Why Alcohol Is Still the Most Dangerous Drug
It's cheaper, legal and kills more people than opioids. But public officials are much more united in the fight against drugs than alcohol.
J.B. Wogan -- Staff Writer. J.B. covers public programs aimed at addressing poverty and writes the monthly human services newsletter. He has also written for PolitiFact, The Seattle Times and Seattle magazine. He is the co-author of Peak Performance: How Denver's Peak Academy is saving millions of dollars, boosting morale and just maybe changing the world. (And how you can too!)
In 2010, the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association named him "News Writer of the Year" for his work at The Sammamish Review, a community weekly east of Seattle. J.B. is a graduate of Pomona College and has a master's in public policy from Johns Hopkins University.
It's cheaper, legal and kills more people than opioids. But public officials are much more united in the fight against drugs than alcohol.
Several states are considering exemptions from Medicaid work requirements that would disproportionately impact black and white people.
"Pay for success" is changing the way cities confront the problem.
The House voted against the legislation on Friday. But some of the ideas behind it have seen success in the states.
Data now informs almost everything the public sector does, and it also informs on us.
Congress passed drastic child welfare reforms that aim to reduce the removal of kids from their homes. But some worry they will cost states and harm children.
The two new leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a Democrat and a Republican, have crafted a bipartisan strategy that they hope will help them wield more influence in Washington.
From a community compost exchange to mayors funds, here are a few innovative ideas that city officials just might want to steal for themselves.
The former Microsoft CEO wants Americans to have a clear picture of how government collects and spends their money -- and what they get in return.
Some towns have tried to force certain big-box retailers to pay higher wages.
Since the UN got involved, the city has taken steps to make utility bills more affordable. But 17,000 customers still could lose their service next month.
The most recent states to adopt the practice are expanding it to agencies that serve disenfranchised populations, including the poor and disabled.
The legislation released on Thursday includes changes that could satisfy conservatives and liberals. It does not include most of the changes President Trump proposed, such as drug testing and a Blue Apron-style delivery service.
The farm bill expected to be unveiled this week offers Republicans a rare opportunity to reshape one of the largest federal anti-poverty programs.
Under a new leaked version of the rule reportedly being considered, use of government benefits -- with few exceptions -- could hurt an immigrant's chances of becoming a permanent legal resident.
The three largest groups representing human services agencies and nonprofits say the phrase hurts their work -- and society at large.
The city leaders gathered in Austin engaged in workshops and exercises designed to help them think longer-term.
As homelessness rises nationwide, Las Vegas is taking a gamble on a new way of helping the homeless. But some say it's money that could be better spent.
A new tech startup allows cities to chart drug usage down to the neighborhood level.
Most mayors said people of color experienced worse treatment by police and the courts and had worse access to education, housing and health care.
Regardless of whether a proposal to drastically expand the reasons for denying green cards becomes law, many legal immigrants are afraid to use government assistance -- for themselves and their children.
America has a skills gap. Governments across the U.S. are turning to European-style apprenticeship programs as a possible solution.
Gov. Scott Walker is poised to sign a sweeping package of bills that would make it harder to qualify for many safety net programs.
Congress indirectly diluted the tax incentives for building affordable housing -- a change that's predicted to result in a quarter of a million fewer units.
The president, who often stresses the need for states to have more flexibility, wants to give them less when it comes to food stamps.
The president's budget released on Monday confirms most of a leaked proposal and would add to the administration's recent changes to the safety net.
A new poll shows strong opposition to the new Medicaid policy being pushed by the Trump administration. But it contradicts other recent surveys.
When families on welfare failed work requirements in Kansas, they fell into deep poverty. Could the same thing happen with Medicaid?
Most leaders and some members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, including at least one Republican, backed out of a planned infrastructure meeting with the president on Wednesday.
Charitable giving is expected to drop, and nonprofits that operate social services for the government will likely take the biggest hit.
The justices heard arguments on Wednesday in an Ohio case about when it's legal to kick inactive voters off registration lists. It's part of a larger debate about voting rights that has been heightened by President Trump.
Jeff Sessions' announcement attracted bipartisan criticism. But some legal experts are skeptical of its impact, and several states have vowed to continue their marijuana markets or plans for one.
Most politicians believe moderation doesn’t help Democrats much in the Deep South. Louisiana’s governor, who's trying to fix the state's finances, isn’t one of them.
