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.

Entries for October 2021


Our American States

podcastOn this podcast, we look ahead to the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court and look back at some decisions from the past term.

Our guide is Lisa Soronen, the executive director of the State and Local Legal Center. Soronen keeps a sharp eye on the U.S Supreme Court and monitors the court for decisions that affect state and local governments. The center also files amicus briefs in some cases.

We discussed the court’s new term and high-stakes cases around abortion, gun rights and the so-called shadow docket. She also discussed cases from the previous term.

Lisa Soronen, State and Local Legal Center






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Our American States

podcastThe death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 sparked a cascade of state legislation affecting policing policy. There were more than 3,000 bills that were considered in legislatures, and more than 400 were signed into law.

The legislation came from both sides of the aisle. For this podcast, we spoke with Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democract from Colorado, and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Republican from Kentucky.

Herod discusses legislation she sponsored shortly after Floyd’s death that was one of the first pieces of legislation enacted in the nation. She also talks about how the death of Elijah McClain in Colorado galvanized efforts to pass legislation.

Westerfield is a leader in criminal justice issues in Kentucky, where the death of Breonna Taylor helped spur action around no-knock warrants. He discusses how bringing all the parties together was critical to passing good legislation.

Also on this episode is Amber Widgery, who tracks a number of criminal justice issues for NCSL. Amber talks about the trends in legislation, the bipartisan nature of the efforts in many places and the surprising fact that legislatures are addressing policies that affect law enforcement at the local level. She’s also putting together a session on this topic for NCSL’s Legislative Summit Nov. 3-5 in Tampa, Fla.

Amber Widgery, NCSLRep Leslie Herod, ColoradoSen Whitney Westerfield, Kentucky





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Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcastLeadership is a perennial topic of interest for those in the legislative world and few are better at digging into the topic that Nancy Koehn.

Koehn is a historian at the Harvard Business School where she holds the James E. Robinson chair of Business Administration. She is a prolific writer, the author of dozens of journal articles and several books. Her most recent book was “Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times.” It explores how five great leaders dealt with crisis. She is also frequently quoted in the press and shares what she’s learned studying leaders for more than two decades. 

She joins host Tim Storey, the executive director of NCSL, for this wide-ranging conversation about the qualities of great leaders, the nature of courage, whether a great leader needs a vision and much more. Koehn also shares her favorite books and movies, some of which might surprise you.

Nancy Koehn, Harvard






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