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.

Lack of Rural Lawyers Leaves Much of America Without Support

By: - January 24, 2023

While the running joke may be that there are too many lawyers in the world, in many rural places in the United States, there are demonstrably too few. Despite efforts in recent years by a handful of states, universities and legal associations to ease the problem, there remains a glaring lack of lawyers in many […]

Finally, Something Lawmakers Can (Mostly) Agree On: State Symbols

By: - December 22, 2022

New Jersey has a state fruit — the blueberry — but not a state muffin. However, if a young woman there has her way, the blueberry muffin will take its place among the Garden State’s symbols. In Washington state, there’s a bill, also championed by a young person, to make the Suciasaurus Rex the official […]

Trash Troubles: The Pandemic Started It; Inflation Keeps It Going

By: - December 15, 2022

Terrill “Ya Fav Trashman” Haigler, who worked for 14 months during the height of the pandemic as a Philadelphia sanitation worker, spent much of his tenure pointing out to the media and city officials the neighborhoods where garbage was piling up in the streets. With a website and outreach to local news outlets, Haigler shone […]

Funeral Aid Is Available — But Untapped — in Many States

By: - December 1, 2022

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Molly Gorny. Many states offer payments to families to help them cover the cost of funerals, and some of the amounts are on the rise. The funds are only available to people with low incomes, and sometimes the amount isn’t enough to cover the […]

States Take Key Role in Fighting Fake Online Reviews

By: - November 17, 2022

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to more accurately characterize how Yelp investigates reviews and to clarify comments by a Yelp spokesperson. With studies showing that at least three-quarters of online shoppers check product and service reviews before they buy, the evaluations have become more important than ever in global commerce. But fake reviews […]

States Struggle to Curb Fake Emotional Support Animals

By: - November 4, 2022

Numerous websites promise to qualify any pet as an emotional support animal that the sites claim can go nearly anywhere — inside restaurants and stores, into “no pets” apartments and throughout college dorms. The easily obtained certificates are making it tough for states to crack down on fake support animals without running afoul of federal […]

Lack of Transportation Hinders Community College Students

By: - October 24, 2022

Note: This story was updated to clarify the funding sources for the Harper College ride-share program. ESSEX, Md. — Monica Momoh, a freshman at the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland, doesn’t cry easily. But one day a few weeks ago, she found herself sobbing outside a classroom. Momoh, 25, describes herself as “happy-go-lucky,” but […]

As Electric Vehicles Shrink Gas Tax Revenue, More States May Tax Mileage

By: - October 10, 2022

The increasing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles is shrinking revenue from gas taxes, prompting more states to consider charging fees based on miles driven to help pay for roads and bridges. This year at least eight states — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington — considered bills that would modify existing […]

Losing a Home for Unpaid Taxes Often Means Losing Your Equity, Too

By: - September 29, 2022

Last year, Massachusetts Democratic state Reps. Tommy Vitolo and Jeff Roy saw a newspaper story about two brothers in their state who had almost lost their home due to unpaid property taxes. That was followed by another article this year featuring a New Bedford woman, recovering from COVID-19, who slept in her car when her […]

States Look to Help Tenants Pay for Air Conditioning as Climate Warms

By: - September 19, 2022

As an intense heat wave scorched Oregon in the summer of 2021, state Sen. Kayse Jama, a Democrat from Portland, knew people were literally dying from the heat. About 100 Oregonians passed away from heat-related causes, mostly low-income, older apartment-dwellers. About a quarter of the people who died lived in his district. That harsh statistic […]

Juul Agrees to Pay Nearly M in States’ Vaping Investigation

By: - September 8, 2022

Attorneys general in about two-thirds of the states reached a settlement with e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. that will require the company to pay .5 million to resolve the two-year-old case alleging the company marketed to underage kids. The settlement also requires Juul to comply with limited sales and marketing practices, according to Connecticut Attorney […]

Some States Could Tax Forgiven Student Loan Debt

By: - September 8, 2022

Indiana will apply state income taxes to federally forgiven student loans, joining North Carolina and Mississippi, diminishing the benefit to borrowers who live in those states. A handful of other state revenue agencies are considering doing the same. While President Joe Biden’s order last month forgiving student loan debt explicitly referenced law excluding the amounts […]