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State Policy 101

NCSL State Policy 101 offers legislators and legislative staff more than 25 educational sessions on key, cross-cutting policy issues. Whether you are new to the legislature or looking to build your knowledge in a specific area, these sessions will prepare you for future success. If you missed a State Policy 101 session in February, or want to take in a great session all over again, simply search by topic to the right and dig in.

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Environment

The Environment Policy Landscape: An Overview

Speakers: Mindy Bridges, Kristen Hildreth, Shelly Oren, Jennifer Schultz, NCSL

Labor and Employment

Unemployment Insurance Compensating for Tough Times

Speakers: Zach Herman, Michael Quillen, NCSL

Fiscal

The Economic Outlook for 2021

Speaker: Dan White, director, Government Consulting and Fiscal Policy Research, Moody's Analytics

NCSL Center for Results-Driven Governing

Just the Facts: How to Find and Use Evidence in Policymaking

Speakers: David Anderson, vice president of Evidence-Based Policy, Arnold Ventures; Alyssa Doom, associate manager, Results First Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Elections and Redistricting

Redistricting Nuts, Bolts and Policymaking

Speakers: Frank Strigari, Ohio Senate; Jeff Wice, special counsel, New York State Assembly; Michelle Davis, senior policy analyst, Maryland Department of Legislative Services; Wendy Underhill and Ben Williams, NCSL

Health

Improving Access to Health Care: Medicaid, Telehealth and the Health Workforce

Speakers: Emily Blanford and Sydne Enlund, NCSL

Transportation

States Tackle Transportation and Traffic Safety

Speakers: NCSL staff; Erin Sauber-Schatz, team lead, Transportation Safety Team, Division of Injury Prevention (DIP), CDC's Injury Center

Criminal Justice

Policing Policy Trends Balancing Accountability and Safety

Speakers: Susan Frederick, Zach Herman, Amber Widgery, NCSL

Health

Preventing Despair: Understanding Behavioral Health Issues

Speakers: Tammy Jo Hill, Haley Nicholson, Charlie Severance-Medaris, NCSL

Elections and Redistricting

How We Vote: In-Person and Absentee Mail Options

Speakers: Brian Hinkle, Susan Parnas Frederick, Amanda Zoch, NCSL; Charles Stewart, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT, director, MIT Elections Lab

NCSL Center for Legislative Strengthening

Mastering the Legislative Rules

Speakers: Natalie Wood, NCSL; Speaker of the House Eric Barlow (R-Wy.); Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg (D-Colo.)

Education

State Education Finance The Basics

Speaker: Dan Thatcher, NCSL

Energy

The Role of State Legislatures in the Evolving Energy Sector

Speakers: Glen Andersen, Kristy Hartman, Daniel Shea, Laura Shields, NCSL

Fiscal

State Budget and Tax Overview

Speakers: Jackson Brainerd, Erlinda Doherty, Erica MacKeller, NCSL

Children and Families

Child Support It's Not Just What You Think

Speakers: Melissa Johnson, director of regional operations, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OSCE); Yvette Riddick, director of division of policy and training, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OSCE)

NCSL

NCSL Services and Governance Structure

Speakers: Angela Andrews, Stacy Householder, NCSL

Employment and Labor

Time Off to Care The Fundamentals of Paid Leave Programs

Speakers: Suzanne Hultin, Alison May, NCSL

Communications

Broadband and Wireless Connectivity: To Infinity and Beyond

Speakers: Abbie Gruwell, Heather Morton, NCSL

Employment and Labor

Intro to Public Pension Design and Funding

Speakers: David Draine, senior officer, The Pew Charitable Trusts; William B. Fornia, president, Penstion Trustee Advisors; William B. Fornia, president, Pension Trustee Advisors; Anna Petrini, NCSL

Health

Insights into Insurance: Your Private Health Coverage Crash Course

Speakers: Joel Ario, managing director, Manatt Health Strategies; Haley Nicholson, Samantha Scotti, NCSL

Communications

Getting Ahead of Cybercriminals

Speakers: Representative Giovanni Capriglione (R-Texas); Pam Greenberg, Wendy Underhill, Abbie Gruwell, Susan Frederick, NCSL

Immmigration

Immigration Policy State Actions and Federal Considerations

Speakers: Senator Mo Denis (D-Nev.); Senator John McCollister (R-Neb.); Ann Morse, Lucia Bragg, NCSL

State-Federal

NCSL in D.C.

