Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer

Josh Goodman is a former staff writer at GOVERNING. From 2005 to 2010, he covered a variety of topics including transportation, education, politics and health care. 

Josh Goodman
November 1, 2010

The Future of Redistricting and Rural America

Redistricting is not likely to be kind to the political clout of rural areas.
November 1, 2010

Philadelphia's Mixed Feelings on Legalized Gambling

In Philadelphia, the SugarHouse Casino’s story reflects the mixed emotions about legalized gambling.
November 1, 2010

Reforming Sex Offender Laws

California's Chelsea's Law rethinks the way the state manages sex offenders who will return to society.
November 1, 2010

Cuyahoga County's Road to Recovery From Corruption

A lot has changed, and is still changing, in Cuyahoga County since the county was slammed with corruption charges.
November 1, 2010

Getting Teens to Register and Vote

A new effort is under way to encourage young adults to start voting and keep voting.
October 1, 2010

Goodbye Moderate Governors, Hello Partisans

From Vermont to Hawaii, moderate governors are leaving office after the fall elections. Will partisan purists soon be running state government?
October 1, 2010

Florida's Amendment 4 Puts Land-Use Issues on the Ballot

Is this the perfect year for Florida voters to constrain development?
October 1, 2010

State Legislatures Tackle Concussions in School Athletics

Growing concerns about the risks associated with serious head injuries are catching the attention of state legislatures.
October 1, 2010

Smarter Parking in San Francisco

San Francisco's two-year pilot project will adjust parking prices based on time and location.
October 1, 2010

Oregon’s Pension Puzzle

Oregon's public pension performance in the past decade has been stellar, but can they maintain it in years to come?
September 13, 2010

New York Senate: Seven Toss-Ups

One of the best political reporters in New York predicts which races will determine control of the New York Senate.
September 10, 2010

GA-Governor: "Too Corrupt Even for Congress"

Democrat Roy Barnes probably can't win the Georgia governor's race on his own merits in the current political climate. But, Nathan Deal's ethical problems and the taint of Deal's tenure in Congress may be enough to win it for Barnes.
September 9, 2010

CA-Governor: Will Clinton Respond to Whitman's Ad?

Republican Meg Whitman's new ad in the California governor's race uses Bill Clinton's words against fellow Democrat Jerry Brown. Will Clinton come to the defense of his old rival?
September 9, 2010

AK-Senate: For Lisa Murkowski, No Stickers

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's potential write-in campaign in Alaska highlights states' diverse rules for counting write-in votes. Some states even let write-in candidates distribute stickers with their names for voters to use on the ballot.
September 8, 2010

NM-Governor: Susana Martinez Campaigns Against "Richardson Denish"

Democratic candidates for governor are struggling in states with unpopular outgoing Democratic governors. A new ad from New Mexico Republican Susana Martinez is an illustration of how G.O.P. candidates are taking advantage.
September 8, 2010

Ohio Legislature: The Power of Redistricting

A single fact illustrates the significance of the once-a-decade redrawing of political lines.
September 7, 2010

Massachusetts Sales Tax: Do the Candidates' Views Matter?

Every candidate for governor in Massachusetts opposes a ballot measure that would cut the sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 3 percent. But, voters might approve it anyway.
September 3, 2010

Random Thoughts on the 2010 Elections

Here are some notions that have been percolating in my brain as I think about the upcoming elections.
September 1, 2010

In Florida, the Perfect Time for a Populist Uprising on Development?

A ballot measure in Florida would create new obstacles to development. It's opposed by many business groups, unions, developers, planners, local governments and newspaper editorial boards. But, with the esteem of many of those groups at an all-time low, could it pass anyway?
September 1, 2010

Colorado Collects Popular Votes by Mail

Once open to choices, Colorado appears headed toward all-mail balloting.
September 1, 2010

Governor Mark Parkinson Pins Successes on Lame Duck Status

Kansas' governor has taken the politics out of lawmaking -- and has had great success so far.
September 1, 2010

Building Demolition a Turning Point in Hartford

One of the first orders of business for the new Mayor Pedro Segarra: getting rid of the 'Butt Ugly' building.
August 31, 2010

CO-Governor: In Search of Conservative Unity, ASAP

If there were one conservative candidate in the Colorado governor's race instead of two, he'd have a chance to win. But, if Don Maes and Tom Tancredo are going to join forces in Colorado, they'd be best off doing it this week.
August 26, 2010

Arizona AG: An Inconclusive Verdict on Andrew Thomas

The Republican primary for governor in Arizona was, in part, a referendum on whether voters approve of former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' aggressive prosecutions of other Maricopa County officials. We now have a verdict: maybe.
August 25, 2010

In Alaska, Proof that Ballot Measures Can Drive Turnout

People have debated for years whether controversial ballot measures can affect who shows up to vote. In Alaska yesterday, a measure did just that -- and may have ended the career of a U.S. senator.
August 18, 2010

When a Governor Won't Talk

Staff Writer Josh Goodman wrote a profile of Chris Christie for the August issue. But, Christie wouldn't talk to him for the story. Here's how Josh handled it.
July 30, 2010

The 'Chris Christie' Way

New Jersey's new governor has a take-no-prisoners style, but there are signs he is learning the art of the deal.
July 30, 2010

Running in the Shadow of Spitzer, Cuomo

Will New York's next attorney general embrace his predecessors or blaze her own path?
July 30, 2010

NYC Experiments with Bus Rapid Transit

The Big Apple needs some serious help to make city buses be a faster, more reliable method of transportation.
July 30, 2010

Rhode Island's Slots Subsidy

Some state officials insist financially helping the Twin River Casino would be a smart move.
July 13, 2010

Arnold Schwarzenegger: From Action Hero to Tragic Hero?

As he leaves office, is California's governor unpopular because he fought the good fight against Democratic and Republican ideologues? Or was he really part of the problem?
June 30, 2010

A Global Warming Cool Down?

More Republican gubernatorial candidates are skeptical of the science of climate change.
June 30, 2010

Shutting Down State Fairs

To cope with budget shortfalls, some states – like Michigan – are choosing to shut down their state fairs.
June 30, 2010

Tunnel Vision in Seattle

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is proposing plans that focus less on roads and more on public transit.
June 30, 2010

Reviving Local, State and Federal Collaboration

NACo's Larry Naake is pushing for a commission of representatives from all forms of government.
June 28, 2010

How Democrats Lost on Gun Control

Gun rights advocates have been on a roll lately. Is that because Democrats gave up the fight a decade ago?
June 9, 2010

Post-Primary Live Blog Transcript

GOVERNING staff answered your questions about Tuesday's primaries and any other election queries June 9.
June 1, 2010

Keeping Up With E-mail

Governing takes a look at governors' constituent service
June 1, 2010

Voting the Straight-Ticket Sweep

Will Republicans win big in states that make voting a straight ticket easy?
June 1, 2010

The Rise of Attorneys General

With a Democrat in the White House, conservative state attorneys general are mobilizing against federal power.
June 1, 2010

Leading the Census-Participation Pack

Livonia, Mich., had the highest census participation rate not because of what it did – but because of what it is.
June 1, 2010

Immigration Fizzle

Arizona's new immigration law seems potent right now, but will it fizzle like Georgia's?
June 1, 2010

Sacramento's Net Gain?

Ex NBA-player Mayor Kevin Johnson has an unorthodox plan to build a new basketball arena.
May 4, 2010

The Director's Cut on High-Speed Rail in California

Some reporters write long. If an editor gives them 3,000 words, they'll take 4,000. Some reporters write short. Give them 3,000 words and they'll struggle to ...
May 1, 2010

Fleet Dreams

If tomorrow's cars won't be fueled by gas, what will run them and who'll pick the winner?
May 1, 2010

Nevada's Comeback Kid?

Almost from the day he stepped into office, Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has been widely unpopular. But somehow, he still has a chance to win...
May 1, 2010

Dues and Don'ts

As states engage in yet another round of budget cutting, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has zeroed in on an unlikely target: the money his state...
May 1, 2010

Counting Down the School Days

Could shortening school years be a pain-free way for school districts to save money?
May 1, 2010

Small Bag Tax, Big Impact

The tax on disposable bags in the nation's capital has had a noteworthy impact.
May 1, 2010

High-Speed Rail: Transit Solution or Financial Disaster?

California is racing to build an ambitious high-speed rail system. Some cities think it should slow down.
April 13, 2010

A Tax from Governing's Past

In my April feature story, I said that the question of why sales taxes generally apply to goods but not services is "one of ...
April 1, 2010

Taxing Services to Ease Budget Woes

Jim Wayne is getting an earful from Kentucky hot air balloon operators these days, and it's easy to understand why. Wayne, a Kentucky state representative,...
March 31, 2010

Kansas Democrats' Best Case Scenario

In a year when Republicans are expected to make gains, the best hopes for Kansas Democrats are two unlikely candidates: Though Dennis McKinney is the...
March 31, 2010

A Vote for Appointed Offices

For years, California cities have debated whether their city treasurers should be elected or appointed officials. Now a new paper provides empirical evidence as to...
March 31, 2010

Is 'Sexting' a Crime?

Sexting is a source of angst for parents and public schools. But should it be a crime? That's the question that, almost overnight, state after...
March 31, 2010

Axing the Taxman

Tax collectors might not be the most popular government officials, but as Arizona recently discovered, they might be the very worst to cut in a...
March 18, 2010

In Los Angeles, Avoiding the Risks of the Status Quo

I tend to think that one mistake people often make (in business, in government, in life in general) is to assume that maintaining the status ...
March 2, 2010

Undemocratic Towns and Doughnut Holes

Governing announced the winner of our state and local government journalism award, the Hal Hovey award, last month.
March 1, 2010

Local Governments Face Census Challenge

If you receive a water bill in Phoenix, you'll get a note about the census. If you spend time in a classroom, you're likely to...
March 1, 2010

The Price of Popularity

John Hoeven may be something close to the perfect candidate for the U.S. Senate. The Republican governor is North Dakota's most popular politician and,...
March 1, 2010

The Price of Moderate Politics

Bill Ritter became Colorado's governor in 2007, promising to be a pragmatic, pro-business Democrat. That political niche seemed like a good fit for a moderate state....
March 1, 2010

Growing Alaska's Legislature

When Alaska state Rep. Peggy Wilson wants to visit her constituents, she goes by boat. Wilson represents seven Alaska towns, most of which are on...
March 1, 2010

Philadelphians Withhold Billions in Taxes

Philadelphia residents owe the city a backlog of more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes. Now a city official has found a strange place to recover...
February 9, 2010

Staff Snapshots from D.C.'s 'Snoverkill'

Editor's note: Reading this month's photo essay on Syracuse's snow plows stings just a little for Governing's D.C. staffers, who ...
February 3, 2010

Memphis Reporter Wins GOVERNING/ Award

Marc Perrusquia, a reporter with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, is the recipient of the seventh annual Hal Hovey Award, presented by GOVERNING and
February 1, 2010

Southeastern Water Wars

On June 10, 2009, state officials in Georgia declared that the severe three-year drought that parched metro Atlanta and much of the Southeast was finally over. But...
February 1, 2010

A Candidate Takes on Taxes

When Lincoln Chafee kicked off his campaign for governor of Rhode Island in January, he did something unconventional: He actually made news. Rather than stick...
February 1, 2010

Health Reform, Utah Style

Conservative Utah doesn't usually have a lot in common with liberal Massachusetts. But both states have embraced health exchanges - one of the big ideas...
February 1, 2010

Reaching for a Tuition Tax?