They rarely collaborate. But Jenni Owen, the policy director for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, is part of a growing relationship between government and academia.
Its new ordinance exemplifies a shift in how cities across the country are trying to target panhandlers.
The Trump administration has begun the process of tightening welfare programs. Many conservative states have been waiting for a moment like this for years.
It adds to the growing body of evidence that addressing homelessness saves money elsewhere.
Even if Congress passes a spending bill without the president's proposed cuts to programs that help the poor, it's likely to consider more serious changes next year.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness helped end veteran homelessness in some places and reduce overall homelessness. The White House and House Republicans want it gone.
“We cannot have 13 million hungry children in the United States of America,” says Dorothy McAuliffe.
The state joined a growing trend on Tuesday that critics say is unnecessary and could impede the criminal justice process.
Ballot language often spurs confusion and lawsuits. Some state election officials are trying to make them easier to understand.
Rental vouchers are only helpful if landlords are willing to take them. All too often, they're not. But what if the government made it less risky?
Voters in three states approved similar ballot measures last year, but critics say it's unnecessary and could gum up the criminal justice system.
It's rare to see a film featuring homeless people as main characters. "The Florida Project" focuses on the ones that few people notice.
The rising number of placements into state care is only partially to blame.
When destroyed by disaster, public housing has historically taken years to be replaced -- if at all. What happens to low-income residents in the meantime?
Irregular hours and unpredictable schedules have redefined work for many low-income Americans. States and cities are just beginning to regulate them.
Both propose cutting the food stamps program by at least $150 billion over 10 years.
The tax system isn't set up to help low-income people as much if they don't have children. There's a push in Congress and the states to change that.
In the term that starts Oct. 2, the justices will hear cases that could drastically alter the country's political, financial and social landscape.
Newark, N.J., Mayor Ras Baraka hopes so. Right now, the major employers there mostly hire people and buy business supplies and services outside city limits.
It's one of the ways states are trying to address growing concerns about the cybersecurity of voting.
History suggests that social services will be in high demand for months. Are caseworkers in Texas and Florida prepared?
Public officials and reporters alike adopt the myth that bigger is better. That’s not always the case.
A new study suggests governments are missing out on cost savings by not enrolling enough people in their programs.
States are failing to use millions of dollars meant to retrain and employ coal miners and other workers in struggling fields.
To this day, Galveston, Texas, gets millions less in federal funding because of a 2008 storm. It's a cautionary tale of how long it takes to financially recover from disasters.
The wait for drug test results can bring the criminal justice system to a slow crawl. There's a faster test, but few are using it.
After leading the creation of the nation's first legal marijuana market in Colorado, Andrew Freedman took the lessons he learned and made a business out of helping states regulate the drug.
A Supreme Court ruling about regulating church signs is spurring cities to repeal their anti-begging laws.
Some cities post letter grades on restaurants. King County opted for something more visual. The person who pushed for public ratings in the first place, though, isn't satisfied.
Hiring ex-addicts is a key part of Kentucky's strategy for combating the opioid epidemic and its impact on families.
Mayor Ryan Stovall has no regrets.
It's the first city to set water rates based on income.
Drug abuse is overwhelming the child welfare system at unprecedented rates. Solutions are slowly emerging, but they aren't always adopted.
Westchester County, N.Y., is using debt forgiveness as an incentive for finding employment and paying child support. Will it work?
Child advocates say the state is taking encouraging first steps in turning around an underfunded and overburdened agency -- but it has a long way to go.
Kentucky's failed attempt this year illustrates a problem that many states face: Some judges are severely overworked while others don't have enough to do. But fixing that can be politically impossible.
Detroit's former emergency manager praised Mitch Landrieu's speech on race and gave a memorable one of his own. Listen to it here.
The first of a now annual report details what cities are doing well and where they could improve.
As deportation fears drive some immigrants to give up their government benefits, a new report offers the most comprehensive state-level look at what aid they're legally entitled to.
In recent years, a handful of states have missed out on millions in federal subsidies for child care.
Tom Price has a vision for a "reimagined HHS" that adopts a more holistic approach to problem solving and relies more on states and localities.
The state attracted national attention for its failure to prevent and address child abuse and neglect. Since then, massive changes have led to massive improvements.
