The December issue of State Legislatures magazine is now available both online and as a PDF.

photoThe cover story looks at states' long to-do lists to get ready for the health care needs of an aging society. "The good news is that we’re living longer," says Representative Steve Tharinger (D), "but are we ready for the wave that's coming?" Read about the innovative ways states are improving the quality of care for aging Americans starting on page 14.


photophoto New ways of evaluating teachers may help ensure that only good teachers are in the classroom. Tennessee was one of the first states to reform the way it evaluates teachers. "The new system is an important step in the right direction because it gives us a better idea of teacher performance," says Representative John Forgety (R). Federal incentives have put many states on the fast track, leaving some to wonder if changes are moving too fast. "Improving education shouldn't be a race. We don’t want to make these drastic changes only to find out in a year or so that they don't work and, even worse, that they harm teachers" says Representative Mimi Stewart (D). Turn to page 24 to learn which states have made changes to their teacher evaluation policies and how the new systems are faring.

photoStates legislatures have been working hard for years to improve the health of their communities, and there is renewed effort to integrate public health services into the overall health system. "Prevention not only keeps people’s small health problems from becoming health catastrophes, it saves health costs" says Representative Jim Dunnigan (R). Read about the top five local health department services and the challenges states face in coordinating public health programs on page 28.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.


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