state governments

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Poll: If State Legalizes Pot, Feds Should Be Cool With It

But Americans still split on legalization itself

(Newser) - It's now legal to smoke pot while watching a Lord of the Rings marathon in Washington state, but questions persist over how the pot-prohibiting federal government should react. A new USA Today /Gallup poll clarifies how Americans feel about two of the biggies: Respondents remain split on the issue... More »

State and Local Spending Drops to Lowest in 30 Years

Democrats and Republicans alike slashing budgets

(Newser) - State and local governments have cut back spending to the lowest level in 30 years, according to a USA Today analysis. Both Democrats and Republicans are denying handouts, even with tax revenue going up and powerful interest groups lobbying for funds. Local and state spending dipped 0.8% this year... More »

Distant Capitals = Corrupt States

Take that, James Madison

(Newser) - James Madison once said that capital cities ought to be removed from the busiest parts of the country, so they'd be isolated from powerful interests. Well, guess again, Jim. A new study has found that states with distant capitals are much more likely to have rotten governments, the LA ... More »

When It Comes to Corruption, 8 States Get Fs

How many get As? A big fat zero

(Newser) - After a thorough investigation of corruption in state politics, the Center for Public Integrity has made up report cards for each state—and the results are depressing. Not one state managed anything in the A-range, while eight—Michigan, the Dakotas, South Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Georgia, and Wyoming—scored Fs. Coming... More »

Control of Virginia's Senate Too Close to Call

Just 86 votes separate Republican and Democrat

(Newser) - Republicans appear poised to take over the Virginia state Senate—by a mere 86 votes. Heading into last night’s election, the Democrats had a 22-18 majority in the chamber, but they lost one seat in a strange race that, thanks to redistricting, pitted two incumbents, one Republican and one... More »

Next Financial Crisis: Collapse of States, Cities

Mounting debt, accounting tricks could set up bust among municipalities

(Newser) - Several US states and cities are sitting on fiscal time bombs that could send the country careening into a domestic version of the EU debt crisis, financial experts warn. Pushed to the brink by the downturn, state and local governments are riding trillions of dollars’ worth of debt—much of... More »

2-Way Tweeting Helps Louisiana Monitor Spill

Emergency agency makes good use of give-and-take with followers

(Newser) - Like a lot of other government agencies, Louisiana's emergency-preparedness office uses its Twitter feed to keep citizens updated on issues like the Gulf oil spill. In a neat twist, the office is following thousands of its own followers, "something that a lot of government agencies in the emergency area... More »

Why the World Should Worry About California

It faces the same troubles that shook Greece

(Newser) - Greece's financial trouble may have seemed far off before it helped send the stock market into a tizzy. Business Insider says the same kind of mess could easily hit even closer to home, in California. A sampling of its 16 reasons:
  • Even after last year's huge cuts, the state still
... More »

States Are Going Crazy, as Well as Broke

Arizona and Oklahoma are leaders in both insanity and insolvency

(Newser) - The Tea Partiers may be up in arms over the federal government meddling in their lives and not being able to balance its books, but Gail Collins points out that it's the states that are going into overdrive passing wacky laws (hello, Arizona, Oklahoma!) and whiffing on budget cuts... More »

Special Interests Write Laws, States Fill In Blanks

Bill templating an increasingly common practice

(Newser) - There’s a decent chance your state lawmakers aren’t writing the bills they’re sponsoring—they’re pulling them off the Internet and filling in the blanks. Bill templates are becoming an increasingly common way for special interests from both sides of the political spectrum to influence local legislatures,... More »

NY State of Mind Almost as Bad as Calif.'s

Both states' revenues, budgets, legislatures create cause for alarm

(Newser) - Don’t look now, New Yorkers, but your state government is sinking to California-like depths of lousiness. New York’s 2010 budgetary fitness ranks below that of 33 other states in Pew’s latest ranking, trailing the likes of Louisiana, Alaska, and South Carolina. And that’s unlikely to improve,... More »

Once-Profitable Services Are Killing Local Budgets

Utilities, transport, even gambling, are now $3.5B drains

(Newser) - Municipally owned businesses like utilities, public transportation, and betting parlors used to bring in much-needed cash flow, but the recession has done its predictable work. State and local governments nationwide will likely hemorrhage $3.5 billion this year running these concerns which brought in upwards of $120 billion during the... More »

Furloughs Freeze State Services

Strapped states try to balance budgets by shutting down

(Newser) - States across the country are slashing their labor costs by putting workers on furloughs and cutting services, the Wall Street Journal reports. California, Maine, Maryland and Michigan close state agencies on Fridays. Others are opting to remain open every weekday, but stretch services by placing thousands of workers on rolling... More »

Tax Collectors Use MySpace, Google to Find Deadbeats

Public profiles can provide valuable income information for revenue agents

(Newser) - Internet-savvy state tax collectors are using a new tool in tracking down evaders: social networking websites. Tax collectors are taking advantage of the fact that an individual’s MySpace or Facebook profile often contains quite a bit of professional information, the Wall Street Journal reports. Agents in Nebraska, for example,... More »

Obama's Health Plan Will Crack Whip on States

States mishandle Medicaid, get bullied by private firms: doctor

(Newser) - Doctors nationwide are “outraged” by President Obama’s health care plan, but “I call it progress,” writes one Missouri physician for Salon. The reform would take oversight out of the hands of states, which seemingly specialize in “lax regulation of private insurers” and poor handling of... More »

Obama: Brace for Swine Flu Outbreak

Calls for 'vigilance,' not 'panic'

(Newser) - President Obama called for “rigorous” planning by state and local officials in anticipation of a possible swine flu outbreak this fall, CNN reports. “We want to make sure we aren't promoting panic, but we are promoting vigilance and preparation,” Obama—on a video link from the G8... More »

Anti-Abortion Activists Target State Battlegrounds

In Mississippi, only one clinic remains

(Newser) - With President Obama in office, abortion is unlikely to become illegal under federal law anytime soon. So activists are taking their battle to the state level, pushing for complex rules and limits that make the procedure difficult to obtain, the Washington Post reports. "The states are the battlegrounds and... More »

Minn. Asks ISPs to Block Gambling Sites

(Newser) - Minnesota wants Internet providers who serve customers in the state to block access to Internet gambling sites, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Officials say the practice is illegal in the state, but how prevalent it is is unclear. “It's hard to know that," a gambling regulator said. “... More »

Stimulus Flows Into Patchwork of Road Projects

Thousands of small p

(Newser) - Although the stimulus package that Barack Obama signed last month contains eye-watering sums, the earliest projects out of the gate are far from monumental: widening a highway in Kansas, resurfacing some roads in Missouri. More than a dozen states have announced their plans to spend their share of the $50... More »

Obama to Mayors: Use Stimulus Cash Wisely

Officials can't betray the public's trust, president says

(Newser) - President Obama says the $787 billion economic package will help struggling cities, but both Washington and the mayors have a responsibility to spend the money wisely. "We have asked for the unprecedented trust of the American people to deal boldly with the greatest economic crisis we have seen in... More »

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