Elizabeth Daigneau -- Managing Editor. Elizabeth joined GOVERNING in 2004 as an assistant web editor. In addition to her editing duties, she writes about energy and the environment for the magazine. Before joining GOVERNING, she was the assistant to the editor at Foreign Policy magazine. She graduated from American University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and literature. 

Elizabeth Daigneau
February 12, 2019

To Build Support for the Green New Deal, Activists Turn to States

Some states have already adopted their own version of a plan to address climate change while creating jobs. Others are being urged to.
February 12, 2019

California’s New Air Pollution Solution

In an unprecedented move that will cut costs for low-income households and cut emissions for everyone, the state is paying for some homes to install energy-efficient appliances.
January 31, 2019

With More Electric and Hybrid Cars on the Road, States Increase Fees

Critics argue that the revenue raised isn't worth weakening the incentives to buy more environmentally friendly vehicles.
November 1, 2018

Renewable Energy Is Growing Faster Than Many Experts Expected

It's leading an increasing number of state and local governments to commit to 100 percent clean energy goals.
October 9, 2018

Green Roof Requirements Are On the Rise

To meet their energy goals, cities are starting to make new buildings have solar panels or vegetation atop.
August 6, 2018

One of the World's Most Innovative Water Agencies Gets a New Leader

David Gadis, DC Water's new CEO, has big shoes to fill. He wants to make his own mark.
July 24, 2018

California Requires Solar Power for New Homes. Will Other States?

The state has a history of inspiring environmental movements across the country.
June 11, 2018

As Storms Worsen, Many Coastal States Aren't Prepared

Lax building codes and poor enforcement are a big problem in some places.
March 20, 2018

After Carbon Tax Fails in Washington, Focus Turns to 9 Other States

Washington state won’t be enacting the nation’s first tax on greenhouse gas emissions this year. But the idea has grown more popular in the states since President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
March 14, 2018

Could Electric Cars Threaten the Grid?

A new study soothes worries of massive power outages but points to the need for future planning to consider EVs.
February 1, 2018

This Map Shows What Climate Change Could Mean for Your Region

It's difficult to put a price tag on global warming, but the effort can help manage risks.
January 3, 2018

China's Foreign-Waste Ban Could Have Recycling Repercussions in America

Starting this month, the country's new policy will likely send more recyclable materials to the landfill. But many environmentalists also see it as a golden opportunity.
November 30, 2017

Planning a Park? Use a ‘Greenprint.’

They’re being used around the country to build better open spaces, but most urban planners still haven’t heard about them.
November 30, 2017

A First Among States, California Plugs the 'Carbon Loophole'

The new Buy Clean California Act is the world’s first legislative effort to address supply chain carbon emissions.
October 1, 2017

This Millennial Is Helping a Major City Go Green

At 24, Atlanta’s new sustainability director has already spent a lifetime in the field. He attributes that to cartoons and his famous family.
September 12, 2017

How Tennessee's Taken the Politics Out of Renewable Energy

Its big and small, Democratic and Republican cities are going green. Other states want to know how.
July 1, 2017

Two Environmental Buzzwords, Same Meaning?

“Zero waste” and “circular economy” are often used interchangeably.
June 5, 2017

Is Recycling Broken?

To survive and prosper, local recycling efforts are forging ways to update, upgrade and educate.
June 2, 2017

How Minnesota Doubled Its Solar Capacity

The state’s cities and counties embarked on a rare kind of collaboration.
May 2, 2017

The Key to San Jose's Speedy Disaster Recovery: Garbage

After a natural disaster hits the California city, the environmental department is among the first on the ground.
April 1, 2017

A Big Year for Clean Energy Loans?

Industry experts are predicting (and warning) that a decade-old retrofit program will finally boom.
March 24, 2017

A Plan That Tackles Climate Change and Racial Discrimination

Portland, Ore., is one of the nation's first cities to fully consider how environmental policies impact minority communities.
February 23, 2017

Climate Change and New Efforts to Help People Understand What They Can't See

Visual illustrations can give meaning to overwhelming emissions numbers.
January 19, 2017

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.
December 20, 2016

Walking on Art Is Usually Frowned Upon. Not Here.

San Francisco has built some of the most beautiful and colorful stairs.
December 8, 2016

Wondering What ‘Sustainability’ Is? Just Ask Austin.

The city’s new open data website breaks down how sustainability is defined -- and how it’s being achieved.
November 29, 2016

As Composting Gains Popularity, Cities Struggle to Meet Demand

Americans want to live more sustainable lives. Can governments keep up?
November 4, 2016

Big Idea for a Small Space: Tiny Houses for the Homeless

Yuba County, Calif., is just the latest government to join the craze.
October 19, 2016

The Newest State Park in America

It’s also one of the oldest tourist destinations.
October 7, 2016

Hoping for the Success They Had Against Tobacco, State AGs Unite to Fight Climate Change

But there's a major difference between today’s efforts and the tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s.
September 30, 2016

The Week in Public Finance: State Tax Revenues Slip, 'Dark Store' Strategy Spreads and More

A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
September 23, 2016

Sick of Seeing Cigarette Butts on the Ground, Cities Get Creative

It’s the most littered item in the U.S. -- but it might not be if more places adopted this approach.
July 25, 2016

Las Vegas Bets on Becoming a Hub for Water Innovation

The nation's driest city wants to market its water-saving efforts to the rest of the world.
July 22, 2016

Houston’s Buried Treasure

The city recently unearthed a man-made marvel.
July 18, 2016

From Worst to First: Can Hawaii Eliminate Fossil Fuels?

The state is working toward becoming the first to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Getting there won’t be easy.
July 6, 2016

Streetlights May Be Hurting Public Health

Many municipalities have switched to LED streetlights to save energy and money. But the change still comes at a cost.
June 24, 2016

Introducing the World’s “New” Longest Floating Bridge

The titleholder has been replaced -- by itself.
June 23, 2016

Simulating a World Without Climate Change

A new tool could help cities test whether (and how much) specific energy policies can slow global warming.
March 30, 2016

Turning Americans’ Bad Food-Waste Habit Into Renewable Energy

A few cities are using leftovers to power buses and buildings.
March 22, 2016

The Pop-Up Jail in the ‘Spring Break Capital of the World’

Panama City Beach, Fla., gives new meaning to the phrase drunk tank.
March 21, 2016

Oregon's Anti-Coal Law Could Have Far-Reaching Effects

In a decision that could spell the end for coal in the West, Oregon became the first state in the nation to pass legislation to completely do away with the dirty energy source.
February 10, 2016

Want to Impact Climate Change? One State Tells You How.

Massachusetts launched a website that details not just the effects of climate change but also how people can help.
January 20, 2016

To Save Bees, It Takes a Hive

Bees are vital to the food we eat, and they’re vanishing. Michigan State University is coordinating efforts to save them.
January 5, 2016

Even Road Salt Can Be Controversial

After two brutal winters and allegedly being overcharged for road salt, Cleveland is ready for snow.
December 6, 2015

L.A. Says Goodbye to ‘Shade Balls’

You most likely saw a photo or video of the millions of black plastic balls covering the Los Angeles Reservoir. They protect the region’s drinking water, but now they're being replaced.
November 25, 2015

Is 2015 the Year of the Electric (Government) Car?

There are reasons to believe America is at a turning point for changing the cars that cops and other public employees drive.
October 12, 2015

How a Town of Renters Got So Many People to Go Solar

Dozens of U.S. communities have launched similar programs, but Blacksburg, Va.'s is different.
October 1, 2015

The Town That Keeps Getting Abandoned

The once bustling hamlet of Johnsonville, Conn., now a ghost town, is up for sale -- again.
September 16, 2015

Baltimore’s European-Inspired Bus Stop

Playful bus stop designs are common overseas but relatively new to America.
August 21, 2015

A Cat Library, Just for Government Employees

The kitty loaner program helps humans relieve stress at work and helps cats acclimate to humans.
August 12, 2015

How to Conserve Water Without Bankrupting Water Utilities

The more water people save, the more money utilities lose. But new pricing models could change that.
August 4, 2015

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.
June 1, 2015

America's First Government-Owned Marijuana Store

The Cannabis Corner is the only (but probably not the last) place where public workers are paid to sell pot.
June 1, 2015

One City's Quest to Turn Trash Into Cash

Phoenix is building a research and technology campus in an effort to transform itself into a center for waste innovation.
May 1, 2015

Looking to Rent Energy-Efficient Housing?