Speakers: Molly Ramsdell, Erlinda Doherty, Austin Reid, Haley Nicholson, NCSL 

Military

State Military and Veterans Affairs: From Benefits to Land Use

Speakers: Jim Reed, Jennifer Schultz, NCSL

Suupreme Court

Keeping Up With Supreme Court Cases That Affect States

Speaker: Lisa Soronen, chief counsel and executive director, State and Local Legal Center

Employment and Labor

Bringing People With Disabilities Into the Workforce

Speakers: Josh Cunningham, Saige Draeger, NCSL; Senator Becky Massey (R-Tenn.)

Children and Families

Setting the Stage Understanding Early Childhood Policy

Speakers: Patrick Lyons, Melissa Mincic, Jenifer Palmer, NCSL; Al Race, deputy director and chief knowledge officer, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

Health

The Legislature's Role in Public Health During and After COVID-19

Speakers: Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer, National Association of County and City Health Officials; Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; Jay C. Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kate Bradford, Erik Skinner, NCSL

Elections

Knowing—and Showing—An Election Was Accurate

Speakers: : Jennifer Morrell, Democracy Fund & The Elections Group; Wendy Underhill, NCSL

View the Full Agenda

Feb. 5

All times ET

Noon-12:30 p.m. | Networking and NCSL Meet and Greet: Eastern and Central Time Zones

Drop in to chat with legislators and staff from your region, learn more about how to engage with NCSL, and meet NCSL state liaisons, the NCSL staff who serve as your personal contacts for any NCSL questions or research requests.

This session is for the following states and territories: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

12:30-1:45 p.m. | NCSL Welcome and Economic Outlook for 2021

The catastrophic coronavirus pandemic shocked the world economy as commerce came to a near halt to curb the spread of COVID-19. State budgets were among the casualties, with revenue shortfalls reported across the country. The American economy is again in flux as the virus continues to spread. What does this mean for state governments? Gain insight from one of the county’s leading economists. 

  • Speaker: Dan White, director, Government Consulting and Fiscal Policy Research, Moody's Analytics

2-3:15 p.m. | Just the Facts: How to Find and Use Evidence in Policymaking*

We hear so often that a program or policy is "evidence-based"—sometimes to justify support for a position or funded program. But has this become more of a buzzword than a meaningful label? Would it help to know where to look for credible evidence—or what questions to ask to test whether something is really evidence-based? This session helps sort out what evidence really means and how it can help make policy and budget decisions that are more likely to achieve policymakers’ desired outcomes.  

  • Speakers: David Anderson, vice president of Evidence-Based Policy, Arnold Ventures; Alyssa Doom, associate manager, Results First Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts; Kristine Goodwin, program director, NCSL Center for Results-Driven Governing; Iris Hentze, policy specialist, NCSL Employment, Labor and Retirement Program 

2-3:15 p.m. | Redistricting: Nuts, Bolts and Policymaking*

What do legislators need to know to craft a redistricting bill, or at least to vote on one? What procedural options can still be undertaken before the mapmaking begins? What’s up with the census data, in terms of data quality and its timeline? Come for answers to these questions, and more. 

  • Speakers: Wendy Underhill, group director, NCSL Elections and Redistricting Program; Ben Williams, policy specialist, NCSL Elections and Redistricting Program; Frank Strigari, Ohio Senate; Jeff Wice, special counsel, New York State Assembly; Michelle Davis, senior policy analyst, Maryland Department of Legislative Services

2-3:15 p.m. | Policing Policy Trends: Balancing Accountability and Safety*

Improving police accountability is a top priority in legislatures across the country. Deaths and other confrontations involving law enforcement continue to drive national conversations about policy and promote review of current state and local laws. Learn about the policies being addressed in statehouses across the country and in Congress.  

