States of Crisis with Dan Vock

By Daniel C. Vock

A pandemic. Recession. Civil unrest. State leaders are grappling with several enormous crises all at once. We explore how they're responding.

A pandemic. Recession. Civil unrest. State leaders are grappling with several enormous crises all at once. We explore how they're responding.

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#40・

CDC’s About Face on Masks Gives Some Governors Whiplash

The CDC decision came so swiftly, it caught many governors and health officials off guard. The Biden administration has been trying to demonstrate to the American public that it is making progress in the fight against COVID-19 by marking milestones passed and…

 
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#39・

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Thank you so much for being a paying member of States of Crisis.Thanks to you, I’ve been able to cover stories that were too often overlooked or underreported over the last year. That reporting informed the work of journalists, researchers, policy experts and…

#38・

Why Aren't Governors Listening to the CDC?

Michigan is the biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the country right now, by far. It has recorded more than 7,200 cases per day for the last week. For some perspective, that means its per capita infection rate is 60 percent higher than that of New Jersey, the state …

 
#37・

The Pandemic's Other Casualties

The coronavirus, like any other major crisis, has exposed weaknesses that already existed in our society. Today, we look at three areas in which the toll has been especially remarkable. Policy makers have been working for years on these problems, only to see …

 
#36・

A Helping Hand or a 'Gun to the Head'?

It’s practically a law on Capitol Hill these days that, for any legislation that passes, there is equal and opposite litigation waiting to undo it. So it’s hardly a surprise that Republican attorneys general are attacking the first major law signed by Preside…

 
#35・

Why Biden’s Rescue Act is a BFD for States

When Joe Biden addressed the country’s governors last month, he reminded them of how the Obama administration passed a major economic stimulus package in its first few days in office. The Obama stimulus package passed before any of the country’s current gover…

 
#34・

Another Reason Republicans Are So Mad About Congress’ State Relief Plan

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is trying to rally opposition to the economic rescue package that Biden and his administration are trying to push through the Senate. But Kemp’s argument is different than that of other red state governors, several of whom have said st…

 
#33・

Have We Changed the Way We Treat 'Essential' Workers?

Kroger, one of the biggest grocery store chains in the country, announced this week that it would close two stores in Seattle, after the city council passed an ordinance that would have required the company to pay workers an additional $4 an hour for hazard p…

 
#32・

GOP Lawmakers Push Back Against Governors on COVID

Republican lawmakers in Idaho have been trying to wrest power away from Gov. Brad Little, also a Republican, in order to end the public health emergency he declared when COVID-19 first emerged last year.So far, though, they've run into one obstacle after anot…

 
#31・

The Bitter Legacy of 'An Overwhelming Success' for Election Administrators

Election officials knew for years that 2020 would be a major challenge, but, of course, they had no way of knowing just how much disruption they would have to cope with.“Every major element of voting in almost every state was put under serious challenge,” say…

 
#30・

Why West Virginia Leads the Country in Vaccine Roll-Outs

“If you can imagine, this little state,” said Justice, the West Virginia governor, in a CNBC interview this week, “we don’t have vaccines in a warehouse sitting on a shelf.”“Today, we have 100 percent of the vaccines that we’ve received ... either in people’s…

 
#29・

When the Threat Comes from Inside

This week showed that American democratic institutions are not well-equipped to handle existential threats from within.While the truth has been on display all year, it was never more apparent than when the security forces at the U.S. Capitol were caught flat-…

 
#28・

Taking Stock of 2020

The newsletter got a lot of buzz in its first few weeks, with lots of people sharing stories via email and on social media. That drove some of the biggest hits of the year. Not surprisingly, stories about recurring issues -- masks, schools and state aid -- di…

#27・

The Case for Vaccinating Prisoners

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, was on hand Monday when the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived at a state lab in Denver. Not only did he greet the FedEx worker who delivered the package at the freight door, the governor actually helped open th…

 
#26・

Public Officials Find Their Hands Tied as They Confront Winter COVID Surge

Several factors, from a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling to the hypocrisy of prominent politicians, could make it harder for state and local officials to cope with this winter’s COVID-19 surge. Here are a few factors that could stymie their response:Fewer vac…

 
#25・

Why Aren’t We Using Cheaper, Faster and Less Painful COVID Tests?

When I first called Rebecca Lee Smith, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois, she couldn’t pick up, because she was about to take care of a quick errand: getting a COVID test. She called back, and I expressed a bit of amazement that it onl…

 
#24・

Republican Officials Question Election’s Legitimacy

In the week since Election Day, Joe Biden has emerged as the clear winner of the presidential race.But disgruntled Republicans have unleashed a fusillade of lawsuits and investigations questioning whether the election was even valid. A few have gone so far as…

 
#23・

A New Kind of Shortage in COVID Responses: Health Workers

When the coronavirus first arrived in the United States this winter, governors and other officials scrambled to find all sorts of medical equipment they would need to deal with the outbreak, from ventilators to latex gloves and hand sanitizer. But now, as the…

 
#22・

Steve Bullock’s Balancing Act

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is under a tremendous amount of pressure these days.Not only is the former Democratic presidential candidate now locked in one of the most hotly contested U.S. Senate races in the country, but he’s closing out his campaign just as t…

 
#21・

Trump Declares State and Local Aid Dead … Maybe

When President Donald Trump abruptly halted negotiations over a coronavirus relief bill this week, he also threw state finances into disarray.For months, governors of both parties have asked Congress to follow up a March relief package with another one that w…