In cities from Boston to Baltimore to Birmingham, Ala., universities and hospitals have played key roles in revitalizing urban neighborhoods. But expansions of eds and...
February 1, 2010

Merging Historically Black Universities

Now that American higher education has been racially integrated for decades, what's the role of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)? That's the question that...
January 19, 2010

Mississippi University for Women -- for Men Too

When I go on a long car ride, I always end up with a long mental list of things to look up on Google or ...
December 31, 2009

An "Ordinary Joe" Runs Indianapolis

The tenure of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is helping to answer an oft-posed question: What would happen if an "ordinary Joe" was in charge of...
December 31, 2009

Energy Program Comes Under Fire

Every state wants to create green jobs. Oregon actually has done it. But a political consensus has emerged that the state has done it the...
December 31, 2009

A Showdown Over Nuclear Power Wages in Vermont

State legislators in Vermont are the only ones in the country with authority to vote on whether a nuclear power plant can continue in operation....
December 31, 2009

States Weigh Pot Reform

While political power has been shifting to the federal level lately, there's a clear exception. When it comes to policies on marijuana for medicinal use,...
December 31, 2009

Following An Ethically-Challenged Governor

For better and for worse, it is Pat Quinn's fate to be the governor who followed Rod Blagojevich in Illinois. Quinn served as lieutenant governor...
December 31, 2009

Top 10 Legislative Issues to Watch 2010

The Great Recession may technically be over, but it continues to have a devastating effect on the ability of state legislators to craft new legislation...
December 15, 2009

Which Issues to Watch?

In next month's issue, for the fourth time in my five years at Governing, I'll be writing our annual preview of state legislative ...
November 30, 2009

Should Cities Be in the Mega-Hotel Business?

The campaigns of Tom Leppert and Anne Raymond spent millions of dollars this spring wooing Dallas voters. Leppert and Raymond debated on radio and television....
November 30, 2009

A Democratic Governor's GOP Employment Program

Steve Beshear, the Democratic governor of Kentucky, is appointing Republicans to key offices--and other Republicans don't like it. Beshear's display of bipartisanship, GOP leaders say,...
November 30, 2009

Mike McGinn

In picking Mike McGinn as their next mayor, Seattle voters selected a little-known environmental activist over the incumbent and then over a wealthy and well-connected...
November 4, 2009

Maine Voters Reject Gay Marriage

For the second time in as many years, gay-marriage supporters yesterday suffered a narrow -- but stinging -- defeat at the polls. By a margin...
October 31, 2009

Can Higher Ed Control Its Costs?

At Virginia Tech, freshmen learn mathematics in a 60,000-square-foot box of a building that used to be Rose's discount department store. It's called the Math...
October 31, 2009

Albuquerque Voters' Republican Gamble

When Richard Berry won a surprise victory last month for mayor of Albuquerque, voters wondered whether they had chosen new policies or merely a new...
October 31, 2009

Tax Troubles in Arizona

Jan Brewer was Arizona's popular secretary of state early this year when her political career took a turn for the worse. She became governor. With...
October 6, 2009

Mommy, Where Do Governing's Stories Come From?

The classic childhood question is "Where do babies come from?" Well, that's the classic question other than "Are we there yet?&...
October 1, 2009

How Advocates for Fire-Safe Cigarettes Beat Big Tobacco

As a member of Congress 25 years ago, Jim Shannon fought to put a self-extinguishing mechanism in all cigarettes that would make them less likely to...
September 30, 2009

Stimulus Results: Difficult to Pin Down

Suppose you're a state budget director and you started this year looking at a huge fiscal shortfall (as virtually all of them did). It seemed...
September 30, 2009

Can a White Candidate Be Elected Mayor of Atlanta?

The question in Atlanta's mayoral election this fall isn't just who will win, but what it may reflect about the demographics of the city. City...
September 15, 2009

Story Behind the Story: A Quote Quota?

Currently, I'm reading Anthony Trollope's "Orley Farm." Or, at least I'm trying to read it. Don't get me wrong ...
September 8, 2009

Making the Stimulus Czar Calls

One of the first things GOVERNING's editors taught me when I started here four years ago is that when reporting a story you have to think long and hard about where you call.
September 4, 2009

Concierge Medicine and the States

Is it retainer medicine, concierge medicine or boutique medicine? When it comes to the practice of paying doctors a fixed fee for expanded primary care...
August 31, 2009

Primary Care Looks to States for a Booster Shot

Rhode Island doesn't have any retail health clinics. One major reason: toilets. Retail clinics are the facilities in drug stores or big-box stores where patients...
August 31, 2009

Disappearing Doctors

What accounts for the dramatic decline in the number of doctors opting to be primary-care physicians? Simple economics, mostly. "They're not dumb," says Candice Chen,...
August 31, 2009

Gay Marriage at a Crossroads

Other than the presidential election, no vote last November drew more attention than Proposition 8, California's ballot measure on gay marriage. The result, a 52 percent verdict...
August 31, 2009

The Governors' Big-State Blues

When Arnold Schwarzenegger's approval rating hit a new low of 28 percent in one poll this summer, it must have been only a small consolation that...
August 31, 2009

The Fight to Commercialize Rest Areas

Along I-95 in Maryland, rest stops come with fast-food restaurants and gas stations. Along I-95 in Virginia, they have orange barrels that block anyone from...
July 31, 2009


These days, Bettye Fine Collins doesn't talk like a power politician. "It's not easy being me," she complains. It's not hard to understand why. As...
July 31, 2009

Quittin' Time In Colorado

There's an employer in Colorado that is having serious problems retaining its workers: the state legislature. Five legislators have left office this year alone, including...
July 31, 2009

Beating the Spread

What happens in Vegas is coming to Delaware. In May, Delaware became the third state, along with Nevada and Montana, to allow betting on sporting...
July 31, 2009

Just How Strong Are Muni Bonds?

Vallejo, California's bankruptcy last year represented the largest municipal default in 14 years. For 16 months, Jefferson County, Alabama has been unable to pay debts on billions...
July 27, 2009

New Alaska Governor Faces Difficult Year

As Alaska's new governor, Sean Parnell simply needs to diffuse a politically poisonous atmosphere, mend a fractured Republican Party and guide one of the largest...
July 16, 2009

A County's Contracts Go Missing

Jefferson County, Alabama, is likely the nation's most financially troubled large local government. Alabama's most populous county (home to Birmingham) could go bankrupt ...
July 13, 2009

New Jersey Clings to School Districts Without Schools

posted by Josh Goodman I wrote 2,300 words last year about how even the smallest local governments are reluctant to merge with neighbors -- and how ...
June 30, 2009

Franchise Frustration

The recent bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors are halting, for now, a furious burst of state legislative lobbying by the nation's car dealers. As...
June 30, 2009

Vive Le Roy?

When Roy Barnes lost his reelection bid as Georgia's Democratic governor in 2002, it was the surprise of the year. Now, the man his opponents once...
June 30, 2009

The Costliest Ride

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a city of just over 150,000 people, almost half of the annual public transit budget doesn't go for buses, or trolleys,...
May 31, 2009

Mischief After Midnight

Last summer, just as the nation's credit markets were about to tighten, Gregory Schmidt received a loan from his bank under extraordinarily generous terms. His...
May 31, 2009

Past the Deadline

California, 2008 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't sign the budget until 85 days after the 2009 fiscal year began, making it the latest in state history. Although state government...
May 31, 2009

Horrible Honeymoon

Sam Adams may be off to the worst start of any American politician since President William Henry Harrison. While Adams didn't catch a fatal case...
April 30, 2009

Shades of Greywater

Laura Allen is no one's idea of an unrepentant lawbreaker. But under California's state plumbing code, that's exactly what she is. Allen, a soft-spoken elementary...
April 30, 2009

Second Chance in San Antonio

For a few months in 2005, people in San Antonio were talking about Julián Castro as the Hispanic Barack Obama. The city councilman, educated at...
April 30, 2009

Three Tracks to Vegas

The federal stimulus package provides $8 billion for high-speed rail--and a lot of tough questions. As states fight for this pot of money, they'll have to...
April 30, 2009

The Power of Purple Pipes

You may have never thought about the color of your pipes. You might even think the topic is so mundane that no one could possibly...
April 17, 2009

Are the Right Convicts Being Let Out of Jail Early?

State lawmakers from across the political spectrum are moving haltingly toward a consensus on corrections policy. Corrections costs have increased far more rapidly than the rate of inflation over the past couple of decades.
March 31, 2009

The Second Best Job in the State

Eliot Spitzer of New York styled himself a steamroller, an uncompromising politician who preferred intimidation over negotiation. Mike Beebe of Arkansas is a behind-the-scenes dealmaker...
March 31, 2009

Uneven Stimulus

The feds are dumping piles of stimulus dollars on all 50 states, but when you look behind the 11-digit numbers, some interesting disparities emerge. Through subtle...
February 28, 2009

Minneapolis Speedway

John Chiglo is looking up from the banks of the Mississippi River at a huge ivory monolith. It's the new I-35W bridge, built on...
February 19, 2009

Indiana Rejects Local Government Consolidation

I wrote a story last fall that centered on the question of whether state governments can force local governments to consolidate. We're starting to get the answer -- and it isn't surprising
December 31, 2008

Issues to Watch

The nation's political map has turned blue, but state budgets have gone decidedly into the red. The Democrats enjoy a more than 850-seat edge in...
November 30, 2008

The Coverage Connection

Two years ago, when Massachusetts legislators began debating near-universal health insurance, a lot of smart people helped them craft the package. And all of these...
October 31, 2008

Attempted Merger

Leon Duff retired as a Maine school superintendent in 2001, but not for good. In the seven years since, he's been called back into school administration...
October 13, 2008

Our Economy Stinks, But at Least We Get to Be Fiscally Responsible!

Fareed Zakaria sees a silver lining in our economic woes. Individuals, the feds, and, yes, state and local governments, will suddenly have to show some ...
October 9, 2008

Public Officials of the Year, 2008

Drumroll, please. Each year, we at Governing profile our Public Officials of the Year in the November issue of the magazine. We're announcing this year's ...
October 5, 2008

Pride and Shame at the DMV

Could DMVs be in the process of becoming models of customer service? Don't laugh -- states such as Virginia and Indiana have already turned departments ...
October 2, 2008

The Impetus for 311

In a session at Managing Performance this afternoon, Jill Jordan, the assistant city manager of Dallas, offered a reason for her city's interest in 311 that ...
September 30, 2008

Seizing the Initiative

The Florida Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It also protects life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And it defends the...
September 9, 2008

To the Dogs

Sure, state and local governments are slashing spending, announcing hiring freezes and imposing travel bans. But the dire state of municipal budgets didn't really hit ...
July 31, 2008

A Government Adrift

One day this June, a group of state agency managers came to Governor Mark Sanford with a pitch. They wanted to raise the projected growth...
July 21, 2008

Where the Starbucks Bubble Busted

Remember the heady days of 2005, when we thought that people could own homes without having any money and we thought that every block could support a Starbucks?
July 7, 2008

The Out-Googling of Governments

I just googled Louisville and was surprised by the result. The first hit?, an entertainment Web site. Number two? The University of Louisville. ...
June 4, 2008

Are Flight Delays Good for Airports?

from Midway Airport in Chicago after Governing's Managing Technology Conference in Seattle "It's not often that we're this busy at 8:30 in the evening." ...
June 2, 2008

Fusing the Fusion Centers

from Governing's Managing Technology Conference in Seattle "Fusion centers" have developed over the past few years as places for local, state and federal ...
May 31, 2008

A Dental Scandal

The death of Deamonte Driver shocked the country. Deamonte, a 12-year-old from suburban Prince George's County, Maryland, died in February 2007 when bacteria from an abscessed...
May 29, 2008

Managing Expectations

from Governing's Managing Technology Conference in Seattle When I worked at the Big Belly Deli, I had a philosophy when someone called in a carry-out ...
April 30, 2008

Pushing the Envelope

When his state holds its primaries later this month, Bill Bradbury will be in charge of the details. That's part of his role as secretary...
March 31, 2008

The Price of Prevention

Woody Allen once described death as "a very effective way of cutting down on your expenses." In the past decade, states all over the country...
February 5, 2008

Mayoral Endorsement Guide

With Super Tuesday finally here, I'm willing to make the barely controversial suggestion that neither party's presidential nomination will hinge on endorsements and the completely ...
February 4, 2008

Counting Some of the Votes

Here's an election reform proposal that has me intrigued. From Farhad Manjoo at But as many voting-reform experts have argued, manually counting the ...
February 1, 2008

Hope for Spitzer and O'Malley

Lou Jacobson has a column at about the political comebacks of two governors, Alabama's Bob Riley and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger. To me, the ...
January 29, 2008

Florida's Howard Dean Amendment?

