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Public school alternatives gather steam across the country

By Ben Wieder Stateline.org About mid-way through Alabama’s legislative session this spring, Governor Robert Bentley and top state education officials hit the road to visit charter schools in New Orleans, where a majority of public schools have been converted over to the charter model. The city is seen as a national laboratory for the publicly […]

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Will North Dakota be the first state to end property taxes?

By Josh Goodman Stateline.org North Dakota voters on Tuesday will decide the fate of a ballot initiative that would make the state the first in the country to end property taxes. If any state is going to take such a dramatic step, North Dakota would seem to be a likely candidate. North Dakota is generally […]

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Political officials critique Statehouse reporters 140 characters at a time

By Melissa Maynard Stateline.org Governors and their staffs now regularly use Twitter to make major announcements about policy initiatives, host virtual town hall meetings and weigh in on the day’s news. But some are also using the social media networking service to challenge the journalists covering them and to weigh in on the job they’re […]

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Across the nation, fights over gun restrictions heat up

By Maggie Clark Stateline.org Despite the scrutiny of state gun laws following the February shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, state legislators across the country continue to work on scaling back gun restrictions this session. The Indiana General Assembly adjourned its 2012 session last month without making any notable changes to the […]

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Divided Congress resorts to 3-month highway bill

By Daniel C. Vock Stateline.org State transportation officials who worried they might have to delay road construction projects because of a lack of federal money can breathe a little easier, after Congress agreed to keep the money flowing for another three months. Lawmakers sent President Obama the measure Thursday (March 29), but nearly everyone involved […]

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Food stamp programs under fire nationally

By Pamela M. Prah Stateline.org The odds of winning one of Michigan’s high-stakes lottery games are 1 in 10,000, but the probability of two people hitting million-dollar jackpots and still be collecting food stamps has to be even more remote. That is exactly what happened in Michigan, stoking a nationwide debate over whether the program is […]

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Across the nation: Gambling revenue promises rarely met

Indiana one of few states where casinos exceed expectations By Ben Wieder Stateline.org No state helped the gambling industry come out of a two-year recessionary slump more than Pennsylvania, which has seen more than a $1 billion increase in revenue during the past two fiscal years. That growth has catapulted the state’s industry to near […]

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Daniels’ response to Obama: Protect the private sector

By Megan Banta The Statehouse File  INDIANAPOLIS—Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday night that President Barack Obama did not tell the whole truth about the state of the country in his State of the Union Address. Obama said “the state of our union is getting stronger,” citing the creation of three million jobs in the last […]

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Unions adapt to new rules in states, even as they fight to reverse them

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Unions adapt to new rules in states, even as they fight to reverse them

By Ben Wieder Stateline.org It took nearly a year for Dale Kleinert to negotiate his first teachers’ contract. When Kleinert started his job as schools superintendent in Moscow, Idaho, the talks were already underway. Then, discussions reached an impasse. There were disagreements over pay and health care costs, and the pace slowed further when first […]

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States look for better returns from pension plans, eye New York’s proposed overhaul

By Stephen C. Fehr Stateline staff writer Nearly every state has cut public pension benefits for new workers in the last three years, with an emphasis on reducing the money the states will owe to employees when they retire. Now, some state and local governments are turning to the other significant part of pension math: […]

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