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State Politics

The Takeaway

When Will State Budget Stallers Step Into Line?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New York has balanced its budget, and California finally shed its reputation as a fiscal laggard, reaching its budget on time for the first time in years. But other states are not on similar paths. In Minnesota, if the Democratic governor and Republican-led legislature cannot agree on a budget by midnight tonight, all nonessential services will shut down, including state parks—dire news, ahead of the July 4 weekend. So why is it taking so long? And what can we learn from states that have already settled their books? 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

New York and National Balance of Power

Monday, November 08, 2010

Chris Smith, contributing editor for New York Magazine, and Melissa Harris-Perry, politics professor at Princeton University, MSNBC contributor, and columnist for The Nation, talk about the balance of power in New York and around the country, after the midterms.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

And the Nominees are…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nate Silver, blogger for the New York TimesFive Thirty Eight blog, and Melinda Henneberger, founder and editor-in-chief of Politics Daily, discuss the results of primaries across the country.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Talking Politics: NY Senate

Friday, September 10, 2010

New York's junior U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her challenger, Gail Goode, Deputy Borough Chief of Trials for the City of New York Law Dept., discuss their election campaigns.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Political Preview

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett previews our political coverage today, including interviews with Senator Gillibrand and her challenger Gail Goode, as well as Obama's press conference on the economy.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

State Senate: Nunes vs. Huntley

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Long-time State Senate incumbent Shirley Huntley and her opponent Lynn Nunes, candidate for the 10th State Senate district in southeast Queens, discuss the campaign.

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The Takeaway

Money Spent on State Supreme Court Elections Doubles in Past Decade

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

According to a new report, spending on state Supreme Court elections has doubled in the last decade. According to polls, three in four Americans believe money spent on campaigns for judgeships can affect later courtroom decisions; some states are calling for methods to protect the court system from special-interest money donated during election season.

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The Takeaway

Is Mandated Health Care a State's Rights Issue?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Attorneys general from 16 states are challenging the health care legislation that was signed into law by President Obama last month. They're contesting the constitutionality of the law.

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The Takeaway

Annise Parker, First Openly Gay Big City Mayor

Monday, December 14, 2009

On Saturday, Houston, Texas became the largest American city to elect an openly gay mayor. Mayor-elect Annise Parker joins us to discuss her campaign, her opposition and the country's political and cultural landscape.

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The Takeaway

Massachusetts Governor Names a New Senator

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is expected to appoint former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul G. Kirk to fill Sen. Ted Kennedy's vacant Senate seat later this morning. Kirk has been a longtime Kennedy family friend, and Ted Kennedy's family reportedly lobbied the governor on Kirk's behalf. Kirk will hold the seat until a special election in January seats a replacement for the remainder of Kennedy's term. Frank Phillips, the state house bureau chief for the Boston Globe, joins us with the details of the nomination.

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The Takeaway

Rhode Island Considers a Name Change

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The state of Rhode Island is having an identity crisis. 573 years after Rhode Island was founded, the state is considering changing its name from “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” to simply “The State of Rhode Island.” The Takeaway talks to Rhode Island personality Buddy Cianci. He’s a radio host with WPRO and the former Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island.

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The Takeaway

Gail Collins vs. the "Love Govs"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The situation of admitted adulterer Governor Sanford is not unique. From Illinois to New Jersey to South Carolina to New York echoes the sound of gubernatorial apologies. New York Times columnist Gail Collins joins The Takeaway as we take an historical tour of the worst governors and their best antics.

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The Takeaway

You Call This a Government? The Mess in Albany

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Monday New York State Senate Republicans staged a coup against the Democratic majority. In response, the Democrats refused to unlock the gates to the Senate chamber, and state business has come to a standstill. Rex Smith, Editor of the Albany Times-Union, joins The Takeaway with a look at the New York state government's chaos.

Watch footage from the floor of the Senate in the video below.

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The Takeaway

How prepared are the states for a swine flu pandemic?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The swine flu remains an "outbreak" not a "pandemic," but global health officials are warning that it could turn into one. The virus is now in at least 10 countries and World Health Organization has raised its pandemic threat level to Phase 5. How prepared are the states after shedding thousands of workers in their health departments? The Takeaway is joined by Dr. Paul Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
"The public health community at the state, local and federal level has been preparing for years for a pandemic. We are well-prepared. We have plans, they've been exercised, they've been drilled and right now they're being put in place across the country."
—Dr. Paul E. Jarris on the nation's preparedness for a flu pandemic

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The Takeaway

A closer look at school governance under mayoral control

Monday, April 13, 2009

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently advocated in favor of mayoral control of big-city schools. It is a system that is already in cities such as New York, Boston, and Chicago and Los Angeles, Dallas, and Newark are considering making the move. Is this growing trend good for the students? So far test results show that students aren't necessarily doing better in schools run by mayors. Here to help us take a closer look at the pros and cons of school governance is Joseph Viteritti, professor at Hunter College and editor of When Mayors Take Charge.