Amid the presidential hoopla, Floridians vote today on an important policy question. A constitutional amendment on the ballot would create new limits on property taxes ...
January 28, 2008

Oh, the Horror!

The Washington Post commented on Barack Obama in an editorial this weekend: "He is inclusive, forgiving and inspiring -- but can the nation afford ...
January 25, 2008

An Endorsement That Actually Mattered

Most political analysts agree that endorsements are largely meaningless. Most political analysts also discuss endorsements endlessly. But I'm proud to be able to point you ...
January 25, 2008

I Can Hardly Wait

November 2010 is only about a 1,000 days away, so it's high time we had some news about the election after next. Finally, we do. In California, ...
January 24, 2008

Gubernatorial Politics in "a Divided Economy"

The nation's economic problems are hurting state budgets and roiling state politics. Just look what the office of Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell reported: Governor M. ...
January 24, 2008

Gay Rights Legislation in Idaho?

States never cease to surprise me. A case in point, Idaho. According to the Spokane, WA, Spokesman Review : BOISE - An Idaho Senate committee voted 6...
January 23, 2008

The Prince of Illinois

Political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli suggested " is better to be feared than loved." Perhaps if he'd observed the career of Illinois Governor Rod ...
January 23, 2008

This Train Is Bound for Glory?

Once, Californians were scheduled to vote on whether to fund high-speed rail in 2000. And in 2004. And in 2006. The timing never seemed quite right, so lawmakers ...
January 22, 2008

Better Yet, Elect His Mother

Lou Jacobson has a great roundup of state attorney general races on Jacobson lists the contests in Missouri, Montana and West Virginia as ...
January 17, 2008

Now That's Harsh

Liar, extremist, flip-flopper -- there's more than one way to skin a politician. But Hillary Clinton managed to come up with a new putdown when ...
January 16, 2008

Teflon Terminator

California faces major budget problems and, after a period of post-partisan bliss, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been sparring more often with legislative leaders in recent ...
January 15, 2008

"The ballot box will be the mailbox"

The New York Times has a report on voting by mail, one of my favorite topics: LOS ANGELES -- The first Tuesday in February, when 22 ...
January 15, 2008

Federalism at Work

Many state legislatures decided they wanted to influence federal politics by moving up their presidential primaries. So which level of government has to shoulder much ...
January 14, 2008

Deval Patrick's Immigration Gamble

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said recently that he's studying whether he can offer illegal immigrants in-state tuition without legislative approval. A few years ago that ...
January 11, 2008

The Start, Perhaps, of a Taxing Debate

I've written a couple of times about places where Democrats have complete control over state government, but where, nonetheless, they are very cautious on taxation ...
January 11, 2008

The Difference Between Iowa and New Hampshire

Former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin writes in the Washington Post this morning that gender was key to Hillary's comeback in New Hampshire, but not in ...
January 11, 2008

A Different Kind of Political Party

Alabama doesn't want anyone to have to make a choice between voting and partying: Alabama is one of 24 states voting on Feb. 5. Early voting will ...
January 11, 2008

Why Were the New Hampshire Polls Wrong?

Mark Blumenthal at has a fascinating post looking at why the pre-election surveys didn't anticipate Hillary Clinton's victory in the New Hampshire Democratic ...
January 10, 2008

When the Klan Ran Colorado

Peter Groff is now officially the first black state Senate president in Colorado history. But this passage in the Denver Post article on Groff is ...
January 8, 2008

No Love for Tennis Courts

This might say something about the status of tennis in the United States. When the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an interesting article headlined, "Cities ...
January 7, 2008

The Origins of Lethal Injection

Today's Supreme Court hearing on Kentucky's death penalty may be a prelude to the end of lethal injection nationally -- or perhaps the end of ...
January 3, 2008

Two Peas in a Pod

Iowa and New Hampshire have a lot in common: They get to vote first in the presidential nominating process, both are racially homogenous and both ...
January 3, 2008

Governor, Tell Us How You Really Feel

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland must REALLY not want to be vice president. Either that or he suffers from a political Achilles Heel: uncontrollable honesty. Strickland, ...
December 31, 2007

Issues to Watch 2008

That means focusing on infrastructure funding in response to the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. It also means trying to get homeowners into less-risky fixed-rate mortgages,...
December 31, 2007

When Losing Might Be Winning

On the morning of November 5, 2008, the day after Election Day, social conservatives may be celebrating Florida's vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
December 20, 2007

Fuel for Thought

The most discussed provision of the new federal energy legislation, just signed by President Bush, is that vehicle fuel economy standards will go up for ...
December 12, 2007

The Web Site is Dead. Long Live the Web Site!

A few days ago, the official Web site of the governor of Kentucky looked like this. There were more than 50 buttons total on the sides ...
December 10, 2007

Confrontational Speaker

Charlie Crist, the governor of Florida, enjoys an approval rating around 60 percent. Marco Rubio, the speaker of the Florida House and a fellow Republican, is apparently part of the other 40.
December 3, 2007

Huckabee's Home-State Immigration Debate

I recently called up Arkansas state Rep. Jon Woods to ask him about legislation he's sponsored designed to crack down on illegal immigration. I also wanted to ask for his thoughts on former governor Mike Huckabee, a fellow Republican with very different views on immigration.
December 1, 2007

The Big Benefit Base

A recent survey finds that state and local employees have certain compensatory advantages.

Healthy Handouts

Borrowing a page from private health insurers, state Medicaid programs are testing the wellness waters.
November 29, 2007


Arnold Schwarzenegger's story goes like this: -He was a celebrity actor and bodybuilder with no political experience. -He championed a popular ballot measure in California ...
November 21, 2007

Fool Me Once...

The pundits all agree on immigration: "Immigration -- couched as border security -- is undoubtedly going to be a way Republicans look to change ...
November 16, 2007

Beware of Supreme Courts Bearing Gifts

The Washington state Supreme Court recently overturned the state's one percent annual cap on property tax increases, which voters approved in 2001. This looked like a ...
November 14, 2007

History in the Making

All of the state bureaucrats toiling away in obscure positions should take heart. You might be the next Rob Wittman. Republicans in Virginia gathered last ...
November 13, 2007

Mailing It In

When between 45 and 50 percent of registered voters cast ballots in Washington state last Tuesday, the Seattle Times described turnout as "meager."
November 8, 2007

Taking the Initiative

I wrote 560 words about the ballot measures voters faced this year, but I can summarize in just one: Huh? If you need a slightly longer ...
November 7, 2007

My Head Hurts

From the Clarion-Ledger , Mississippi's largest newspaper: Republicans rolled to victory Tuesday in what could signal the virtual end of the two-party system in statewide races, ...
November 5, 2007

The Significance of 2007 for 2008

Without a single result to report, I can already tell you what the 2007 elections will portend for 2008: Nothing.
November 4, 2007

Lazy-Faire Federalism

The word everyone is using to describe Fred Thompson: lazy. Fewer people realize that he's calling for the federal government to be just as lazy ...
November 1, 2007

The Unwelcome Mat

States are at their peril when they try to ease rules to make life in the U.S. less difficult for illegal immigrants.
November 1, 2007

Encyclopedia Virginia

Almost as soon as the election returns are in, every new governor must decide on a chief of staff. Most of them pick their campaign managers, party operatives and longtime confidantes. In this context, the choice of Bill Leighty by Virginia Governor Mark Warner was an aberration.
November 1, 2007

Candid Camera: Traffic Lights in the Red

After Sioux Falls, South Dakota, installed red-light cameras at a key intersection, it saw its revenue from tickets for red-light infractions plummet.
October 31, 2007

Now That's Scary

If the state of Kentucky gets its way, the joke tonight will be on Snickers, Good & Plenty won't be plentiful and Almond Joy will ...
October 30, 2007

Map Time

posted by Josh Goodman The Wichita Eagle has a neat feature on its Web site: A map, which is updated every weekday, of all the ...
October 26, 2007

You Don't See This Every Day

The people of Maryland, by large majorities, want their taxes to be raised. The details of the Washington Post poll: -69% want cigarette taxes to ...
October 24, 2007

The California Evacuations in Context

Press reports indicate that 950,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes as a result of the California wildfires. Just how many people is 950,000? It's ...
October 19, 2007

Bayou Balloting

In some strange, scary alternate universe, tomorrow is election day. They call that universe "Louisiana." The big questions are whether the frontrunner for ...
October 18, 2007

Health Care, Halfway Around the World

At Governing's management conference last week, a former hospital administrator mentioned at dinner that some private companies are sending employees to India for open heart ...
October 11, 2007

Blogging the Management Conference: Honk If You Love Paying Fines

Virginia instituted some pricey new traffic fines this year: $900 for driving without a license, $1,050 for reckless driving and $2,250 for a first drunk driving offense. Critics ...
October 11, 2007

Blogging the Management Conference: Taxi Tribulations

I arrived in New York City yesterday and, like everyone else who shows up in the Big Apple, needed a cab. So I hop in ...
October 3, 2007

Mission Critical

Governing is a magazine, and a Web site, and newsletters and conferences and books. What's the point of all this stuff? To inform, to entertain, ...
October 1, 2007

Menu Mandate: King County Wants You to Know What You're Eating

Policy makers in King County, Washington, are hungry for restaurant regulation.
October 1, 2007

Name That Mayor

Imagine if a mayor could have this list of accomplishments: -A budget surplus -Rising test scores for K-12 students -A new NFL stadium and a ...
September 30, 2007

Out of the Blue

To say it's been a remarkable year for Michael Nutter is to understate the case. As the campaign for mayor of Philadelphia began last winter,...
September 25, 2007

Backroom Bipartisanship

Yesterday's news is that the U.S. Department of Transportation, with the approval of the White House, fought behind the scenes to stop California from ...
September 24, 2007

Does This Ring a Bell?

Tom Leppert, Dallas' new mayor, won his first major policy battle by overturning an interesting policy with a dull name: "verified response." Under ...
September 20, 2007

A Step in the Right Direction?

