The NCSL Blog


By Kevin Frazzini

General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Harvard, Yale and Princeton. ABC, CBS and NBC.

BridgeAlmost every industry has a Big Three, and it’s no different for state lawmakers. But instead of three big states or legislatures, there are three big issues, the ones everybody’s dealing with: opioids, transportation and marijuana.

They’re not the only topics on which constituents want action, of course, but they’re occupying an increasing amount of lawmakers’ time.

The opioid epidemic now claims 42,000 American lives annually; every state is wrestling with the cost of infrastructure upgrades even as transportation was cut by 18 percent in the proposed federal budget for 2019; and the Trump administration has freed prosecutors to more aggressively enforce federal laws against marijuana in the nine states that have legalized recreational sales and the 29 states and three territories that have OK’d medicinal use.

There are no easy answers to any of these issues, but NCSL has gathered the latest reports, research and legislative actions on each of them into three separate Deep Dives—one-stop shops for new policy trends and ideas.

These packages are updated frequently, so visit often to get the latest on what states are doing. Here’s more from our Deep Dives page:


At least 91 Americans die each day from a drug overdose, usually a legal opioid or a lethal dose of heroin. Learn what legislators are doing to battle the epidemic.





Roads and bridges are crumbling, citizens are grumbling and Congress is stumbling. Look into the most promising ideas and solutions that can put you in the fast lane.


Marijuana has lit up conversations and controversy across the country. It’s a hotly contested and complicated issue for states to weed through, and no doubt will remain high on legislative agendas for the foreseeable future.

Kevin Frazzini is the assistant editor of State Legislatures magazine.


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About the NCSL Blog

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.