NCSL podcasts connect you with state legislatures, offering insights from legislative leaders and staff, astute political observers and public policy experts from across the nation. Download or stream our collection today.

27

Across the Aisle

podcast

NCSL is launching a new podcast called Across the Aisle to explore how bipartisanship is working in state capitols. We’ll hear how state legislators connect across party lines to get things done, sometimes in unlikely ways, and how they build relationships that allow them to work together on common goals.

Sometimes that collaboration starts on a mountain. Our first episode covers a bipartisan group of Nebraska senators who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro together - while one was battling cancer - and built connections that serve them back at the statehouse.  We’ll have new stories every month and we hope we can include your experiences with working across the aisle.

NCSL’s Kelley Griffin is the host and producer. She has 28 years experience as a reporter and editor in public radio, and she invites you to share your stories of bipartisanship at acrosstheaisle@ncsl.org.

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13

Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcast

Host Tim Storey, CEO of NCSL, sits down with Terry Gerton, president and CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), to discuss the critical role of those who work in government service.

Gerton explains the important role expert public administrators play in roles such as handling federal grants and ensuring the money is spent responsibly. She also discussed the formation of NAPA, and why Congress gave it a charter to gather the best information and practices for managing the work of government. Gerton and Storey also discussed the challenge of attracting young people to public service and the path that took her from West Point to her current role.

Terry Gerton, NAPA

 

 

 

 

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06

Our American States

podcast

The U.S. energy system will see significant change as a result of two huge pieces of federal legislation: the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November 2021, and the more recent Inflation Reduction Act, which invests $369 billion over the next 10 years in climate and energy security programs.

The guests for this podcast are Ali Nouri, assistant secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, and David Terry, the executive director of the National Association, a State Energy Officials.

Nouri discussed programs to improve the resiliency of state electric grids, nuclear power, electrical vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen carbon capture and storage, reducing home heating and cooling costs, and other issues. Terry explained how state energy offices are working with federal officials, the role of state legislatures in implementing these programs, and how this new funding will affect state energy policy goals.

Ali Nouri, U.S. Department of EnergyDavid Terry, NASEO

 

 

 

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30

Our American States

podcastSince 2018, state lawmakers in at least nine states—Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Washington and Vermont—have introduced legislation that would establish portable benefits programs for gig workers, create funds to foster innovative experimentation in this area or study related issues.

Portable benefits are just what they sound like—unemployment insurance, health care insurance, paid family leave coverage and more—that a worker can hold onto as they move from job to job.

The guests on this podcast--Senator Elena Parent, a Democrat from Georgia, and Senator Arthur Orr, a Republican from Alabama—both discussed the large number of workers in their states who would benefit from legislation that made portable benefits easier.

They discussed how the pandemic put a spotlight on nontraditional workers, the need for all workers to have access to robust retirement savings and changes in federal law that would help states innovate.

Sen. Elena Parent, GeorgiaSen. Arthur Orr, Alabama

 

 

 

 

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16

Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcastCharlie Cook has been observing, analyzing and chronicling America’s political trends for decades.

He founded The Cook Political Report in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan newsletter that reports on elections and campaigns for Congress, president and governors. He left his publisher/editor role in 2021, a position now held by Amy Walter, another veteran observer of Washington politics.

Cook remains a regular contributor to the Cook Political Report and still almost as busy as ever keeping a keen eye on this election.

On this podcast, he talks with host Tim Storey about everything from high school debate to how Washington has changed to what he expects to see when all the ballots are counted in this year’s election.

Charlie Cook

 

 

 

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02

Our American States

podcastMedicaid agencies and enrollees around the country will face big changes in the new year.

The current federal public health emergency for COVID-19 has resulted in about a 25% increase in people enrolled in Medicaid. Under the emergency declaration, Medicaid agencies have not reviewed the eligibility of people in the program since early 2020. Once that emergency declaration expires, probably in early 2023, experts expect millions of current enrollees will no longer be eligible.

To help understand what’s coming, we sat down with Andrea Maresca and Jane Longo of Health Management Associates. Both have deep expertise in Medicaid policy at the federal and state level.