I know two things: 1) I've never spoken with anyone who, in a casual conversation, follows "way" with "forward." 2) Politicians, marketers and ...
September 20, 2007

The Cuba Caucus

Nebraska media reported this week that Governor Dave Heineman is planning his fourth trade mission to Cuba, with nothing more than a hint that the ...
September 16, 2007

Only in Louisiana

Louisiana has a unique way of making government more bipartisan. Consider the major candidates for governor this fall: -Foster Campbell, a Democrat -Walter Boasso, who ...
September 14, 2007

Slowing Arizona

Arizona is doing something that, so far as I know, nowhere else has tried: A statewide effort to automate speeding enforcement on state highways.
September 6, 2007

Little Sunshine Miss

I like a lot of different foods -- pie, hash browns, apple danish and lamb rogan josh to name a few -- but there's nothing ...
September 1, 2007

SIC Transit Gloria: A Toll Story in Pennsylvania

As of mid-July, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's perpetual funding crisis was over. A few weeks later, it's back.
September 1, 2007

Sense of a Slowdown

Local governments have been automating the process of catching speeders and red-light runners for years, but traffic scofflaws on state highways always knew they'd be pulled over by a trooper. Now, Arizona is changing that.
August 27, 2007

Strange Consistency

If there's one place for premature speculation, it's the blogosphere. That's why I say with pride that I was speculating prematurely when I wrote about ...
August 24, 2007

Heads Up 8.24.07

Texas to rate preschools. Morning News Does D.C. really have a textbook shortage? Washington Post Ad controversy continues in LA governor's race. Times-Picayune State ...
August 23, 2007

Heads Up 8.23.07

Colorado governor declares emergency: too much wheat. Denver Post KY governor visits Illinois city to argue against casinos. Sun-Times Oakland School Board member asked to ...
August 23, 2007

Diesel: The Fuel of the Future?

The sexiest futuristic cars run on electricity and hydrogen. A few months ago, I wrote a feature describing how state and local governments were picking ...
August 20, 2007

Introducing Our New Henhouse Guard: Colonel Sanders!

When I saw the headline that a state senator is becoming the head of the Nevada Mining Association, I had to read more. A special ...
August 17, 2007

Heads Up 8.17.07

Texas Youth Commission spokesman pepper sprayed -- at his request. Morning News Introducing the electric scooter. Union-Tribune Can mesh network solve San Fran's wifi politics? ...
August 16, 2007

As Arkansas Goes, So Goes the Nation?

A year ago, Arkansas, with the signature of then-governor Mike Huckabee (has he been in the news lately?), became the first state to ban smoking in cars when children are present. Now the idea is finally spreading to the boonies.
August 16, 2007

Heads Up 8.16.07

The uncertain future of municipal WiFi. WSJ (free link) St. Paul mayor: The state is to blame for higher property taxes. Pioneer Press Are carbon ...
August 16, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere...

Word leaked last month that New Orleans' tap water hadn't contained fluoride since Hurricane Katrina. For almost two years, no one in city or state ...
August 15, 2007

Heads Up 8.15.07

Brownback: Governors aren't qualified to be president. AP Advocacy group: Don't hide homeless during political conventions. Denver Post California raises taxes on sugary alcoholic beverages. ...
August 13, 2007

The Anti-Crist

In the August issue of Governing, I described how South Carolina's response to the coastal property insurance crisis differs from Florida's. This was actually quite ...
August 8, 2007

A Bridge Too Far?

If Grover Norquist is liberal with one thing, it's press releases. If you ignore the ideological pronouncements, his tax-cut advocacy organization, Americans for Tax Reform, ...
August 6, 2007

Primary Motivation

Over and over during the past few months, states have moved forward the dates of their presidential primaries to try to get to the front ...
August 3, 2007

That Was Fast

Across the country, newspapers are asking whether local bridges are safe. Some governors already have ordered reviews. A sampling of the coverage: Denver Post: $300M ...
August 3, 2007

Don't Bet on It

One kooky California gambler has an idea: The state should make money off of online poker.
August 1, 2007

Budget Builders: Collecting and Spending Stay Steady

More than half of the states exceeded their budgeted tax revenue in the 2007 fiscal year, according to data compiled by the National Association of State Budget Officers in their biennial "Fiscal Survey of States." Revenue came in below projections in just nine states.
August 1, 2007

Got Bars?

States are cracking down on the proliferation of contraband cell phones in prisons.
August 1, 2007

The States of Health

When it comes to health care, some states are haves and some are have- nots. That's the central conclusion of a new report from the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that conducts health care research.
August 1, 2007

The States of Health

When it comes to health care, some states are haves and some are have- nots. That's the central conclusion of a new report from the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that conducts health care research.
August 1, 2007

The New College Try

Though state efforts to topple the Electoral College are stymied, North Carolina is tinkering away.
July 31, 2007

What Governors See in the DLC

To the extent anyone is paying attention to the Democratic Leadership Council's annual convention in Nashville, it's to point out who isn't there.
July 26, 2007

For Shame

Shaming: It's not just for sex offenders, drunk drivers, tax evaders and dangerous dogs anymore. The State of Wisconsin has set up a Web site ...
July 23, 2007

A Love-Hate-Hate-Hate Relationship

Joe Bruno has been in a bad relationship for more than six months now. In January, he was on a "honeymoon" and in a "love fest."
July 18, 2007

Luv from the Guv: The Democrats

Yesterday I told you about the Republicans. Now here's all the news, speculation and intrigue, surrounding the presidential endorsements of the nation's 28 Democratic governors.
July 17, 2007

Luv from the Guv: The Republicans

Think that gubernatorial endorsements will make or break next year's presidential primaries? Consider that, far from winning his party's nomination, the candidate who Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack endorsed last November was the first to drop out.
July 13, 2007

Who Ya Gonna Call? GooseBuster.

Our magazine only comes out once a month. Collectively, we only write a couple of blog posts a day. So how on Earth do Governing ...
July 11, 2007

The Bear Facts

Here's something that perhaps no municipal official has ever asked: Which is a better bargain, a baseball team or a giant panda cub?
July 9, 2007

My Words!

As I sat down to write a feature on immigration for Governing's July issue, part of me wished I were writing about a less controversial topic -- like abortion.
July 2, 2007

State Lawmakers = College Students

Maryland lawmakers blissfully signed off on the 2008 fiscal year budget in April, which included new funding for school construction and stem cell research, without major ...
July 1, 2007

Smuggler's Delight

The American marketplace is awash in illegal fake products. Governments are supposed to police them, but most don't.
July 1, 2007

Revenue Retiree: A Michigan Tax Faces the Ax

It sounds like a drama-series finale where the scriptwriters can't agree: Michigan's unusual Single Business Tax is going to die, but how remains a matter of debate.
June 30, 2007


When the subject of illegal immigration comes up, the states you think about first are Texas and California. Maybe Arizona. But, as of July 1, it...
June 26, 2007

Coming Soon:

When I was updating Governing's Sourcebook the other day, I came to a startling realization: State economic development department Web sites have some really goofy ...
June 24, 2007

Got baum?

As the Bloomberg for President speculation reached Fred Thompson levels of hysteria over the past few days, it dawned on me that I had no ...
June 15, 2007

Dull and Duller

Dallas voters will decide on a new mayor tomorrow, with the choices being businessman Tom Leppert, who the local media has deemed "a pleasant, ...
June 14, 2007

Don't-Tax Democrats

One great thing about being a journalist is that you can raise questions with absolutely no obligation to answer them.
June 14, 2007

What's Stopping the Immigration Bill

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson declared the United States "a country where the will of the majority is the law, and ought to be the law.&...
June 13, 2007

A Test of Standardized Tests

SHOCKING NEWS!!!!!! The federal government has released an interesting report. That would be a Department of Education study, which reveals (or at least seems to ...
June 1, 2007

States on a Bermuda High

Insuring a Welcome Mat for Captives
May 29, 2007

Delicious Presidential Possibilities

Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but I'm starting to believe that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is running for president as ...
May 17, 2007

The Untrained Rider

I've spent the week in Atlanta, where I've acquainted myself with MARTA, the city's transit system. I've found MARTA's trains to be clean, spacious, reliable ...
May 11, 2007

Oklahoma's Immigration Transformation

Temperatures have been in the upper 70s in Oklahoma City this week, perfect weather for flip-flops. That might explain why Governor Brad Henry signed a ...
May 9, 2007

It's My Party and I'll Nominate Who I Want to

State Treasurer Jonathan Miller's decision to end his campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor of Kentucky simplified (slightly) a maddeningly complicated election. Democrats still ...
May 4, 2007

Government Efficiency, Aisle 6

Blasphemy as it might be for a writer for the Magazine of States and Localities, I'll admit it: Local government is the vanilla level of ...
April 30, 2007

All the Cool Kids Are Voting for Me

Why, more than anything else, does Anne Northup say she should be the Republican nominee for governor of Kentucky? Not because she'll fix the state's ...
April 26, 2007

Inbox Inadequacies

Governors offices and I don't see eye to eye. Many (though not all) of them seem to think e-mail is just like snail mail -- ...
April 25, 2007

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Blogs?

How many governors currently have blogs? The same number that communicate through smoke signals, homing pigeons and telepathy (so far as I know). Zero. Here's ...
April 23, 2007

A Governor's Best Friend

From Joe Six-Packs to a nine-term U.S. senator, everyone is worried about tainted pet food. Reaction to the recall from governors has been surprisingly ...
April 13, 2007

Sex and the City Government

Sometimes a statistic is worth a thousand words. Case in point: New York City gave away 5 million condoms in the first month after introducing the ...
April 11, 2007

'Price Is Right' Politics

I learned something important from Rudy Giuliani's inability to name the price of a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread: Reporters ask really ...
April 10, 2007

Rasputins of the Web

Legend has it that Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin survived four gunshot wounds, a severe beating and enough cyanide to kill ten people. He's got nothing ...
April 6, 2007

Here Comes the Son

All the attention Andrew Cuomo, New York's new attorney general is receiving (for example from our own Alan Greenblatt, see the third item here) got ...
April 4, 2007

The Most Powerful City in the United States

It's Omaha, Nebraska. No, Omaha hasn't supplanted New York City as the world's financial center, nor displaced Washington, D.C., as our capital. But NYC ...
April 1, 2007

The Real Estate Rub

A downturn in the housing market is beginning to spell a slowdown in local revenue.
April 1, 2007

Tax Grab Game

Cities are finding ways to raise revenue from suburbanites, without actually calling the levy a commuter tax.
March 31, 2007

Rate of Return

If a citizen is having trouble with a state agency, what should he or she do? E-mailing the governor's office seems like a logical idea...
March 29, 2007

The Most Intriguing Election of 2007

The most intriguing election of 2007, the Nevada governor's race, is intriguing for the very reason you've probably heard nothing about it: It isn't scheduled and ...
March 23, 2007

Votes That Don't Count

The state of Alaska is going to waste $1.2 million on April 3 to hold a referendum asking voters their opinion on domestic partner benefits for public ...
March 22, 2007

Curses, FOIAed Again!

I recently received a publication from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas that raises an interesting question: At what volume (if any) do requests ...
March 21, 2007

Angelina's Law

Angelina Jolie, the world's most famous adopter, soon might not be welcome in Arkansas orphanages. A bill, which passed the state Senate last week, forbids ...
March 16, 2007

Assessing the New Governors, Part 3

Here's the final part of my assessment of the nation's new governors' political success. Nevada's Jim Gibbons (Rep): Gibbons started out by facing claims of ...
March 15, 2007

Assessing the New Governors, Part 2

Here's part two of my thoughts on the new governors. Part 3 is coming tomorrow. Idaho's Butch Otter (Rep): Otter is showing signs of being the ...
March 14, 2007

Assessing the New Governors, Part 1

The nation's new governors are just like newlyweds: Their honeymoons have only been lasting a few days. Many of the 11 new state executives have already ...
March 12, 2007

What's Good for the Michigoose...

