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.

12

Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcastThe guest for this episode of the podcast is Peter Groff, the former Senate president in Colorado, who also served in the Obama administration as head of the Faith Based Initiative Center for the U.S. Department of Education. He now works with the Education Trust in Washington, D.C., as a policy and political consultant.

Groff, who served first in the Colorado House and then the Senate, talked with NCSL Executive Director Tim Storey about a variety of topics around legislative leadership. They include how he navigated his role as the first Black person to lead a legislative chamber in Colorado, how to bridge divides with other legislators, and strategies to be an effective leader.

He also talked about the role model he had in his father, who spent 20 years in the Colorado Senate, and the historic nature of the day he was sworn in.

Peter Groff, The Education Trust

 

 

 

 

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05

Our American States

podcastNewborn screening in the U.S. is the practice of testing every child in the country for a number of disorders, many of which can be addressed if caught early. States are in charge of newborn screening and receive advice from federal agencies.

On this podcast, Peter Kyriacopoulos, the director for public policy at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, discusses how the screening works, how it differs from state to state, the role public health laboratories play and the challenges they face. He also explains how the recommended uniform screening panel, or the RUSP, helps guide states in deciding which screenings to include.

A second guest is Kelsie George from NCSL, who tracks legislation related to newborn screening. She fills us in on the legislative landscape on the topic.

Peter Kyriacopoulus, APHLKelsie George, NCSL

 

 

 

 

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Category: Health
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28

Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcastMike Haridopolos, former Senate president in Florida, talks with Tim about how he went from teaching college history to taking the reins as the president of the Senate in one of our largest states.

Haridopolos, who spent 12 years in the Florida Legislature and led the Senate from 2010-12 now runs his own consulting firm, writes books and works frequently with political campaigns. He discusses his own path in politics, the challenge of keeping a caucus together, offers some advice for aspiring leaders and shares a few thoughts about his political heroes.

Mike Haridopolos

 

 

 

 

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14

Our American States

podcast State agencies charged with ensuring that custodial parents collect child support face a daunting challenge. Census Bureau data indicates fewer than half of custodial parents receive their full support payments.

Traditionally states have relied on civil contempt statutes to compel the noncustodial parent to pay up. But that process—which can result in onerous civil procedures and even jail time—often is unsuccessful and some research shows states can end up paying more to collect the payments than the custodial parent receives.

On this podcast, Heather Noble, assistant director for the Arizona Division of Child Support Services, and Michael Hayes, an official with the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, discuss a new procedural justice approach to child support that seeks to use principles such as respect, understanding and neutrality to increase the sense of fairness that parents feel in what is often a difficult process.

While the project is not finished, they discussed what the data shows so far and the difference it appears to be making. They also explained the research that is the foundation of the approach, and the role legislatures can have in their states.

Heather Noble, ArizonaMichael Hays, Office of Child Support Enforecement

 

 

 

 

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Category: Human Services
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07

Our American States

podcastA Starting Point is a civic engagement platform with some unusual star power behind it.

The website, which features a bipartisan cast of elected officials discussing policy, was co-founded by actors Chris Evans and Mark Kassen with another friend, medical tech entrepreneur Joe Kiani.

Kassen is the guest on the podcast, and he discusses why they started the site, the pros and cons of being from Hollywood in the political world and why it helps to have Captain America on your side.

The site, which has been up for about a year, features a series of video collections that range from pieces shot and produced by the platform’s crew to daily video posts sent in by elected officials from around the country. Kassen and his partners want more engagement with state legislators, and they hope that will happen as pandemic restrictions ease.

Mark Kassen, A Starting Point

 

 

 

 

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24

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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17

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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10

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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26

Our American States

podcastNCSL’s Legislative Summit is back Nov. 3-5 in Tampa, Fla.

On this podcast, we talk with three of NCSL’s experts about some of the sessions coming up at the Summit.

Natalie Wood, director of NCSL’s Center for Legislative Strengthening, discusses a session on legislative oversight during an emergency, lessons learned by legislatures during the pandemic and why tension between the executive and legislative branches is actually a sign of a healthy state government.

The second guest is Erica MacKellar, a fiscal expert from NCSL, who previews a session on the state of state budgets and some of what attendees will hear from economist Dan White, a speaker at the Summit.

Kate Blackman, director of NCSL’s Health Program, rounds out the group. She highlights sessions planned for Summit that will look at the pandemic and its effect on the health care system, mental health and child care.

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19

Our American States

podcastRedistricting is finally upon us. The once-a-decade process uses data from the census to draw congressional and state legislative districts in the states. Legislatures are in charge of redistricting, though commissions also play a role in some states.

Delayed data from the U.S. Census Bureau has left states behind in the process compared to earlier cycles. On this podcast, Wendy Underhill, who oversees election and redistricting issues at NCSL, talks about how the delays have affected states, what they did to prepare, new tools citizens can use to make their voices heard, and some thoughts on what she’s learned during her immersion over the past few years in the world of redistricting.

Wendy Underhill, NCSL

 

 

 

 

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Category: Redistricting
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