Elaine S. Povich

Elaine S. Povich

Elaine S. Povich covers consumer affairs for Stateline. Povich has reported for Newsday, the Chicago Tribune and United Press International.

Computer equipment in storage at a firm that reconditions them.

The latest ‘right to repair’ law is the broadest one yet

By: - May 30, 2023

Do-it-yourselfers and repair shops are celebrating a victory in Minnesota with the enactment of a new law that requires many manufacturers to share parts and information with tinkerers and small businesses. The so-called right to repair law will allow equipment owners and independent shops to more easily fix devices like phones, laptops, appliances and other […]

A girl eats her school lunch.

More states line up to serve free school meals to all kids

By: - May 26, 2023

During his long career as a high school teacher, New York state Sen. John Mannion often reached into his own pocket to cover the cost of lunches for kids who didn’t have the funds. “I watched kids get to the end of the line and not have enough money on their cards,” the Democrat said […]

A community college student near a bus stop.

More states are giving students more money to pay for community college

By: - May 19, 2023

As the idea of free community college gains traction across the country, some lawmakers have gotten bolder in their concepts — expanding existing programs or pitching legislation that would offer free college to anyone. The latest example is Massachusetts, where Democratic Gov. Maura Healey’s 2024 budget includes $20 million to expand the state’s free community college program to […]

Washington state lawmaker speaking in legislature

States weigh child abuse reporting vs. clergy’s duty of confidentiality

By: - May 12, 2023

From the time Washington state Sen. Noel Frame was 5 years old until she was 10, she was sexually abused by a teenage cousin. The abuse only stopped when she told a teacher, who reported it to the authorities and to her parents.  Now, Frame, 43, wants to require members of the clergy in Washington […]

Fourth graders study in a view through a classroom window.

Debate over holding back third graders roils state legislatures

By: - May 5, 2023

Should third graders who don’t read well enough to pass a standardized test repeat their grade? That question is roiling states, with some choosing to keep the practice, some to modify it and others to scrap it. Most states require students to take standardized tests that measure progress in reading and math in the third […]

A San Diego-based tabby cat sits atop a couch she scratches occasionally with her claws. Several states are considering banning declawing of cats, which advocates say is cruel, but some veterinarians say the procedure addresses certain owners’ medical needs.

We’re not kitten: States could move to ban declawing of cats

By: - April 21, 2023

Lawmakers in more than a dozen states have filed legislation this year to outlaw the declawing of cats, which many animal advocates and some veterinarians say is a cruel deforming of felines’ bodies and impedes their natural instincts to climb and scratch. Maryland last year joined New York, which prohibited declawing in 2019, as the […]

As Book Bans Gain Favor, Some Say Libraries Could Go

By: - March 31, 2023

This story has been updated to clarify Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s stance on “explicit” books in schools during his campaign. Amid the national uproar about whether to allow students access to a wide variety of books, the superintendent of a Virginia school district this week proposed a sweeping solution: Get rid of school libraries altogether. […]

States Seek to Ease Child Care Crunch

By: - March 24, 2023

States are spending more money and creating new incentives to ease the severe child care crisis, with most federal pandemic aid set to dry up in September. The child care shortage costs the United States billion in lost earnings, productivity and revenue each year, according to ReadyNation, a consortium of business leaders under the umbrella […]

As Supreme Court Considers Student Loan Forgiveness, States May Expand Their Programs

By: - March 13, 2023

As the U.S. Supreme Court mulls the constitutionality of President Joe Biden’s broad student loan forgiveness plan, lawmakers in many states are looking to expand their own student debt repayment programs. Every state but North Dakota has at least one loan forgiveness plan. The catch is that most of the 129 state plans are tailored […]

Democrats Divided Over Strikes by Teachers, Principals

By: - March 1, 2023

Illinois Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker recently signed a bill allowing Chicago school principals to unionize and possibly go on strike. But Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, also a Democrat and in an equally liberal state, said just the other day she opposes legislation that would explicitly permit teachers to strike. Across the country, teachers and other […]

States Scramble to Replace Ripped-Off SNAP Benefits

By: - February 13, 2023

Last September, when Baltimore resident Tzu Yang went grocery shopping for his intellectually disabled daughter with a food benefits card that he thought was worth about , he discovered at the checkout that the card had no value left. The same thing happened in October, November and December. The benefits meant for Hawlie Yang, age […]

Gadget Industry Tosses a Wrench Into ‘Right to Repair’ Efforts

By: - February 2, 2023

The “right to repair” movement is having a moment, but roadblocks remain. After Colorado and New York passed new laws last year, legislators in at least 17 states introduced bills this year that would compel manufacturers to provide information and parts for do-it-yourselfers or independent shops to fix devices. But the tech industry, despite making […]