In an effort to make rentals more sustainable, 14 college towns banded together to create a website that shows people what they would pay in utilities.
May 1, 2015

Cities Give Alleys New Life

Several cities are starting to see more potential in once dangerous and usually underused backstreets.
March 1, 2015

5 Ways to Get People to Recycle More Electronics

Despite states’ e-recycling laws, electronics are the fastest-growing type of waste in landfills.
March 1, 2015

When Life Gives You Potholes, Make Art

An artist in Chicago uses the city’s potholes as his canvas.
February 1, 2015

For Extreme Team-Building, Mayor Takes Staff Skydiving

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her executive team bonded at 14,000 feet.
February 1, 2015

Just Green Enough

Sprucing up a park can spur unintended gentrification. Is there a way to green a neighborhood without displacing its residents?
January 1, 2015

Republican Wave Boosts Anti-Renewable Energy Efforts -- Again

Every state that’s tried to repeal renewable energy standards has failed, but attacks may resurface in several states this year.
December 1, 2014

Blinded by Light Pollution

Artificial light is a growing problem that’s hurting humans and animals. What are cities doing about it?
December 1, 2014

San Francisco’s Rainbow Crosswalks

Following a trend of jazzing up roadways, the city installed rainbow crosswalks in honor of the LGBT community.
November 1, 2014

Renewable Energy's Rise Hurting Utilities

Solar energy is one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries. But it and other renewables are eating into utilities' profits, which have begun asking cities and states for help.
September 1, 2014

New Jersey Makes Energy Resiliency a Top Priority

After struggling to restore millions of people's power in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey has become the first state with a “green” bank focused on energy resilience.
September 1, 2014

The Original Rainmaker

In the early 1900s, Charles Mallory Hatfield was hired to cure California's drought.
August 1, 2014

Water Utilities Are Starting to Take Their Own Conservation Advice

Wastewater treatment plants are often the biggest consumers of electricity in their areas. Gresham, Ore., and Washington, D.C., are making moves to change that.
August 1, 2014

Vermont's Race Car-Driving Lieutenant Governor

Last year, Phil Scott became the first acting governor to drive a stock car professionally.
June 1, 2014

How Karl Marx’s ‘Urban Metabolism’ Is Helping Cities Go Green

The old approach to how humans interact with nature is getting new life in an effort to make cities more sustainable.
June 1, 2014

A House Built for Just $20,000

Since 2005, students at Auburn University have been building homes designed for just about anyone to afford.
May 1, 2014

Israel's Solution to America's Droughts: Seawater

Thanks to desalination plants, Israel is no longer worried about its water supply. So why aren't there more desalination plants in the United States?
April 1, 2014

April 2014 Last Look: Three Strikes, You’re Out

Gray Davis was recalled as governor of California -- and recalled again by a minor league baseball team.
March 1, 2014

Should Localities Be Allowed to Ban Pesticides?

A few municipalities have banned the use of pesticides on private property, but some state lawmakers don't think it should be up to the localities to decide.
February 1, 2014

Solar Gardens: A Subscription to the Sun

75 percent of Americans can’t put solar panels on their property. Community-owned solar gardens allow those people to take advantage of renewable energy for a fraction of the cost, but they need state and local support to grow.
February 1, 2014

February 2014 Last Look: Sun Spot

This 20-foot sculpture is made from 90,000 stainless steel pet tags.
January 1, 2014

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?
December 1, 2013

Are Recycling Bins Creating More Trash?

The cost of picking up people’s recycling bins is high, but the portion of people who actually recycle is low. That’s why Houston wants to get rid of recycling bins.
December 1, 2013

December 2013 Last Look: the 100-Year-Old Lincoln Highway

The nation’s first truly transcontinental road, the Lincoln Highway once made its way through 14 states but has gradually slipped into obscurity.
November 1, 2013

Portland's Testing a Greener Kind of P3

If it’s successful, it could drastically change how environmental projects are funded by states and localities.
September 1, 2013

Is Hydropower a Renewable Energy or Not?

As states set ambitious goals to increase their use of renewable energies, hydropower could help them meet their goals. But environmental concerns have kept investment in hydropower to a trickle.
August 1, 2013

What's the Economic Worth of a Tree?

With so many states and localities pruning money from parks and tree-planting programs to balance budgets, a free app helps public officials put a monetary value on the benefits of growing them.
August 1, 2013

August 2013 Last Look: Seattle's Ramps to Nowhere

Seattle's so-called "ramps to nowhere" will be torn down in 2014.
June 28, 2013

Mass. Uses Popularity of ‘Green’ to Its Advantage

Massachusetts was the first state to offer so-called green bonds to fund environmentally friendly projects. The only thing new about the bonds, though, is the word ‘green’ -- a small addition that may be making the state big bucks.
June 28, 2013

Denver’s Making Public Housing Desirable

Denver’s newest development will promote healthy living, mass transit and energy efficiency. It also happens to be public housing.
May 31, 2013

Does Energy Benchmarking Actually Work?

Cities across the country require commercial buildings to track and publicize their energy and water use in an effort to reduce it. A recent report, however, suggests it may not be working.
April 30, 2013

How Milwaukee Became a Center for Water Innovation

The world needs water. Milwaukee not only has lots of it, but it also has transformed itself into a hub for water research and technology.
November 30, 2012

Chicago’s Battle of the Roofs: Green vs. White

Two public buildings competed to see which type of roof would reduce their electric bill the most. The result may surprise you.
October 31, 2012

Microgrid Technology Faces Its 1st Big Test

After two storms left nearly 1 million Connecticut homes and businesses without power last year, the state began testing whether small electric grids can provide power even when the main grid loses it.
September 28, 2012

Can Credit-Exchange Programs Clean Up Lakes?

The concept has been used for the past 40 years as a means of restoring the health of rivers, streams, lakes and oceans -- but it's getting new attention.
July 31, 2012

Colleges Beef Up Sustainability Degree Programs

Nearly 60 percent of all new academic programs or training opportunities in 2011 focused on green careers, which are in demand now more than ever.
March 30, 2012

Cities Tout Municipal Tap Water as Better Than Bottled

Municipal drinking water is safer, more cost effective and better for the environment -- three facts cities want their residents to know.
February 29, 2012

States Ease Farmers Markets Food-Safety Regulations

The number of farmers markets has exploded in recent years, and states want to make sure they stay in business.
January 31, 2012

Curbside Composting Added to a Major City: Is It Yours?

Nearly 100 cities now divert food waste from landfills. It’s far from becoming the norm, though, considering most major cities still don’t even have curbside recycling.
January 1, 2012

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.
December 30, 2011

Legislative Issues to Watch in 2012

These nine topics will shape debate in state legislatures in 2012.
November 30, 2011

Greening the Corporate Bottom Line

Companies are legally obligated to try to maximize profits. Some states are creating companies that can also factor employees, the community and the environment into financial decisions.
September 30, 2011

States May Lose Ability to Predict, Prepare for Bad Weather

The feds cut funding for a satellite that predicts the location and intensity of tornadoes, hurricanes and snowfall.
August 31, 2011

Mini Nukes Could Help Meet Electricity Demands

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a public utility in the Southeast, is testing small nuclear reactors as a source for cheaper, cleaner energy.
July 29, 2011

Cities Encourage Green Building through Disclosure

Hoping to inspire energy-efficient upgrades, more cities are requiring large buildings to publicly disclose their energy ratings online.
June 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye to the Yellow Pages

San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban phone books that many say are wasteful and outdated.
May 31, 2011

Planning for Electric Cars

The electric grid could become overloaded with increased use of electric cars. Public utilities in Austin and Los Angeles have already begun tackling the issue.
May 31, 2011

High-Speed Rail Is Not Dead

A true high-speed rail network may be years away. But despite some setbacks, plans for fast trains are moving ahead around the country.
April 29, 2011

Consolidating 'Green' Departments

More leaders are trying to cut costs by merging environmental agencies. Critics worry this will water down the impact of environmental protection.
March 31, 2011

Fend-for-Yourself Localism

In October 1987, the first-ever issue of Governing debuted with a cover story on how in 1980, power and responsibility shifted from the federal government to the state and local level. Now, the same process is taking place again -- but from the states to cities and counties.
March 10, 2011

Delaware Launches Data Coaching Initiative

The program's aim is to help teachers broaden and deepen their ability to use student data to improve instruction and learning.
March 3, 2011

State Call Centers See Real Savings in Virtual Queuing

The technology cuts phone bills and makes waiting 'on hold' a thing of the past.
February 28, 2011

Tablets: Government's Newest Tool

From mayors to police departments to high schools, tablet computers are changing the way government works.
February 28, 2011

Pittsburgh Debuts Its Web-Based Permitting System

The interdepartmental system will make permitting quicker, more efficient and paperless.
February 10, 2011

New Website Provides Tax Credit Information for Working Families

The Tax Credits for Working Families website compiles information on federal and state tax credits available.
February 3, 2011

Mississippi to Use GPS to Track Offenders on House Arrest

A pilot in Mississippi will determine if constant electronic surveillance can help cut correction costs and crime.
January 27, 2011

Idaho Tracks Its Transportation Performance

A new website helps taxpayers, legislators and transportation partners track the Idaho Transportation Department's progress in nine performance areas.
December 23, 2010

