Public Engagement

The Key to Stronger Local Democracy: Equitable Engagement

COMMENTARY | Federal stimulus funds provide an opportunity for cities to authentically connect with their residents and regain their trust.

'Vaxfluencers' Getting Residents to Get the Shot

Public health agencies are paying local Instagram and TikTok celebrities to promote Covid-19 vaccines, a relatively new outreach strategy that, so far, seems to be working.

Grab Your Mask and Your Civic Pride: It’s City Hall Selfie Day

The annual celebration, created by Engaging Local Government Leaders, encourages municipal workers and citizens to celebrate their communities by posting selfies in front of city halls.

A Plan to Excuse Students From School for Protests and Demonstrations

A proposal in Delaware would allow students one excused absence each school year to attend a “civic engagement activity.” If passed, it would be the nation’s first statewide guarantee, its sponsor said.

What the Rise of Virtual Meetings has Taught Us About Civic Participation

COMMENTARY | The increased occurrence of virtual community meetings demonstrates how technology can be used to boost citizen engagement, transparency and trust.

Texas Legislature Considering Bill to Make it Harder to get Public Information About Government Employees

Senate Bill 16, filed by State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, would require an individual’s written consent for a state agency to share their personal information.

Civics Education Isn’t Boosting Youth Voting or Volunteerism

COMMENTARY | Research finds that states that require civics courses do not necessarily have more youth voting or young people volunteering at higher rates than other states—and there may be a connection to QAnon support as well.

Americans Grow More Confident in Safety of In-person Religious Services, Poll Finds

But the number of people attending church on Easter Sunday in early April will likely be down compared to normal, the results also show.

Voting By Mail? You May Not Get a Sticker That Says So.

Whether you receive an "I Voted" sticker with your ballot depends entirely on where you live. Some election officials are cautioning against dispensing stickers in person out of fears of spreading the coronavirus.

How Local Governments Can Get Feedback From a More Diverse Range of Residents

Participation in local government often skews heavily toward white residents, elderly people, and homeowners.

Libraries Begin Partial Reopening as Covid-19 Cases Surge

Most libraries are implementing phased reopening plans, beginning with contactless pickup of materials that undergo a quarantine period for safety.

Looking for Extra Cash? Check Your State’s Unclaimed Property Database

COMMENTARY | State treasurers are returning millions in unclaimed property to residents.

A State's Sassy Approach to the Social Media Game

With a "your mom" joke and a lot of state-specific content, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's digital team tackles Twitter in a whole new way (while also getting serious when the news is serious).

Local Elected Officials Lambast Book Publishers for Limiting Library Access to E-Books

Librarians have been boycotting one publishing company over restrictive new policies. Now more than 70 mayors and county executives are urging publishers to grant libraries better access to e-books.

Want a Good Police K9? Try the Animal Shelter.

Rescue dogs, including pit bulls, are finding work as police K9s across the country.

How Residents Help Replenish One State's Seed Stores

Minnesota recruits "private pickers" to harvest cones and seeds for reforestation projects by paying by the bushel.

How a State Police Agency Goes Viral (and Maybe Teaches People How to Drive)

The Colorado State Patrol develops relationships with the community and grows its online presence by posting humorous topical videos, a project spearheaded by one of its public information officers.

City Leader Wants Residents to Try Balancing the Parks and Rec Budget

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Federal shutdown delays hurricane recovery funds … another Flint water crisis plea deal …. and confusion comes with Conn. town’s pay-per-bag trash collection proposal.

Local Health Department Uses Holiday Theme to Warn of an ‘Unwanted Present’

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … a brand new STD.”

Crowdsourcing King Tides to Better Understand Rising Sea Levels

In Washington state and Virginia, the public can help planners and researchers monitor the inundation of low-lying coastal areas.