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.

21

Our American States

podcastThe focus of this podcast is the transportation portion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or IIJA, signed by President Biden in November 2021. Overall, it provided $1.2 trillion for roads, bridges, highways, broadband, water projects and more. It’s the largest investment in transportation infrastructure since the Eisenhower administration.

The first guest on the podcast is Charles Small, the deputy assistant secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at U.S. Department of Transportation. He explained what’s in the bill for transportation projects and discussed new programs related to bridges and electric vehicle charging, the investment in transit and how legislatures can make the most of the federal funds available.

The second guest is Joung Lee, deputy director-chief policy officer of The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). He discussed the perspective of state directors of transportation, how they see the rollout of the bill so far and how the mix of formula and competitive grants affects states.

Charles Small, U.S. DOTJoung Lee, AASHTO

 

 

 

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14

Our American States

podcastTwo years of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a spotlight on the many challenges faced by public health professionals. A key one is the collection and analysis of public health data information that can then be used to determine strategies to control a disease outbreak.

Joining the podcast is Janet Hamilton, the executive director of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. She discussed what was learned about health care data and analysis during the pandemic, why anemic funding of public health in many areas created problems, and how legislators can work with their state epidemiologists to ensure they have the information they need in the next public health crisis.

Our other guest is Shannon Kolman from NCSL, who discussed how legislatures have responded to the public health data challenges laid bare during the pandemic.

Janet Hamilton, CSTEShannon Kolman, NCSL

 

 

 

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31

Our American States

podcastRobyn Benincasa learned her leadership lessons the hard way--taking part in extreme endurance races, including several seasons on the reality TV show called the “Eco-Challenge,” a grueling 10-day team race. She’s written a book – “How Winning Works: 8 Essential Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth.”

She’ll be sharing stories of the races and the lessons they taught as a featured speaker at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Denver Aug. 1. She says the lessons are particularly pertinent to legislators and their staffs.

Robyn Benincasa

 

 

 

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24

Our American States

podcastOur focus in this podcast is state securities administrators. These are the agencies in every state that oversee investor protection and efficient capital formation. Their key focus is protecting consumers who purchase investment advice or securities.

Guests on the podcast are Melanie Senter Lubin, the Maryland securities commissioner and president of the North American Securities Administrators Association, and Faith Anderson, the chief of Registration and Regulatory Affairs of the Securities Division of the Washington state Department of Financial Institutions.

They discussed the various roles state securities regulators play, the assistance they can offer state legislators and legislative staff, and how state regulators work with their federal counterparts. They also sketched out their perspective on a variety of policy topics, including licensing and digital currency. Both Lubin and Anderson also wanted legislators to know that the securities regulars in your state are always available to answer questions for you or your constituents.

Faith Anderson, Washington stateMelanie Senter Lubin, Maryland

 

 

 

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20

Our American States

podcastWhat can lawmakers and legislative staff learn from entrepreneurs?

Plenty, says Kevin O’Leary, an investor best known as a host of “Shark Tank,” the Emmy Award winning venture capital reality program. He’s the guest on this podcast.

O’Leary also is a keynote speaker at NCSL’s Legislative Summit. He will appear on Aug. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

O’Leary explained why he believes sound public policy is the foundation of a dynamic economy, what lawmakers can learn from the entrepreneurs on “Shark Tank” and why it’s critical to have people who are successful in business get involved in government.

Kevin O'Leary

 

 

 

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17

Our American States

podcastWhile cannabis remains illegal under federal law, states have regulated cannabis for nearly 30 years. But policymakers have had few evidence-based policy tools to inform them. More than two-thirds of the states and territories regulate cannabis for medical use and more than 20 states and territories allow for nonmedical adult use.

Michael Sofis, Ph.D., director of research for the Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, is one of the few researchers looking at the policy issues of concern to lawmakers. His firm does extensive surveying around public policy affecting cannabis.

On this podcast, he discusses some of the surprises from his findings, the questions states are trying to answer and explains why the cannabis black market still does a brisk business even in places where it’s legal.