8 Issues to Watch in 2011

These topics will capture the attention of state legislators in 2011.
December 1, 2010

New Mexico's Mold-Breaking New Governor

Susana Martinez’s win in New Mexico’s gubernatorial election means she’ll be the nation’s first Latina governor.
November 1, 2010

States Look to Boost Hunting Interest

U.S. sportsmen are declining. Will a new generation materialize to fuel conservation efforts?
July 30, 2010

Banning Bottled Water

Can laws against using public money to purchase bottled water save our tap water?
June 1, 2010

Southern Inefficiency

With its growing population, the South must determine how to reduce energy consumption.
May 1, 2010

Parks and Re-Cessation

Closing state parks may be a politically palatable option, but is it the smart financial choice?
March 31, 2010

Losing Its Luster

Green-minded consumers looking for certified energy-saving alternatives can find the Energy Star logo on products such as refrigerators, freezers, light bulbs, TVs and windows, to...
March 22, 2010

Property Blitz

Selling any kind of property in this economic climate is a challenge. That's why a recent property sales blitz by Missouri's Department of Transportation is...
March 18, 2010

The Librarian Social Worker

Public libraries have long been a daytime sanctuary for the homeless. Now, they're starting to see even more of the down-and-out among the bookshelves. As...
March 15, 2010

The Power of Play

With so much emphasis on test scores these days, recess has become an unintended casualty at most schools. It is estimated that up to 40 percent...
March 11, 2010

Fun With Public Data

This week, Google went live with an experimental tool that allows people to explore various public data sets - from unemployment in the U.S....
March 4, 2010

New Yorkers 'Share a Cab'

It may be commonplace in Washington, D.C., but in New York City, sharing a cab ride is still a rarity. That's changing with a...
March 1, 2010

New Smog Rules Target Rural Counties

Thirty-one years ago this month, residents in Dauphin County, Pa., awoke to news that a reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant was reportedly...
February 25, 2010

Fighting Crime With Math

Once a week on television's "Numb3rs", a mathematical genius helps his FBI brother solve a crime using his prowess in math. In real life,...
February 22, 2010

Grim News, But Still a Few Laughs, at Governors' Session in DC

The annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association this past weekend in D.C. began -- as all state and local meetings must nowadays ...
February 18, 2010

Lending a 'Green' Hand

Even in eco-friendly Boulder, where voters approved the first carbon tax in the nation and where residents bike to work at 20 times the national average,...
February 15, 2010

It's fair to say that this is one of those things that has succeeded. Not in every way we thought, but in some ways we hadn't thought about. Not as much in certain areas, but more than we expected in others.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that his city's ambitious experiment that closed parts of Broadway to vehicles last spring will become permanent, even...
February 15, 2010

More than 57 million

Number of Americans who have become ill from the H1N1 influenza virus, of which nearly 11,700 have died, according to estimates by the Centers for...
February 11, 2010

Toothbrushes for Toddlers

Tooth decay is the most common, chronic childhood ailment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Massachusetts, where one in four kindergartners...
February 4, 2010

A Census Competition

Census data determine how federal funds are distributed and influence redistricting efforts. So, it should go without saying that census participation is important, especially mail-in...
January 28, 2010

Rating Roads for Sustainability

Hoping to do for roads what LEED has done for buildings and Energy Star for household appliances, Greenroads has unveiled a new rating system for...
January 21, 2010

Deputy Swap

If you've ever seen "Wife Swap", the reality television show where two wildly different women swap families for two weeks, then you'll have an idea...
January 14, 2010

Broadband Matchmaking

Online matchmaking has come to government. The two agencies in charge of awarding $7.2 billion in stimulus funds to broadband projects have launched a new Web...
January 7, 2010

Selling An Alternative to Prostitution

In Dallas, it's unknown how many men and women engage in prostitution, but street prostitution alone results in several thousand arrests a year. It's a...
December 31, 2009

Stimulus Metrics

It's been almost a year since Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus package. With the first projects funded and under way, states and localities now have...
December 28, 2009

Rolling Up Pavement

When it comes to progress, nothing says it better than paved roads. But in these economic times, paved roads are too costly. In Michigan, 20 of...
December 21, 2009

Leading the Way in Smoking Cessation

Smoking-related illnesses cost the Medicaid system more than $22 billion a year. Nationally, the rate of smoking among Medicaid patients is about 18 percent. In Massachusetts, the...
December 18, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Finalist #2

Finalist #2 in our 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Government edition contest is from North Carolina: Twas' the night before Christmas, and all through the State ...
December 18, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Finalist #1

Yesterday, Governing announced the winner of our government-holiday poem contest. Today, we'll publish the other finalists throughout the day. To start us off, finalist #1 is ...
December 17, 2009

Good Ideas for Cities

Good state and local governments thrive on fresh ideas, and it is ideas that are the future of our cities. At least, that's what a...
December 14, 2009

Volunteers for Justice

Since 2006, New Jersey's Office of the Attorney General has lost about 150 lawyers, and because of a hiring freeze, hasn't been allowed to replace them. Unable...
December 10, 2009

Twitter and Earthquake Detection

It seems every day there's a new story on how government is using Twitter to reach out to its constituents. That's why an effort to...
December 3, 2009

Biomass Waste Gets Craigslist Treatment

North Carolina recently launched a Craigslist-like exchange for biomass materials. Need drums of cooking oil for biofuel? Trying to find industrial-sized mounds of manure for...
November 19, 2009

High-Tech Snow Removal

Coming off two of the harshest and most costly winters in Chicago's history, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is looking to avoid budget-busting...
November 12, 2009

Hand-Washing Spies

Hospital-acquired infections are among the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for 1.7 million infections annually; 100,000 deaths and $30 billion in additional health...
November 5, 2009

Employing the Fun Theory

Admittedly, this is a public relations initiative by Volkswagen, but the Web site,, has a lot of potential ideas for state and local...
October 29, 2009

Thinking in Pictures

When it comes to progress in math proficiency, U.S. fourth-graders made no improvement in 2008. Not so in Orange County, California. Officials there think they've...
October 28, 2009

Accessing Kansas' Big Well with Greensburg's City Administrator

This stairway leads down tow the largest hand-dug well in the world. Photo by David Kidd I recently flew into Wichita on my way to ...
October 20, 2009

Rebuilding Miami?

Photo courtesy of Jorge R. Perez/City of Miami Updated November 3, 2009: This post has been corrected to show that the above image is an actual ...
October 7, 2009

Talking About the Age of Responsibility on NPR

Alan Greenblatt, writer of this month's feature on what age states and towns should consider teens as adults, is scheduled to appear on NPR'...
September 30, 2009

No Relief in Sight from Medicaid Pressures

If you're looking for a snapshot of the hard times states are going through in this Great Recession, look no further than new numbers from ...
September 24, 2009

Cameras to Keep Track of Visitors

Cameras are everywhere these days. There are red light cameras, speed cameras, parking enforcement cameras, survellience cameras and now, there are cameras that capture the...
September 17, 2009

Satellites Track Water Consumption

In the American West, where precipitation is scarce and agriculture is a major industry, water management is a big deal. Trying to track who uses...
September 10, 2009

Teaching 9/11

It has been eight years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, and many of the students entering middle and high school were too young to have...
September 3, 2009

Roving Produce Trucks Hit Detroit Streets

Detroit neighborhoods are dominated by liquor stores and corner markets that carry few, if any, fresh fruits and vegetables. This lack of fresh food is...
September 1, 2009

Swift and Certain Beats Severe

I'm currently working on a story for Governing's November issue about an innovative approach to enforcing probation being pioneered by a judge in ...
August 27, 2009

Pooling Energy Buying Power

With energy costs still reasonable, now more than ever is the time to lock in prices. An innovative program in Boston helps small businesses do...
August 20, 2009

Small Loans for State Employees

Hoping to avert the dangers of predatory lending and improve its workers' financial fitness, Virginia is giving its employees access to small, emergency loans. The...
August 18, 2009

Prisoner Re-entry

A behind-the-scenes look at John Buntin's August 2009 feature, Job Freedom. Story Behind the Story will appear on the 13th Floor each Tuesday. Governing doesn'...
August 13, 2009

A Civic Guard For Disaster Relief

When Hurricane Isabel struck Maryland in 2003, Duck tour boats were used to evacuate residents from flooded coastal areas. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart...
August 6, 2009

Bringing Broadband to Rural America

Some 40 percent of U.S. households currently are without broadband access. That rate rises to 60 percent among low-income and rural sectors of the population. For...
August 5, 2009

Goodbye, Chief Bratton

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that LAPD Chief Bill Bratton plans to announce his resignation later today. Evidently, he's stepping down to head ...
July 30, 2009

Running From Homelessness

It started with the idea that running can restore stability to homeless lives. Two years later, a nonprofit has given that idea weight. Back on...
July 23, 2009