  • Speakers: Susan Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel, NCSL; Zach Herman, policy associate, NCSL Employment, Labor, & Retirement Program; Amber Widgery, program principal, NCSL Criminal Justice Program

3:30-4:45 p.m. | Improving Access to Health Care: Medicaid, Telehealth and the Health Workforce*

State policymakers play an important role in improving access to quality, affordable health care through multiple avenues—including coverage, services, timeliness and workforce—while also containing costs to the state. Medicaid provides coverage to 1 in 5 Americans and is a major driver of state expenditures, accounting for nearly 20% of state spending. As policymakers consider ways to make the program more efficient while also responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are exploring policy options to leverage telehealth and enhance the health workforce to ensure adequate, timely and quality delivery of health care services. Learn about various strategies to improve access to care through Medicaid, telehealth and health workforce development, including national trends and state examples.  

  • Speakers: Emily Blanford, program principal, NCSL Health Program; Sydne Enlund, policy specialist, NCSL Health Program

3:30-4:45 p.m. | States Tackle Transportation and Traffic Safety*

How Americans get from point A to point B could soon undergo significant changes, as driverless vehicles and other transportation technologies reach maturity. Although the future may be just around the corner, state legislatures still face many of the same age-old questions concerning how to fund and maintain transportation infrastructure while keeping road users safe. Join NCSL experts for an overview of emerging state policies to address funding, safety and mobility, and the biggest transportation issues state legislatures will face in 2021. 

  • Speakers: Samantha Bloch, policy associate, NCSL Energy, Environment and Transportation Program; Ben Husch, federal affairs counsel, NCSL Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee; Douglas Shinkle, program director, NCSL Energy, Environment and Transportation Program; Erin Sauber-Schatz, team lead, Transportation Safety Team, Division of Injury Prevention (DIP), CDC's Injury Center

4:45-5:15 p.m. | Networking and NCSL Meet and Greet: Mountain and Pacific Time Zones

Drop in to chat with legislators and staff from your region, learn more about how to engage with NCSL, and meet NCSL state liaisons, the NCSL staff who serve as your personal contacts for any NCSL questions or research requests.

This session is for the following states and territories: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Feb. 12

All times ET

Noon-12:30 p.m. | Connect with Private Sector Experts

The NCSL Foundation works with over two hundred sponsors from the private sector. Kick off the day and connect with these sponsors who have expertise on a variety of issues facing state legislatures. 

12:30-1:45 p.m. | Preventing Despair: Understanding Behavioral Health Issues*

Opioid misuse, suicide and other behavioral health challenges claim the lives of thousands of Americans each year. Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing these behavioral health conditions may be more important than ever. Hear an overview of the complexities state legislators face in addressing these issues and the strategies states have implemented to overcome them.   

  • Speakers: Tammy Jo Hill, policy specialist, NCSL Health Program; Haley Nicholson, senior policy director, NSCL Health and Human Services Program; Charlie Severance-Medaris, policy specialist, NCSL Health Program

12:30-1:45 p.m. | Unemployment Insurance: Compensating for Tough Times*

Unemployment insurance has experienced an increase in national attention and use not seen since its creation in the 1900s. While the job market has rebounded a bit, jobless claims remain high. Research shows that for every dollar spent on unemployment compensation, the local economy receives between $1.70 to $1.90 in economic return. However, many states are facing depleted unemployment insurance trust funds. Learn about the complex interplay between the federal and state functions of unemployment, how COVID-19 affected unemployment insurance, and how states are thinking about their unemployment compensation systems going into 2021 and 2022.     

  • Speakers: Zach Herman, policy associate, NCSL Employment, Labor, & Retirement Program; Michael Quillen, policy associate, NCSL Labor and Economic Development Committee

12:30-1:45 p.m. | How We Vote: In-Person and Absentee/Mail Options*

Voting options changed dramatically in 2020, and also over the last two decades. In this session, participants learn about absentee/mail voting policy options, as well as the latest on in-person voting, including early voting. Bonus: attendees get a run-down on federal action on elections—a policy area generally reserved for the states. 

  • Speaker: Brian Hinkle, research analyst II, NCSL Elections and Redistricting Program; Susan Parnas Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel, NCSL; Charles Stewart, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT, director, MIT Elections Lab; Amanda Zoch, public fellow, NCSL Elections and Redistricting Program

2-3:15 p.m. | Mastering the Legislative Rules*

This crash course provides a basic understanding of legislative rules of procedure, why you need to know about them, and why they area building block of legislative institutions. We walk through frequently asked questions about the rules, who can answer them, and where else you can turn for guidance.    