Lots of cities use social science data to help make decisions. But the District of Columbia is going a lot further.
Trump wants to eliminate the program. But advocates argue it just needs to be reformed.
New Mexico is the first state to ban the practice. Now the rest have till the end of the school year to adopt an official policy for what happens when parents miss meal payments.
Using data to measure government performance has caught on in much of the country. But the tactic is in trouble in Maryland.
The legislation undoes an Obama-era regulation about who can be drug tested. States will likely get more say over the matter, but not just yet.
Neil Howe co-wrote a book in the 1990s. Little did he know how influential it would be.
A small number of states, however, are starting to let homeless people get IDs and birth certificates for free. Advocates hope the idea becomes a national trend.
The president's budget director wants to eliminate a fund that supports research-backed state and local projects. It's won bipartisan support in the past. Will Congress step in to save it?
Few families use them -- and even fewer put enough money away to matter. Advocates, however, say the programs are too young to judge.
Cities are strengthening civilians' authority over law enforcement officers. But just how far should their power extend?
If signed, the executive action would put green-card holders in danger of deportation and could burden state and local agencies.
The new regulation requires states to help parents in poverty avoid debt and incarceration.
In much of the country, states are offering localities less financial help than they were before the recession. That won't change anytime soon.
The report comes at a time when some federal policymakers want to end the program and while states and localities are launching similar initiatives of their own.
Left with unanswered questions, state and local election officials are worried about the Department of Homeland Security's latest attempt to stop hackers. DHS' response? Calm down. We're here to help.
The earned income tax credit is a rare antipoverty program that has enjoyed a long history of bipartisan support among state and federal policymakers.
Republicans at the federal and state levels want to defund universities that protect undocumented students from deportation. It's making some schools think twice about their policies, but should they?
Advocates are hoping to replicate the success they had at the ballot box this year.
Not many states have the necessary laws in place to conduct an effective election audit.
A communications expert reveals the most effective ways, and the results may surprise you.
Americans' support for capital punishment has been waning, but you wouldn't know that by looking at Tuesday's election results.
Voters in three states approved "Marsy's Law," which ensures victims and their families are informed of developments in a criminal case.
Even though most polls are working with decades-old machines that lose or miscount votes, states and the federal government are largely ignoring the problem.
Without a job, recipients risk losing their benefits. But states aren't spending much to help them get and stay employed. See how your state's welfare funding is being spent.
An evenly divided court could decide the fate of many cases watched closely by state and local officials.
A new approach asks recipients to look past short-term work and instead focus on making choices that will improve the rest of their lives.
More than 80 percent of voters approved amendments on the ballot in both states.
Proponents like Maine Gov. Paul LePage argue so-called asset tests save states money and shrink welfare rolls. New research suggests otherwise.
New Mexico voters may have energized a national movement to reform the criminal justice policies that keep lower-income Americans locked up.
South Dakota's ballot measure, which failed, would have actually reduced the minimum wage for some.
Discrimination doesn't always appear in the most obvious places. Many government policies and practices are seemingly unbiased and uncontroversial but actually disproportionately harm minorities.
The state's rare approach is meant to increase child support payments. But some say it will do the opposite.
The city has a unique effort to improving the relationship between cops and citizens.
Many police chiefs are ordering their officers to work in pairs. But whether that actually makes cops -- and citizens -- safer is up for debate.
City officials across the country are using the gaming craze to educate and engage with the public -- and have some fun.
The incoming leader of the U.S. Conference of Mayors talks about cities' relationship with the Obama administration and what he expects from the new one -- whether it's run by Clinton or Trump.
Florida's gun control laws are relatively lax, but most states also lack the laws that may have stopped Omar Mateen from getting his hands on deadly weapons.
Convictions in animal cruelty cases are rare but could become more common if Connecticut adopts an unprecedented law.
Sharing economy companies like Uber and Lyft claim that the people who work for them are “independent contractors,” thus ineligible for most employee benefits. That argument may prove difficult to sustain.
To tackle the problem of vacant properties, Memphis is acknowledging that it needs help.
The Hoosier State is the latest to use behavioral science or "nudge" experiments to improve outcomes in human services programs.
St. Paul, Minn., wants its urban areas to welcome everyone -- whether they're 8 or 80 years old.
The city has made real progress in its battle against homicide, but a recent rise in crime puts it all into question.