Earn Cash, Carpool

The Washington, D.C., region has one of the highest carpooling rates in the country -- 12 percent of regional commuters carpool -- and more say...
July 16, 2009

Keeping Down With the Joneses

Utility companies have been trying for years to get their customers to be more energy-efficient, but with limited success. But a little experiment with the...
July 9, 2009

Popular Efficiency

Since January of 2007, Ohio's unemployment rate has jumped from 5.3 percent, to roughly 11 percent. Northeast Ohio has felt the brunt of these losses, with income-tax collections...
July 2, 2009

Preserving the Past

Even before the current financial crisis, state and local governments struggled to find funding for historic preservation. For those grappling with preservation issues, a program...
June 25, 2009

Pennsylvania Gives Financial Help

Since 2007, the foreclosure rate in Pennsylvania has jumped 127 percent, and in the first quarter of 2009, nearly 115,000 Pennsylvania homeowners were delinquent with their mortgages. A new...
June 18, 2009

Paragliding Police

In the semi-retirement community of Palm Bay, Florida, law enforcement is taking flight to primarily look for lost kids and senior citizens who have wandered...
June 11, 2009

Islands in Denver

In sprawling metropolitan Denver, city and state officials are trying to restore wildlife to a nearly lifeless habitat. Washington Park's Smith Lake, in south central...
June 3, 2009

Turning Traders Into Teachers

Moody's is predicting that 70,000 financial workers in the New York area will lose their jobs by the middle of 2010. New Jersey, which is...
June 1, 2009

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak: Fiscal Crisis is a "Wind in Our Sails"

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was in Asia last week, meeting with Chinese officials and promoting his city as a business and tourism destination. So ...
May 27, 2009

A Street Renaissance in NYC

Streets make up over a quarter of New York City's land area, and occupy the bulk of its public space. Accordingly, the city has drawn...
May 21, 2009

Artists Fill in a Vacant Lot

Baltimore's housing department estimates it has about 30,000 abandoned structures and lots throughout the city, many of them in such poor condition that they are fire...
May 13, 2009

A Speedy Path to New Careers

Since the recession's start, North Carolina's employers have eliminated more than 175,000 jobs. Responding to the state's need to get people back to work, the North...
March 18, 2009

Pennsylvanians Determined to Quit

An estimated 2 million Pennsylvanians are smokers, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average smoker tries to quit at least seven...
March 11, 2009

How Green is that Lipstick?

Since consumer warnings were issued about lead in lipstick, mercury in medicine and BPA in baby products last year, concerns over toxic chemicals in everyday...
March 4, 2009

Planning for Wildfires

With spring just around the corner and temperatures thawing, drought-stricken parts of the country are under severe threat of wildfires, with many officials predicting an...
March 1, 2009

Bus Schedules 4 U

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is testing a new service that sends bus schedules by text message. The free service, known as RouteShout, is...
February 26, 2009

Safe Food Technology

Food safety is on everybody's mind. Remember the spinach-salmonella outbreak of 2007? How about the salmonella-tainted tomatoes of 2008? And who could forget the current peanut products...
February 22, 2009

Consolidating the Job Search

In these tough economic times, regional cooperation is key to helping cities and counties cope, local officials at Governing's recent Outlook in the States and...
February 11, 2009

Coastal Defenses

Even when the devastating hurricanes of 2005 -- Katrina, Rita and Wilma -- are not included, flood damage in the U.S. increased sixfold from the...
February 8, 2009

Heading Off Blight

Although New York City's foreclosure rate remains lower than those in many other major U.S. cities, the city still saw 15,000 foreclosure filings in 2007 --...
February 4, 2009

Better Food from a Machine

Could combating America's obesity epidemic just be a matter of incorporating the ABCs of eating well into the purchasing environment? Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., executive...
February 3, 2009

The Three C's at Work

Today, we heard the bad news from our Outlook in the States and Localities panelists. But I doubt the grim fiscal outlook is a surprise ...
February 3, 2009

So Much for Performance Management

Nancy Killefer, Obama's pick to serve as the federal government's first chief performance officer, is withdrawing from the administration. More to come on ...
February 3, 2009

Mark Zandi: GOVERNING's Go-to Guy (And Everyone Else's Right Now)

Today's Washington Post has a huge A2 story about Mark Zandi, the founder of Moody's and the most quoted guy around ...
February 1, 2009

Tips from Recessions Past

Main streets across the nation are being hit by dried-up tax revenues and state budget cuts that have amounted to more than $50 billion so far....
January 28, 2009

Caching In

There are more than 700,000 active geocaches around the world, and now 78 of them are in Maryland. Geocaches are hidden containers, and geocaching is a relatively...
January 25, 2009

Gaming Disaster Response

In St. Lillo, a medic's job never ends. First responders find themselves responding to chemical, biological and even nuclear disasters, treating large numbers of patients...
January 21, 2009

Defending Cyberspace

Internet security experts believe the next terrorist attack on the United States, if and when it happens, may not involve airplanes or bombs but may...
January 14, 2009

Visual Diagnosis

Compared with urban Americans, rural residents tend to be in poorer health, have fewer doctors, hospitals and other health resources, and face more difficulty getting...
January 11, 2009

Serving Notice, which has been honored for raising "the bar among states by providing 24/7 live online help" to its constituents and for providing "easy access...
January 9, 2009

Federal Performance Czar: Same song, different verse?

Ah, a performance czar for the feds. What a concept. That Barack Obama has appointed Nancy Killefer, a former treasury official under President Clinton and ...
January 7, 2009

Out of Uniform

Thousands of U.S. military personnel, including nearly half of all Army National Guard soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan,reported psychological problems when...
January 4, 2009

Stimulating Times

As the economy worsens, governors are finding they can't wait for President-elect Obama's stimulus package. Instead, two governors are taking matters into their own hands:...
December 31, 2008

Big-Budget Movies

It would be easy to conclude that New Mexico's program of tax incentives for film and TV producers has been a big success. The ...
December 28, 2008

Making Clean Energy Pay

Renewable energy and energy efficiency industries have the potential to generate more than $4.5 trillion in revenues and create 40 million jobs in the United States by 2030....
December 26, 2008

Insurance Wars

When the insurer AIG failed, at a cost to taxpayers thus far of $150 billion, a few federal lawmakers felt they knew just whom to blame: ...
December 24, 2008

Sagebrush Bailout

When Congress finally passed the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in October, it was a triumph -- oddly enough -- for counties in the rural West. ...
December 21, 2008

Empathetic Traffic Signs

If first you don't succeed, the saying goes, try, try again. That's what the town of Needham, Mass., did when traditional traffic signs near a...
December 17, 2008

Government's Second Life

More than ever, Web 2.0 technologies offer governments a way to improve citizen services and communication. The problem for government information-technology officials is deciding what tools...
December 14, 2008

Honoring Those Who Gave Everything

Approximately 100 firefighters are killed in the line of duty each year, and, since documentation began in 1792, more than 19,000 law enforcement officers have been killed in...
December 10, 2008

The Mayor of YouTube

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, known as something of a policy wonk, did away with his hour-long State of the City address, typically delivered to...
December 7, 2008

Healthier and Happier

While everyone else is paying more for their drug prescriptions and growing increasingly dissatisfied with their health coverage, Maricopa County, Ariz., employees are paying less...
November 30, 2008

Mining Immigration Legislation

In 2007, just over 1,000 immigration-related bills and resolutions were introduced in state legislatures nationwide, of which only about 16 percent were enacted into law. A free, searchable...
November 23, 2008

Investigations Worth a Prize

Any outstanding investigative work done by state or federal government agencies that expose corruption and hold those in power accountable are eligible for recognition under...
November 22, 2008

My Voice is My Password

Rhode Island paid over $220 million in unemployment insurance benefits last year, of which $1.4 million was obtained fraudulently. To prevent fraud, protect beneficiaries' identities and reduce...
November 5, 2008

Pricier Parking

New York City's 75,900 parking meters produced $114 million in 2007, and city officials anticipate $120 million in meter revenue this year. The estimated increase is due in small...
October 29, 2008

Virtual Voting in Arizona

Since almost three out of four adults use the Internet, what better way to reach and educate voters? That's the motivation behind two new programs...
October 26, 2008

Financing Solar Power FIRST

Alternative energy sources, such as wind, biomass and geothermal, are far more widely deployed than solar power, largely because solar can be prohibitively expensive. But...
October 22, 2008

A Blue Alert for Officers

Since January, 35 police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty; two of those were from Texas. Adopting the successes of its...
October 19, 2008

Dressing Up Online Elections

Almost three in four American adults now use the Internet, and according to the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, two-thirds of those...
October 8, 2008

Honoring the Best

At Idea Center, we feature replicable government programs, online innovations and useful resources. This year's recently announced Innovations in American Government Awards went to six...
October 5, 2008

A Guide to Healthier Choices

Every year, 5 percent of healthy employees become sick as a result of risk factors that include unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to health insurance provider CIGNA....
October 1, 2008

