State Government

States Crack Down on Large Gatherings as Covid-19 Continues to Spread

Minnesota officials are seeking damages from a ranch owner who held a three-day rodeo in defiance of state regulations on large gatherings. They say at least one attendee tested positive for Covid-19 days after the event.

New Jersey Could Allow Local Governments to Borrow to Avoid Budget Cuts

Lawmakers this week approved legislation that would allow county and municipal governments to issue "coronavirus relief bonds" they would then pay back over 10 years.

Unchecked Power? How Law Enforcement Could Leverage Facial Recognition During Protests

COMMENTARY | The lack of regulation around facial recognition usage allows law enforcement to use the technology in ways that could undermine civil rights and liberties.

States Warn Residents About Unsolicited Seed Packages Sent From China

People have received the mysterious shipments in at least 22 states. The seeds could pose threats to the environment and agriculture. Federal authorities are investigating.

States Include Job Training in Reopening Plans

South Dakota will offer free or discounted job training to people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, one of several states to include employment programs in long-term recovery plans.

Food Stamp Use Could Skyrocket With Loss of Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

Even with the expanded benefits for out-of-work people, millions of families had to sign up for food stamps during the early months of the pandemic. Now even more people are expected to need the assistance.

Facing Poll Worker Shortage, One State Offers Credit Hours to Lawyers Who Volunteer

The Ohio Supreme Court approved a rule change to grant four hours of continuing education credits to practicing attorneys who work a full shift at the polls on Election Day.

States Let Law School Grads Work Without Taking the Bar Exam

Earlier this month, Louisiana cancelled the bar exam. This week the state became the fourth to enact "diploma privilege," allowing recent law school graduates to practice law without sitting for the three-day bar exam.

The Legal Protections Shielding Police Taken Up By State Legislatures

With federal action on the issue looking unlikely, state legislators are considering proposals that would eliminate or limit the scope of qualified immunity for police officers.

As Long Waits for Results Render Covid Tests ‘Useless,’ States Seek Workarounds

Montana is switching from using one of the nation's largest diagnostic testing companies to processing test results in Montana State University's lab, as well as contracting with a different private laboratory.

The Poor Performance of Performance Contracts

States and local governments have embraced “performance contracts,” requiring contractors to meet certain objectives. Too often, however, they don’t actually check on the success in meeting these goals.

Ohio House Speaker Accused by Feds in $60 Million Bribery Scheme

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | New York transit warns of $16 billion shortfall … After months of debate, Minnesota legislature passes sweeping criminal justice bill … Florida governor gets the Lincoln Project treatment.

State Data Reporting on the Coronavirus is Falling Woefully Short

A new analysis by a nonprofit group finds troubling gaps and inconsistencies with the information states are sharing with the public, and offers recommendations for how it can be improved.

State Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Reimburse Restaurants for Costs of Stalled Reopening

Legislation before the New Jersey legislature would use federal coronavirus relief funds to reimburse restaurants, caterers and bars for preparations to resume in-person dining before it was canceled by the governor.

With 4 in 5 Texans Living in a 'Red Zone,' Coronavirus Hot Spots Are Moving Targets

Early hot spots have been eclipsed by new regions in crisis. Now that so much of Texas is battling major coronavirus outbreaks, some severely ill patients have to travel long distances to receive the care they need.

‘One-Third of Our Income Is Gone’: A Rural State Faces a Big Budget Gap

Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and downturns with oil, gas and coal have left Wyoming in a tough financial spot, with deep agency cuts and layoffs on the horizon.

New Jersey Lawmakers Consider Allowing Governor to Borrow $10 Billion to Help Fill Virus-Driven Budget Gaps

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Michigan official asks judge to review detention of 15-year-old girl for failing to complete schoolwork … Democrats slam Maryland election plan … Colorado governor defends calling those who won’t wear masks “selfish bastards.”

The Coronavirus Has Resurrected Single-Use Plastics—Are They Back to Stay?

COMMENTARY | The trend to re-embrace plastic bags and other single-use disposable goods reverses previously growing policies in cities and states to restrict their use.

A Guide to Immediate and Long-Term Fixes to the Unemployment Benefits Process

COMMENTARY | State unemployment systems are in need of significant short and long-term solutions to handle the exponential increase in unemployment claims that have occurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.