Voters in line to cast ballots in the 2022 primary election in Houston, Texas.

Tussle in Texas over how elections are run could spread to other states

BY: - June 1, 2023

A move by Texas Republicans to abolish the position of Harris County elections administrator and hand new oversight powers to the governor-appointed secretary of state could provide a blueprint for GOP leaders in other states who want to tilt elections in their favor, Democratic lawmakers and independent election experts say. Republican lawmakers acted last week after arguing […]

Construction of a Seattle waterfront project.

A few cities are regaining residents after shrinking during the pandemic

BY: - May 18, 2023

The vast majority of American cities are shrinking, but new data shows that a few are regaining residents after population declines early in the pandemic — bolstered, perhaps, by the rapid construction of new homes. Seattle, Houston, Atlanta and Tucson, Arizona, are among the cities that lost population between 2020 and 2021 but now have more people […]

Republicans Try to Rein in ‘Rogue’ Progressive Prosecutors

BY: - March 23, 2023

Vowing to rein in so-called progressive prosecutors, Republican lawmakers in at least half a dozen states are pushing bills that would curb the discretion that local district attorneys have in deciding which crimes to prosecute — and, in some cases, make it easier to remove those elected officials from office. GOP backers say the legislation […]

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 […]

Some Towns Get Funding Boost From Census Corrections

BY: - February 10, 2023

After the U.S. Census Bureau released its first round of official 2020 population corrections in January, many states and cities still await action on the bulk of their counting issues and the funding shortfalls those mishaps can cause. Early winners are those areas where the census had clear technical problems — where mapping issues or […]

More US Counties Lack a Clear Racial Majority (And People Are Getting Along Pretty Well)

BY: - December 5, 2022

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the pronouns used by sociologist Kiara Wyndham-Douds. Some booming suburbs, many of them in the Sun Belt, are becoming as racially diverse as major coastal cities — and often with less racial conflict. Sixty-nine counties, mostly in the South and West, had clear racial majorities in […]

‘Chaos and Confusion’: The Campaign to Stamp Out Ballot Drop Boxes

BY: and - October 31, 2022

This story was published in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative newsroom. In 2020, ballot drop boxes were a sturdy, metallic symbol of increased voter access amid a pandemic. Absentee and mail voting surged across the country, and voters used drop boxes to return 41% of those ballots. Two years later, […]

Prison Staff Shortages Take Toll on Guards, Incarcerated People

BY: - September 26, 2022

HOUSTON — The pay is rising — but so are average temperatures, and because many of the workplaces are not air-conditioned, toiling for this employer often means broiling in the Texas heat. The job is stable and recession-proof but also potentially dangerous, with an ever-present threat of violence. There are drawbacks to being a prison […]

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 […]

Census Bureau Finishes Some Local Count Challenges

BY: - September 2, 2022

The U.S Census Bureau has completed six of the 47 challenges by localities to 2020 counts so far this year, and some have been successful. Some cities small and large have complained that flawed counts have cut off funding based on population and challenges filed under the Count Question Resolution program, considered mapping mistakes that placed […]

Gun Buybacks Are Popular. But Are They Effective?

BY: - August 30, 2022

Two weeks ago, more than 160 gun owners in Richmond, Virginia, turned in 474 firearms in the city’s first-ever gun buyback event. City officials offered Walmart, Amazon and Kroger gift cards in various amounts for different unwanted firearms: for assault-style weapons, for handguns, for rifles and for non-functioning guns. No questions asked. The event’s organizer, […]

Investors Bought a Quarter of Homes Sold Last Year, Driving Up Rents

BY: - July 22, 2022

Investors bought nearly a quarter of U.S. single-family homes that sold last year, often driving up rents for suburban families in the process. The issue is especially acute in some Sun Belt states amid evidence that investors often can outbid other buyers, keeping starter homes out of the hands of would-be owners, especially suburban Black […]