A Solar-Powered Highway

It takes 45 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually to run Oregon's state transportation system -- power that comes mostly from non-renewable sources. Change is underway, however,...
September 28, 2008

Judging the Judges

Most voters, even the best-informed ones, find it difficult to vote intelligently for judges. The culprit is often the lack of nonpartisan information about their...
September 25, 2008

Bailing Out Homeowners

As Congress debates whether or not to pass a $700 billion bailout proposal, one of the issues that has arisen is how to include a rescue ...
September 24, 2008

Paying for College, Round 2

Hoping the second time's a charm, Texas officials launched a new prepaid college tuition plan, four years after the state's old program was closed because...
September 21, 2008

Looking Down on America

As satellite imagery and aerial photography have become more accessible, state and local governments are finding multiple uses for them in areas that include disaster...
September 17, 2008

Where the Training Is

A new Web site featuring a searchable database of training events for local public officials was launched in New York State earlier this month. Local...
September 14, 2008

Putting Out the Vacancy Sign

Rather than the usual campaigns municipalities run to lure new residents or attract industries, Federal Way, Wash., is running an economic-development campaign to fill its 500,000...
September 10, 2008

Goat Gardeners

In these tough times, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency is having to combat urban blight on a lean budget. The agency has found a...
September 7, 2008

Elderly at the Wheel

In the next 20 years the number of elderly drivers -- persons 70 and over -- is predicted to triple in the United States, and statistics show...
September 7, 2008

Get Healthier or Pay

Each year, Alabama spends $4 billion on health care for its 100,000 state employees. Aiming to alleviate some of that load in the future, the state Employees'...
August 27, 2008

Direct Democracy: Wiki-Style

Come November, gubernatorial, legislative and local races won't be the only items on the ballot. Initiatives and referenda will top ballots in more than a...
August 27, 2008

What Color is Your Town?

Ever wondered what your town's identity might look like based on color?  (No, not skin color.  We've got Census data for that.) What ...
August 24, 2008

California's School Finder

With kids heading back to school, parents in California might find a new tool for comparing schools handy. The California Department of Education, touting the...
August 20, 2008

Preserving Oral Histories

With each passing of a generation, millions of human memories and experiences are lost forever. Efforts to preserve these stories through oral histories are popping...
August 17, 2008

Certified to Battle Strokes

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability. In Delaware, where the disease affects about 1,200 residents...
August 13, 2008

Building a Better Ballot

Poorly designed ballots have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters in recent elections. Better Ballots , draws on results from the 2000, 2002 and 2006 elections in both state...
August 10, 2008

The Two-Lane Toll

Half of the 42,000 automobile-crash-related fatalities that occur in the United States each year are on two-lane rural roads. To help drivers and public officials make...
August 6, 2008

Human-Powered Manhattan

This weekend marks the start of New York City's experiment in car-free zones. For three Saturdays in August, a 6.9-mile stretch of streets through Manhattan...
August 3, 2008

A Bellyful of Trash

With innovations in green technology arriving every day, it should come as no surprise that even street trash receptacles are going green. Philadelphia's Department of...
July 30, 2008

Tackling Foreclosure: A Guide

Foreclosures are at their highest level in at least three decades, and until recently, only state and local governments were acting to ease the crisis...
July 27, 2008

Health Records a Click Away

Only about 13 percent of physicians have a basic electronic medical records system, according to a new study by the New England Journal of Medicine. In...
July 23, 2008

The Stat Approach to Recidivism

CompStat famously cut New York City's crime rate in the 1990s by allowing police officers to map crime and create crime-intervention strategies. Using CompStat as...
July 20, 2008

Planning Your Sustainable Future

Today's development practices consume enormous amounts of land and natural resources. To help communities plan for sustainable development, the American Institute of Architects created the...
July 17, 2008

Going The Opposite of Green

Here at Governing, we get random promotional stuff sent to the office all the time. (If you need a copy of a new book about ...
July 16, 2008

The Virtual Speed Bump

To reduce excessive speeding and agressive driving in its residential neighborhoods, Philadelphia has resorted to tricking drivers. As part of its "Drive CarePhilly" campaign, the...
July 15, 2008

Up Next: Ban on Murder Forces Rewrite of 'Hamlet'

Whether you agree with city-enforced smoking bans or not, you can probably at least see the arguments for them -- people shouldn't be subjected to ...
July 13, 2008

Reclaiming Abandoned Housing

The last time Indianapolis surveyed abandoned properties under its jurisdiction, the number came to 7,913. That was in 2003, before recent job losses, bankruptcies and foreclosures worsened...
July 11, 2008

NYC Explores Bike-Sharing

Washington, D.C. is well on its way toward implementing the nation's first large-scale bike-sharing program (although the launch has been delayed a bit). Looks ...
July 9, 2008

Avoiding the Emergency Room

At $355 a run, dispatching an ambulance in Richmond, Va., unnecessarily can be pricey, not to mention dangerous should a true emergency arise and no other...
July 6, 2008

Remastering Financial Functions

Whether it's rising entitlement, health care, pension or infrastructure costs, governments are under pressure to make resources go further. Unfortunately, 48 percent of government leaders don't...
June 29, 2008

Four Days on the Job

With gas prices soaring, air pollution growing and traffic congestion worsening, a lot of state and local governments are considering four-day work weeks. Starting in...
June 25, 2008

Fresh Off the Farm

A movement to bring locally grown food into schools is gaining popularity -- more than 8,000 schools in 39 states participate in some sort of farm-to-school program....
June 22, 2008

A Big-Time Boost for Volunteerism

At a value of more than $17 billion to the local economy, California volunteers donated 858 million hours of service in 2006. To add another $1 billion to its...
June 18, 2008

Tapping the Tourism Cycle

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings half a million motorcycle enthusiasts to South Dakota each year in August -- the two-week event brought in well over $12...
June 16, 2008

Finance Officers Trade Fireworks for Fretting

from the Government Finance Officers Association meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Last year there were fireworks: At its annual conference, GFOA leaders threw down the ...
June 15, 2008

A Green Guide to Greener Fuels

The nation's transportation sector is 97 percent reliant on oil. With the price of crude hitting a record $135 a barrel and alternative fuels and vehicle technologies...
June 11, 2008

Diverting Foreclosures

With Philadelphia expecting home-foreclosure filings this year to be around 8,500--up from 6,200 last year--the city is attempting to tackle the crisis with a $2 million public...
June 8, 2008

A Medicaid ROI Calculator

The elderly and disabled make up 24 percent of Medicaid enrollees, yet account for 70 percent of the programs's $275 billion in expenditures. Identifying health care programs that...
June 4, 2008

A Batty Approach to West Nile

Last year, Weld County, Colo., had 98 human cases of the West Nile virus -- the highest number in the state. To curtail the incidence of...
June 1, 2008

Home on Wheels

In the scenic oceanfront city of Santa Barbara, Calif., where a fixer-upper can cost more than a $1 million, it is not unusual for a lower-...
May 28, 2008

Revitalization in Your Pocket

Over recent years, cities have increasingly seen success in their efforts to revitalize downtowns, waterfronts and brownfields. To help its mayors, city councils and other...
May 21, 2008

Where the Diseased Wild Things Are

Whether it's mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus or birds and avian influenza, wildlife-borne diseases have often resulted in human pandemics. An online map makes...
May 18, 2008

Gardening the Green Way

There are a lot of advantages to green gardening, including conserving resources, reducing yard waste and protecting the quality of local streams and lakes. To...
May 14, 2008

Throwing a Fosterware Party

Clark County, Nev., has roughly 3,000 children in foster care, and only about 1,000 licensed foster families. To recruit more families, the county department of Family Services...
May 11, 2008

Bike-Sharing in the Beltway

Starting this month, our nation's capital will launch North America's first bike-sharing program. The program, SmartBike DC, signs participants up for a $40 annual membership in...
May 7, 2008

Electronic Eyes on the ICU

The need to increase access to health care in rural America is a big priority for state and local governments. A new program to electronically...
May 4, 2008

Before Disaster Strikes

Just in the past month, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes have put Aroostook County, Maine, Suffolk County, Va., and Reno, Nev., in the headlines. Preparing for...
April 30, 2008

Slow Down, Emit Less

Vehicles account for about 30 percent of Denver's greenhouse-gas emissions. That's one reason the city has agreed to participate in a new public-private initiative, Driving Change....
April 27, 2008

Following the Money

Between 24 and 33 percent of the population searches online for information on how government is generating and spending money, according to a January survey by the...
April 23, 2008

Certifying Prisoners as Drug Counselors

It is estimated that about 70 percent of the U.S. prison population committed a drug- or alcohol-related crime. California's San Quentin State Prison is part...
April 20, 2008

When the Buses are Parked

People stuck working odd hours -- early morning or late night -- are usually out of luck if their ride is public transportation. Outside of...
April 13, 2008