The latest task force report isn't the first to suggest major reforms to the Chicago Police Department, but it might be the first to result in real change.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is spreading its latest grants across 19 communities to support an outdoor office, a carpentry-based workforce program and more.
A foundation is promoting the use of evidence-based prevention programs to help young people in low-income, urban neighborhoods.
The city's former mayor, who was forced to resign a few years ago, is no longer the frontrunner.
Most people don't know they can get their juvenile records erased. Thanks to a group of young people, there's now an app for that.
A group of grad students is implementing an award-winning idea for encouraging young homeless people to use health and social services.
The former mayor, convicted of corruption, is trying to win back voters’ trust. The odds are she will.
DeRay Mckesson insists his campaign is about more than race.
Many governors and mayors are struggling to raise the minimum wage for their jurisdictions. In the meantime, some are giving their own employees a raise.
Modeled after a successful anti-recidivism program, Kansas has a new volunteer mentoring program to help people on welfare find work.
Many cities are trying to use behavioral science to better communicate with citizens. New Orleans is testing the effectiveness of different text messages.
The U.S. Supreme Court has put the Obama administration's plan to cut carbon emissions on hold.
The state's welfare agency tried new strategies to help parents and child care providers avoid an interruption in benefits.
DeRay Mckesson joins a crowded field at the last minute, but there's no doubt he's a serious contender to replace the outgoing mayor.
After years of research, law enforcement leaders recently released recommendations for reforming how and when cops use their weapons.
Veteran homelessness has dropped sharply, thanks to cities’ efforts and new funds from the Obama administration. But most people living on the streets aren’t veterans.
Nearly half the states are reinstating work requirements that had been suspended since the Great Recession. But advocates say it’s still too soon.
Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have given millions to overhaul public education. But their cash has proven to be anything but free money or a remedy to systemic problems.
The organization is spending $42 million to help the selected cities improve their performance and services using data-driven decisionmaking.
But a new effort could provide a true count of the number as well as insights into why they became homeless in the first place.
Patients with mental illness are being detained in emergency rooms, often for weeks at a time. Now some states are rethinking the entire psychiatric care system.
Three cities, one county and a state have suspended laws that hamper their ability to address homelessness. But why now and what does it mean?
Voters made Texas the 19th state to add legal protections for hunting and fishing, which are now also the preferred methods for controlling wildlife.
Voters in Washington state increased the penalties for trafficking animals or parts of animals that are at risk of becoming extinct.
In Maine on Tuesday, voters strengthened the public campaign financing system that became a model for other states and helped the legislature become the nation's most blue-collar.
Texas used to force many elected officials to live in the state's capital city. Voters repealed that rule Tuesday.
Rather than acting as former offenders' enemies, parole and probation officers are now working to be their mentors. Can it reduce recidivism?
But proposed legislation in Congress would fix the wording in the federal health-care law that's leaving some foster youth uninsured.
In their recent proposals for reforming the system, the Democratic president and Republican governor who wants to be president have found common ground in three major areas. But does it even matter?
Most states have laws to protect bikers from cars, but they're hard to enforce. One city is testing a new device that makes it easier.
Many people think the work of human services agencies creates dependency and exacerbates poverty. But there’s a new effort to recast them in a more favorable light.
Pouring federal aid into poor communities hasn’t accomplished much in the past. But the Obama administration insists its Promise Zones program will be different.
Unlike similar initiatives that only build housing for low-income people, Philadelphia's will also target people who make too much to qualify for public housing but too little to afford private housing.
Critics say the president’s new program to help young black men unfairly excludes black girls who, by many measures, experience the same problems.
In the last few years, most states have stopped taking assets like retirement and education savings into account when deciding whether people qualify for aid.
State Dream Acts have drawn passionate responses from both advocates and critics. But evidence suggests these measures have had limited impact.
In Jersey City, N.J., ex-offenders are getting an opportunity to start their lives over again -- and so is a familiar public figure trying to help them.
The state's law banning welfare spending on entertainment and luxury goods and services sparked a national debate about how people use public assistance.
Grad students want to combat black boys' low reading levels by adding books that cater to them to barbershop waiting areas.
Cities have offered financial counseling to low-income people for years, but only recently have some tracked the impact of these services on clients' debt, credit and savings.
Bloomberg Philanthropies and other organizations have poured an unprecedented amount of money into making cities more innovative and collaborative. What happens when the money runs out?
