff.) BY Zach Patton


Public Workforce

More State Workers Face Personnel Cuts

With the ballooning cost of benefits, a poor job market and more lean-government advocates in power, states are cutting personnel more than they have in the past. BY Caroline Cournoyer

In Kansas, It’s Conservative GOP vs. Moderate GOP

For years, there have been two kinds of Republicans in the Kansas statehouse: conservatives and moderates. This year, the conservatives want total control. BY Caroline Cournoyer

States Legislate in Response to News Headlines

In the current 24/7 news cycle, scandals often lead to bills in several statehouses. BY Caroline Cournoyer

Not Yet a State, Puerto Rico Practices Good Governance

Puerto Rico, which will vote on whether to become a state this summer, has reduced its spending by 20 percent in just two years with the help of public-private partnerships. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Potomac Chronicle

What Brand of Federalism Is Next?

Obama’s mixed approach of coercion and collaboration seems to be working, but that may not last. BY Caroline Cournoyer

States and Localities Seek Voice in Federal Grants Overhaul

The federal government is working to improve the way it administers grants. But states and localities aren't part of the council taking on the issue. BY Ryan Holeywell
Health & Human Services

Why Are Dentists Opposing Expanded Dental Care?

Citing safety as the reason, dentists are fighting states’ efforts to create mid-level dental providers who can provide care to underserved areas. Some speculate they just fear losing business. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Energy & Environment

Utah Envisions a Sustainable Future

The public-private partnership, Envision Utah, is a national model for cities grappling with how to ease congestion, stop sprawl and clean the air. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Economic Engines

Cities Push the Business ‘Start-up’ Envelope

The business incubator is no longer a new idea. Cities are pursuing business accelerators, a kind of incubator on steroids. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Urban Notebook

Blame Phone Apps for Graffiti’s Reemergence

Technology has spurred a renewed interest in street art. Cash-strapped cities are combating the costly problem with smartphones. BY Caroline Cournoyer


Health & Human Services

Putting Seniors to Work in Aiken, S.C.

In a town with a large population of people older than 65, a program that pairs senior citizens and at-risk kids is reaping benefits for both. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Smart Management

Fighting Government Fraud

How much fraud actually occurs is debatable, but the benefits of eliminating it are clear. And many governments are taking steps to stop schemes, scams and public-sector swindles. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Tech Talk

Cities Extract Energy from Everyday Activities

Roanoke, Va., and other cities are experimenting with new technologies that capture energy from footsteps, cars and more. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Money

2011: The Bad Year That Wasn’t

In this Public Finance column, John E. Petersen says that despite dire forecasts, states and localities paid their debts on time and in full. BY Caroline Cournoyer

Defending the Right to Vote in Denver

Although she faced a lawsuit from Colorado’s Secretary of State, City and County Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson stood by her decision to send ballots to inactive voters in November’s elections. BY Caroline Cournoyer