  • Speaker: Natalie Wood, director, NCSL Center for Legislative Strengthening; Speaker of the House Eric Barlow (R-Wy.); Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg (D-Colo.)

2-3:15 p.m. | State Education Finance: The Basics*

State constitutions—along with a long line of federal case law—require state legislatures to create, fund and maintain a statewide system of elementary and secondary public education. This session provides the CliffsNotes for the historical and legal requirements and offers a policy framework for evaluating states’ revenue and financing infrastructures that underwrite elementary and secondary education. 

  • Speaker: Dan Thatcher, senior fellow, NCSL Education Program

2-3:15 p.m. | The Role of State Legislatures in the Evolving Energy Sector*

The energy sector is rapidly changing—from the growth in natural gas and clean energy to the evolving electricity market structures and the expansion of distributed energy resources (such as rooftop solar and energy storage). State legislatures are considering these topics and the role state energy policies play as the sector evolves. In addition, threats from natural disasters, cyberattacks and other events highlight the importance state legislatures play to support and protect critical energy infrastructure. Join this interactive session for an overview of the energy transformation, the key energy policies being considered and the biggest issues that state legislatures will be tackling in 2021.  

  • Speakers: Glen Andersen, program director, NCSL Energy, Environment and Transportation Program; Kristy Hartman, program director, NCSL Enercy, Environment and Transportation Program; Daniel Shea, policy specialist, NCSL Energy, Environment and Transportation Program; Laura Shields, policy associate, NCSL Energy, Environment and Transportation Program

3:30-4:45 p.m. | State Budget and Tax Overview*

State budgets are central to the administration of state government. They allocate resources and prioritize state policies.  However, budgeting is very complex, and practices vary across the country. So does the role of taxes. Enjoy a high-level overview of state budget and revenue systems. 

  • Speakers: Jackson Brainerd, senior policy specialist, NCSL Fiscal Affairs Program; Erlinda Doherty, committee director, NCSL State-Federal Relations; Erica MacKeller, program principal, NCSL Fiscal Affairs Program; 

3:30-4:45 p.m. | Child Support: It's Not (Just) What You Think*

Explore the fundamentals of child support programs, policies and practices, the relationship between states and the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, and the cost-avoidance benefits of participating in the federal child support program. States share examples of how they use child support programs to strengthen family economic security, enhance child development and increase employment among noncustodial parents.  

  • Speakers: Melissa Johnson, director of regional operations, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OSCE); Yvette Riddick, director of division of policy and training, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OSCE)

4:45-5:15 p.m. | NCSL Services and Governance Structure

You’re a member of NCSL! Join this short session to learn exactly what that means. What services are available to you, how can you get research delivered to your inbox and what if you want to be more involved? We’ll also cover how NCSL is structured and governed–by legislators and legislative staff just like you.

  • Speakers: Angela Andrews, director, NCSL Legislative Staff Services Program; Stacy Householder, director, NCSL Leadership and International Program

Feb. 19

All times ET

Noon-12:30 p.m. | Networking With NCSL Meet and Greet

Drop in to chat with legislators and staff from your region, learn more about how to engage with NCSL.

12:30-1:45 p.m. | The Environment Policy Landscape: An Overview*

From worsening disasters to harmful chemicals in drinking water, state legislatures across the nation are working to develop comprehensive solutions to address these significant environmental policy issues. Join NCSL’s experts on environmental policy for an overview of state policies addressing environmental health and cleanup, solid waste management and natural disasters, and a brief federal overview of salient state-federal environmental issues. 

  • Speakers: Mindy Bridges, senior policy specialist, NCSL Environment, Energy and Transportation Program; Kristen Hildreth, senior policy specialist, NCSL State-Federal Affairs Program; Shelly Oren, research analyst II, NCSL Environment, Energy and Transportation Program; Jennifer Schultz, program principal, NCSL Environment, Energy and Transportation Program

12:30-1:45 p.m. | Time Off to Care: The Fundamentals of Paid Leave Programs*

Gain a deeper understanding of state paid leave policies, with a focus on the fundamental decisions in the hands of legislators. Learn about the benefits of paid leave policies for children, families and employers, as well as arguments against paid leave. 

