In Palin Ruling, Alaska Supreme Court OKs Personal Email for State Business

BY: - October 15, 2012

The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that state officials may use personal email accounts to conduct official business, but some emails sent from private accounts may be subject to open records law. The decision Friday (October 12) clarified a long-running dispute dating back to Sarah Palin’s stint as governor, delivering a partial victory for a […]

Report: New Jersey First in Anti-Corruption Measures

BY: - March 19, 2012

New Jersey has some of the strictest anti-corruption and ethics laws in the United States, and those laws are frequently enforced, a comprehensive investigation of the nation’s 50 state governments has found. Yes, that New Jersey — the state that where at least five legislators in the last decade have been found guilty of official […]

In California, a State and Local War Over Revenue and Responsibilities

BY: - October 5, 2011

Its name is a pun. Dive Bar may sit along Sacramento’s struggling K Street pedestrian mall, but far from sheltering scruffy boozers, the bar caters to the trendy young. Especially those who like to socialize in sight of a large tank of water containing a young woman swimming around as a mermaid.  Early this year, […]

New Michigan Law Increases State Role in Local Government

BY: - March 31, 2011

Amid all the pleas being expressed around the country for drastic change to cope with state and local fiscal emergencies, one state has launched something pretty radical: Michigan has a new law dramatically expediting the process by which financially distressed localities can be taken over by a state-appointed emergency financial manager.  Michigan has been using […]

In Hawaii, an Imbroglio Over an Investment Gone Bad

BY: - May 17, 2010

 Hawaii Auditor Marion Higa (left) and Governor Linda Lingle (right) Just as the economy was beginning its nosedive, the state of Hawaii doubled down on its investment in an exotic financial instrument known as auction-rate securities. Between July 2007 and February 2008, the state’s holdings in these investments more than doubled, from $427 million to […]

Alabama Bingo Investigation Intensifies

BY: - April 19, 2010

Federal officials are probing corruption in Alabama’s bingo battle, yet another twist in the convoluted saga over whether the state should allow electronic bingo machines to raise money for local governments or charities. Agents from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI say they have found “substantial evidence of corruption” […]

Seven States Lead in Budget Transparency

BY: - April 14, 2010

A report released Tuesday (April 13) finds that seven states — Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas — lead the nation in budget transparency, providing the public with comprehensive and easily searchable information about government spending. Eighteen states flunked the scorecard created by U.S. PIRG, a Boston-based research and advocacy group that supports […]

Summary of the New Mexico State of the State Address

BY: - January 20, 2010

Announcing budget cuts, ethics reforms, public and highway safety initiatives and clean energy incentives, Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson asked lawmakers to support a laundry list of new proposals in his Jan. 19 state of the state address. To balance the budget, Richardson proposed a total of $510 million in spending cuts, including at least $25 […]

Summary of the New York State of the State Address

BY: - January 7, 2010

Gov. David Paterson (D), facing what could be a difficult primary campaign this year, proposed a plan Jan. 6 that he said would fix New York’s shattered finances, rejuvenate its slumping economy and restore trust in government through a series of major ethics reforms. New York could be confronting a $9 billion budget gap when […]

Weekly Wrap: Calif. Wildfire Costs Are Another Blow to Budget

BY: - September 4, 2009

California’s week-long struggle to smother a wildfire offers a glimpse of how some states prepare financially for natural disasters. The so-called Station fire north and east of Los Angeles has strained firefighters, threatened homes and added yet another burden on a state that is out of money and low on water. It needs both to […]

Tracking the Recession: State Leaders Suffer Political backlash

BY: - June 16, 2009

A recession is no time for governors and state legislators to win a popularity contest with voters. There’s not much upside to slashing programs and services and raising taxes, no matter which party you are in or how many votes you got in the last election. So it’s no surprise to see that a new […]

Tracking the Recession – Much Ado About a Small Stimulus Pot

BY: - April 6, 2009

After weeks of speculation and intense political pressure, a reluctant Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Friday (April 3) became the last governor to formally notify the White House that he plans to accept at least some federal dollars from the stimulus package – but the controversy is far from over. He and several […]