Rates of foreclosure are at levels not seen the 1930s, and some communities in the Midwest have been particularly hard hit by a rise in the number of blighted properties. States are responding with new measures and investigations designed to help troubled communities and homeowners.
Over the past decade, states have created a flurry of activity on energy policy: New renewable portfolio standards, the buildup of smart grids, and new investments in clean-energy generation, for example.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 80 new restrictions on abortion have been enacted nationwide thus far in 2011 — a total that dwarfs activity in any other previous year. And much of the activity has been occurring here in the Midwest.
In 2009, about 25,000 Minnesotans took advantage of one of the five tuition-reciprocity deals the state has with neighboring jurisdictions. These agreementsallow residents to attend out-of-state colleges at the rates of comparable home-state institutions. Keeping these additional college options open to students requires states to coordinate and cooperate with one another, and this year, Minnesota and Wisconsin were able to strike a deal that will allow their long-standing reciprocity program to continue.