TABLE of CONTENTS January 2014

The Mississippi House Chamber in Jackson, Miss.
The Mississippi House Chamber in Jackson, Miss. David Kidd/Governing
Cover Story

2014's Top 10 Legislative Issues to Watch

BY Liz Farmer

Plus six trending issues that could be big this year.


12 State Legislators to Watch in 2014

It’s a tough time to be a politician, but these state lawmakers are really making a mark. BY Louis Jacobson

2012 Legislators to Watch: Where Are They Now?

Since we last published a list of 12 state legislators to watch in January 2012, we’ve seen one legislator rocket to national stardom, two abruptly, and voluntarily, leave politics altogether and the rest continue to soldier on in the political trenches. BY Louis Jacobson

Corporate Entrepreneurs Are at the Heart of Downtown Revitalizations

Private-sector actors are reshaping the center of some cities in ways local governments no longer have the ability to do themselves. BY Alan Greenblatt

Cities Create Music, Cultural Festivals to Make Money

Municipal officials and entrepreneurs see the power of cultural events as a way to spur short-term tourism while shaping an image of the host city as a cool, dynamic location where companies and citizens in modern, creative industries can thrive. BY Chad Kaydo

A Battle Over School Reform: Michelle Rhee vs. Diane Ravitch

As the No Child Left Behind era ends and Common Core begins, two education heavyweights face-off over what we’ve learned and where we’ve gone wrong. BY John Buntin



Are Governors’ State of the State Speeches All Talk?

Governors only succeed about half the time in passing legislative proposals they push for in their annual address. BY J.B. Wogan

Meet 2014's New Mayors

Voters elected an unusually high number of new big-city mayors in November. BY Ryan Holeywell

Snow: Every Budgeters’ Worst Nightmare

The unpredictability of snow doesn’t just drive citizens and public works crews crazy – it makes it nearly impossible for city officials to plan their budgets. BY Mike Maciag

Will the Common Core Backlash Return in 2014?

States are supposed to implement the new education standards this fall. But the opposition to Common Core – which has enemies of every political persuasion – could undermine the program first. BY Chris Kardish

A Creative Comeback in the Big Easy

After years of stagnation following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is building itself a new economy. BY Alan Ehrenhalt

Why Do Politicians Prefer Old Media?

Even though Americans are increasingly looking to online media for their news, public officials still give preference to TV and print newspapers when responding to requests for information. BY Paul W. Taylor
Potomac Chronicle

America Risks Wasting Fracking’s Potential

Hydraulic fracking holds so much promise for generating inexpensive, relatively clean energy. But first, we need to figure out how to regulate it. BY Peter Harkness

Fighting Fires Burns Through Money That Keeps Them from Starting

Wildfires in the U.S. are becoming bigger, more destructive and more frequent. And the extra cost of putting them out comes straight from the budget for fire prevention. BY Ryan Holeywell
Health & Human Services

‘Death with Dignity’ or ‘Assisted Suicide’?

Whether or not Americans support doctors helping terminally ill patients to voluntarily end their lives depends on the words used to describe the issue. Those words also determine the success of such bills. BY David Levine
Infrastructure & Environment

Dried Up and Maxed Out, California Tries to Make It Snow

After its driest year on record, the state is trying one of the cheaper ways of staving off drought: cloud seeding. But is it safe and does it work? BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Economic Engines

How Globalization Isolates Struggling Cities

Troubled post-industrial places need help building better connections with more successful cities. BY Aaron Renn
Urban Notebook

Breaking Down the Barriers to Affordable Housing

With homeownership at its lowest level in decades, the demand for rental housing is high -- and so are the rents. BY Tod Newcombe


Management & Labor

The Most Dangerous Government Jobs and Why They're Riskier Than the Private Sector

Public-sector workers typically face a greater risk of suffering an injury on the job than other segments of the workforce. Read five key takeaways from new industry-level data. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

The Corporate Playbook for Government

Should governments emulate the business practice of Fortune 500 companies? BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Better Government

All Things Fall Apart (Even Governments)

That's why organizations need constant renewal to survive. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

Government Technology Trends to Watch in 2014

The top 3 tech policy trends that will demand attention from state and local leaders this year. BY Steve Towns
Public Money

Why Paying for Public Colleges Really Pays Off

The disinvestment and reliance on higher student fees and tuition creates significant risks not only for students—but for states, too. BY Frank Shafroth
Infrastructure & Environment

January 2014 Last Look: The World’s Shortest, Steepest Scenic Railway

A way for businessmen to take a mid-day nap in the 1800s, the incline in Dubuque, Iowa, is still used by commuters and sightseers today. BY David Kidd