Massachusetts is the latest state to settle a legal battle over the failure of its welfare offices to meet federal voter registration requirements.
Lawmakers in both states have reignited a century-old feud over the well-accepted claim that the Wright brothers were the "first in flight."
Laura Zeilinger talks about why homelessness is on the rise in the district and what the Bowser administration is doing about it.
At a Congressional hearing, the Indiana governor, who could be a presidential contender, touted his state as a national leader and expressed his support for diminishing the federal role in schools.
The president's budget would be a boon in a host of areas but also includes cuts to popular programs.
In the nation's fastest-gentrifying neighborhood, some of the strongest affordable housing protections haven’t been enough to keep lower-income residents from being priced out of their homes.
Portland, Maine, is ignoring state instructions that could discourage people from seeking shelter beds.
Rhode Island is streamlining its existing and underused program to allow parents to sign their children up for college savings accounts the day they’re born.
Until now, there was no universal, comprehensive methodology for cities around the world to measure their emissions. One of the tool's creators explains its power in the fight against climate change.
It was one of the first cities to join a nationwide movement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2005. The city's director of energy and sustainability looks back at what's changed in the past decade.
Voters in Washington state approved universal background checks, the only gun control measure on a state ballot this year.
Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure that would have issued government ID cards to those without citizenship or legal presence.
It's now the third state to require businesses to pay workers when they have to take sick days.
Voters will decide whether to add language in the state constitution intended to give higher legal protections to gun rights.
Even though most Americans support raising the minimum wage, most Republican-run states so far haven't done so.
Only a few states take advantage of the federal matching funds intended to help employ food stamp users.
Even though an increasing share of eligible voters are Hispanic, a new study suggests that for several reasons, they won't impact most governors races in November.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear cases this term related to religious freedom in state prisons, taxes on railway carriers, traffic stops and more.
The California city’s November election will shed light on whether Democrats can risk the political fallout of cutting a prized union benefit to protect basic city services.
A November ballot measure would limit the influence of lobbyists and corporations but also add time and flexibility to term limits.
Oregonians will decide in November whether they want to join the 10 states that already issue a driver's card or license to undocumented immigrants.
Cap and trade may be dead on Capitol Hill, but states could use it to meet new EPA targets for reducing power plants’ carbon emissions.
Some cities will get grant funding to test a method of problem solving designed by the charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking to fund state pilot projects that combine food assistance and job training in an effort to find the best way to get people out of poverty.
In what resembled a presidential campaign speech, the recently indicted Texas governor called for increased federal controls against illegal immigration before Congress considers immigration reform.
More than a handful of states cut unemployment benefits in recent years.
Ballot measures in Missouri and Washington state ask voters to weigh in on government's role in regulating firearms.
The ruling creates a new class of "partial public employees" who can choose not to pay membership dues to unions representing them, laying the groundwork for overruling other precedents.
A bill in the legislature would end the policy requiring special county boards to review concealed gun applications. Critics worry the approval process will become too easy.
Having a digital warehouse to hold foster kids' health and education records eases their many transitions from one home to another and makes it easier to apply for jobs and college. But few places have them.
Federally funded projects in several states and localities are testing ways to use convenience and peer pressure to get prison inmates and people who owe child support to make better decisions.
A recent survey shows most people think state and local governments aren't doing enough to ensure a sufficient supply of affordable housing. Several cities are trying to help.
California legislators proposed a bill to confiscate guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. Other states are already considering following suit.
Eleven states are extending a provision of the federal health law to avoid punishing former foster kids for pursuing jobs or schools in other states.
Increased partisanship in state and local government has caused the organizations representing them to lose some of their influence on federal policy. Can they get it back?
It's the latest state to raise the minimum wage and the first this year that already linked automatic increases to inflation.
The former head of consumer affairs in New York City explains why helping the poor manage money wisely would also help governments manage their money better.
Five states have used data from the federal food stamps program to quickly enroll more than 500,000 people in Medicaid.
A lot of elderly people are eligible for food stamps but either don't know they are or face barriers to signing up.
In 2009, Brazil became one of only three countries to mandate early education. But it quickly found that universal preschool is a simple idea that’s difficult to implement.