Growing Jobs in the Inner City

Small firms with fewer than 20 employees are the greatest source of new net employment in inner cities, and account for 80 percent of total employment in...
April 9, 2008

Old Ideas Revisited

At Idea Center a lot of the programs and trends highlighted here are written about while they're still being piloted, and before they even catch...
April 6, 2008

Giving Life the High-Tech Way

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, according to the American Red Cross. But only 5 percent of the eligible population donates blood...
April 2, 2008

Taking E-Health Rural

Physicians practicing in rural areas typically have little or no access to high-speed Internet, and as result can't take advantage of the latest breakthroughs in...
March 30, 2008

Ecotouring the Keystone State

Ecotourism is big business in Pennsylvania, where more than $2 billion is spent annually on outdoor activities. Yet the state park system, which doesn't charge admission...
March 26, 2008

Tech Training for Life

Today's high-tech global economy requires that youths entering the job market have the training and life skills necessary to get and keep available jobs. In...
March 23, 2008

A Safe Drinking Water Source

More than 95 percent of Wisconsin's communities rely on groundwater as their drinking-water source. In some areas of the state, 40 percent of that water shows detectable...
March 19, 2008

Skipping the Farebox

Starting this week, Illinois joined Pennsylvania as only the second state to let senior citizens 65 and older ride public transportation for free. The fee waiver...
March 16, 2008

Lawmaking for Everyone

State and local officials looking for ways to make the legislative process more transparent might find a new experiment from the private sector interesting. A...
March 12, 2008

When Trains and Cars Collide

Collisions between vehicles and trains are one of the greatest sources of injuries and fatalities in the railroad industry. In Michigan in 2006, there were 72 train/...
March 10, 2008

Heads Up: 3.10.08

LA City Hall's turf warfare over turf warfare. LA Times NYC's unscripted mayoral radio chats end -- for now. NYT Median ad kiosks raise driver ...
March 9, 2008

Feeding the Meters and the Homeless

It's been a year since Denver first installed 36 red refurbished parking meters downtown to raise awareness -- and money -- for its 10-year plan to...
March 5, 2008

Health Insurance by Lottery

An estimated 600,000 Oregonians do not have health insurance. Starting this week, however, 3,000 of them will win health coverage in a one-of-a-kind lottery. The winners, who...
February 27, 2008

Promoting Renewable Power

One day soon, Floridians might find that their electricity comes from a wind energy farm in St. Lucie County or from solar panels on their...
February 27, 2008

Red-Carpet White House

The nation's governors skipped the Academy Awards on Sunday night to attend a red-carpet event of their own: a State Dinner at the White House.
February 24, 2008

A Green Way to Shelter the Homeless

Billed as the first homeless shelter in the United States to be built from the ground up using green building technology, Crossroads is being described...
February 19, 2008

Heads Up: 2.19.08

San Diego might dissolve its port district. Voice of San Diego KY House approves bill to fight highway fund abuse in election years. Courier-Journal OR ...
February 19, 2008

Choose Your Own TSA Adventure!!

When it comes to airport security lines, what's your style?  Do you struggle to pile all your bags onto the conveyor belt while trying ...
February 14, 2008

Heads Up: 2.14.08

The nation embraces railways. WSJ North Carolina goes for plug-in electric cars. Raleigh News-Observer Got a Heads Up for us? Email
February 13, 2008

A New Look for the 13th Floor

As you can see, we've spiffed up the joint. Hope you like it! And by the way, if there are features you'd like to see ...
February 10, 2008

Crime Info, Street by Street

Overwhelmed by citizen requests for detailed crime information about their neighborhoods, law enforcement agencies across the country are teaming up with the private Web site...
February 6, 2008

A Safe Place for Hoosier Cash

By March, Indiana legislators expect to pass a property tax relief package that will likely cut an average homeowner's bill by a third. That's good...
February 3, 2008

Transit Agency Debuts Electronic Bike Lockers

Hoping to encourage more of its riders to pedal rather than drive to train stations, officials of San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit are introducing...
January 30, 2008

Free Health Screenings Target Obesity

About one-third of U.S. children are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, according to an annual survey by the federal Centers for Disease...
January 27, 2008

Public Input, Wiki-Style

Minneapolis is testing a fresh new approach to gathering public input. Frustrated by low attendance at public meetings, it has launched its first wiki --...
January 23, 2008

The High-Tech Approach to Digging Out

Just in time for winter's worst, Montgomery County, Md., unveiled a new Storm Operation Center that makes it the first to use the Web-based forecasting...
January 13, 2008

Tracking a Tar Heel Drought

About 26 percent of the Southeast is experiencing an "exceptional drought" -- the National Weather Service's worst drought category. For North Carolina, 2007 was the driest year...
January 9, 2008

Taking the LEED on Green Building

Last May, a tornado displaced 1,400 people in the rural town of Greensburg, Kansas, and left nearly every house, tree and business razed. In the weeks...
January 6, 2008

Send Word Now

A citywide power outage, a small plane crashing into a 40-story apartment building and a fire at the Deutsche Bank building were all events that...
January 2, 2008

A New Year, A New You

Losing weight consistently tops New Year's resolution lists, and for the second year in a row it also tops Alabama's resolutions. Scale Back Alabama is...
December 26, 2007

Memorializing the Victims

Drunk driving leads to more deaths during the Christmas and New Year's holiday period then the rest of the year. About four in 10 of the...
December 19, 2007

Taxing Miles, Not Gallons

Oregon's gasoline tax hasn't increased since the early 1990s. At its current level, the per-gallon tax provides about 60 percent of the funding to repair, maintain...
December 16, 2007

A Toolbox for Growth

Each day between 1985 and 2002, Connecticut lost an average of 18 acres of forest and added 12 acres of development. To combat unchecked sprawl, the Office for Responsible...
December 12, 2007

Security in the Virtual State

When the Alabama Department of Homeland Security was created in 2003, it was tasked with protecting 67 counties, several major waterways and nuclear plants, a port and 28...
December 9, 2007

Get Me to the Court on Time

Courts across the country are experiencing increases in the numbers of defendants who fail to appear for their court dates. Jefferson County, Colo., experienced just...
December 5, 2007

A Guide to Product Recalls

As holiday shopping enters its final stretch, it may be a good time for consumers to bone up on this year's product recalls. According to...
December 2, 2007

Battling Blight, Block by Block

There are more than 10,000 vacant properties in Buffalo, the city estimates, and it has an ambitious plan to remove 1,000 of them every year over the...
December 1, 2007

The Doctor Is Out: Minnesota Cracks Down on Gift Giving

Minnesota is the only state to limit gifts drug companies can give doctors, but its cap of no more than $50 a year in free food or other presents may catch on elsewhere. In September, New Jersey created a task force to examine ways to set similar limits. The freebies are seen as unduly influencing prescription-writing and raising costs.
November 28, 2007

A Drought-Proof Water Supply

Dry conditions have persistently plagued the West since 1999, says the National Climatic Data Center. Today, 57 percent of the region is in a drought, and only...
November 25, 2007

Endowing Idea Incubators

Oregon's eight public universities spent a total of $582.6 million on research last year; the state ranks sixth nationally in federal research and development expenditures per...
November 18, 2007

The Denver Boot, Version 2.0

Invented in 1953 by a local musician, the Denver Boot--that bulky device that clamps onto the wheel of a car and renders it undriveable--has been the...
November 14, 2007

Click Here for Benefits

One year and 131,500 hits later, ACCESS NYC, an online eligibility screening tool for human services, has expanded its offerings. New York City has added seven...
November 11, 2007

Drugs in the Water

Since the U.S. Geological Survey studied 139 streams around the county in 2000 and found that 80 percent of them contained residues of painkillers, hormones, antibiotics and...
November 7, 2007

Keeping a State's Past Alive

As generations pass on and historic buildings and neighborhoods are torn down or allowed to deteriorate, our pasts mostly disappear with them. To help preserve...
November 4, 2007

Rural Roads Ready to Rumble

About 68 percent of fatal vehicle accidents in Kansas last year were in rural areas, mainly on two-lane roadways. To make the roads safer, the Kansas...
October 31, 2007

Senior Savvy Computer Training

Senior citizens who use computers display fewer symptoms of depression, have higher annual household incomes and report greater ease with daily tasks than seniors who...
October 29, 2007

Blago a Go Go?

