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.

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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Category: Legislatures
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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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08

Legislatures: The Inside Storey

podcastWelcome to the inaugural episode of “Legislatures: The Inside Storey,” a new podcast from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

On this first episode, Tim Storey, the executive director of NCSL, sits down with John Medina, a molecular biologist best known for his book “Brain Rules,” which explains how what we know about the brain can affect how we teach our children, approach our jobs and even change our daily lives.

They discussed how we communicate, the perils of power and how Medina switched from being an animator to studying brain science.

John Medina

 

 

 

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01

Overview

podcastNCSL’s Our American States podcast presents a special six-part series, “Building Democracy: The Story of Legislatures.” This new mini-series covers the history, characters and stories of state legislatures in America, from the beginnings in Jamestown, to the present day and into the future.

Each episode in the series will contain interviews with experts from inside and outside the legislative world to provide a comprehensive view of historical events and their legacy in today’s legislatures. Extras will include extended guest interview clips, articles in NCSL’s State Legislatures magazine, blogs and resources for those who want to dive deeper into topics covered in the podcast.

Episode 6

Our special podcast miniseries concludes by looking to the future of legislatures and how—in this centuries long relay of representative democracy—those currently serving will pass the baton to those who will lead these institutions into the future. With an exemplary lineup of guests, we examine possible challenges and future successes and explore how legislatures can honor long-held traditions and processes while building stronger, more effective and more representative 21st-century bodies.

Guests

  • Scott Bedke, speaker, Idaho House of Representatives
  • Nicole Cannizzaro, majority leader, Nevada State Senate
  • Jason Frierson, speaker, Nevada House of Representatives
  • Margaret O’Brien, secretary, Michigan Senate
  • Tim Storey, executive director, NCSL

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