Public Safety

Texas House Panel OKs Bill Raising Age to Buy Semi-Automatic Rifles

The surprise legislation—just days after the shooting at a mall in Allen, Texas—would raise the minimum age for purchasing certain firearms. The bill still faces an uphill climb in the legislature.

Bail Reform Faces Backlash

New York rolled back key parts of its 2019 bail reform law amid fears of rising crime. Those concerns are echoed in communities nationwide—especially in places forging ahead with their own laws—despite data that shows bail reforms don't negatively impact public safety. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

Prediction: 2023 Will Be a ‘Very Active’ Hurricane Season

COMMENTARY | Forecasters expect the number of major hurricanes this year to be similar to 2017, which saw the extremely intense hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

How One State Is Confronting PTSD Among Police Officers

Concerns abound about post-traumatic stress disorder in law enforcement. Minnesota, where the problem is acute, has ideas about how to curb the costs and keep more police working in the field.

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New Tools Help State and Local Governments Battle Ransomware, Other Big Disasters

When governments find themselves being ransomed, their choices are typically to pay, which will undercut their ability to deliver key services to their communities due to budget restrictions, or not pay, resulting in the immediate inability to serve their communities and the loss of key data that will inevitably plague them for years afterwards.

With Fire Departments Struggling for Volunteers, States Respond to the Alarm

More than 80% of U.S. fire departments are composed mostly of volunteers.

Three Possible Bipartisan Approaches Emerge in Curbing Gun Violence

While state approaches to gun laws vary widely, some see places where both sides of the debate can find agreement. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

Efforts Spreading to Curb Generational Incarceration

Spaces for imprisoned parents to bond with their kids and bills to keep them geographically close to those children are gaining traction across the nation.

States Grapple with the Death Penalty

As it becomes harder and harder to obtain the drugs involved in lethal injections, most states are pausing executions and others are turning to older methods, such as firing squads.

Congress Looks to Undo Another D.C. Law

The police reforms under scrutiny this time deal with hiring and the release of body camera footage, among other things.

This Moment is Rife with Opportunities to Advance Racial Equity

COMMENTARY | Government has an immense opportunity to lead on racial equity. It must lean in where it can, examine the data to determine if it is having an impact and adjust plans accordingly.  

In the Face of Extreme Floods, Rural Communities Lack Forecasting and Broadband

Plans are in place to address the urban observation bias in national weather prediction, but the other piece—reliable broadband—could still be years away for places like Eastern Kentucky.

States Have the Resources to Clear Criminal Records

COMMENTARY | Most governments already have the capacity and technology to deliver automatic record clearance to all those eligible for relief equitably, expeditiously and at scale.

To Prevent Gun Suicide, States Consider Allowing People to Deny Themselves a Gun

“We can’t stop all suicide, but if we make the means less lethal, we can save lives.”

Four Ways to Improve Refugee Resettlement in the US

COMMENTARY | Geopolitical unrest and the detrimental impacts of climate change will continue to increase the flow of refugees requiring resettlement. Here’s how state and local governments and nonprofits can effectively prepare to meet increased demand.

House GOP Will Try to Block D.C. Police Reforms

After successfully overturning the district’s criminal code rewrite, House Republicans are now targeting police reforms passed by the city council.

Justice Launches $8M Smart Policing Grant Program

State, local, tribal and campus law enforcement agencies can apply for funds to develop, implement and test new technologies that support community violence intervention and promote information sharing and data transparency.

Congress Overturns D.C.’s Criminal Code Rewrite

In total, 31 Democrats voted to block the Washington, D.C., law despite their strong support for home rule.

Democrats Plan to Take Another Pass at Cannabis Banking Bill

They are hoping a bill sponsored by Democratic and Republican senators will be more successful and finally address local governments’ concerns about crime.

Bill Overturning D.C.'s Criminal Code Rewrite Appears Likely to Pass Congress

The White House defended President Biden’s decision not to veto the measure, which has angered many in the district.