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Stories by Jenni Bergal

States post yellow alerts to try to nab hit-and-run drivers

States are creating a Yellow Alert system for fatal hit-and-run crashes - similar to an Amber Alert for abducted children - in hopes it will help make it easier for police to track down hit-and-run drivers.... Read more»0

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Cyber insurance price hike hits local governments hard

Across the United States, many local governments and states — as well as private companies — are discovering their cyber insurance premiums have skyrocketed and that they must meet stricter guidelines if they want to get coverage or renew their policies.... Read more»0

Racial justice, pedestrian safety fuel jaywalking debate

Several recent reports have shown that police in some areas disproportionately ticket people of color for jaywalking - and critics say citing people for crossing at the wrong place just gives them another reason to drive instead of walk. ... Read more»0

Ransomware attacks on hospitals put patients at risk

In the past few years, a growing number of hospitals and health care organizations across the U.S. have faced cyberattacks, interrupting care and putting patients at risk, including some public health facilities run by state or local governments. ... Read more»0

To-go cocktails make it harder to enforce underage drinking laws

During the COVID-19 pandemic, states gave a boost to struggling restaurants by allowing cocktails to-go - but the expansion has strained understaffed alcohol enforcement agencies, which have been hard-pressed to prevent underage drinking.... Read more»0

Feds giving states $260 million for highway safety

The federal government has announced that it is giving nearly $260 million in grants to states to beef up their highway safety - funding which will comes from the recently enacted bipartisan infrastructure law and be used to support a broad range of traffic safety priorities.... Read more»0

How common are ransomware attacks? Lawmakers want to find out

Despite the magnitude of the problems caused by ransomware attack, most states don’t have such statutory requirements, so they can’t always warn other agencies that might be hit or help bolster their defenses - but that’s starting to change.... Read more»0

Surging catalytic converter thefts spur state crackdowns

The number of catalytic converter thefts has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and state legislators around the country have responded with measures to thwart the thieves and prevent the sale of stolen devices.... Read more»0

Cities see trash cleanup programs as a way to combat homelessness

As state and local officials struggle to deal with an increase in homelessness caused by the financial stress of the pandemic, some are investing in programs to employ people who don’t have jobs or homes while beautifying streets and neighborhoods.... Read more»0

Pandemic prompts cycling surge — and calls for new protections

COVID-19 has sparked a surge in cycling, as Americans have sought alternatives to crowded gyms, buses and trains, and there also has been an uptick in distracted drivers and speeding over the past 18 months, raising the risks for cyclists on the road.... Read more»0

Expired driver’s licenses open lane for cybercriminals

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, many states issued emergency declarations allowing driver’s licenses to remain valid past expiration dates, but those extensions mostly have ended and scammers are exploiting the need to make sure licenses are renewed.... Read more»0

Tackling social inequity, some cities may ditch bus, subway fares

Transit agencies and cities around the country are considering scrapping or reducing fares after the pandemic highlighted transit inequities, as the majority of those who continued to ride buses and trains were lower-income essential workers, often people of color.... Read more»0

Pedestrian deaths spike during pandemic, despite decrease in traffic

Pedestrian fatalities grew in 27 states in the first half of 2020, despite a large drop in traffic volume during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report has found. The pedestrian death rate rose 20% during that period, alongside jumps in speeding, distracted and impaired driving.... Read more»0

New York boosts smoking age to 21

Starting Wednesday, if you want to buy tobacco or e-cigarettes in New York and you’re under 21, you’re out of luck. The state joined 17 others and the District of Columbia in raising the legal age to buy cigarettes.... Read more»0

Special treatment for firefighters with cancer? Some states say yes

Nearly three dozen states allow firefighters with cancer to qualify for job-related disability benefits without having to prove a direct link between their illness and their job — something cities and counties oppose as too costly. ... Read more»0

Tucson group cultivating civility at state capitols

More than 200 state legislators have participated in workshops aimed at improving civil discourse and building bipartisan trust.... Read more»1

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