Cover Story

Our 2017 Public Officials of the Year

This group of honorees serves as an outstanding example of the strong determination, the bold ideas and the incredible amount of grit it takes to get things done in government.



The Quiet Revolution Happening in the Suburbs

Suburbs first gained popularity for being everything a big city wasn't. Now they want to be just like downtown. BY

As More Prisons Shutter, Governments Wonder What to Do With Them

Distilleries? Homeless shelters? Museums? There are lots of creative ideas for repurposing old lockups. But finding one that's good for the economy -- and wins approval -- isn't easy. BY



The Only Oil-and-Gas State Not Taxing Drilling

Strapped for cash, Pennsylvania may finally grant the governor a victory and enact a severance tax. But it's an uphill battle. BY

In This Georgia Suburb, Old Rivalries Rule Today's Politics

"People are probably tired of their city being in the headlines," says former Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz. BY

Research Says Juveniles Need Their Own Miranda Rights

Studies suggest they're "too complex" for kids to understand, spurring some police departments to simplify the words they use when arresting them. BY

Improper Influence? Who, Us?

Wisconsin's Supreme Court justices refused to tighten the rules about when they should recuse themselves from cases. It has sparked a battle between old judges and new ones. BY



The Plight of America's Overlooked Industrial Cities

Whether you're talking about Detroit or Youngstown, Ohio, so-called legacy cities have similar problems with no simple solution. BY

Whose Disaster Is It?

No one wants to pay for natural disasters. But even small-government proponents may have to accept increased federal involvement. BY

Where Have All the Black Mayors Gone?

Depending on the outcome of a potential recount, Atlanta's election on Tuesday could either counter or worsen the nationwide decline in the number of big-city black mayors. BY

Maternity Wards Are Disappearing From Rural America

As rural hospitals struggle to keep their doors open, the high cost of ob-gyn wards makes them one of the first things cut. BY

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

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

What Elon Musk Doesn't Get

The tunnels he wants to build under Los Angeles would profoundly affect the life of the city. BY

After Harvey's Rainwaters Receded, Fears Rose

Like Katrina and Sandy, Harvey shook Houstonians' from their complacency. BY



A Downsized Public Workforce May Be a Permanent Consequence of the Recession

State and local governments still haven't regained many of the jobs they cut, and they're unlikely to anytime soon. BY

How's My Program Doing? The Question That Doesn't Always Have a Good Answer

Program evaluation offices have yet to become common throughout government -- and where they do exist, many lawmakers don't know about them. BY

Homelessness Will Never End, But It Can Be Better Managed

The way we talk about the issue makes it more difficult to do what needs to be done. BY

As Artificial Intelligence Grows in Government, Experts Urge Caution

The technology certainly has benefits, but some say they could be outweighed by its drawbacks. BY

Friends With Tax Benefits

Deep within the Affordable Care Act is a tax break that could help a lot of budgets. BY

Behind the Lens: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for Arborists)

Photos and musings from our photographer David Kidd. BY

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