The other day, I was faced with a perplexing question: What do you call someone from New Jersey? "A genius," my colleague Chris, ...
March 9, 2007

Direct Democracy Delayed

Earlier this week, I mentioned California's high-speed rail project, which would connect the Northern and Southern parts of the state with a 220-MPH bullet train. ...
March 7, 2007

Little Engines That Might

I wrote a feature for the March issue of Governing that focused on one of the big reasons that the trains are unpopular for city-to-city ...
March 6, 2007

Everyone has a cell phone.

Well, not quite everyone. A recent report from the Federal Communications Commission shows that as of July 2006 there were 215.1 million cell phone subscribers in the 50 ...
March 1, 2007

Revving Up the Rails

States are ready to put up big bucks to speed up passenger rail service--if someone would just push freight trains out of the way.
March 1, 2007

Rough Landing: Miami Airport Deals With a $1 Billion Debt

Real-life sinkholes are a problem in South Florida, but the one giving Miami-Dade County officials headaches these days is figurative: Miami International Airport's finances.
February 27, 2007

REAL Opposition?

As the U.S. Senate begins debate today on measures to modify the REAL ID Act, which mandates standardized identification nationwide, what action Congress' upper ...
February 26, 2007

A Tale of Two Governors

Which is the Democrat and which is the Republican? Governor #1 says: "It's the first budget in six years with no new taxes or tax ...
February 23, 2007

Sex Offender Switcheroo

Since when did sex offenders become so popular? Consider some developments over the past couple of weeks in state legislatures: * On a 32-8 vote, the ...
February 20, 2007

The Value of a Vote

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but don't tell that to two lovers who remain in a tight embrace 365 days a year: money and politics. ...
February 15, 2007

Popular Vote Partisanship

You'll never guess what's standing in the way of efforts to select the president using the popular vote: partisan politics. Last year, a few states ...
February 8, 2007

Repeat Performance

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is losing her touch. Two years ago, in her state of the state address she mentioned "jobs" 52 times. Last ...
February 6, 2007

New York Senate Showdown

Remember how Levar Burton always used to say, "But you don't have to take my word for it," when recommending a book on ...
February 5, 2007

Public Employee Retirement Benefits: An Overblown Crisis?

With state and local governments facing, by some estimates, $1 trillion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health care and other post-employment benefits over the next thirty ...
February 2, 2007

Gambling on Lottery Privatization

Today's big topic in privatization is infrastructure: toll roads, parking garages and airports. Tomorrow's, though, seems to be lottery privatization, something Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels ...
February 1, 2007

The Muni Market's Bumpy Year

2006 had its ups and downs--although it was mostly positive for issuers and negative for some underwriters.
February 1, 2007

Unadulterated Truth

Governing gave William Glaberson of the New York Times our annual journalism award yesterday. There's lots that we liked about his series on New York's ...
January 26, 2007

Too Many Conductors Ruin the Trains?

Have you every thought about who's in charge of intercity train service in the United States? Hopefully not, because if you did, you'd probably end ...
January 24, 2007

When Tuition Freezes Over

Here's a hot issue in states: college tuition freezes. Governors O'Malley of Maryland, Gregoire of Washington, Rell of Connecticut, Pawlenty of Minnesota and Schweitzer of ...
January 18, 2007

...and Tinkerbell Transit

Only once every three or four blue moons do we receive an interesting press release through our fax machine here on the 13th Floor, but ...
January 16, 2007

"If Only We Could Be Like Mississippi"

Residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and other states have been known to remark, "Thank goodness for Mississippi," when presented with a 50-state ranking. ...
January 11, 2007

What Goes 'Rounds...

Everyone's glad to hear that South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson is feeling better, but a few people are probably especially relieved: his family, his fellow ...
January 9, 2007

Quote Larry Sabato, Ever More

The University of Virginia's Larry Sabato has been called a lot of things, from "the Mark McGwire of political analysts," to "America's ...
January 3, 2007

Legislatures: Who's Really in Charge?

Which party, Democratic or Republican, has more power in our brand-new state governments? That simple-sounding question is actually much more complicated than at first blush, ...
January 2, 2007

Two-Party Stranglehold

Here's a statistic that surprised me: Once all the new legislators are sworn in, Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown could have counted every state senator ...
January 1, 2007

Subway Story: A Fix for Escalator Woes

Washington, D.C.'s subway system hopes to have its elevators and escalators on the up and up thanks to a new training facility for the mechanics that keep them working.
December 31, 2006

Blue Challenge

John Shea, of Nelson, New Hampshire, is nothing if not persistent. For many years, he has wanted a seat on the state Executive Council, the...
December 31, 2006

What Makes New Hampshire Tick?

When I set out for New Hampshire to report "Blue Challenge" my task was clear. I had to explain how the Democratic gains in the...
December 28, 2006


Planning to promise this New Year's to lost weight, quit smoking or spend more time with your family? Those resolutions are tough to keep. Instead, ...
December 27, 2006

'Twas the Fight for the Speakership

Nothing's stirring in the political world this week, except in the Texas House. When Texas Republicans retained their majority in the state House of Representatives ...
December 21, 2006

Generation D?

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne points to an important statistic from this fall's elections: Sixty percent of voters under the age of thirty supported ...
December 21, 2006

War on Thanksgiving, Anyone?

I've held my fire long enough: It's time to revisit how governors are traversing the minefield that is the Christmas/holiday season. Like last year, ...
December 20, 2006

Marginally Better Than Coal

Still stumped on what gifts to get your loved ones? Alabama Governor Bob Riley has some suggestions. "Show your family and friends how much ...
December 17, 2006

More Troops = Fewer Cops?

The news that the Army and Marine Corps are requesting permanent increases in personnel doesn't sound like the type of thing that would impact state ...
December 13, 2006

Capital Offense

I received this familiar-sounding message from Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff the other day: "Our agenda is ambitious: to build the best ...
December 12, 2006

Park Place

Here's a neat Web site: Santa Monica, California has a real-time map of where parking spaces are available in its downtown and at the beach. ...
December 12, 2006

Not a Hussein in the Bunch

Over the past couple of weeks, Sen. Barack Obama's middle name, "Hussein," has generated a minor stir, with analysts wondering whether it's a ...
December 6, 2006

Blanco Scores Big

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco isn't generally known for political savvy, but she showed some smarts last week. That's when, to my knowledge, she was the ...
November 16, 2006

Cities to Sports Teams: Good Riddance

Earlier this year I wrote a feature on baseball stadium financing, with the premise that it's getting harder for teams to win funding from state ...
November 15, 2006

Nashville's First-Day Festivities

I still remember what the first day of school was like -- the excitement of seeing friends, meeting new teachers and getting ready to learn. ...
November 7, 2006

The Governors Races: Oddly Friendly to Incumbents

I was on NPR a few minutes ago, where the subject turned to the difference between this year's congressional elections and governors' elections. I pointed ...
November 7, 2006

Colorado Rejects Judicial Term Limits

That's the big judicial one on my list, other than the South Dakota vote.
November 7, 2006

Governors Race Update

Here's the latest on the four that MSNBC hasn't called: AK: Palin (R) 52%, Knowles (D) 37% (43% reporting) ID: Otter (R) 54%, Brady (D) 43%  (35% reporting) MN: Pawlenty (...
November 7, 2006

Arnold Says:

"I love doing sequels."
November 7, 2006

State Spending Limits Failing

Nebraska, Oregon and Maine are all rejecting TABORs. No matter how often Colorado Governor Bill Owens makes the point that his state saved, rather than ...
November 7, 2006

RI-GOV: Carcieri Wins

That's what MSNBC says.
November 7, 2006

AZ: Gay Marriage Ban Failing?

Gay marriage bans seem to be passing in every state but one: Arizona. In that state, NCSL says the ban (which also would forbid other ...
November 7, 2006

Arnold Wins

That's what MSNBC says: Four more years of the Governator. They only have five governors races left undecided: Minnesota, Rhode Island, Nevada, Alaska and Idaho.
November 7, 2006

Oklahoma Governor: What Happened Here?

Democratic Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma is winning reelection right now with 67% of the vote. That's incredible on at least three levels: 1) Oklahoma is very ...
November 7, 2006

Gubernatorial Nailbiters

We've had a lot of easy calls tonight, but there are at least a few extremely close races for governor: Minnesota, Nevada and Rhode Island (...
November 7, 2006

SD: Abortion Ban Loses

CNN has the call, that the abortion ban in South Dakota will fail. Let me be the first to suggest that this is a blessing ...
November 7, 2006

Arizona: Fascinating Ballot Measures

In Arizona, the minimum wage increase is winning, English as the official language is winning, the gay marriage ban is down 51%-49% and voters have ...
November 7, 2006

Democratic House: What Does It Mean?

Here's my one character analysis: ? And here's the longer version. I expect a Democratic majority to pursue an increase in the minimum wage, look to ...
November 7, 2006

Hevesi, Cuomo Win

Scandal notwithstanding, Alan Hevesi has been reelected comptroller of New York according to the New York Times. Andrew Cuomo will be the next attorney general.
November 7, 2006

AL LT. Gov: Folsom Leads

An astute reader in Alabama notes an interesting comeback bid: Former Alabama Governor Jim Folsom Jr., a Democrat, is currently leading in the race for ...
November 7, 2006

AZ-GOV: Napolitano Wins

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, has won reelection. Napolitano rejected a pay increase for herself and the modest pay for the office is one ...
November 7, 2006

TX-GOV: Perry Wins

CNN has Republican Rick Perry winning another term as governor of Texas. Democrat Chris Bell appears to be finishing second, while Kinky Friedman is languishing ...
November 7, 2006

Ballot Measure Roundup

The ban on same-sex marriage is ahead in Colorado, while the effort to legalize domestic partnerships is currently behind. The ban on affirmative action is ...
November 7, 2006

U.S. House: Democratic Sweep in Pennsylvania?

It's still earlier in many of these races, but currently five incumbent Republican congressmen in Pennsylvania are behind.
November 7, 2006

Kansas AG: Kline in Trouble

The nation's premier downballot election is in Kansas, where Attorney General Phill Kline, a conservative Republican, is facing Democrat Paul Morrison. Kline in big trouble ...
November 7, 2006

MD-GOV: O'Malley Wins

This is the first incumbent governor to lose and the first true toss-up gubernatorial election to be called. Democrat Martin O'Malley has defeated Republican Governor ...
November 7, 2006

Media Ethics Case Study

MSNBC called the Pennsylvania Senate race around 8:30 because they knew Casey would beat Santorum and polls had closed in most of the state. CNN held ...
November 7, 2006

MI-GOV: My Upset Predictions Are a Disaster

The Detroit Free Press says that Democrat Jennifer Granholm is winning big, but that Republicans are winning downballot elections.
November 7, 2006

Ballot Measures: Something for Everyone

Increases in the minimum wage are projected to pass in Ohio and Missouri. The same goes for bans on same-sex marriage in Tennessee and South ...
November 7, 2006

IL-Gov: Blagojevich Wins

The AP has called the Illinois governors' race for incumbent Democrat Rod Blagojevich, making him a leading candidate for the Gray Davis Award for most ...
November 7, 2006

Governors Race Bonanza

We have a bunch of winners from various news organizations. Republicans Jodi Rell in CT and Sonny Perdue in GA, plus Democrats Ed Rendell in ...
November 7, 2006

MA-GOV: Patrick Wins

Democrat Deval Patrick has won the Massachusetts governorship, according to the AP. Two mind-boggling stats: He will be only the third black governor in American ...
November 7, 2006

Polls Close in 19 States

CQ has this useful list of poll closing times. Now that polls are closed in the majority of states, I think it's safe to say ...
November 7, 2006

Could the Ohio Legislature Be in Play?