  • Speakers: Suzanne Hultin, program director, NCSL Employment, Labor and Retirement Program; Alison May, policy associate, NCSL Children and Families Program

12:30-1:45 p.m. | Broadband and Wireless Connectivity: To Infinity and Beyond?*

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on distance learning have helped illuminate the digital divide—the gap between those who have access to high-speed internet and devices and those who do not. Access to high-speed broadband internet is critically important for economic opportunity, education and job creation. Learn the latest from experts who provide the lay of the land, and join the discussion on what legislators will have on their minds for the 2021 session. 

  • Speakers: Abbie Gruwell, senior committee director, NCSL Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee; Heather Morton, program principal, NCSL Fiscal Affairs Program

2-3:15 p.m. | Educating During a Pandemic*

Education as we know it has dramatically changed for students at every level―preK through post-secondary—with most experiencing online learning at some point since last March. Experts discuss the current state of education, the pandemic’s impact on learning, the action states are taking as a result, and what might be required to get all students back to school full time.  

  • Speakers: Sunny Deye, program director, NCSL Education Program; Michelle Exstrom, group director, NCSL Education Program

2-3:15 p.m. | Insights into Insurance: Your Private Health Coverage Crash Course*

Most Americans have some form of health coverage through a private insurer, and state governments play a significant role when it comes to health insurance oversight, regulation and innovation. State legislators have several legislative levers when examining coverage under marketplace exchanges, state employee health plans or employer-sponsored plans. Gain an overview of the private health insurance landscape in the U.S. and explore state and federal roles in health plan regulation, cost containment and coverage innovations. 

  • Speakers: Joel Ario, managing director, Manatt Health Strategies; Haley Nicholson, senior policy director, NCSL Health and Human Services State-Federal Affairs; Samantha Scotti, senior policy specialist, NCSL Health Program

2-3:15 p.m. | Immigration Policy: State Actions and Federal Considerations*

Immigration remains a high-profile topic nationally and in state legislatures. Over the last 10 years, state legislators have enacted an average of 153 laws per year, addressing the 2020 census, occupational licensing, driver’s licenses, sanctuary policies and enforcement, and creating immigration offices or task forces. Hear about emerging state policy issues on immigration and the likelihood of federal reforms from your peers on NCSL’s Task Force on Immigration and the States. 

  • Speakers: Senator Mo Denis (D-Nev.); Senator John McCollister (R-Neb.); Ann Morse, federal affairs counsel, NCSL; Lucia Bragg, senior policy specialist, NCSL State-Federal Affairs

3:30-4:45 p.m. | Intro to Public Pension Design and Funding*

Retirement benefits play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining talented public workers. While many public pensions are on a sustainable funding path, a few have fallen conspicuously behind. The gap between pension assets and liabilities for all 50 states stands at $1.24 trillion. Join us for an introduction to design considerations and financing arrangements for public sector retirement plans. 

  • Speakers: David Draine, senior officer, The Pew Charitable Trusts; William B. Fornia, president, Penstion Trustee Advisors; William B. Fornia, president, Pension Trustee Advisors; Anna Petrini, senior policy specialist, NCSL Employment, Labor and Retirement Program

3:30-4:45 p.m. | Getting Ahead of Cybercriminals*

Nation-state actors, organized crime and other kinds of cybercriminals are behind recent hacks, breaches and ransomware demands. Hear about cybercriminals and their motivations, build a better understanding of the risks everyone faces, and learn how to confront them.   

  • Speakers: Representative Giovanni Capriglione (R-Texas); Pam Greenberg, senior fellow, NCSL Center for Legislative Strengthening; Wendy Underhill, group director, NCSL Elections and Redistricting Program; Abbie Gruwell, senior committee director, NCSL Communications, Financial Services, and Interstate Commerce Committee; Susan Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel, NCSL

Feb. 26

All times ET

Noon-12:30 p.m. | NCSL IN D.C.

NCSL serves as the voice of state legislatures in Washington, D.C., before Congress, the administration and the U.S. Supreme Court. Come learn more about those efforts and the latest on the COVID-19 stimulus package and what it means for states. 

