Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

State and Local Politics and Policy

By investing in solar arrays, building efficiency and other clean energy infrastructure, schools could save billions annually while significantly cutting carbon pollution. And federal money is available to help with the upfront costs.
A lot, says one prominent political scientist. But most of all, they aren’t accountable to anyone.
Lawsuits take years, draining money and frustrating everyone involved. The few cases that do make it to trial generate indecipherable rulings. It all undermines faith in our system, and it doesn’t have to be this way.
It once was widespread in the U.S. We should try it again, at least in a limited way. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Whatever communities can do to nurture “social infrastructure” — places like movie theaters, libraries and swimming pools where people gather to form social bonds — can have a profound impact on addiction and overdose death rates.
There’s much that state lawmakers can do to prevent it from undermining democracy. Some states are already putting stronger safeguards in place, and more should do the same.
Greater investment is key, enabling smaller classes with better-paid teachers, and most state and local governments have the money. But our public schools also need leadership stability and more parental involvement.
There’s no reason to think the consequences of dumping water contaminated by a nuclear accident into the ocean would be only local or only short-term. No one's drinking that ocean water, but the sea does feed billions of people.
Keeping election workers and voters safe in a politically charged environment is an expensive challenge. Federal resources are available, and local election officials should take advantage of them now to get ready for 2024.
How regulations are created, updated and challenged can make it easier — or harder — for citizens and businesses to weigh in on the rules that impact them. New research shows what states can do to improve their processes.
It isn’t just about constitutional rights and fairness. Underfunded, undervalued public defense is also costly to taxpayers. A few states are showing the way toward meaningful reforms.
As funds flow from the Inflation Reduction Act for projects across the country, getting the full benefit of this landmark law will depend on governors seizing the moment.
A patchwork of confusing and sometimes contradictory policies, involving all levels of government as well as health care providers, resulted in a chaotic response. We need to figure out how to upgrade the system for future health emergencies.
Federal pandemic aid that supported thousands of child-care providers will end soon, leading to downsizings and closures. There are innovative ways for states, local governments and businesses to mitigate the blow to working families and employers.
Some states have taken steps to shield their election workers from intimidation and harm, but there’s a lack of urgency at the federal level. A nationwide threat requires a nationwide response.
It offers significant cost, efficiency and sustainability benefits, but its widespread use is hampered by a patchwork of state and local regulations. Regulatory consistency could help builders deliver the housing we need.
There’s more to the elite college admissions game than a tilted playing field. It’s also about zoning squabbles and NIMBYism. State governments should take a larger role in land-use policy and overrule local stakeholders.
Too many neighborhoods are not designed for today’s record-setting heat. There is a solution: “Smart surfaces” can make cities cooler and less vulnerable to flooding.
Housing deterioration is a serious problem for lower-income households. Home repairs address deep-seated racial and environmental injustices, and substandard housing can be a matter of life and death.
As a new Arizona survey shows, voters want to take the partisanship out of how top state and local election officials are chosen. The system we use now erodes public trust.
Arresting people who have no options left is just adding another tier of disenfranchisement. At best, it’s a dehumanizing shell game.
Despite Americans’ pessimism about the state of our democracy, Democrats and Republicans agree on policies to protect election workers, expand voting access and strengthen election integrity.
Even before the Supreme Court's decision striking it down, Black students didn’t have equitable access to elite public higher education. We need to find better ways to extend true educational opportunities to all Americans.
"Nonstandard" workers keep growing as a percentage of the workforce, but the technology we use to determine benefits eligibility is decades behind. It’s about designing systems around the recipients themselves, and the tools are available.
After a decade, the state’s open, nonpartisan primaries still have their critics, but it’s clear that they have steadily reduced polarization. The system could do the same for other states.
States have information that counties need to better target their resources and services to reduce overdose risk and save lives. Improving data sharing is a good use of opioid settlement funds.
The costs of treating cancer are soaring, just at a time when some states are moving to save money by cutting Medicaid enrollment. It’s sure to worsen health-care inequality.
A trip to the birthplace of the blues is also a visit to a region soaked in the history of bigotry and the struggle for civil rights. It’s a past that we need to acknowledge and that today’s students need to learn about.
The numbers are still at historical lows. Civic engagement is the most important factor in building trust in our institutions, and our communities need to find better ways to encourage active participation in civic life.
It took a long time for the state’s unique system of governance to fall into the hyperpartisanship that so many states have experienced. Can Nebraska find a way back?