Few analysts have been talking much about Republicans losing either house of the Ohio legislature, but with the toxic environment for the GOP in the ...
November 7, 2006

OH-GOV: Strickland Wins

We have our first gubernatorial call: Democrat Ted Strickland will be the next governor of Ohio.
November 7, 2006

Louisville Mayor: Abramson Leads

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson looks like a safe bet for reelection, with a 2 to 1 lead and a third of precincts reporting.
November 7, 2006

Gay Marriage Ban Passes in Virginia

Our first call: CNN says that the ban on same-sex marriage will pass in Virginia, which is a surprisingly quick call on a vote that ...
November 7, 2006

Upset Possibilities

Here are some potential upsets. And I'm not talking mild surprises, I'm talking UPSETS. Florida Governor: Republican Charlie Crist has led the whole election, but ...
November 7, 2006

Useful Links

NCSL has a helpful guide to which legislatures are in play. This post explains their methodology. Also, here's my list of where to find election ...
November 7, 2006

Elvis Has Left the Statehouse?

One Indiana Republican legislator facing a serious challenge tonight is Bruce Borders. Democrats charge that he's not a serious enough lawmaker. Why would they say ...
November 7, 2006

Kentucky and Indiana Bellwethers

As polls close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky in a few minutes, you'll hear a lot about the congressional races in those states foreshadowing ...
November 6, 2006

Election Results: 50 States, 50+ Links

With one day until THE day, I've compiled a list of where to find election results in all fifty states. If you're only interested in ...
November 3, 2006

Disappearing Polling Places

posted by Josh Goodman Early this year, officials in Sedgwick County, Kansas announced that they were eliminating more than two thirds of their voting locations. ...
November 1, 2006

Civic Booster

Luring businesses by improving quality of life.
November 1, 2006

Easing the Campus-Parking Crunch

Car-sharing companies come to undergrads' aid.
October 31, 2006

The Only Reason State Legislatures Are Important

This type of coverage drives me nuts. From this morning's New York Times article on state legislative elections: "Most significantly, the groundwork for redrawing ...
October 26, 2006

Judging the Ruling

Here are two takes on that ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court: 1) "NJ Court Stops Short of Gay Marriage OK" 2) "N....
October 25, 2006

SPAM!: Jesse Ventura's Statesmanship Edition

With a month's worth of spam rotting in my Inbox, here's the latest gubernatorial election news...
October 18, 2006

Nashville's New Island

Everyone loves riverfront property, there's just never quite enough of it. But now Nashville has a solution: Build more rivers. The city and the Army ...
October 17, 2006

WAat Next?

"SayWa" is dead. The State of Washington's nonsensical tourism slogan lasted only six months before officials retired the five-letter failure. Let the record ...
October 16, 2006

Puzzling Governors, Part 3

Here are my final two explanations for all those puzzling governors: Explanation #7: Many states prefer one party in today's presidential elections, but have a rich ...
October 13, 2006

Puzzling Governors, Part 2

Here's the second part of my series on why Democratic governors have thrived in Republican state and vice versa: Explanation #4: For them to get elected ...
October 12, 2006

Puzzling Governors, Part 1

I wrote a feature investigating two related puzzles for the October issue of Governing: Why have so many gubernatorial candidates won elections in unfriendly places (...
October 1, 2006

Against the Grain

Governors are finding success in the unlikeliest places. They're doing it by choosing boldness over caution.
September 29, 2006

Standing by Their Party

posted by Josh Goodman There are lots of ways to get a sense, prior to Election Day, how a political party is going to fare. ...
September 25, 2006

Ohio to Governing: Do You Support Terrorism?

A few months ago, we told you about a new Ohio law requiring everyone that does business with the state to affirm that they don't ...
September 19, 2006

Pension Puzzle

Amid all of the justifiable concern about underfunded public pension systems, most recently in Alaska, it's easy not to notice that some places appear to ...
September 19, 2006

Two Words: Spam

Here's the latest gubernatorial election news cluttering my Inbox: * Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich circulates a video message in which he says, "When you think ...
September 13, 2006

Len Munsil's Modesty

Every person I asked in Arizona a couple of weeks ago told me that Len Munsil, the gubernatorial candidate who won the Republican nomination last ...
September 12, 2006

Arizona's Immigration Test

From state and federal election results this November, we'll get a good idea of where the American people stand on immigration reform. But if you ...
September 11, 2006

Spam, Frog Legs and Fried Chocolate Pie

posted by Josh Goodman With the official Labor Day kickoff of campaign season behind us, you can bet my inbox is filling up with spam. ...
September 8, 2006

The Politics of a Health Care Experiment

We've heard tons about the policy merits of Massachusetts' new health care plan, which, among other things, requires that all state residents obtain health insurance. ...
September 7, 2006

The New Ethanol Debate: Food v. Fuel

The ethanol debate sometimes seems like "Field of Dreams." It's the same today that it was ten years ago and there's lots of ...
September 6, 2006

Swann Sings Independent Song

Youngsters across the country are headed back to school this week, so it's a good time for a reminder of what it's like to be ...
August 29, 2006

Spam to the Future

The name "spam" was originally short for "shoulder of pork and ham." Now it's what I call all the e-mails that ...
August 23, 2006

Adding Insult to Injury

There's been a lot of talk about how Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski's third place finish in the Republican primary is a dramatic reversal of fortune ...
August 21, 2006

Puzzling Part-Timers

posted by Josh Goodman One more item is itching to get out of my notepad after my trip to NCSL's annual meeting last week. I ...
August 18, 2006

Free and Easy

Yesterday at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in Nashville, I set out on a search to find the weirdest booth in the ...
August 18, 2006

Will the New York Senate Go Democratic?

I queried folks here at NCSL's annual meeting in Nashville as to whether Democrats were in a position to take control of the New York ...
August 17, 2006

Plethora of Polk

The Nashville and Davidson County metro government has a lot going for it -- improving schools, affordable housing and an attractive business location -- but ...
August 16, 2006

No Child: The Problem of Defining the Problem

No Child Left Behind doesn't come up in Congress for reauthorization until next year, but that hasn't stopped a lively discussion from taking place over ...
August 15, 2006

Crying Fowl

Oklahoma State University political scientist Bob Darcy has just done his best to dispel me of one of my favorite urban rural legends: That Brad ...
August 8, 2006

From Brat to Wurst

Here's the latest delicious political spam candidates for governor are sending to my inbox: * Wisconsin Republican Mark Green has a folksy video in which he ...
August 7, 2006

Meth: Good News and Bad

The first time I glanced at the National Association of Counties' latest report on meth, I thought it vindicated the meth precursor laws that have ...
August 1, 2006

A Gay Marriage Reversal of Fortune?

It's been a rough summer for gay marriage supporters, what with courts in New York, Washington, Georgia and Nebraska all ruling against them. But recent ...
July 28, 2006

Sock Puppets, Potato Blossoms and Cheerful Candidates

Spam has accumulated once again in my inbox since my post a couple of weeks ago, so it's time for the latest tidbits from the ...
July 25, 2006

Gay Parenting: The Next Front in the Culture Wars?

Gay marriage may soon run out of steam as a political issue in the states, but there's little danger that a ceasefire is imminent in ...
July 20, 2006

"A Compassionate Redneck"

Here's a pop quiz for the elections junkies out there. What candidate for governor recently described himself as "a compassionate redneck," noted that ...
July 18, 2006

"Let's See Some ID, Grandpa"

posted by Josh Goodman Legislators in Tennessee are taking a swig of something we here at Governing find highly intoxicating: policy innovation. Earlier this summer, ...
July 14, 2006

So Much Spam

posted by Josh Goodman A few weeks ago, I did something that no sane person would do. I signed up for dozens of gubernatorial candidate ...
July 11, 2006

A Cold-Button Issue

Everyone knows the hot-button political issues these days: the Iraq War, gay marriage, abortion, immigration and unfunded public employee pension liabilities. Ok, so maybe the ...
July 10, 2006

Cell Outs

Hate cell phones? You should move to Vermont. As of June 2005, the most recent data available, the Green Mountain state had the fewest cell phones ...
July 6, 2006

One Way to Boost Turnout

An Arizona ballot measure may hold the key to boosting voter turnout: paying people to vote. The initiative, which last week the state certified for ...
June 28, 2006

The Straw that Broke Joe Camel's Back?

Ninety-nine government reports out of one hundred instantly get tossed in the wastebasket of irrelevancy, but yesterday's Surgeon General report on secondhand smoke seems destined ...
June 28, 2006

"I like you, just not like that."

A Washington Post poll released today had lots of good news for Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich. Fifty-six percent of registered Maryland voters approve of the ...
June 21, 2006

Former Governors Have More Fun

What with the lousy hours, mediocre pay, constant media scrutiny, obligatory baby kissing and inevitable squabbling with the legislature, why would anyone want to be ...
June 20, 2006

Now Blogging: Tom Vilsack

Writing a recent diary on liberal Web site Daily Kos, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack proved that he isn't your father's blogging politician -- and not ...
June 12, 2006

Smoking Analogies Abound

When I was in high school, I thought that nothing I was learning would be useful in the real world. History class was about Tippecanoe ...
June 8, 2006

Flunking the Electoral College

While much has been made of the effect a bill making its way through the California legislature could have on presidential politics, the impact could ...
June 1, 2006

Stub Snub: Setting New Limits on Tobacco

The battleground over smoking restrictions is shifting from bars and restaurants to cars and the great outdoors.
May 24, 2006

States Grapple With Gas Price Politics

My biggest question regarding state responses to high gas prices is, "What took so long?" USA Today reported last week that more than 20 ...
May 19, 2006

HAVA Heart!

Irony-loving officials in Sedgwick County, Kansas, have found a way to implement the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that almost certainly will make it ...
May 17, 2006

Assessing Governor Candidates: Who's Looking the Same

In the final part of my update on governors' races, I'm looking at candidates whose chances haven't changed much over the past few months. Of ...
May 16, 2006

Assessing Governor Candidates: Who's Looking Worse?

Yesterday I wrote about candidates for governor whose fortunes are brightening, but others haven't been so lucky. Here are three aspirants who are in worse ...
May 15, 2006

Voting 4 Me? U R 2 Kewl!

Podcasts are so yesterday. Text messages are the new way for governors to communicate. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's reelection campaign is already signing up supporters ...
May 15, 2006

Assessing Governor Candidates: Who's Looking Better?

A few months have passed since I previewed this year's governors races in Governing and since then the political world has been downright uncooperative, refusing ...
May 12, 2006

And Ima Luzer Won't

Here's my prediction for tomorrow's Austin mayoral election: Will Wynn will win.
May 4, 2006

What's with the Optimism?

