Four innovative state programs including Iowa's attempt to cut bureaucratic red tape and Washington's budgeting solution are competing for the Oscars of government prizes.
Innovation Awards Finalists Housing & Conservation Board in the State of Vermont -- a state-supported agency that conserves working farms while supporting development of affordable housing.
Housing & Conservation Board in the State of Vermont -- a state-supported agency that conserves working farms while supporting development of affordable housing.
The state-run programs are among 18 finalists competing for an award for the most innovative initiatives in American government. The awards are given annually by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University 's John F. Kennedy School of Government in conjunction with the Council for Excellence in Government.
More than 1,000 state, county and federal programs entered the contest. The 18 finalists will be judged on novelty, effectiveness in addressing important problems and the potential for replication by other government entities when they make presentations to a selection committee in Cambridge, Mass., May 11. The event will be streamed live over the Internet.
On July 27, five winners of the Innovations in American Government Award will receive a $100,000 grant at a Washington, D.C. , awards ceremony to promote and replicate their innovative efforts. Another $100,000 award for an innovative affordable housing program will be given by the Fannie Mae Foundation.
Also among the contenders is the Laboratory Response Network at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a collaboration of 140 state and local public health labs that test for chemical and biological agents associated with terrorism.
Another finalist is a program that aims to help people with behavioral health diagnoses who are released from Pennsylvania prisons. The Allegheny County State Forensic Program offers face-to-face meetings while in prison, post-incarceration housing, psychiatric treatment and access to bus passes, new clothes and job search assistance.