Local Reporting Network Archive

All entries from our Local Reporting Network.

Lawyers Who Were Ineligible to Handle Serious Criminal Charges Were Given Thousands of These Cases Anyway

In the only state with no public defenders, people charged with murder and other serious crimes can get assigned attorneys who are legally ineligible to take on their cases. The state claims it was unaware.

People Over 75 Are First in Line to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19. The Average Black Person Here Doesn’t Live That Long.

Prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for people 75 and up can leave out Black Americans, who tend to die younger than their white counterparts. In majority-Black Shelby County, this gap raises questions of how to make the vaccine rollout equitable.

Utility Companies Owe Millions to This State Regulatory Agency. The Problem? The Agency Can’t Track What It’s Owed.

When a whistleblower alleged that $200 million was missing from the California Public Utilities Commission, the agency says it took steps to collect. Yet an audit uncovered more missing money and cited flaws in the agency’s accounting system.

How We Found Pricey Provisions in New Jersey Police Contracts

ProPublica and the Asbury Park Press scoured hundreds of police union agreements for details on publicly funded payouts to cops.

How the Police Bank Millions Through Their Union Contracts

The public funds six-figure “sick day” payouts, $2,500 “perfect attendance” bonuses and lucrative “extra duty” assignments identified in a ProPublica, Asbury Park Press analysis of New Jersey police union contracts.

Hawaii’s Beaches Are Disappearing. New Legislation Could Help ... if It’s Enforced.

A legal loophole allowed wealthy property owners to protect their real estate at the expense of Hawaii’s coastlines. Now, the state Legislature is considering bills to crack down on the destructive practices, but questions around enforcement remain.

ProPublica Is Seeking New Applicants for Its Local Reporting Network

We are looking to work with three more newsrooms, for a year beginning in April 2021, on accountability journalism projects.

“We Have Counties in Deep Trouble”: Oregon Lawmakers Seek to Reverse Timber Tax Cuts That Cost Communities Billions

For decades, corporate timber benefited from tax cuts that devastated local budgets. Lawmakers want change and have filed dozens of bills, making this one of Oregon’s most consequential sessions for forest policy.

Air Quality Regulators in “Cancer Alley” Have Fallen Dangerously Behind

An audit found that the time it takes the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to issue penalties to polluters has doubled. Some companies that have been known to violate air quality rules were able to keep at it for years, or even decades.

“The People We Serve Are Paying Too Much for Energy:” Virginia Lawmakers Are Targeting Dominion Energy

A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers are pushing a legislative package to strengthen oversight of the state’s largest utility, Dominion Energy. The effort could return millions in refunds to customers.

Has Your Family Paid Fees or Fines to a Juvenile Justice System?

Has your family faced financial hardship as a result of a delinquency case? We’d like to hear from you.

How the CARES Act Forgot America’s Most Vulnerable Hospitals

COVID-19 relief was meant to give a lifeline to hospitals, especially the small, rural facilities that struggled to stay open before 2020. But in states like Oklahoma, problems created by confusing guidelines could cause harm long after the pandemic.

A Woman With Developmental Disabilities Was Abused in Arizona. The State Promised Changes. It Has Not Made Them Yet.

A woman with DD living in a state home was raped and had a baby. A task force was made to come up with changes to protect people like her. Most of those changes have not happened yet.

Memphis-Area Residents Without Internet Must Wait Days for Vaccination Appointments, While Others Go to the Front of the Line

The county’s decision to prioritize vaccinations for internet users — and its failure to set aside any appointments for callers — raises issues of equity and access, say experts.

South Carolina’s Governor Addresses Magistrate Judge Controversy by Urging Changes

An investigation from the Post and Courier and ProPublica found that most judges had no law training and some accepted bribes, stole money and ignored constitutional protections. Now, South Carolina’s governor says he wants change.

Magistrate Judges Took Bribes, Stole Money and Mishandled Cases. South Carolina Officials Now Want Reform.

South Carolina lawmakers are eyeing reforms to strengthen oversight of magistrate judges after ProPublica and The Post and Courier found some had been appointed and reappointed despite ethical and professional lapses.

Timber Tax Cuts Cost Oregon Towns Billions. Then Polluted Water Drove Up the Price.

Rural communities in Oregon paid millions of dollars for clean, safe drinking water because the state didn’t protect their watersheds from logging-related contamination.

Hawaii Officials Promise Changes to Seawall Policies That Have Quickened Beach Destruction

Seawalls erode Hawaii’s beaches, but the state has been lax about approving them and disorganized about enforcing the law. Officials now pledge action, after a Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica investigation.

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