As a Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians fan, if there's one thing I don't understand, it's optimism. I often notice a strange, strange synchronicity between ...
May 1, 2006

Downballot Elections to Watch

If you're like me, you're counting the days until the 2006 election, which is now little more than 6 months away. Undoubtedly, you've heard about the governors' ...
April 27, 2006

911 Cell Stragglers

Studious readers might have noticed the Daily Digit stating that only 1% of Oklahoma residents live in areas where 911 callers from cell phones can ...
April 21, 2006

Now Guest Blogging: Jeb Bush

Now that the digital graveyard is overflowing with the dead, dormant and infrequently updated blogs of elected officials, many may be wondering whether they can ...
April 18, 2006

"We Need Some Stinkin' Badges"

When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last week proposed hiring 1,000 new police officers over the next four years, most of the attention focused on the 155% ...
April 14, 2006

Tax Reform Finally Comes to Alabama

With barely a peep of dissension, Alabama has finally decided to make reforms to its uniquely regressive tax code. Legislation signed by Governor Bob Riley ...
April 13, 2006

The Minimum Wage Momentum

Although the minimum wage is always an issue for state legislators, last year and this year they have been especially active. At least nine states ...
April 11, 2006

A Smoking Ban with a Twist

Here's an idea that might catch on around the country. Arkansas just became the 17th state to ban smoking in workplaces, but, more interestingly, it ...
April 6, 2006

Beer, Borders and Beavers

State legislators are never short on creativity. If you don't believe me, consider some of the quirky ideas percolating in legislatures around the country this ...
March 30, 2006

Please, Just Give Me a Phone Number!

A couple of months ago, I had a very simple question for a state that will remain nameless. I found the division that would have ...
March 29, 2006

Michigan's Referendum Machinations

Recent events in Michigan illustrate how voter referendums are becoming devices for influencing the results of other votes. Governor Jennifer Granholm was all smiles yesterday ...
March 27, 2006

Women Make Gains in State Tech

I've just completed an initial update of the state technology officials for Governing's Sourcebook and the results show that slowly more women are moving into ...
March 21, 2006

Change of Forecast in Illinois Race for Governor?

Voters are headed to the polls today in Illinois for primary elections -- or at least they're supposed to be. As Taegan Goddard points out ...
March 20, 2006

The Anti-Slogan

In one episode of the Simpsons, Marge tells Homer, "It's very easy to criticize," to which he responds, "and fun, too!" ...
March 17, 2006

Say What?

If you've been paying attention to the 13th Floor over the past few months, you know that we've taken a good bit of glee in ...
March 15, 2006

Making Changes to No Child Left Behind

The Washington Post offered principals in the D.C. area an interesting opportunity this weekend: Explain for the world why your school is not meeting ...
March 7, 2006

If Roe Is Overturned, Which States Will Ban Abortion?

Now that South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds has signed legislation to ban virtually all abortions, a renewed court battle over Roe v. Wade seems inevitable. ...
March 6, 2006

2006: Year of the Independent? (Revisited)

A few months ago, I argued that although the political environment might be turning voters against both the Republican and Democratic parties, no credible independent ...
March 1, 2006

Baseball's Big Test

If you're curious about the future of public financing of Major League Baseball stadiums, keep a close eye on the Minnesota legislature over the next ...
March 1, 2006

Eminent Domain Restrictions and Credit Ratings

One reason I'm so fascinated by the response to the Supreme Court's Kelo decision is that every day there seems to be a new angle ...
February 27, 2006

Washington State's Malpractice Miracle

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire seems to have worked a minor miracle in brokering a compromise between doctors and malpractice attorneys in her state. That's not ...
February 27, 2006

Anti-Meth Laws Come to D.C.

Here at Governing, we always take pleasure in pointing out when federal legislation mirrors laws already on the books in the states. Well, the congressional ...
February 24, 2006

Eminent Domain Could Swing Elections in November

The backlash against the Supreme Court's Kelo decision is continuing unabated. Property rights advocates across the country are proposing amendments to state constitutions to restrict ...
February 22, 2006

Virginia's Laziness Tax

The Virginia legislature is considering a gas tax increase with a twist. Anyone could mail in their receipts for gas purchases twice a year and ...
February 20, 2006

What's Wrong With This List?

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took a new step in his public health crusade yesterday, granting "Healthy Arkansas" designations to 106 of his state's dining ...
February 16, 2006

Good News for Small-State Guvs

One thing that strikes me about SurveyUSA's newest batch of polling on governors' approval ratings is that people like their governors a lot more in ...
February 14, 2006

Rhode Island's Gamble

Rhode Island doesn't have a lot going for it. It's about 1/429th the size of Alaska. It's not actually an island. And, it was one ...
February 8, 2006

Will the Dearth of African-American Governors End in 2006?

Only one African-American, Virginia's Doug Wilder, has ever been elected governor of a U.S. state. As a result of developments over the past two ...
February 7, 2006

Kelo's Effect on Stadiums

While working on an article for Governing's March issue on financing sports stadiums, one question I've asked a couple of sources is whether last year's ...
February 6, 2006

Virginia's "Singing" Senators

Virginia is embroiled in a state song controversy, but for all the wrong reasons. The ordeal began in 1997 when, due to patently offensive lyrics, "...
February 1, 2006

Many Mansions

This is a busy gubernatorial year, with contests in more than two- thirds of the states. It may also be a year of significant change.
January 31, 2006

States of the President

The State of the Union address is as much about measuring the standing of the president as it is about the country as a whole. ...
January 26, 2006

Utah's Constitutional Kerfuffle

The last time many people felt passionately about the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, other hot topics included Prohibition and women's suffrage. But ...
January 20, 2006

Govs' Polls: Woe the Ex-Congressmen (UPDATED)

SurveyUSA's newest approval rating polls reveal the secret to being a popular governor: Don't be a former member of Congress. Ten (Correction) Nine current governors ...
January 19, 2006

Relentlessly "On Message"

Sometimes a word is worth a thousand words. That's certainly been true during the latest round of governors' State of the State addresses. You can ...
January 13, 2006

Who Let the Dangerous Dogs Out?

A national movement is afoot to crack down on dangerous dogs, from San Francisco, to Colorado to Virginia. Now counties across the country have a ...
January 10, 2006

Trend Against Death Penalty Grows

posted Josh Goodman There is new momentum against the death penalty in state government. Death sentences are declining, the New Jersey legislature passed a death ...
January 8, 2006

Term Limits Tango

One of the primary reasons for adopting term limits is to get fresh faces into government. However, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported recently, it ...
January 6, 2006

Showgirls in the Senate?

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (alas, no relation) is contemplating a bid for U.S. Senate. If C-SPAN had a little more entrepreneurial savvy and ...
January 5, 2006

Martinez vs. Martinez

As Political Wire notes, one Texas House of Representatives campaign is sure to get personal. That's because the candidates in the Democratic primary are incumbent ...
January 2, 2006

Redefining the Statehouse

If you're still trying to come up with a New Year's resolution, do me a favor. Promise to only use the word "statehouse" ...
January 1, 2006

Legislatures 2006: Issues to Watch

As legislatures in most states come back into session this month, their members will be spending an unusual amount of time dealing with issues that involve other levels of government.
December 28, 2005

Great Potatoes. Lousy Slogans.

New Jersey's taken a lot of heat for its search for a new slogan. But based on this list of current state catch phrases, it ...
December 22, 2005

The Battle of the Sexes: A Draw

With a new 50-state poll of governors' approval ratings out, I decided to check an argument I made last month: that female executives are as ...
December 21, 2005

Governors Elections to Watch

For a preview of the 2006 governors elections that I'm writing for the February issue of Governing, I've spoken with the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato ...
December 20, 2005

Immigration Issues Roil the GOP

A few days ago the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill designed to crack down on illegal immigration, but not before business ...
December 14, 2005

Governors and the "War on Christmas"

Claims by some conservatives that liberals are waging a "War on Christmas" have gotten a lot of attention lately. Some groups have criticized ...
December 12, 2005

The New History

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed recently announced that the Web site of former governor Mike Lowry, who served from 1993-1997, would be maintained in ...
December 11, 2005

States Steering Seniors' Drug Choices

Several states are quietly altering the way Medicare's new prescription drug benefit operates. The changes mean that when the program begins on January 1, it will ...
December 8, 2005

The Effects of Term Limits

Governing's January issue will discuss whether term limits have dulled institutional memory in state legislatures and shifted power to governors and agency heads. That got ...
December 1, 2005

Creating A Bond: Chicago Keeps The Little Guy in The Loop

Chicago is bringing municipal bonds to the masses.
December 1, 2005

The Myth of Political Polarization

Going along with my post below, I have often wondered why, with so many governors thriving in states where their party is supposedly in the ...
December 1, 2005

Guvs' Polls: What's Red is Blue and Blue is Red

Survey USA has new approval ratings for all 50 governors. The polls bear out an odd trend that has become increasingly clear over the past few ...
November 29, 2005

Kelo's Defenders

From most of the commentary on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. New London, which affirmed the use of eminent domain ...
November 18, 2005

Sanford Conspiracies

South Carolina's Mark Sanford (pictured here) may have been the most controversial pick for Time magazine's list of three worst governors. Now the fallout from ...
November 16, 2005

The Mayoral Glass Ceiling

Believe it or not, only one mayor of America's 25 most populous cities is a woman (Laura Miller of Dallas, pictured here). Though the extent to ...
November 15, 2005

Will Arnold Be Back?

Two years ago Democratic voters gave a Republican official what Governing termed "a stinging rebuke" on a reform-minded ballot measure he pushed. If ...
November 8, 2005

Summary and Goodnight

2:35 A.M.: We're still waiting on the last results from California, but I'm headed to bed. Prop. 75 is especially close and you can get all ...
November 8, 2005

Washington State Smoking Ban Passes

2:22 A.M.: Washington state has passed one of the nation's toughest smoking bans.
November 8, 2005

Detroit Mayor: Technical Glitch

2:00 A.M.: It looks as though it might still be a while before we know the result in Detroit, but, as far as I can ...
November 8, 2005

King County Executive: Sims Pulling Away

1:47 A.M.: King County Executive Ron Sims got a bit of a scare, but he appears to be winning. By the way, the Hotline blog ...
November 8, 2005

San Diego Mayor: Sanders Looks Likely to Win

1:29 A.M.: Republican Jerry Sanders appears to be pulling ahead. If he does win, his unenviable task is to fix the fiscal mess in San ...
November 8, 2005

Hotline: Liberal Counties Still to Report in California

1:08 A.M.: I haven't tried to figure out what California counties have reported so far, but the Hotline blog says that the liberal, populous counties ...
November 8, 2005

San Diego, Detroit Mayor Updates

12:50 A.M.: Republican Jerry Sanders leads Democrat Donna Frye in early returns in San Diego. In Detroit, the Free Press explains why they haven't called ...
November 8, 2005

Seattle Results: Monorail Losing, Nickels Winning

12:42 A.M.: The Seattle Times has lots of interesting results on their site. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels appears headed to reelection in early returns, but ...
November 8, 2005

New York Budget Referendum Fails

12:32 A.M.: New York's ballot measure to change the state budgeting process has failed. Anytime both Gov. Pataki and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer are against ...
November 8, 2005

California Numbers

12:23 A.M.: Results on California's referendums are here. Referendum 75, which would require written consent for the dues of public employee union members to be used ...
November 8, 2005

First California Returns

12:12 A.M.: According to the Los Angeles Times, two of the ballot measures pushed by Arnold appear to be failing. The two are Refs. 76 and 77, ...
November 8, 2005

