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State and Local Politics and Policy

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?
Some point to pretrial release from jail to explain increases in homicides and other violent crimes. But as a new study shows, the data doesn't support that argument.
Thirty-nine state governments are now “trifectas.” It’s not the kind of government the Constitution's framers wanted.
Disjointed data systems are failing to identify and address disparities along the pre-K-to-work continuum. Two states are leading the way in building effective systems, and a new resource can help governments use data to inform student success strategies.
Millions of households still get their drinking water from lead service lines. Federal money is available to replace the pipes, but in allocating the funds, it’s important for states to prioritize marginalized communities.
The more than 1.6 million preventable deaths of Black Americans documented in a new study reflect racism and discrimination in housing, education, employment and health care. We have the money and the means to do something about it.
Too many election administrators and polling-place workers are the subject of harrassment, threats and even violence, and they’re quitting in droves. If we don’t protect them, who is going to be left to work our elections?
New federal guidelines make it clear that new hazard mitigation plans should factor in the likelihood of extreme weather events. Here are four recommendations for preparing for the future impacts.
Misinformation thrived during the pandemic, exacerbating health inequities. To meet its core mission, the public health field needs to engage more actively, particularly in historically mistrustful communities.
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