Cover Story

Houston's Mayor Loves to Make Deals. Not Everybody’s Happy.

BY Liz Farmer

Sylvester Turner’s focus on consensus-building has earned him praise -- and criticism.



After Years of New Voting Restrictions, Momentum Swings the Other Way

Some states are still purging voter rolls and requiring IDs. But most are now looking to expand access to the ballot box. BY

The Federal Government Is Overhauling Foster Care. States Aren't Ready.

Everyone agrees that America’s foster care system needs reform. But some worry the new law may do more harm than good. BY

America Has a Sewage Problem

Faulty septic systems are making pollution and health problems worse in much of the country. What we don’t know is how much worse. BY



Legal in the State or Not, Some Cities Ban Marijuana

In New Jersey, dozens of localities have outlawed sales or possession of the drug even before the legislature legalizes it. BY

The Democrat Who Could Be Mississippi's Next Governor

Democrats rarely win elections in the South. If anyone can do it, it's Jim Hood. BY

The States Where the Minority Party Has Major Legislative Clout

Republicans hold a small fraction of seats in two Democratic states, but they enjoy outsized power. BY

The Business Fad States Should Steal

For the most part, it’s a bad idea for governments to copy private-sector trends. But there may be one exception. BY

Why I'm Optimistic About America's Economic Outlook

Another recession is in the forecast. This time, states seem ready to weather it. BY

Want Fewer Cars in Cities? Take Baby Steps.

Automobiles hurt the quality of urban life, but radical change is politically difficult. BY

Born and Raised: The Parts of America Where People Don't Leave

Why do some counties have vastly more native-born residents than others? BY



Where’s the Data? What the Government Isn't Tracking

The amount of missing and unusable public-sector data is stunning. BY
On Leadership

The Key to Nebraska's Water Conservation Success

Other places should emulate the state's model. BY

As Students' Debt Mounts, a New Method of Repayment Emerges

“Income share agreements” could lower loan payments and the financial risks of paying for college. BY

Are Dockless Bikes Doomed to Fail?

Many of the startups have pulled out of cities in the past year. BY

Does Raising the Minimum Wage Save Money on Social Services?

Yes, experts say, but an extra dollar or two an hour won't free low-income people from poverty altogether. BY

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

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

When the State Line Runs Down Main Street

Photos and musing from our photographer. BY

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