Author Archive

Daniela Altimari

Daniela Altimari covers state and local trends for Route Fifty. She previously worked as a statehouse reporter at The Hartford Courant in Connecticut. A native of Massachusetts, Daniela holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Health & Human Services

How the Supreme Court Could End Up Blocking a Key Path to Sue States

The court will hear arguments next month in an Indiana case that could decide whether people can take legal action against states and localities if they believe their rights are violated under safety net programs, like Medicaid. Advocates for the elderly, poor and people with disabilities say the stakes are enormous.


Curbside Composting Program Billed as Nation's Biggest Gets Underway

New York City launched the collection program for waste like food scraps and yard debris in Queens. The city's sanitation department is relying on a range of tactics to get buy-in from residents.


This Year's Hottest Contests to Control State Legislatures

Democrats hope concerns about abortion access will bolster their chances to retake key chambers. But Republicans say President Biden's flagging poll numbers will give GOP candidates an edge.


States Take New Steps to Stop Election Mistruths From Going Viral

To combat the rising threat, some states are bringing on cybersecurity specialists to comb social media and flag posts that spread falsehoods about the voting process. Others have launched ad campaigns to counter disinformation.


The Battle Over a 'Millionaires Tax' Heats Up in Massachusetts

Voters will decide this November on a measure that would impose the tax on income over $1 million. Supporters say it would raise needed revenue for roads, transit and schools, while opponents argue it will revive the state's reputation as “Taxachusetts.”

Health & Human Services

A Campaign to Counter Christian Nationalism in State Politics

At a time when many Republicans appear increasingly willing to blur the lines between church and state, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to convince politicians that secular voters constitute a large and growing bloc.


Detroit Sues the U.S. Census Bureau Over Alleged Undercounts

The Census Bureau contends that Detroit lost 7,100 residents from 2020 to 2021, but Mayor Mike Duggan said that number is inaccurate.

Tech & Data

Community Colleges Emerge as Key Players in $1B Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Each of the 21 regional partnerships features at least one community college or technical training school.


Transgender and Nonbinary Candidates for State Legislature are Poised to Gain Ground This Year

Prompted to run by a wave of anti-transgender legislation, they are running for statehouse seats in at least eight states, but remain underrepresented in legislative chambers around the country.


California's Sweeping New Labor Law for the Fast-Food Industry

It creates a path to mandate wages up to $22 an hour, among other provisions. Advocates who backed the first-in-the-nation effort say they plan to push for similar legislation in other states.


Winners Announced for $1B in Regional Development Grants

The Biden administration named 21 projects across the U.S. that will share in the new funding.


Cities and Towns Move to Recognize They are Built on Indigenous Land

But Native activists say "land acknowledgments" are only a start for reconciliation and healing, not an end unto themselves.

Health & Human Services

States Seek to Clarify If Forgiven Student Loans Will be Taxed

President Biden's loan forgiveness plan could result in additional tax liability in at least six states, according to a think tank. But officials in some places are taking steps to ensure the canceled debt doesn't count as income.

Public Safety

The Growing Movement to Halt Executions in Conservative States

Right-leaning activists are speaking out against the death penalty, saying capital punishment is morally wrong, fails to deter crime and is flawed in other ways as well.


Republicans Running for Statehouse Seats Sharpen Attacks on Public Education

The strategy, which helped propel Republican Glenn Youngkin into the governor's office in Virginia, is playing out in the blue and purple states that Republicans hope to flip this election cycle.


Rank-choice Voting Advances as Election Deniers, Voting Right Limitations Gain Traction

Two states and dozens of other jurisdictions have adopted ranked-choice voting for at least some elections.


Voters in This State Could Take Away Governor's Regulatory Authority

The Kansas measure, which will be on the November ballot, would amend the state constitution to give the legislature veto power over everything from police certification to banking regulations to the sale of wild mushrooms.


Voters Will Decide This Fall on Whether to Add the Right to Unionize to One State's Constitution

The proposed amendment would guarantee workers in Illinois the "fundamental right" to collectively bargain over wages, hours and working conditions as well as to protect their "economic welfare."

Health & Human Services

Dozens of State and Local Officials Press Biden to Increase Refugee Resettlement in US

“We can and must do more," they say. The Biden administration pledged to ramp up resettlements. But even with deepening humanitarian crises unfolding in Ukraine, Afghanistan and other nations, refugee admissions fell to a historic low in fiscal 2021.


America's Crumbling Municipal Pools

Many public pools and aquatics facilities around the U.S. are decades old and in need of upgrades or replacement. The problem is particularly acute in poor neighborhoods and likely to become more pressing as summers grow hotter.