Local Reporting Network Archive

The Family Plan: In Louisiana, Lawmakers Promote Bills That Help Their Relatives and Clients

One lawmaker supported a bill that would help his brother, who owns truck stop casinos. Another, a lawyer who represents physicians, sponsored a bill that helps doctors under investigation by the state medical board.

Legislators in Many States Can Push Bills They’d Profit From

The laws vary by state. In some, lawmakers are told to recuse themselves from votes that could create even the “appearance of impropriety.” In others, overlapping interests are seen as “almost inevitable.”

Louisiana Lawmakers Are Pushing Bills That Benefit Their Own Businesses. And It’s Perfectly Legal.

Legislators own everything from gas stations to nursing homes, yet they rarely recuse themselves on bills that directly affect them.

Talk to Us About Los Alamos National Laboratory — and Other National Labs Around the Country

ProPublica is teaming up with The Santa Fe New Mexican to investigate health and safety problems at national labs. We want to hear your story.

Two Leading Bidders for Lucrative Los Alamos Lab Contract Have Checkered Safety Records

Defense contractor Bechtel and the University of California are in the running even though they have run the lab as partners for the last decade and amassed a record of worker health and safety violations.

One West Virginia County Tried to Break Its Dependence on the Energy Industry. It Was Overruled.

After seeing the scars of coal, Fayette County banned the disposal of natural gas drilling waste. Industry fought back, arguing the community doesn’t get a say.

HUD May Soon Evict Residents in Two Public Housing Complexes in Southern Illinois

The failures of the complexes — and HUD’s role — is being investigated by The Southern Illinoisan and ProPublica.

The Coal Industry Extracted a Steep Price From West Virginia. Now Natural Gas Is Leading the State Down the Same Path.

“It’s déjà vu for the people who sat here 130 years ago and gave away our coal wealth to big out-of-state companies,” one state senator said. “That’s what we’re about to do again.”

Covering West Virginia’s Long History of Broken Promises

In the face of a major decline in the coal industry, families and entire communities that depended on it are hurting. Now that natural gas is booming, I’m reporting on whether we’ve learned anything from the past.

How an Oregon Weekly Forced Release of Key Records in Murder Cases

Oregon sued a tiny newspaper to keep records secret relating to the state’s release of defendants found “guilty except for insanity.” The paper prevailed and is using the records to explore a series of troubling cases.

Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him.

Charles Longjaw was being held at the Oregon State Hospital after being found insane. Oregon changed its interpretation of the law and he was released, raising questions about how states manage violent offenders with mental illness.

Oregon Board Explains Why It Repeatedly Released Killer From Psychiatric Hospital

In response to our questions, the Psychiatric Security Review Board explains why danger alone is not enough to keep violent people with mental illness under state jurisdiction.

Louisiana Legislators Are Earning Big Money From Government Agencies — But Don’t Have to Disclose It All

One state senator earned $836,000 in legal fees representing a sheriff. The amount he disclosed: $13,328. “The notion that you could get public money and not report it in our flim-flammery of an ethics system is ridiculous,” an ethics expert says.

Senators Question HUD’s “Rash” Decision to Close Two Housing Complexes in Southern Illinois

HUD says it doesn’t have the funds to fix up two public housing developments in Thebes, Illinois. The state’s two U.S. senators question whether the agency’s decision to close them — forcing 85 people to relocate — violates federal law.

In Small-Town America, the Public Housing Crisis Nobody’s Talking About

The shuttering of public housing complexes in two small Midwestern towns raises big questions for residents, HUD and Congress. To tell the story, I could use your help.

HUD Long Neglected These Residents. Now As They Move Out, Some Feel HUD Let Them Down Again.

A scramble for housing in southern Illinois has exposed mixed messages and false hope. “It’s betrayal, really,” one resident said of the way she’s been treated by HUD.

Trump’s Labor Department Eviscerates Workplace Safety Panels

Five expert committees advised the federal government on ways to improve workplace safety and enhance whistleblower protections. Under President Donald Trump, their work has stopped and their recommendations are now stalled.

Injured Nuclear Workers Finally Had Support. The Trump Administration Has Mothballed It.

An advisory board of scientists, doctors and worker advocates helped ensure that nuclear workers exposed to toxins received proper compensation. The terms of nearly all board members expired last month — and no new members have been appointed.

Florida’s Governor Will Sign Bill Expanding Workers’ Comp Benefits for First Responders

Like many states, Florida first responders can’t get paid time off work if they get PTSD on the job. The Legislature passed a bill to change that after the Parkland school shooting, but those diagnosed previously are out of luck.

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