Today's Chicago Tribune has a startlingly strong op-ed, in which the paper advocates a recall vote to take Gov. Rod Blagojevich out of office. Given ...
October 28, 2007

Eyeing a State's Spending Online

If a resident, reporter, vendor, government watchdog or even a state employee wants to know how Texas spent $74.5 billion last year, it's as easy as...
October 24, 2007

Global Warming, By the Numbers

Accounting for about 7 percent of total U.S greenhouse gas emissions, California passed an aggressive anti-global-warming law last year that calls for reducing those emissions 25...
October 21, 2007

Benchmarks for Public Hospitals

A projected 1.7 million patients nationwide will get an infection during a hospital stay this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate. To track...
October 17, 2007

Reading with the Mayor

Four in five of the youths held in Jacksonville, Fla., detention centers are considered functionally illiterate. In hopes of curbing the dropout and crime rates...
October 14, 2007

Taking the Guesswork Out of Hiring

About 75 percent of today's workforce needs training just to keep the jobs they currently have, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says. To boost its...
October 10, 2007

Keeping Teens Smoke-Free

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illnesses and death in the nation. Most adults start smoking when they are teenagers, making prevention the...
October 3, 2007

Reading the Signs of Domestic Abuse

More than 1,000 women and 300 men died in intimate-partner homicides across the U.S. in 2005, and of those victims, only 4 percent ever used domestic-violence services. In...
October 1, 2007

Friday Night Lights: Small City Seeks Radio Revenue

With health costs, retiree benefits and other local government expenses increasing every year, localities are asking their agencies to get creative in finding new revenue. The Department of Parks and Recreation in Jefferson, Georgia, did just that this past August when it launched a community radio station.
October 1, 2007

A Better Deal: New York States Helps Those Who Help It

Nonprofits have always been subject to high performance benchmarks to ensure they provide quality services. Now, New York State is making sure that the state agencies that contract with nonprofits are doing a better job.
September 30, 2007

Protecting Pedalers

Between 1996 and 2003, cars in New York City injured more than 3,500 bicyclists and killed 225. In its efforts to make its streets safer for bikes, the city...
September 26, 2007

Fill 'Er Up From the Fryer

The technology isn't new, but the Web site is. The Vegetable Oil Exchange, created by officials in Montgomery County, Md., aims to make it easier...
September 23, 2007

Healthier in Prison

About 12 million people move in and out of the nation's jails and prisons every year. These individuals also have high rates of infectious and chronic...
September 19, 2007

Leaf Peeking Goes High-Tech

It's almost autumn, and for New England that means a new tourism season. As visitors from all over the world come to see the fall...
September 16, 2007

Cyber-Smart Students

In Virginia, this September is the first "Internet Safety Month," marking the launch of a new statewide mandate requiring schools to teach Internet safety. While...
September 12, 2007

Streaming to a City Near You

The National League of Cities, in partnership with TV Worldwide, launched an Internet-based TV channel in July in an effort to communicate the latest news,...
September 9, 2007

A Fresh Approach to Obesity

Statistically 25 percent of the 4,900 children in San Mateo County, Calif., are obese. In South San Francisco, the percentage is even higher: 32 percent. To reduce childhood...
September 5, 2007

Texting a Tip

Cellphone users sent more than 158 billion text messages in 2006 -- a 95 percent increase over the previous year -- according to CTIA, an international association for...
August 29, 2007

Town Takes Development Talk Online

It's not surprising that Cary, N.C., calls itself the "Technology Town of North Carolina": 94 percent of Cary's citizenry is online, so that's where town...
August 26, 2007

Ready to Learn

Over half of all pre-kindergarten 3- to 5-year-olds attend some sort of early childhood care, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Yet many...
August 22, 2007

Stretching Transportation Dollars

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates the cost of maintaining the nation's highways, transit systems and bridges at about $90 billion a year. With states...
August 22, 2007

Veterans Helping Veterans

A recent study by the Pentagon found that about 49 percent of National Guard members report psychological conditions including brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after...
August 19, 2007

A Rough Road for Drunk Drivers

Motorists who have been convicted of driving under the influence are 40 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers with no...
August 15, 2007

The Price of Justice

Nationally, only about 46 percent of people summoned for jury duty show up, according to a survey by the National Center for State Courts. To boost...
August 12, 2007

Fostering Financial Stability

Nationally, 20,000 youth per year will age out of foster care over the next decade, leaving the system at high risk for homelessness and delinquency. To...
August 8, 2007

The Business of Art

Promoting art is an important element of any great city. Denver recognizes that, and is funding creative projects through a year-old initiative that keeps art...
August 5, 2007

Reaching Out to Youth

A series of disturbing crimes by young adults in New Haven last year inspired a new program that puts outreach workers on the streets to...
August 1, 2007

The Migrant Health Experience

Each year, 10,000 migrant workers arrive in Oregon, and because they have little access to health care, suffer from some of the worst health outcomes in...
July 29, 2007

Making a Better Byway

As traffic on two-lane rural roads increases, so do accidents. In 2005, 61 percent of those killed while driving died on rural, two-lane byways, according to the...
July 25, 2007

A Path Into the Past

Many of Washington State's scenic spots and historic landmarks remain virtually untouched more than 65 years later -- at least the landmarks listed in a 1941 book, "...
July 18, 2007

Bidding for State Business

Just by deciding to deposit more of its money in state banks, West Virginia has picked up an additional $139,000 since it began holding online certificate-of-deposit...
July 15, 2007

Teaming Up to Save Energy

Since the Minnesota Energy Challenge was launched in October, Minneapolis and St. Paul have reduced emissions of carbon dioxide by over 21 million pounds. Under the...
July 11, 2007

Cracking Down on Curfew

In 2006, about 10 percent of Philadelphia's 406 homicide victims were younger than 18. That year, in response to concerns about increasing youth violence, Mayor John Street opened the...
July 8, 2007

Trailing Trash

The city and county of Honolulu recycles more than 600,000 tons of waste each year, and has one of the nation's highest recycling rates at 35 percent....
July 1, 2007

A Safe Place to Drink

Chronic public inebriates cost government and social service agencies in King County, Wash., more than $100,000 per person per year in emergency-room costs alone, according to...
July 1, 2007

Wimaxing the Digital Divide

Milwaukee's school district will send the Internet to students' homes.
June 27, 2007

Innovation in the Court

To reduce crime, aid victims and move to restore trust in the justice system, the Center for Court Innovation has been experimenting since 1996 with approaches...
June 24, 2007

Beyond the Rx Hype

The pharmaceutical sales force in America totals about 100,000. These drug-company reps, who sold over $250 billion in medicines last year, in many cases are physicians' primary...
June 20, 2007

A Visit to Tweentown

The town of Whyville, founded in 1999, has a population of almost 2 million tweens. You won't find Whyville on a map. It's a virtual community for 11...
June 20, 2007

Heads Up: 6.20.07

KC's Funkhouser changes his mind about that free car. KC Star Balto's new(ish) mayor wants to change the city charter. Sun How the passport ...
June 17, 2007

Ideas from the Front Line

Public employees often get a bad rap, but that's not always the case in Washington State, where its employees are honored each year for the...
June 13, 2007

Where Government is a Picnic

As summer arrives, park directors across the nation might take a page from Sacramento County's Department of Regional Parks. For two decades, it has successfully...
June 10, 2007

Slowing the Foreclosure Machine

In recent years, the home foreclosure rate nationwide has been on the rise--the annual rate is double that of two years ago--leaving many minority and...
June 6, 2007

The Insurance Bazaar

A nationwide survey of states by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America found that only the District of Columbia lacked a Web site listing auto...
June 3, 2007

The Silver Tsunami

By 2030, the number people in the U.S. over 65 will double -- from 35 million to 71.5 million. To prepare local leaders interested in making their communities...
June 1, 2007

Remodeling Job: States Open Doors For Organ Donors

A push is on in state legislatures to ease the serious shortage of organ donors. With more than 94,000 Americans waiting for a liver, kidney, cornea or other organ, many states are looking at the uniform organ donation laws they adopted in 1968 and debating an update.
May 30, 2007

The Grade for Pre-K

When Florida launched its voter-mandated Voluntary Prekindergarten program in 2005, it promised to help Florida's children develop the skills to become good readers and successful students....
May 23, 2007

Made in the Palmetto State

Nearly 90 percent of South Carolina residents said they would purchase state-grown produce if it were competitively priced and of good quality, according to the state...
May 20, 2007

Covering the Bases

Almost $122 billion was spent on nursing home care in 2005, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The scary part is that most Americans, 59...
May 16, 2007

Two-Wheeled Transit

With a strained public transit budget and calls for transportation alternatives to cars, Annapolis, Maryland, is launching a bike-loan program in conjunction with annual Bike-to-Work...
May 13, 2007

Getting Drunks Off the Road

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities accounted for 39 percent of the 43,443 traffic deaths reported in 2005 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To...
May 9, 2007

Geospatial Solutions

To help Connecticut municipalities collaborate more efficiently and effectively on regional projects, a council comprised of chief elected officials from the Hartford metro area has...
May 6, 2007

Collapsing the Drug Market

When the police department in High Point, N.C., began implementing a strategy to reduce drug crime in its West End neighborhood two years ago,...
May 2, 2007

Leaving No Child Inside

Children in the United States watch an average of about four hours of TV every day -- more time then they spend outdoors. To reconnect...
May 1, 2007