Maresca discussed the details of the changes at the federal level, the increase in the number of enrollee and how it affected care for people in the Medicaid program.

Longo explained how state Medicaid agencies responded to the increase in clients, how state legislatures are helping to manage the coming changes and the scale of the challenge facing Medicaid agencies around the nation.

Andrea Maresca, Health Management AssociatesJane Longo, Health Management Associates

 

 

 

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25

Our American States

podcastTraffic fatalities have been on a disturbing upward trend for a couple of years, largely coinciding with the pandemic. In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. That was the largest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest year-over-year percentage increase since NHTSA instituted its present system for recording fatalities in 1975.

Ron Thaniel, the director of Governmental and External Affairs for NHTSA, is the guest on this podcast. He talked about what NHTSA is doing to combat this surge of traffic fatalities, including working with states and legislatures, which are responsible for traffic laws. In 2020, legislatures saw the introduction of more than 1,400 bills related to traffic safety.

Thaniel also said human behavior— impaired driving, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt—was the greatest factor in the increased number of fatalities in recent years. Thaniel also talked about efforts to protect vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Overall, he said, states will see increased spending from NHTSA with money for traffic safety included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Ron Thaniel, NHTSA

 

 

 

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11

Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcastOn this episode, host Tim Storey sits down with Clint Hurdle, a long-time baseball manager and player.

Hurdle is candid about his wins and losses. When he started out in his first year at the Kansas City Royals he was called a phenom in a cover story in Sports Illustrated. He also played for the Cincinnati Reds, the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets.

After his playing days were over, Hurdle spent more than a decade back in the minor leagues before he was tapped to be manager of the Colorado Rockies in 2002. Hurdle talks about how those experiences shaped how he sees coaching and offers some lessons that work as well in the statehouse as they do on the diamond.

Clint Hurdle

 

 

 

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04

Our American States

podcastOur focus on this podcast is the resilience of our electrical grid and systems in the face of extreme weather events and cyber threats. Just this summer, there’s been major flooding in Kentucky and Texas, extreme heat across the country and in Europe, and growing concern about wildfires in the western U.S.

State legislatures play a key role in shaping state policies that improve the security and resilience of energy systems. States also partner with federal agencies to identify risks, mitigate threats, and respond to disruptions.

To learn more about the state-federal partnership, we talked with two officials from the Office Of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, or CESER, at the U.S. Department of Energy. Ken Buell is the deputy director and Brandi Martin manages the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Program.

Buell and Martin discussed how CESER responds to natural and man-made threats, how the office works with legislatures and other state entities, and the value of teaming up with state and local partners both during an emergency and at other times. They also highlighted efforts states are making to make their electrical systems more resilient.

Brandi Martin, CESERKen Buell, CESER

 

 

 

 

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28

Our American States

podcastWhen it comes to prescription drug policy, many lawmakers have focused efforts on reducing the cost of drugs to their constituents, such as limiting the copayment on insulin, or to their state budgets, as in the case of a reverse auction for a pharmacy benefit management contract.

Although these policies may lower costs, they do not alter a drug’s list price. Additionally, these laws only apply to people with health insurance. For uninsured or underinsured patients, they may be responsible for the full price of the drug. When it comes to drug pricing, legislators are considering a wide array of strategies to address this concern.

Our two guests on this podcast offer perspective on the route their state took. Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk is a Democrat from Maryland and Representative Tom Oliverson is a Republican from Texas. Both have backed legislation intended to make the price of prescription drugs more transparent.

Texas, along with nearly a dozen other states, is requiring reporting from manufacturers on price increases or initial launch prices, with some also requiring pricing and cost data from health plans, PBMs and wholesalers. Oliverson said that approach in Texas is already revealing useful information about rebates and other issues affecting the cost to consumers.

Maryland pioneered the idea of prescription drug affordability boards, or PDABs, to study drug prices, particularly for drugs that pose affordability issues for state, public and private programs. Pena-Melnyk explained how this sort of nongovernmental agency can examine drug pricing and costs in the state and how the system has worked in Maryland since it passed in 2019. Six other states have adopted similar legislation.

Maryland Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D)Texas Rep. Tom Oliverson (R)

 

 

 

 

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