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.
NCSL podcasts, including "Our American States," "The Inside Storey" and "Building Democracy," 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.
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Since 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.
The economy in the U.S. went on a wild ride during the pandemic. Many of the challenges in the workforce became headline news, from dropping labor force participation to the Great Resignation.
The guests on this podcast offer two key perspectives on how legislators and states generally can promote workforce development.
Sen. Becky Massey (R) is a state legislator from Tennessee who has worked extensively on workforce issues and just recently took on the role of co-chair of NCSL’s Labor and Economic Development Committee. She talks about what her state has done in this area and offers suggestions for legislators in other states who wat to tackle the issue.
Eric Seleznow is with the Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning at Jobs for the Future. He previously served as deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. He’s also had other roles in state and federal government focused on workforce development. He discussed how apprenticeships and other efforts can help states bolster their workforce.
The federal minimum wage has been a hot topic this year and was debated during discussion of the 2021 Raise the Wage Act before Congress. The wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009, and proponents of an increase say it is not adequate given the rising cost of living. Opponents argue an increase will place an undue burden on businesses, especially small businesses just coming out of the pandemic.
Many businesses have set higher minimum wages and 29 states and Washington, D.C., also have rates above the federal minimum.
On the podcast to discuss the topic are Dave Cooper, a senior economic analyst at the Economic policy Institute and an expert on the minimum wage. Also on the show is Saige Draeger, an NCSL policy expert.
Cooper, whose organization did research that informed the legislation, discussed who earns both the federal and state minimum wage and how raising it might affect public benefits and small businesses. He also talked about pros and cons of state legislators setting the minimum wage for their states. Draeger explained how states have taken action regarding the minimum wage.
As people slowly head back to the workplace as the pandemic begins to fade, there is concern about whether people with disabilities will face steeper hurdles to employment. In the recovery following the Great Recession, for example, employment growth for people with disabilities lagged years behind those without disabilities.
Illinois Senator Dan McConchie, the Senate minority leader, is one of the guests on the podcast. McConchie, who lost the use of his legs following a traffic accident more than a decade ago, has been a strong advocate for enforcement of the accessibility requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He talks about the pros and cons of the trend toward teleworking for people with disabilities and the role state lawmakers can play in ensuring those with disabilities are treated fairly and included in the economic recovery. He also reflected on the 30th anniversary of the ADA and where states can go from here to make it better.
The second guest is Saige Draeger, a policy expert at NCSL, who discusses the roles of state legislators in this area, a new NCSL report that dives into the topic and other resources NCSL can provide to lawmakers.
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