A dark money group released a misleading TV ad that attacks Arizona gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith for liberal policy positions adopted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
After Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith stepped down from the presidency to run for governor, Johnson assumed the top position this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Some states and cities want to to use "ban the box" legislation to stop employers from screening job applicants with criminal records. Here's why some businesses oppose such measures and how some lawmakers eased their concerns.
Businesses reported little increase in costs since the state became the first to require companies to compensate workers for sick days.
Baltimore may become only the sixth city to "ban the box" to prevent companies from asking prospective employees about their criminal background early on in the application process.
The 32-year-old secretary of state wants to make Missouri’s ethics laws, which are currently among the nation’s weakest, some of the strongest.
A new report details state legislation that impacted the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. While much of the report strikes a hopeful note, it also anticipates more political battles ahead.
Here’s a rundown of the proposals that would most affect states and localities and how stakeholders reacted to the president's budget.
A new survey shows how cities used money from the 2009 stimulus package to invest in energy efficient infrastructure.
Wage hikes have become the highest-profile antipoverty proposals in states and localities. But some advocates say boosting the Earned Income Tax Credit would be better for the working poor.
The LGBT population makes up a disproportionate share of homeless youth, so the District wants to make its shelters safer and more accommodating for them.
Governors used their annual speeches to introduce proposals on education, pension reform, raising the minimum wage and more.
A new report details transportation policies on college campuses that could help municipalities promote public transit, biking and car-sharing services.
A new report details which states are enacting policies aimed at helping low-income Americans become more financially secure and whether those policies translate into change.
Officials in Salt Lake City say that by the end of this month, they will have zero chronically homeless veterans.
After bills to raise the federal minimum wage stalled in Congress last year, Obama asked state and local officials to raise the minimum wage in their jurisdictions.
Instead of looking for better results through data analytics, new technology or paid consultants, Denver looks to its own employees for simple, straightforward reforms.
Peggy Grover made history in January when Idaho Gov. Butch Otter appointed her as the first woman to serve on the state's potato commission.
After Phoenix used competition to effectively eliminate veteran homelessness, Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, Minn., will challenge towns in Iowa and Ohio to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015.
The state's Yellow Dot program allows counties, cities and towns to offer car decals that tell emergency responders that critical health information is stored in the motorist's glove compartment.
Under Obamacare now, undocumented immigrants and children who are legally present under Obama’s Deferred Action program are ineligible for Medicare, non-emergency Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Last year, at least 15 states sought to help the working poor by building upon the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
State and local governments that look to raise the minimum wage may have to boost their own workers' pay first.
Medicaid enrollment assisters in Maryland are finding ways to sign up homeless people for public health insurance despite huge technical problems.
Governors only succeed about half the time in passing legislative proposals they push for in their annual address.
For a second and final time, the District of Columbia City Council voted unanimously to increase the minimum wage.
Legislators in Montgomery and Prince George's counties teamed up with the District of Columbia to raise the region's minimum wage. To do so required some compromise and trust in one another. This is how it happened.
A new bill would make D.C. join the handful of municipalities that give legal permanent residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections. So far, more than a quarter of the Council supports the measure.
A report on the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., digs into the shooter's history of mental illness. Nothing suggests the state's new guards against arming the mentally ill would have stopped the incident.
The new data comes at a time when Congress is considering deep cuts to the program in the farm bill.
He promised to rescue his troubled city as mayor. Did he deliver?
It's unusual for a city to create its own tax credit, but New York has launched a pilot project that supplements the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to help lift low-income, single adult workers with no children out of poverty.
In the nation's first local election with 16-year-olds voting, many teens took advantage of their new right to cast a ballot this week.
Seattle voters rejected a ballot measure that would have made the city one of a handful that match private contributions with public funds in council races.
A temporary boost in food stamp benefits expired on Nov. 1. Now hungry families must turn to food banks and other public programs for help.
Researchers updated the federal tool for measuring poverty and found more Californians can't afford a basic standard of living.
Homeless veterans are notoriously difficult to count. Michigan found a way to test the accuracy of its numbers and deepen the state’s understanding of veteran homelessness today.
A national memorial service for fallen firefighters would lose access to a venue, and other needed facilities, if the federal government shutdown persists.
Ride-sharing services and the uncertainty about how or whether to regulate them like taxi cabs illustrate a world where “ownership” is a rapidly changing concept.