A New Measure for Local Aid

States may tie strings to their helping hand.
April 25, 2007

Collaborating on Communicating

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the city's communications infrastructure--Internet, radio transmissions, cell phones--went black. The incident underscored the need for multi-agency collaboration to...
April 22, 2007

Clean Elections: Take Two

After New Jersey's first attempt to drive special-interest money out of legislative elections failed in 2005, the state is at it again. The 2007 New Jersey Fair...
April 16, 2007

Safety for Seniors

In Wisconsin, health workers are seeing a steady rise in the number of seniors being abused, neglected and targeted for financial scams. In 2006, more than 4,000...
April 1, 2007

Hospitals Get a Dose of Help

Hospital emergency departments are finding a good reason to charge ahead with electronic medical systems: They save money.
January 1, 2007

Getting Rid of Gridlock

Voters ante up to address traffic and transit concerns.
December 19, 2006

Jon Stewart Interviews Gov. Vilsack

Yeah, yeah, he's running for Prez. But Tom Vilsack is still a Guv for now. Here he is on the Daily Show last night.
December 1, 2006

Flex and The City: Traffic Relief for Houston

In an experiment with the city of Houston, the Johnson Space Center this spring let its employees work flexible hours. As a result, the average travel time along the NASA Parkway was cut by about 5 minutes- -from 22.7 minutes to 17.5 minutes.
October 3, 2006

Heads Up: 10.3.06

Looks like Daley's gearing up for a sixth term. Chicago Sun-Times A public hospital on life support. LA Times IL county recruits nation's first volunteer ...
September 22, 2006

Heads Up: 9.22.06

On the ballot: 187 propositions in 32 states. Here's all of them. Initiative & Referendum Institute The rise of CA's "exclusive electorate." Public Policy Institute ...
June 6, 2006

The RV Tax Haven

posted by Elizabeth Daigneau With the official start of summer just two weeks away, 8 million Americans are revving up their RVs and planning their summer ...
May 10, 2006

It's Only a Movie

Okay. Everyone take a deep breath. The made-for-TV movie that aired on ABC last night about the bird flu is just a movie. It's fictional. ...
May 1, 2006

Kansas City Heads for the Diamond

An unconventional design should ease traffic at a major interchange
April 6, 2006

"Ooon-ly Yoooou." No, seriously.

Connecticut legislators are in the midst of debating a "truth in music" law. According to NPR, the law seeks to prevent musicians from ...
April 1, 2006

Medicaid Modifiers

Breakthrough waivers for Vermont and Arkansas
March 1, 2006

Reversal Fortune: Indiana Hits a Tollway Jackpot

Over the past five years, Indiana has lost money on its toll road. In January, its fortunes changed: The state was offered $3.85 billion by a Spanish-Australian consortium for the right to maintain and operate the road. If the offer is approved by Indiana's legislature, the influx of cash would fund all of Indiana's road projects for the next 10 years with money to spare.
February 24, 2006

The End of Lethal Injection?

The lethal injection debate unfolding in California this week has garnered a lot of attention because of the medical ethics questions it brings up. But ...
February 8, 2006

To Heat or Not to Heat?

If you live on the East Coast, as we on the 13th Floor do, it is hard to miss the ongoing debate surrounding Venezuelan President ...
February 1, 2006

Louisville's Reality Show

A Web site asks citizens to help cops solve crimes.
January 15, 2006

Good Morning Utah!

Watch out Oprah. Lewis Billings, the mayor of Provo, Utah, is getting his own television talk show. Billings claims "Inside Provo with Lewis K. ...
January 1, 2006

Deficit Discipline

Elected Leaders Refocus on Results

Median as Marketplace

Increasingly, local governments are limiting or banning solicitations along public rights-of-way.
December 13, 2005

Immigration Tension

One of the most interesting developments at the National League of Cities meeting last week in Charlotte was the announcement of an NLC task force ...
December 12, 2005

Katrina Debate at League of Cities

I've just returned from the National League of Cities meeting in Charlotte, where the highlight was a panel with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on ...
November 1, 2005

Prizing Efficiency

This year's Recognition Awards from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers focus on turning technology into an effective management tool. The eight award winners--from four states-- were honored for adaptations that led to substantial cost savings and revenue growth.
November 1, 2005

The Hushed Highway

Utah finds a sensitive way to build a road through a bird sanctuary.
October 17, 2005

Ditching Snitching

There's a new threat emerging in our major urban centers according to police and prosecutors--and it's a fashion trend. To be more specific, it is ...
October 11, 2005

Conference Charmers

I've just returned from Governing's annual Managing Performance conference. A few things stood out from the last day. A session on Hurricane Katrina revealed some ...
October 1, 2005

Tailpipe Revolt

Nobody likes to do emissions testing. A few states have decided it's time to stop. EPA is willing to listen.
September 16, 2005

Transportation Meltdown

I really like public transportation. I prefer to commute with my head buried in a book or magazine, and let someone else do the driving. ...
September 5, 2005

The Ineffectual Texas Three

Texas' past legislative session produced 1,000 new laws going into effect this month that deal with everything from teen drivers to a resolution outlawing gay marriage ...
August 19, 2005

Implode the Dome

As yet another round of plans are released for the 40-year-old landmark, the Astrodome, I can't help but wonder if it's time to implode the ...
August 12, 2005

Greed Gone Wild

Pennsylvania lawmakers gave themselves a pay raise last month cloak and dagger style. They crafted the package without debate or public scrutiny and left town, ...
August 3, 2005

"Friedman's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose"

Until now, Texas has always been a politically dynamic state. Known for the larger than life personalities of Sam Houston, LBJ, Bob Bullock, Ann Richards, ...
August 2, 2005

Bighouse Choppers

Discovery Channel's "American Chopper" may meet its match yet. The Nevada legislative Committee on Prison Industries gave the official OK to a group ...
June 13, 2005

To Be Young in Iowa

This past February Iowa lawmakers were considering eliminating the income tax on anyone 30 or younger to stop the state brain drain. In a 2000 Census study ...
May 1, 2005

Minnesota Stops Whining

A new way to texturize roadways tempers highway noise.
April 1, 2005

Boarding the Rx Express

States are honing their approaches to lowering drug costs.
February 1, 2005

The Clintonian Classroom

Arkansas to Open a Public Service School
January 1, 2005

Ferries Lose Their Sparkle

In the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, private ferry company NY Waterway proved a lifesaver for 65,000 commuters as highway and rail access between New Jersey and Manhattan was cut off ["Do You Believe in Ferries?" March 2003].
January 1, 2005

Sidewalk Cachet

Cracked concrete and calls for walkability are pushing cities to focus on long-neglected pavement.
January 1, 2005

Ferries Lose Their Sparkle

In the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, private ferry company NY Waterway proved a lifesaver for 65,000 commuters as highway and rail access between New Jersey and Manhattan was cut off ["Do You Believe in Ferries?" March 2003]. Now, the once successful ferry service is in financial trouble.
December 1, 2004

The Power of Data

The price of government cannot rise, author David Osborne told 400 high-level state and local officials at Governing's annual management conference, Managing Performance 2004.
October 1, 2004

Update on Revenue Losses

Online commerce continues to erode the sales tax take.
October 1, 2004

San Bernardino Gets Its Due

A ruling in August may signal an end to a long-standing San Bernardino County corruption scandal ["Addicted to Corruption," November 2002].
October 1, 2004

Monumental Decision

The Democratic convention wasn't the only thing that caused a stir in Boston this summer. After declaring bankruptcy, the FAO Schwarz toy company abandoned its Back Bay store along with its 12-foot, 3-ton bear outside on the corner.
September 1, 2002

Criminal Hospital

Growth in mentally ill prisoners sparks debate over incarceration vs. treatment.
July 1, 2002

Calling All Citizens

A growing number of municipalities are using 'reverse 911' to alert residents in the event of an emergency.
June 1, 2002

Lending Teachers a Housing Hand

Santa Clara couldn't keep its teachers. Despite increasing beginning- teacher salaries, the county's unified school district found its new teachers walking away.
May 1, 2002

Legal Form

Faith Ireland isn't someone to mess with. When she isn't administering justice from the bench of the Washington State Supreme Court, Ireland is bench pressing 120 pounds, squat lifting 215 pounds and dead lifting 242 pounds.
April 1, 2002

Hue and Cry

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors recently doled out $8,720 in an effort to reduce bickering among its members.
April 1, 2002

Resupplying a Water System

By 2050, Wichita's water supply is expected to fall short of demand. But this Kansas city is working on a solution: aquifer storage and recovery, also known as artificial groundwater recharge.
March 1, 2002

Boondoggle by the Sea?

Fort Lauderdale's efforts to project an upscale image now extend to its lifeguard stands. The city has installed eight new stands that come with spacious interiors, aluminum siding, bulletproof glass and ramps--at a cost of $28,000 each.