TABLE of CONTENTS January 2017

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Cover Story

In Trump’s America, GOP States Proceed Cautiously Optimistic

BY Alan Greenblatt

With the most power over U.S. government that any party has had in decades, Republicans have hit the jackpot. The new administration will embolden states’ rights, but it could also create problems for them.

FEATURES

13 Issues for States to Watch in 2017

These are the biggest policies and problems legislatures will confront this year. BY News Staff

Fighting Sex Trafficking Is Harder Than It Seems

More than half the states have passed laws to protect victims, but the laws aren’t always enforced and often produce new challenges. BY Liz Farmer

Meet the Goodmans: Las Vegas’ Flamboyant Political Family

They’re into more than showmanship. They’re struggling to turn the gambling mecca into a thriving 21st century urban place. BY John Buntin

Should Religious Leaders Help Close Mental Health Care's Gap?

Particularly in rural areas, governments are increasingly turning to them to ease the shortage of providers, blurring the line between religion and medicine. BY Mattie Quinn

OBSERVER

Finance

Is a New Battle Brewing Over Soda Taxes?

As more cities start taxing sugary beverages, the industry may turn to new allies to block them. BY Alan Greenblatt
Politics

America’s One and Only City Council Run by Libertarians

In a Minnesota suburb, libertarians are making a lot of changes people might expect. But not everyone is happy. BY Alan Greenblatt
Finance

Bad Budget News? Some States Just Bury It.

Observers say Kansas is trying to “end bad economic news by not reporting it.” It’s not the only state being accused of hindering transparency. BY Alan Greenblatt
Politics

Another Constitutional Convention Could Happen in New York

Once every 20 years, the state’s citizens get the opportunity to overhaul government. But first, they’ll have to beat back all the powerful interest groups fighting to block it. BY Alan Greenblatt

POLITICS + POLICY

Assessments

What Does State Legislatures' Past Say About Their Future?

A look back at their evolution may offer some idea of what lies ahead. BY Alan Ehrenhalt
Potomac Chronicle

Conjectures From the Swamp

D.C. may be an object of Republican disdain, but it’s now at the center of governmental change. BY Peter A. Harkness
Politics

The Democrats’ Geography Problem

An overwhelming share of their voters live in metropolitan areas. Will their appeal ever expand beyond? BY Alan Greenblatt
Health & Human Services

The Walking Cure: How Oklahoma City Lost 1 Million Pounds

Pedestrian-friendly cities are healthier cities, which is why many are making it easier for residents to ditch their cars. BY Mattie Quinn
Infrastructure & Environment

Will States Stop Cities From Combating Climate Change?

With Republicans in full control in half the states, climate change skeptics have more power to target environmental programs. BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Economic Engines

Globalization's Winner-Take-All Economy

The Chicagos and Cincinnatis of the world are more vulnerable than they realize. BY Aaron M. Renn
Urban Notebook

When Local Control Backfires

The housing shortages that plague most urban areas are a prime example of the complications that can arise when states take a back seat. BY Scott Beyer

PROBLEM SOLVER

Elections

Millennials Let Their Grandparents Decide Local Elections

Young people rarely vote in presidential races -- and even less often in mayoral contests. See which cities have the biggest generation gap in turnout. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

Did We Say That? Public-Sector Predictions That Never Came True

Progress is slow. Our overly enthusiastic forecasts prove that. BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Better Government

The Problem With Evidence-Based Government

There's a big challenge that advocates need to recognize. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

Can School Buses Close the Digital Gap?

Districts are experimenting with ways to get every student access to high-speed Internet. Right now, millions don't. BY Tod Newcombe
Public Money

Breaking Down the Financial Impact of Self-Driving Cars

They would be mostly -- but not all -- good for state and local revenues. BY Frank Shafroth
Infrastructure & Environment

Arcosanti: The Original (and Unfinished) Smart House?

In 1970, an architect began building a self-sustaining town of the future. Now it stands as a lab for environmentally conscious urban planners. BY David Kidd