By Julie Lays
If you need a break from COVID-19 news, check your mailboxes for the latest issue of State Legislatures magazine, coming the last week of March. Its coverage of the pandemic is limited as it went to press just before the virus took off in the United States, when very little was known about its power to turn our world upside down.
The March-April issue is full of other interesting news, however. Somewhat ironically, our cover story, “Living to 100,” is about how so many more of us are living long lives. The number of centenarians is exploding!
Unlike the coronavirus, the coming tidal wave of century-old Americans shouldn’t surprise anyone. Around 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. The trouble is, almost half of them have little or no savings. The story lists ways some states are preparing for this demographic transformation. Building a world that lets people thrive as they grow older requires a whole new way of thinking.
The debate over the Electoral College has intensified since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 with 77 more electoral votes, but 2,868,686 fewer popular votes, than Hillary Clinton. And he’s not the first to accomplish that. At least four others have done so, including George W. Bush, with his win over Al Gore in 2000.
(The other two are Rutherford B. Hayes, who beat Samuel Tilden in 1876, and Benjamin Harrison, who defeated President Grover Cleveland in 1888.) For our story, “Debating the Electoral College,” we invited two experts with differing opinions to share their views.
Then there’s redistricting—one of the most important tasks lawmakers oversee every 10 years. Are you ready? If you’re not sure, our national redistricting expert, Wendy Underhill, offers 10 things you need to know before the map-drawing begins next year.
Filling out our feature topics is a story on preschool and child care expulsions and suspensions. That’s right. The rate at which young children are getting kicked out of child care settings and early education classrooms is growing and tops the number for older kids. What’s happening? The story “Do Preschool Expulsions Need a Timeout?” describes how early childhood experts recommend addressing this troubling trend.
Other stories and departments offer insight on teens and vaping, affordable housing, rape kits, corporate tax incentives and school safety legislation. Do you have a difficult time recruiting and retaining good legislative staff? Indiana did, until it tried some outside-the-box incentives. The story is highlighted in our “Innovations” department.
And that’s not everything. We’ve started a new feature, “NCSL on the Hill,” that highlights the work of our Washington, D.C., office. Just for fun, see if you can find what the Statue of Liberty is holding or what town the Census Bureau started counting first. It will get your mind off COVID-19, at least for a few minutes.
Julie Lays is the editor of State Legislatures magazine.