Maine Appears to Keep Anti-Discrimination Law for Sexual Orientation

11:59 P.M.: Although I haven't seen any official call, barring a very dramatic turn of events Maine voters will keep a law banning discrimination on ...
November 8, 2005

Mayoral Roundup

11:46 P.M.: Four more results: Incumbent Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell has just conceded to City Council Chairman Frank Jackson in a tight race. Minneapolis Mayor ...
November 8, 2005

New Jersey Voters Approve Lt. Governorship

11:30 P.M.: New Jersey voters have passed a ballot measure to create a lieutenant governorship. Prior to the vote, I believe New Jersey was the ...
November 8, 2005

Boston Mayor: Menino Wins 4th Term

11:19 P.M.: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has easily won a fourth term.
November 8, 2005

It's Official: All Four Ohio Reform Measures Fail

11:13 P.M.: The four referendums designed to reform Ohio election law have all officially been defeated. An article from the AP suggests that voter confusion ...
November 8, 2005

NYC Mayor: Bloomberg Wins

11:05 P.M.: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been reelected easily. The New York Times had the best analysis on this race: Bloomberg's greatest ...
November 8, 2005

California, Washington Polls Close

11:00 P.M.: Polls are just closing in both Washington state and California. There are tons of interesting referendums in both places.
November 8, 2005

Cincy, St. Paul Mayoral Races Called

10:51 P.M.: Two more mayoral updates: St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly has been defeated by fellow Democrat Chris Coleman. This is a win that Democrats ...
November 8, 2005

Dallas "Strong Mayor" Vote Fails Narrowly

10:40 P.M.: For the second time this year, Dallas voters have rejected a proposal to strengthen the city's mayorship. Today's referendum would have made more ...
November 8, 2005

Pittsburgh Mayor: O'Connor Wins

10:29 P.M.: As expected, the AP reports Democrat Bob O'Connor has won the mayoral race in Pittsburgh.
November 8, 2005

Atlanta Mayor: Franklin Reelected

10:22 P.M.: Although most precincts haven't reported yet, Atlanta's Democratic Mayor Shirley Franklin is taking 92% of the vote, so I'm personally declaring her the winner ...
November 8, 2005

Republican Wins Virginia Lt. Gov?

10:14 P.M.: Not Larry Sabato is calling the Virginia lieutenant governor race for Republican Bill Bolling. I haven't heard an official call, but the tone ...
November 8, 2005

OH: Redistricting Measure Fails

10:04 P.M.: Issue 4 fails according to the AP. It will be interesting to dissect afterwards why, when Ohio residents have such low opinions of Republican ...
November 8, 2005

AP: Corzine Wins

9:55 P.M.: According to the Associated Press, Democrat Jon Corzine has been elected governor of New Jersey.
November 8, 2005

Ohio: Could the Entire Reform Agenda Be in Jeopardy?

9:50 P.M.: The much-ballyhooed four reform referendums in Ohio appear to be in serious danger of defeat. It isn't a big surprise that Issue 4, the ...
November 8, 2005

NJ GOV: Corzine Leads

9:32 P.M.: With 41% of precincts in, New Jersey Democrat Jon Corzine has a 54%-43% lead over Republican Doug Forrester.
November 8, 2005

Texas Gay Marriage Ban Passes

9:28 P.M.: As expected, the gay marriage ban in Texas has passed easily. Currently, it is winning with 74% of the vote. Based on the standard ...
November 8, 2005

Houston Mayor: White Reelected

9:20 P.M.: Bill White, the Democratic mayor of Houston is taking upwards of 90% of the vote has been officially called as the winner.
November 8, 2005

AP: Kaine Wins

9:13 P.M.: The Associated Press has called the Virginia governor's race for Democrat Tim Kaine.
November 8, 2005

St. Peterburg Mayor: Baker Winning Easily

The St. Petersburg Times reports that incumbent Republican Rick Baker has 68.5% of the vote with 88 of 115 precincts reporting. I'm not sure whether this one has ...
November 8, 2005

Polls Close in New York

8:58 P.M. Polls are about two minutes from closing in New York. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears likely to cruise to reelection. A ...
November 8, 2005

Kaine Number Look Strong

8:53 P.M.: Tim Kaine appears to be matching Mark Warner's numbers from 2001 in many places.  That's good news for him because Warner won by 5%. ...
November 8, 2005

Kaine Running Ahead of Other Statewide Democratic Candidates

8:26 P.M.: Looking at the aggregate Virginia results, Democratic Tim Kaine appears to be outperforming fellow Democrats Leslie Byrne and Creigh Deeds, candidates for lt. ...
November 8, 2005

Non-Partisan Redistricting Running Behind Other Ballot Measures in Ohio

8:07 P.M. Only a small percentage of Ohio's precincts have reported so far, so it's too soon to jump to any conclusions. Still, it is ...
November 8, 2005

Polls Close in New Jersey

7:55: Polls close in 5 minutes in New Jersey and Maine (where there is a referendum seeking to overturn a law barring discrimination on the basis of ...
November 8, 2005

Polls Close in Ohio

7:33 P.M.: Polls have now closed in Ohio. Besides the statewide referendums, there are also interesting mayoral races in Cleveland and Cincinnati. In Cleveland, incumbent ...
November 8, 2005

Virginia Spin Gets Going

7:25: As the Hotline's blog points out, we are hearing conflicting reports about turnout in Virginia. I just heard two reporters on T.V., one stationed ...
November 8, 2005

Polls Close in Virginia

7:10 P.M.: Polls have closed in Virginia, but there are no exit polls today, so we'll have to wait for the results. Not Larry Sabato ...
November 8, 2005

VA-GOV: Look to Loudoun

6:51 P.M.: With Virginia's polls closing in a few minutes, I'll be looking with interest at the results from Loudoun County. Loudoun is growing remarkably ...
November 8, 2005

Poll Closing Schedule

CBS has a helpful map with information on key races around the country, including what time the polls close (thanks go to Political Wire for ...
November 8, 2005

Evaluating the Texas Gay Marriage Vote

6:04 P.M.: Conspicuously absent from my previous post was any mention of Texas' gay marriage ban. That's because the ban will fail only if pigs ...
November 8, 2005

Upset Possibilities

Welcome to the 13th Floor's Election Night 2005 coverage!  Here are a few thoughts on some contests where we might see an upset. NJ GOV: ...
November 4, 2005

Votes to Watch on Tuesday

GOVERNING.COM COVERAGE & ANALYSIS IS HERE. ELECTION NIGHT LIVEBLOG IS HERE. I'll be on the 13th Floor Tuesday night, monitoring state and local election ...
November 1, 2005

The Inside Story

Schwarzenegger rejects plan to scan bodies for danger signs.
November 1, 2005

The Importance of TABOR

Colorado's vote today will offer a decent barometer on the public's willingness to raise taxes in an era of small government. What's on the ballot ...
October 26, 2005

The Media's Favorite Governor

I just finished Craig Crawford's new book, Attack the Messenger , in which he claims that officeholders have increasingly turned to criticizing the media to deflect ...
October 20, 2005

A Tale of Two Referendums

Two questions on ballots this November on opposite sides of the country are turning into a case study of partisan hypocrisy. At the same time, ...
October 14, 2005

2006: Year of the Independent?

Next year is shaping up to be a banner year for independent and third-party office seekers. The only thing that is missing is the candidates.
October 12, 2005

So Irrational, It Just Might Work

At Governing's Managing Performance conference last week, Delaware Budget Director J.J. Davis touted a policy being tested in her state as the answer to ...
October 1, 2005

Rebirth Of The 'Death Tax'

States Are Turning Back To Estate Taxes
September 28, 2005

Getting a Job the Hard Way

Most people peruse classified sections and send out resumes when they want a new job. Arkansas state Rep. Charles Ormond has decided to try and ...
September 26, 2005

HOT or not?

Does congestion pricing on highways create "Lexus lanes" that only rich drivers can afford? It depends, as two examples currently under review in ...
September 21, 2005

State of the Governors

Yesterday, polling firm SurveyUSA released the latest rendition of their 50-state survey of governors' job-approval ratings. The simultaneous polls make it easy to draw broad ...
September 16, 2005

TABOR Tantrum

Colorado's upcoming vote on whether to temporarily suspend its Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) is shaping up as one to watch. There's more at stake ...
September 14, 2005

Utah's Retro Governor

Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah could hardly be more old school. Sure, he doesn't listen to disco (as far as I know) or drive ...
September 9, 2005

Hitting Too Close to Home

Debates about whether employees of local governments should live in the municipalities they serve have been around for a long time. In fact, Governing ran ...
September 8, 2005

High on Potts

With the New York mayoral race and the New Jersey governor's race both looking like snoozers, only one contest on the ballot in 2005 stands to ...
September 7, 2005

Happy Day for Gays

Yesterday's news that California's legislature passed a bill to legalize gay marriage, becoming the first legislature to do so without judicial prodding, marked a substantial ...
September 6, 2005

Shaming the Feds

Over the past few days, a great deal of discussion has focused on what officials at all levels of government did wrong when responding to ...
August 26, 2005

Libertarians Rejoice!

Last year a group of anti-government types, interested in creating a utopia free from the burdens of pesky social services, designated New Hampshire as a ...
August 23, 2005

Dick Cheney's Soul Mate

There are a number of interesting storylines emanating from yesterday's New York Post article about secretly taped conversations involving a top aide of New York ...
August 17, 2005

One Step Above Dogcatcher

The hopes of political junkies everywhere were dashed earlier this week when the most intriguing 2006 election failed to materialize. I'm not speaking of the reelection ...
August 11, 2005

The Starbucks Stops Here

Almost everyone knows that Starbucks coffee shops are everywhere. In fact, pointing out the ubiquity of Starbucks long since became passé. The Simpsons played off ...
March 1, 2004

Tuition Tango

Illegal immigrants find new friends in statehouses--and get a break at state colleges.
October 1, 2003

Frowning On Friendly

When Kentuckians are asked about their new license plate--which says of the Bluegrass State: "It's that friendly"--they get downright grouchy.
October 1, 2003

Virginia's Medicaid Data Gets A Makeover

While compiling Medicaid managed care data can be daunting, it's an even greater challenge to present the numbers in a way that's accessible and useful. Virginia seems to have found success with a new, simplified reporting system.
September 1, 2003

Staffless in Madison

Wisconsin state Representative Mike Powers is going it alone--not politically but administratively.
August 1, 2003

Florida's Granny-Flat Top

In a referendum they passed last November, Floridians gave counties the option of offering residents tax breaks if they built new additions to house their aging parents or grandparents.
August 1, 2003

Counting The Miles

Oregon looks to a non-gas 'gas' tax.
August 1, 2003

To Dye For

On the morning of May 21, Philadelphians awoke to find that a prankster had dyed the water in the fountain at JFK Plaza bright pink. Rather than causing a hue and cry among city leaders, however, the stunt inspired them.
July 1, 2003

A Smart Park Plays Dumb

Big Brother watches and waits in Glendale.
July 1, 2003

Waiting To Inhale

Even where there wasn't smoke, there were fire watchers in the public schools of Orange County, Florida. During the final weeks of the school year, the district put some 30 fire watchers on duty after fire officials found some schools in violation of state safety regulations.
February 28, 2003

More Bridge for Your Buck

After a painful period of price inflation, the cost of concrete, steel and asphalt is dropping. So as states begin spending their stimulus checks from...