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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

The False Sense That We’ve Beaten COVID-19

Some think the rollout of vaccines means we've turned the corner, but things are likely to get worse before they get better. Public officials have a role, and messaging is more important than ever.

By Jabari Simama, Government and Education Columnist  |  January 8, 2021
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Pro-Trump Rallies Shut Down State Capitols During D.C. Attack

For months, protesters have been targeting government buildings and even the homes of public officials, with some making death threats. Their actions reflect a growing acceptance for political violence.

By Alan Greenblatt, Senior Staff Writer  |  January 7, 2021
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Future in Context

The Year Another Capitol Siege Almost Took Place on the Hill

In 1800, the country struggled to survive its first transition of power between John Adams, America’s first one-term president, and Thomas Jefferson, thanks to political intrigue, chaos and panic.

By Clay Jenkinson, Editor-at-Large  |  January 8, 2021
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Future in Context

The Bill of Rights, Federalism and the Struggles of a United America

With incoming President Joe Biden pledging to unify the country, author David French talks about the nation’s current divide, whether the country is in decline and the prospects for a lasting union.

By Clay Jenkinson, Editor-at-Large  |  January 6, 2021
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THE FUTURE OF Community Design

Stronger Hurricanes Challenge Housing Recovery Plans

After a record-breaking hurricane season, city planners in Florida focus on best practices to rescue affordable housing, while architects adopt new housing designs for the long-term needs of a changing coastline.

By Carl Smith, Senior Staff Writer  |  January 6, 2021
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

Can We Find a Better Way to Melt Snow?

America uses tons of rock salt to de-ice roads, but the chemical is harmful to the environment and concrete. Emerging methods could reduce the need for machines, salt, and high snowplow budgets.

By Scott Beyer, Urban Issues Columnist  |  January 6, 2021
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

It Took Decades for America to Become This Divided

Political polarization has become so familiar and entrenched that we barely think how it came about. The backstory is more than a half-century long, involving race, media and a diverging economy.

By Alan Greenblatt, Senior Staff Writer  |  January 5, 2021
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80%

The proportion of U.S. mayors who believe their police budgets last year were "about right,” according to the Menino Survey of Mayors. Most respondents didn’t support reallocating some or any police resources.

THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Building Guardrails for the Benefits Cliff

When a small bump in salary costs more in needed social services than the pay hike brings in, something's wrong. Using broad partnerships, state and federal policymakers are beginning to address the issue.

By Christine Tappan, Abt Associates  |  January 5, 2021
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

The Public Finance Outlook for 2021 in 10 Themes

Vaccines, a new presidency, a reshuffled Congress and a pandemic-shifted economy will transfigure the state and local fiscal landscape.

By Girard Miller, Finance Columnist  |  January 5, 2021
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

Fred Risser, America’s Longest-Serving Legislator, Retires

The Wisconsin state senator has set a record of service that is unlikely to be broken. The 93-year-old lawmaker started his career when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House and Alaska and Hawaii were still territories.

By David Kidd, Photojournalist and Storyteller  |  January 4, 2021
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Happening Now

State Legislatures Face a Session Like No Other

Around the country, legislative leaders are still scrambling to figure out the safest way to meet in person. At least a half-dozen legislators have died from COVID-19, with dozens more infected.

By Alan Greenblatt, Senior Staff Writer  |  January 4, 2021
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Book Recommendations from Officials Who’ve Been “In the Arena”

As 2020 comes to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the numerous books that government officials from across the nation have recommended over the past several years.

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