State Legislatures

This magazine covers policy and politics through articles on trends, legislative in the United States, best practices, the legislative process and institution and leadership and federal initiatives that affect the states.

Articles from Vol. 38, No. 5, May

A Medical Neighborhood: Accountable Care Organizations Could Solve Some of Health Care's Biggest Problems, but They're Largely Untested
Improving how we care for patients while controlling escalating costs are the two toughest issues in health care. An approach some think may address both is the use of accountable care organizations, in which a range of medical providers work together...
Bail or Jail: Lawmakers in More Than Two Dozen States Are Changing the Rules on Bail
Most of the people sitting in local jails have not been convicted of a crime. Instead, they're awaiting trial and can't afford bail. In fact, 60 percent of jail inmates are awaiting disposition of their cases, not serving time for a conviction,...
Employment Credit Checks
Picture yourself in this situation: Laid-off two years ago, you have used all your savings to pay bills and are starting to fall behind on some. Finally, a job interview looks promising until they question your credit rating. Should that matter? ...
For the Record: Alan Simpson
Alan Simpson is a former state legislator, Wyoming's colorful and outspoken Republican U.S. senator for 18 years and, most recently, co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. After 10 months of work in 2010, the bipartisan...
Fracking Fracas: A New Method of Extracting Natural Gas Has Yielded a Bounty of Supply, along with Health and Environmental Concerns
No energy is produced without some consequences. Natural gas is a perfect example. Despite the tremendous economic benefits created by the recent abundance of cheap natural gas, critics are raising alarms about how it's extracted. Hydraulic fracturing,...
Gas Gusher: The Nation Is Awash in Natural Gas, Driving Down Prices and Giving the Economy a Boost
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] What a difference a few years can make. Not long ago, high natural gas prices and tight supplies drove the construction of numerous liquefied natural gas terminals to handle imported fuel. Now, these terminals are seen...
Leading from the Back Bench Demands Persistence and Focus
The public discourse often confuses authority for leadership. Too often, people assume men and women with big jobs, fancy titles and lots of formal power are the epitome of leadership. Exercising leadership and exercising authority, however, are...
Medicaid for Inmates
Medicaid can save states millions of dollars. Really! A little-known federal rule, adopted in 1997, allows Medicaid a jointly funded state-federal health program--to cover some prisoners' health care costs previously paid by state funds. To be eligible,...
Right-to-Work Laws
It's up to state legislatures to decide whether workers must join a union to get or keep a job. So far, 23 states--along with Guam--have decided workers should have a "right to work" without having to join a union. A renewed focus on collective...
Rural Rx: A Program Developed in New Mexico May Change How Health Care Is Delivered in Rural America
About 51 million Americans live in rural areas of the country, where obtaining medical care often involves long drives, long waits and extra expense. In most rural counties, there are so few primary care physicians that many patients can't obtain...
States, Feds See Food Safety Roles Differently
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Outbreaks of illnesses from contaminated food helped spur enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by Congress and signed by the president in January 2011. The law focuses on preventing outbreaks, instead...
Taste of Home: Lawmakers Are Balancing Strict Food Safety Laws with Policies to Encourage Small Food Entrepreneurs
Food safety is something most Americans take for granted. But that confidence is shaken when there's an outbreak of a food-borne illness, like the Listeria infection in Colorado cantaloupes last year that left 32 people dead. There's plenty of...