Capitol Ideas

Capitol Ideas is a periodic listing of story ideas and background information from new NCSL research. For more information, contact NCSL's Press Team. NCSL LegisBriefs are concise, easy-to-read, informative reports that provide insight into the most important issues affecting state legislatures. LegisBriefs are free for credentialed members of the media. To request a copy, please email NCSL’s office of public affairs.

States Take Action on Discrimination Against the Unemployed

The unemployment rate is stuck at just over 9 percent, leaving 14 million Americans looking for work.  To limit the huge number of applicants for job openings, employers are advertising that the unemployed are ineligible to apply—and it’s perfectly legal.  Now states are taking action.  New Jersey is the first to ban discrimination against the unemployed, and Illinois, Michigan and New York all introduced bills during their 2011 legislative sessions. Request a copy of this LegisBrief.

Corrections Approaches Means Savings for States

States are adopting a new policy approach that allows them to reduce spending on corrections and reinvest the savings in strategies that increase public safety and hold offenders accountable. Called “justice reinvestment,” this approach has been used in Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio to generate savings that are then used for prevention programs in high-risk communities.  Request a copy of this LegisBrief. 

Vote Centers Offer Options on Election Day

As Election Day approaches, many citizens will cast their votes at traditional neighborhood-based precinct polling stations.  In the last decade, however, another approach has been used in many jurisdictions that provides both convenience and savings.  Vote centers are a relatively new way for districts to manage voting—and is the only election reform that has increased voter turnout and lowered costs.  Request a copy of this LegisBrief.

Preventing Preschool Obesity

Over the past four decades obesity rates have doubled among preschoolers —today 21 percent of children aged 2 to 5 are overweight. Obesity-related health care spending is an increasing burden on state budgets, leading to an increased focus on prevention efforts that promote the availability of healthy food, create safe play areas, and make other improvements in day care and preschool settings.   Request a copy of this LegisBrief.