Listen to Educator-in-Chief Arne Duncan's interview on The Takeaway.

Who runs your school system? Tell us here!

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The Takeaway

A look at state spending of the stimulus funds

Friday, April 10, 2009

Yesterday Vice President Biden announced the federal government is releasing $2.3 billion in recovery act funding for child care and vaccines. The announcement is the latest in a flurry of national and local announcements on how stimulus spending will be spent. Some states, such as Maryland, have immediately jumped on the money and started planning, spending, and even building. Other states (New York, for example) have done next to nothing with the money yet. Joining us to discuss the stimulus spending in the the states is Takeaway Correspondent Andrea Bernstein, who is watching stimulus spending for our ShovelWatch Project, and Mark Steiner, host of the Marc Steiner Show on WEAA in Baltimore.

And we're continuing our investigation of the stimulus plan on air and online. What are your elected officials telling you is coming to your area? What do you know about the projects coming to your community? Where should the stimulus money go instead? Crowdsource the stimulus plan.

"There's real conversation going on here in Baltimore about how do you use this money to really stimulate a local economy as opposed to just giving people temporary jobs that'll be over in a year"
—Marc Steiner of WEAA on stimulus spending in Baltimore

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The Takeaway

Transportation officials cause confusion at White House recovery plan conference

Thursday, March 12, 2009

WNYC
The president stopped by a meeting of 49 state representatives gathered to discuss ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka "the stimulus bill") and got a big round of applause. But his aides were not treated so politely...

The White House called in a group of state representatives to discuss implementation of the stimulus bill — but several pool reports (see below) paint a picture of anxiety and confusion.

"You're giving governors a lot of responsibility to administer it, but we're not always kept in the loop," a representative from New Hampshire told Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Or take this exchange with Deputy Transportation Secretary Thomas Barrett (Another man asked how and why Maryland has already started transportation projects under stimulus, going back to the morning session's theme where some states are nervous they've missed opportunities to fund projects, or are behind the curve):

"They started using their own money," Barrett said.

"So we can do that?" the man said.

"If you have the money," Barrett said.

Then, following some back and forth...

"If there's confusion on it —" Barrett said, then was cut off by one of the state reps:

"There certainly is."

You get the idea. The full reports are worth a read and *bonus* there's a list of state representatives at the end of report #3.
Read More

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The Takeaway

New Supreme Court ruling limits Voting Rights Act

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday to limit the Voting Rights Act. The ruling says there is no duty to draw voting districts that will elect black candidates in areas where blacks are less than a majority. The Takeaway talks to Nathaniel Persily, Columbia University law professor, and Richard Pildes, New York University law professor, about the implication of the ruling. Specifically, the role of race in elections almost 50 years after the Voting Rights Act was passed, and that the Supreme Court might rule on another section of the Voting Rights Act next month.

"One of the differences between the Voting Rights Act today and when Johnson first initiated it is that we have a whole set of minority incumbents, in part because of the creation of a lot of these districts."
— New York University law professor Richard Pildes on the changes in the Voting Rights Act

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The Takeaway

Governors may reject stimulus money to the chagrin of the unemployed

Friday, February 27, 2009

Governors in nine states, mostly in the South, are thinking about rejecting millions of dollars in federal stimulus money pegged for increased unemployment insurance. Joining us this morning is Michael Luo, a New York Times writer who is reporting that many jobless people in those states are angry that they may not get benefits from the stimulus package.

Read Michael Luo's article from the New York Times at Jobless Angry at Possibility of No Benefits

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour discusses why he turned down funds for his state.

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The Takeaway

Give me money or give me death: States weigh banning death penalty to save costs

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As the economic downturn hits the states, some governors are considering an unusual cost-cutting measure: abolishing the death penalty. Since capital cases cost three times as much as cases where the death penalty is not sought, cash-strapped states are increasingly looking at the option. Ian Urbina has been reporting on this for the New York Times and he joins us now.

For more, read Ian Urbina's article, Citing Cost, States Consider Halting Death Penalty, in today's New York Times.

"Even if you take the appeals out, sitting in a death row cell as opposed to a regular cell costs, on average, three times more because death row involves so many more guards per inmate."
— New York Times reporter Ian Urbina on the cost of capital punishment

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