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For the first time, around 2040, there will be more older adults than children. By 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau says, nearly 1 in 4 Americans will be 65 years and older. And in that same year, the number of people 85 years and older will triple and the country will add a half million centenarians. We decided to explore what “Living to 100” means fo…
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services latest “Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System” says more than 430,000 people were in foster care in the last fiscal year. About a quarter of those in the system were teenagers. There is growing awareness that older teens in the foster care system need trained foster parents to help t…
 
Researchers and scientists continue to make advancements in determining how young people learn and how their brains develop. State legislatures devote significant time to education policy and approve considerable state resources to improve the education systems in their states. Our guest is Dr. Linda Darling Hammond, who is the president and CEO of…
 
Of the 18 million military veterans living in America today, about one-fourth of them with a service-connected disability. For post 9/11 veterans, that percentage increases to 41 percent. With Veterans Day 2019 approaching, our attention turned to what state services are available to these brave men and women who served our country. The National Co…
 
Much of the nation’s network of electricity generation, transmission and distribution resources is aging and major upgrades are needed to for new technologies, changing market dynamics and shifting consumer preferences. This analysis comes from a new NCSL report, “Modernizing the Electric Grid: State Role and Policy Options.” States are finding a c…
 
The U.S. Supreme Court opened its current term on the first Monday of October. The court is considering several cases of direct interest to state legislatures. For starters, the court will decide whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is judicially reviewable and lawful. Othe…
 
Once every 10 years, America’s political landscape changes. While most people are aware the U.S. census takes place in years that end in zero, a smaller percentage know the data collected helps determine how the nation’s political power is divided. In most states, legislatures are charged with redrawing congressional and state legislative maps foll…
 
A 2017 study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago discovered that around 4.2 million people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience homelessness at least once during the year. Of those, 700,000 are 17 or younger. And, the study found, youth homelessness occurs at the same rate in rural and urban areas. In this episode, we learn why these yo…
 
Determining if a driver has too much alcohol in his or her system is now easily measured. But with more states approving the sale and use of recreational marijuana, knowing whether a driver is impaired with that drug—or other substances—is much more difficult to prove scientifically. In this episode, we explore actions states are taking to address …
 
Columnist George Will says it’s “the bible of American politics.” Started in 1972, the “Almanac of American Politics,” has been a valuable resource tool for people needing to have comprehensive knowledge of Congress, congressional districts and state governors. Published every two years, the 2020 version has just been released. Our guest is Louis J…
 
For the last 32 years, the National Conference of State Legislatures was led by Executive Director William Pound. He worked for NCSL for 44 years, starting soon after the organization was started in Denver. He retired in mid-July and is being honored at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Nashville this week. We asked him to share his thoughts on legislat…
 
Medicaid is a state-federal health insurance program designed to provide relief for the less fortunate, including low-income people, the elderly and people with disabilities. The program is a significant part of state budgets. State expenditures on Medicaid exceeded $600 billion in 2018, with about 1 in 5 Americans receiving coverage. The federal g…
 
In every term, the U.S. Supreme Court makes decisions that affect state and local governments. In 2019, the court addressed several such issues, including a blockbuster decision on political gerrymandering and an issue of critical importance to the census. In addition to these two rulings, our guests offer perspective on whether certain monuments m…
 
While the country mostly hears how the political parties don’t work together, criminal justice reform is an untold story of how bipartisanship works. States are working together to reduce recidivism, provide released inmates a course for a productive future, and address the backgrounds and experiences of offenders to change behaviors. To illustrate…
 
Last year, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 was signed into law, and the landmark bill has become a model for other states when it comes to online privacy. This year, the California State Legislature is looking to modify the bill to address concerns expressed by businesses and advocates. In Utah, the Electronic Information or Data Privac…
 
Government and health officials from across the country have expressed concern in recent months as cases of measles have been reported in limited areas of the country—the most reported since 1992. The disease was declared all but eliminated in our borders in the year 2000. Maintaining that status is threatened by increased international travel and …
 
What do children know about taxes, credit reports, mortgages, money management, insurance or investing? For that matter, what do parents know about these topics? In this episode, we explore financial literacy. We talk with two guests who are working to get more financial education into our schools, creating more informed citizens about the complex …
 
On July 20, the United States will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with traveling exhibits and special ceremonies at museums, the Johnson Space Center and the Kennedy Space Center. In honor of the historic feat, we wanted to explore technical innovations, STEM education and a launch project designed to include contribut…
 
An estimated 25 million Americans are rape survivors. The Bureau of Justice Statistics three years ago estimated only 23 percent of rapes or sexual assaults are reported. For those that do report their assaults, they are confronted with medial and legal procedures that are challenging and sometimes not understandable. And there is an assumption tha…
 
With May 6-10, 2019, being Legislative Staff Week, we focus this episode on a critical skill: debate thinking. In the heat of a disagreement, argument or debate, it can be difficult to plot a persuasive strategy that effectively articulates one’s point of view while rebutting the position of the other party. We explore the foundations of debate thi…
 
At some point in 2016, 1 in 7 U.S. households was food insecure and more than 44 million people participated in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The nonprofit No Kid Hungry says more than 13 million U.S. children live in "food insecure" homes. The National Conference of State Legislatures created a Hunger Partnership to…
 
In less than a year, the United States will embark on its decennial charge to count every person living in the nation. And, as our guest explains, an accurate count is needed for both economic and political reasons. About $800 billion in federal funding is at stake, as well as each state’s apportionment in the House of Representatives. Our guest is…
 
What’s your sense of the state of civil discourse in America today? The answer is likely as diverse as political viewpoints today. So we decided to talk with someone who studies civil discourse and is an active participant. Keith Allred is the executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. He discusses the differences of civil di…
 
In this episode of “Our American States,” we talk with one of the federal government’s top energy officials. It’s easy to take energy for granted. From turning on the first light in the morning to fixing a meal, taking a hot shower and working on a computer—we generally accept that the energy we need is going to be there. And we become upset when i…
 
The nature and demographics of employment are changing, with fewer men entering the workforce and the gig economy chipping away at traditional job relationships and structures. And state programs that oversee child support programs are taking notice. We talk with officials in two states that are seeing success by working to address the issues and c…
 
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