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AI is used widely, but lawmakers have set few rules

BY: - June 5, 2023

In the fall of 2016, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families began using a predictive analytics tool that promised to help identify kids in imminent danger. The tool used more than two dozen data points to compare open cases in Connecticut’s system against previous welfare cases with poor outcomes. Then each child received a […]

States Feel Budget Pinch Amid Darkening Revenue Projections

BY: - April 10, 2023

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a reference to personal income in Washington state. After two years of record tax collections, budget writers in some states are starting to feel a revenue pinch created by a slumping stock market, banking and tech layoffs, slower consumer spending and lower energy prices.  Buoyed by […]

A 4-Day Workweek Gains Lawmaker Support in Some States

BY: - March 28, 2023

The Original Oyster House, billed as Pittsburgh’s oldest restaurant, found itself in crisis during the pandemic. Down to seven employees — including owner Jen Grippo and her mother — the staff worked six or seven days a week to keep up with orders. Grippo closed the Oyster House entirely in January 2021, determined to give […]

States With Legal Pot Consider How to Protect Cannabis Workers

BY: - March 27, 2023

Most cannabis dispensaries are cash-only businesses, constantly at risk of being robbed. Indoor growing facilities use harsh lighting, and plants get sprayed with pesticides. Those conditions can create daily hazards for cannabis workers, which is why labor organizers are trying to unionize them as legalization spreads and the marijuana workforce grows. “Cannabis consumers might assume […]

To Prevent Gun Suicide, States Consider Allowing People to Deny Themselves a Gun

BY: - March 16, 2023

As lawmakers and mental health advocates wrestle with how to stop the avalanche of suicides by firearm in this country, some are looking to a novel idea at work in a handful of states: Register yourself as a suicide risk so you can’t buy a gun on a whim. Mass shootings get more attention, but […]

Bourbon Connoisseurs’ Spirits Run High, Then Low, as States Allot Rare Bottles

BY: - February 21, 2023

As liquor connoisseurs’ quest for certain high-end bourbons becomes a blood sport, the 17 states that control their own liquor stores have adopted more and more complex methods to stop obsessed seekers from gaming the system by stalking delivery trucks and reselling sought-after bottles on the black market.   Over the past decade, bourbon, once […]

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 $300, 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 […]

States, Cities Scramble to Combat Animal ‘Tranq’ in Street Drugs

BY: - February 8, 2023

As a dangerous new additive found in fentanyl and other street drugs surges from coast to coast, health officials in nearly every state are scrambling to track it.   Xylazine, a large-animal tranquilizer not approved for human use, started showing up routinely in the drug supply in 2019, but didn’t take off until the coronavirus […]

States Reimagine Power Grids for Wind and Solar Future

BY: - January 25, 2023

For years, many states have set ambitious goals and incentives to promote renewable electricity projects. Now, more of those states are turning their attention to the transmission lines, substations and transformers needed to get that electricity from wind farms and solar plants into homes and businesses. Congress has invested billions in boosting clean energy. But […]

Migrating Professionals Grow Black Middle Class in the South and West

BY: - January 5, 2023

Jan. 5—Erika Harrison, a Houston attorney who has lived in the area since she was 5, started her blog, Black Girls Who Brunch, “to showcase the vibrant food scene beyond the franchise restaurants.” But recently, the blog has grown into much more than that. In addition to providing restaurant recommendations, Harrison has become a connector […]

Governors’ TikTok Bans Make Sense, Cybersecurity Experts Say

BY: - December 21, 2022

At least 18 states, all led by Republican governors, have banned staffers’ use on government devices of the social media app TikTok over concerns about the possible security risks posed by the Chinese-owned company. They say the app can be used to collect data from users’ devices, which the Chinese government could then access. Some […]

Felled City Trees Could Grow a New Lumber Economy

BY: - November 29, 2022

This story has been edited to clarify the city of Baltimore’s relationship with the Baltimore Wood Project. SEATTLE — When a tree falls in the city, does it make a table? Or a guitar or a cabinet? It’s a question that’s increasingly being asked by state and city leaders, arborists, tree care companies and woodworkers. […]