 You can learn more about the policy issues surrounding cannabis during the session “Growing Fields of Data: Public Health and Cannabis Policy” at NCSL’s Legislative Summit Aug. 3 from 1:30-2:45 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

NCSL tracks and assists legislators with their questions about many policy topics, including state regulation of cannabis. NCSL takes no position on individual state cannabis policies. The federal Controlled Substances Act lists cannabis in Schedule I, with heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other products considered to have the highest potential for abuse with no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States

This podcast is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $563,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents were created by NCSL and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

Michael Sofis

 

 

 

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10

Our American States

podcastWhile estimates vary, there is agreement that the U.S. is short several million homes. Many who study the housing situation in the U.S. have dubbed it a housing crisis.

Housing has usually been seen as a local issue, but as the housing affordability situation has worsened, states are increasingly involved in the search for solutions.

We asked three guests to join this podcast and share their perspectives.

First up is Arica Young, the associate director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Terwilliger Center for Housing. Young, who has decades of experience studying housing and community development, discusses how the crisis has hit renters and the substantial barriers to building multifamily housing in much of the country.

The other guests on this episode are Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a researcher at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, and Karl Eckhart, a vice president at the National Association of Home Builders.

All three guests point to the remarkably complex set of factors that affect housing, from zoning regulations to the price of steel and the shortage of electricians, plumbers and others in the trades.

Arica Young, Bipartisan Policy CenterWhitney Airgood-Obrycki, Joint Center for Housing StudiesKarl Eckhart, National Association of Home Builders

 

 

 

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03

Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcastPlaying one of the Founding Fathers is not always the easiest gig. Just ask Clay Jenkinson, the guest on this podcast, who has played Thomas Jefferson, along with other famous figures, on stages in all 50 states. It’s a role he compares to a marriage, with all the ups and downs, pleasures and pitfalls.

Jenkinson is also a presidential historian with particular interest in Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. He talks with podcast host Tim Storey about Jefferson’s particular genius, what legislators can learn from Jefferson’s relationship with James Madison, and Roosevelt’s keen grasp of the American sense of fair play.

Clay Jenkinson

 

 

 

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26

Our American States

podcastPlurality voting is the most common system in the U.S. A voter picks one candidate in each race and the candidate that receives the most votes wins.

Then Maine enacted a new system called ranked choice voting for the November 2016 election. Now Alaska has joined Maine, and will use ranked choice voting for the first time this year as well as a new open primary system in which the top four candidates advance to the general election.

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D) of Alaska is the first guest on the podcast and he discusses how Alaska came to adopt the system, and the challenges and costs it posed to the state’s election administrators. This discussion took place the day before Alaska’s open primary on June 12.

The second guest is Ben Williams, a principal in NCSL’s elections and redistricting program and author, along with an advisory panel, of a new report on ranked choice voting that will be published in July. He discusses the national landscape for the new approach to voting and some of the information they discovered in surveying election administrators around the country.

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, AlaskaBen Williams, NCSL

 

 

 

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19

Our American States

podcastOur focus on this podcast is the prescription drug market and the role of pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs. PBMs play a major role in the drug supply chain. They are third-party administrators of prescription drug benefits for health plans, large employers and other payers, including state Medicaid programs. They process claims, review drug utilization, develop pharmacy networks, and create lists of covered drugs called formularies. They also negotiate rebates from manufacturers for placement on those formularies.

To reduce the costs for prescription drugs in their states, some legislators are considering strategies related to pharmacy benefit management. Legislatures have pursued a number of strategies, including reverse auctions.

We invited two legislators on who have worked on legislation related to PBMs to discuss the experience in their states. Our guests are Rep. Susan Lontine, a Democrat from Colorado, and Sen. Fred Mills, a Republican of Louisiana. Both states have passed legislation authorizing a reverse auction for their PBM contracts and they discuss why they pursued that avenue and other efforts to control prescription drug costs.

Rep. Susan Lontine, ColoradoSen. Fred Mills, Louisiana

 

 

 

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