12:30-1:45 p.m. | State Military and Veterans Affairs: From Benefits to Land Use*

States pay for and manage a variety of programs to serve military veterans, active-duty service members and military families. Hear an overview of state benefits and services to veterans and the ways states help connect veterans to federal resources. Areas addressed include employment, mental health services, education, housing and veterans’ treatment courts. Learn about efforts to minimize land use conflicts and encroachment around bases and state military structures, including Adjutants General, state military commissions and the National Guard.  

  • Speakers: Jim Reed, group director, NCSL Environment, Energy and Transportation Program; Jennifer Schultz, program principal, NCSL Environment, Energy and Transportation 

12:30-1:45 p.m. | Keeping Up With Supreme Court Cases That Affect States*

NCSL, along with six other national associations representing elected officials, participates as an amicus in U.S. Supreme Court cases having significant effects on states. Through the State and Local Legal Center, NCSL tracks these important cases and regularly briefs its members and provides insight into the individual justices’ rationale for their decisions. Learn about some of the recent cases in which NCSL has filed, along with the decision-making and filing process. 

  • Speaker: Lisa Soronen, chief counsel and executive director, State and Local Legal Center

12:30-1:45 p.m. | State Revenue Disrupters in the Modern Age*

Times have changed. Taxes have not. People consume differently, communicate by new means, travel in driverless cars, behave in unpredictable ways and live longer. These shifts have huge implications for state revenue systems. Systems—largely developed in the mid-20th century—that have not kept pace with the way people work and live now. Explore some of the biggest state revenue disrupters and how policymakers can prepare.  

  • Speaker: Bill Fox, chancellor's professor, Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Tennessee

2-3:15 p.m. | Knowing—and Showing—An Election Was Accurate*

An election isn’t over when the polls close― it’s over when election administrators complete their postelection activities, and the election results are certified. With more attention than ever on these postelection processes, learn how fine-tuning laws around audits, chain of custody, ballot reconciliation, certification schedule and voter information can ensure confidence in the election for election officials and voters alike.  

  • Speaker: Jennifer Morrell, Democracy Fund & The Elections Group; Wendy Underhill, group director, NCSL Elections and Redistricting Program

2-3:15 p.m. | The Legislature's Role in Public Health During and After COVID-19*

State governments play a number of roles in public health policy, from promoting healthy behaviors to preventing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. This session spotlights policy levers to support effective health systems, including telehealth, coordinate COVID-19 response efforts, including vaccine distribution, and address public health challenges during a pandemic. Join state and national experts for an overview of public health strategies, challenges and successes on the most pressing public health topics.   

  • Speakers: Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer, National Association of County and City Health Officials; Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; Jay C. Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kate Bradford, research analyst, NCSL Health Program, Erik Skinner, policy associate, NCSL Health Program

3:30-4:45 p.m. | Setting the Stage: Understanding Early Childhood Policy*

Children’s earliest experiences set the stage for life-long health, emotional well-being, learning and achievement. Explore why the early years are critical to healthy development and the major policies and programs legislators are likely to consider. Learn about disparities in access and outcomes for children of color, as well as the effectiveness and return on investment of policies and programs supporting young children and their families.

  • Speaker: Patrick Lyons, policy specialist, NCSL Education Program; Melissa Mincic, senior policy specialist, NCSL Children and Families Program; Jennifer Palmer, policy associate, NCSL Children and Families Program; Al Race, deputy director and chief knowledge officer, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

3:30-4:45 p.m. | Bringing People with Disabilities into the Workforce*

Roughly two-thirds of the 60 million American adults with a disability want to work, yet only 20% are active in the labor force. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities is consistently about double that of adults without a disability. Including people with disabilities in the workforce has broad impacts on each state’s overall economy and can provide relief to state budgets. Learn about the many policy options for engaging this largely untapped pool of workers.

  • Speakers: Josh Cunningham, program manager, NCSL  Employment, Labor and Retirement Program; Saige Draeger, research analyst II, NCSL  Employment, Labor and Retirement Program; Senator Becky Massey (R-Tenn.)

4:45-5:15 p.m. | Connect with Private Sector Experts

The NCSL Foundation works with over two hundred sponsors from the private sector. Wrap up the day and connect with these sponsors who have expertise on a variety of issues facing state legislatures.