Carl Smith

Senior Staff Writer

Carl Smith is a senior staff writer for Governing and covers a broad range of issues affecting states and localities. For the past 30 years, Carl has written about education and the environment for peer-reviewed papers, magazines and online publications, with a special focus on conservation and sustainability. He has guest-edited special issues of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health focused on the Precautionary Principle and the human rights dimensions of environmental degradation. Carl attended the University of Texas and the University of Georgia. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @governingwriter.

Two-thirds of Americans over 25 don't have a bachelor’s degree or higher. A Harvard study uncovers inconsistent efforts to give these workers skills for economic mobility and calls for improving the problem.
In the wake of unproven claims about voting fraud, a record number of bills seek changes in election law. Some could enable legislatures to interfere with election administration.
Some workers who are sick or have to care for family members will have protection against financial losses, thanks to provisions in the American Rescue Plan.
Colleges make billions from the feats of student athletes. Recent bills could open the door for athletes to receive compensation beyond their scholarships.
Billions of dollars in the American Rescue Plan could be used to close the persistent digital divide in urban and rural communities. But how can these investments be “future-proof”?
The American Rescue Plan includes significant federal dollars that can support library programs and services that play a larger role in recovery than is generally understood.
The American Rescue Plan includes almost $40 billion for community colleges, four-year schools and universities. It’s less than the sector says it needs, but there are options with how the funds can be used.
Wastewater offers high-tech jobs at the leading edge of sustainability and public health. But aging workers are leaving, creating a shortage of skilled workers. Public utilities need to step up their recruitment game.
The American Rescue Plan will bring more than $130 billion to K-12 schools to help them reopen safely, make up for lost learning and address inequities made worse by the pandemic.
Gun violence has increased during the pandemic. Recent mass shootings have intensified calls for reform, but state legislators have very different ideas about the way forward.