In 54 big cities and towns, at least a quarter of the population lived below the federal poverty line last year, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
State officials found dogs to be helpful therapeutic aids for counseling the surviving children of the mass school shooting. A new law may make Connecticut the first state with a formal animal-assisted therapy program for trauma victims.
A month after a Supreme Court ruling freed jurisdictions from having to get federal approval to change their election laws, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a lawsuit to require Texas to do just that -- and "it will not be our last," he said.
Somebody forgot to tell Mississippi’s attorney general that his party doesn’t win in the Deep South anymore.
A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court blocks proof-of-citizenship requirements on federal voter registration forms, but leaves open the possibility of amending the form to include Arizona's stricter standard for verifying citizenship.
Immigration reform could save states money and boost the economy, said former governors Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush at a recent forum.
After 30 municipalities passed laws requiring residents to tell police when their guns disappear, the legislature is reconsidering a statewide proposal that failed in 2008 to do just that.
A former leader at the Office of Management and Budget hopes to use her new position to restore public confidence in government. Here's how she plans to do it.
Several high-profile government officials were killed this year. Standing in the public light has always had its risks, but they’re higher than ever as tracking an official’s whereabouts can be as simple as following their Twitter feed.
A pilot program, which could soon spread to other states, uses software to automatically verify a person's identity when they apply for Medicaid, welfare or food stamps.
Most state and local public officials favor universal background checks, however, support varies when it comes to other proposals to prevent gun violence.
Inviting public comment early in the budget process, and doing so in multiple ways, is closely associated with better performance outcomes, according to a new study.
To win, they'll need to prove they have the most novel and effective way to help low-income New Yorkers.
Money raised through visa applications to pay for high-skill worker training doesn't actually match geographic demand, according to a new report.
When state lawmakers consider granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, they tend to focus on strict university-related spending and tuition revenues. A new study finds that government and society would see a net economic benefit.
New Jersey passed a law to legalize sports betting at casinos and race tracks, which is already allowed in four states. But the feds and major sports leagues have been working to block it.
The price tag of tuition equity bills can save them or kill them. But figuring out those actual costs is anybody's guess.
Four state legislatures meet every other year instead of annually. Lawmakers in North Dakota and Texas want to leave biennial budgeting in the past.
The U.S.-based firm Mathematica Policy Research will evaluate the success of programs aimed at helping the world's most vulnerable children.
Oregon may become the next state to grant in-state tuition to young illegal immigrants. We review the arguments for and against state tuition equity laws, which 13 states currently have and at least a dozen are considering.
Pennsylvania's attorney rejected a contract to privatize the state lottery. The governor is scrambling to find a solution. Local newspapers give their take on the controversy.
North Carolina will become the ninth state to grant driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants, the state's transportation secretary announced Feb. 14.
In his State of the Union address, the president laid out a second-term agenda that could result in more federal aid to state and local governments.
11 GOP governors have rejected the Medicaid expansion, but some are endorsing it -- even though they lambasted so-called "Obamacare."
In its first hearing of 2013 on immigration reform, Republicans on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee sparred with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro over the merits of comprehensive immigration reform.
Pundits think the stars are aligned for comprehensive immigration reform.
A new survey to be published in The New England Journal of Medicine finds that most gun owners and non-gun owners support criminal-history background checks for all gun sales. Proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were less popular among gun owners.
Some news commentary has escaped the binary of second amendment rights vs. a full-scale firearms ban.
Gun-control advocates are instead focusing on universal background checks and closing the private-sales loophole. Here's why.
Michael Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, voiced the group's support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill to ban assault weapons.
An Urban Institute report describes how three police departments saved time and money by reducing the incidence of false alarms.
Colorado is the latest state to publish guiding principles for federal immigration reform.
Some state leaders aren’t waiting for Congress to address last year’s mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo. So far five governors have alluded to gun violence in their annual state-of-the-state addresses.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has announced his legislative agenda for gun control includes a ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Only a handful of states require background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows, but some legislators are trying to change that this year.
As part of a re-examination of Maryland state laws on firearms and the mentally ill, a task force has recommended that the state should require mental health professionals to contact police if an individual seems dangerous. The policy, if it becomes law, could lead to new gun seizures.
Under last week’s fiscal cliff deal, states that depend on wind as part of their energy portfolio got the production tax credit renewed for another year.