Mapping clean air centers to protect residents against wildfire risks

As wildfire smoke or poor air quality descends upon California residents, officials hope a data map will help them find pockets of fresh air across the state.

Zoning reform made way for an explosion of smaller homes in California. Will it work elsewhere?

Encouraged by California’s success, states across the country are passing laws to allow for more accessory dwelling units to address a shortage of affordable homes. But a slew of factors can keep the housing solution from taking off.

High-speed rail needs national direction to get rolling, report says

A New York University professor emphasizes the need to pay attention to the nuts and bolts—or, in this case, the rail profiles and cross ties—of high-speed rail projects to keep costs down and construction on time.

Platform lets cities, residents shop granny flat options

Like an Etsy for accessory dwelling units, an online platform displays preapproved designs and specs for ADUs, giving local governments a tool for streamlining construction and reducing the housing shortage.

¿Cómo Se Dice? California loops in AI to translate health care information

State health policy officials hope to save money and make critical health care forms, applications, websites and other information available to more people in what they call the nation’s most linguistically diverse state.

Connect with state & local government leaders

What makes a city ideal for office-to-housing conversions?

It’s the state and local leaders who can work creatively with restrictive building codes and tax incentives, one expert says.

These wrongly arrested black men say a California bill would let police misuse face recognition

Three men falsely arrested based on face recognition technology have joined the fight against a California bill that aims to place guardrails around police use of the technology. They say it will still allow abuses and misguided arrests.

California pays meth users to get sober

Substance use experts say incentive programs that reward participants, even in a small way, can have a powerful effect with meth users in particular, and a growing body of evidence indicates they can lead to long-term abstinence.

California is about to tax guns more like alcohol and tobacco—and that could put a dent in gun violence

COMMENTARY | Gun deaths and injuries aren’t just tragic—they’re expensive, too.

One city takes to the streets to address extreme heat

A Los Angeles neighborhood tested the impact of an innovative cool pavement coating, and research shows it holds potential to supplement climate mitigation efforts.

How states can help formerly incarcerated individuals stay sober

A Medicaid waiver can help state corrections facilities finance reentry services aimed at keeping previously incarcerated individuals in recovery and curbing the opioid crisis.

Powering down: To prevent wildfires, states try turning off the grid

COMMENTARY | The trend started in California, but now more states are opting to shut off power to parts of the grid in extreme conditions.

California’s new rules allow solar and batteries to help out the grid

Utilities tend to treat solar and batteries as threats to their power grids. California’s policy will now tap their flexible power to benefit the grid instead.

Is the US privacy policy good enough?

COMMENTARY | A disjointed approach plagued by compromises is making American data privacy policy more complicated and less effective in delivering the protections people desperately want and need to see.

California prison drug overdoses surge again after early treatment success

Drug overdose deaths in California state prisons rebounded to near record levels last year, a big setback for corrections officials who thought they were on the right track with medication-assisted treatment efforts. Officials blame fentanyl.

California is poised to protect workers from extreme heat—indoors

Only two other states have adopted heat rules for indoor workers. Nationally, legislation has stalled in Congress, and a process initiated by the Biden administration to establish national heat standards for outdoor and indoor work could take years to finalize.

In new year, all immigrants in California may qualify for Medicaid regardless of legal status

New enrollees will join more than 655,000 children, young adults through age 25, and adults 50 or over who have already signed up for Medi-Cal through previous expansions to residents lacking legal authorization.

The latest youth climate lawsuit tries a novel argument: The unique environmental vulnerability of children

Eighteen California children say the EPA fails to recognize the unique physical and mental impacts climate change has on kids.

Mental health funding is fast becoming “the bipartisan issue of our time”

States from California to Texas are increasingly investing in mental health as a recognition takes hold that the status quo isn’t working.

California’s budget troubles are unique—at least for now

The Golden State could face a $68 billion deficit through mid-2025. But other states appear to remain fiscally strong, with many still spending surpluses. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.