Estimated 2.5 million people displaced by natural disasters in 2023 tell a story of recovery in America and who is vulnerable

Residents who don’t know how to find information about disaster recovery assistance or can’t take time away from work to apply for aid can have a harder time getting quick help from federal and state agencies.

As xylazine surges, some lawmakers want jail time for dealers and people who use the drug

The animal sedative is cheap, easy to get and sometimes winds up in other illicit substances.

Lawmakers across the U.S. seek to curb utility spending on politics, ads and more extras

At least a dozen states have considered bills to limit how gas, water and electric utilities can spend customers’ money.

What does a state’s secretary of state do? Most run elections, a once-routine job facing increasing scrutiny

COMMENTARY | As the chief election official, a secretary of state’s influence over the democratic process can extend to every single elected office.

Sponsor Content

Eliminate Manual Processes Route and Approve Invoices from Anywhere

Today’s finance teams carry a heavy burden, supporting everything from growth strategies to long-term planning – all while continuously delivering monthly and quarterly numbers and keeping cash flowing. But even as demands on finance departments grow, many still spend excessive time using paper, spreadsheets, and e-mails to process vendor invoices, approvals, and payments.

Bathroom bills are back—broader and stricter—in several states

State lawmakers are continuing efforts to prohibit transgender people from using public restrooms and other “sex-designated spaces,” including domestic violence shelters and crisis centers, which experts say could violate anti-discrimination laws and jeopardize federal funding.

As COVID-19 emergency funding dries up, some rural schools may face a steep fiscal cliff in 2024

Lower-income districts are likely to face bigger budget reductions, along with districts who spent relief aid on teacher salaries and new faculty hires.

One state looks to collect multiyear data to address the mental health crisis

Ohio has launched a $20 million research project to study the social and biological factors influencing mental health. Researchers hope the study will continue for two decades and deliver actionable insights for policymakers nationwide.

E-bike incentives are a costly way to cut carbon emissions, but they also promote health, equity and cleaner air

COMMENTARY | Many incentive programs promote e-bike use, but they aren’t necessarily targeting the right people for the right reasons.

In an era of divisiness, some politicians are trying to change the tone

At an event last week hosted by the National Governors Association, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Sonia Sotomayor spoke about how they have learned to disagree agreeably.

West Virginia’s top election official on trust, social media and secure elections

Ahead of what promises to be a hectic election season, Secretary of State Mac Warner spent part of his last National Association of Secretaries of State Winter Conference touching on conspiracy theories, among other topics.

More places install drop-off boxes for surrendered babies. Critics say they’re a gimmick.

States began passing so-called safe haven laws more than two decades ago. But critics argue that however well-intended, baby boxes don't address the real problems facing parents and newborns.

Governors roundly condemn Alabama ruling that effectively halts IVF

Republican leadership in the state is working on legislation that would narrow the impact of the ruling after several Alabama fertility clinics halted the procedures.

Feds preach vigilance amid multiple physical, cyber threats against election officials

In response, agencies as varied as CISA and the Postal Inspection Service are offering a slew of free and low-cost resources in a bid to help states and localities keep issues under control.

As millions wait on food stamp approvals, feds tell states to speed it up

To adequately staff safety net programs, some states are boosting workforce funding, and others are investing in new computer systems to speed up claims processing. But food security advocates say recent backlogs are a symptom of long-term disinvestment.

Releasing suspects pretrial doesn’t lead to higher crime rates, experts say

Some states and jurisdictions are taking different approaches to cash bail.

Trust in government, and opportunities to rebuild it

Confidence in state and local government may have been waning in recent years, but there are ways communities can help to bolster their resident’s faith in them.

No fare! Free bus rides raise questions of fairness, viability.

The strategy is especially helpful to lower-paid workers, but it might not be sustainable.

States look to rein in ballot initiatives with more ballot initiatives

Ballot measures in recent years have been used to expand Medicaid, preserve abortion rights and raise minimum wages. Now, state lawmakers are turning to them to put more restrictions on the process.

Dead smoke alarms, moldy rooms, empty first aid kits: Farmworkers endure unsafe and substandard housing across US

The federal government requires all states to inspect housing for temporary agriculture workers annually, but only some states inspect known migrant labor camps.

Cities pay a climate penalty as air pollution worsens

Communities vulnerable to deteriorating air conditions and the resulting public health issues may find it ever more difficult to adapt to the changing environment, a new report suggests.