Kevin Hardy

Kevin Hardy

Kevin Hardy covers business, labor and rural issues for Stateline from the Midwest.

A woman in a blue dress sitting at a desk and signing legilation with seven men in suits and the flags of the United Sattes and Arkansas behind her.

Worries over secrecy grow as state officials shield records from the public

By: - November 20, 2023

This story was originally published on Stateline. Just weeks after lawmakers in Little Rock passed legislation shielding certain state records from public disclosure, opponents launched an effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to protect access to government documents. “The coalition that’s coming together on this is about as broadly bipartisan as you could get — […]

A hand holding out a plastic cup filled with beer and marked in a special zone. A downtown city scene is visible in the background.

‘I felt so naughty’: New open carry alcohol laws boost downtowns

By: - November 6, 2023

This story originally appeared on Stateline. Holly Smith Mount wanted to be first. Smith Mount, chair of the city council in Huntington, West Virginia, was determined to see her community launch the state’s initial outdoor drinking zone — an idea made possible only after the legislature changed the state’s alcohol law earlier this year. “I […]

A man looks at the meats on display at a deli counter in a supermarket.

Blue and red states slash taxes despite warnings of hard times ahead

By: - October 25, 2023

With a $750 million budget surplus on hand, there was little doubt whether North Dakota lawmakers would cut taxes earlier this year — the question was how much. “The surplus was strong, and we believe it’s going to be sustained into the future,” said state Rep. Craig Headland. “So, it just made sense to cut […]

A pig looking out of a pen with many other pigs around it.

Congress takes aim at state animal welfare laws

By: - September 28, 2023

Earlier this year, Oregon Democrats pushed through state legislation that allows local governments to require setbacks between neighbors and factory farming operations. The law prohibits farms from drawing unlimited amounts of free groundwater and requires farmers to apply for a permit before applying manure to their fields. It’s the kind of state regulation at risk […]

Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift, wearing a leotard and boots with sparkling stones embeeded in them, standing on a platform with a red, orange and yellow background behind her.

Seeing ‘Red’ after Taylor Swift debacle, lawmakers weigh concert ticket rules

By: - September 5, 2023

There’s no question what motivated state Rep. Kelly Moller to push for changes in Minnesota law on concert ticket sales. “Really, it was the Taylor Swift debacle for me,” she said. A self-professed Swiftie, the Democrat found herself among millions of other Americans unable to buy tickets last year to Swift’s Eras Tour. She preregistered […]

A "Now Hiring sign," with white lettering on a red background, stands in front of a business called "Sparkline Image Car Wash."

‘Who’s going to work there?’: Lawmakers grapple with labor shortages

By: - August 22, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — For years, Indiana’s GOP-controlled legislature has focused on creating a business-friendly climate by pushing favorable tax rates and regulations, aiming to foster the creation of good-paying jobs across the state. The way Republican state Sen. Michael Crider sees it, those moves have worked: Companies such as Amazon and Walmart have built new warehouses and […]