Our American States show

Our American States

Summary: The Our American States podcast is where you hear compelling conversations that tell the story of America’s state legislatures, the people in them, the politics that compel them, and the important work of democracy.

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  • Artist: NCSL
  • Copyright: (c) National Conference of State Legislatures


 Understanding Women in State Legislatures | OAS Episode 15 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Women, who make up a little more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, only hold about a quarter of the nation’s 7,383 state legislative seats. While it’s a dramatic increase from the 1970s, the percentage has been stagnant for several years. Transcription of Episode 15

 "It Is Easier to Build Strong Children Than to Repair Broken Men" | OAS Episode 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

How does this country treat juveniles who commit offenses? Each state approaches the issue differently. The way we look at juveniles who commit crimes from misdemeanors to felonies shifts based on legal rulings and research. Our guests on this edition of "Our American States" take a look at the key issues, research and legislation affecting juvenile justice. We'll first hear from Marsha Levick, the deputy director and chief counsel for the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia. She's been involved in U.S. Supreme Court cases, and her group works on legal issues involving juveniles. She led a famous effort that removed state judges who were sentencing juveniles without representation and receiving kickbacks from for-profit juvenile facilities. Then we'll talk with Kentucky state Senator Whitney Westerfield (R), who chairs the NCSL Juvenile Justice Principles Work Group, made up of 15 state legislative leaders in juvenile justice from across the country. The senator shares how the above quote, by Frederick Douglass, has helped shape his views on juvenile justice and led to comprehensive reform in his state. The bill has been promoted as a model by the Right on Crime national campaign. Both give their perspective on the importance on collecting data and using it in a positive way. Transcription of Episode 14

 Federalism: The "Hamilton" State Legislative Mix Tape | OAS Episode 13 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Americans learned a lot about the birth of our nation when Lin-Manuel Miranda launched the hit Broadway show, “Hamilton.” In the song, “Non-Stop,” part of the lyrics goes: “Alexander joins forces with James Madison and John Jay to write a series of essays defending the new United States Constitution, entitled 'The Federalist Papers.' ” From those papers, came a concept of government called federalism, where states share power with the federal government. As our guests today will explain, the system works—but it also creates great tension between those entities. Robin Vos, a Republican and the speaker of the House of Representatives in Wisconsin, and Dan Blue, a Democratic Senator from North Carolina, share their viewpoints on the state of federalism today, nearly 230 years after "The Federalist Papers" were published. Transcription of Episode 13

 Brain Science for Legislators and Staff | OAS Episode 12 | File Type: audio/mp3 | Duration: Unknown

Working in the legislative arena is not always easy. There are long hours, long stretches of sitting at a desk, a need to multitask and often a lack of sleep. Stacy Householder of the National Conference of State Legislatures shares six brain rules designed to help legislators and legislative staff be more effective. Her recommendations are based on research and its relevance for those working in legislative chambers. “Scientists have learned more about the brain in the last 20 years than they have from the previous five centuries,” she says. Her advice includes “lap the Cap,” getting sleep and focusing on the task at hand.  Find out if you are a lark or night owl and how that might affect your work. All this and more in this edition of “Our American States.” Transcription of Episode 12

 Conversations, Business Cards and Handshakes: Preparing to Engage at Summit | OAS Episode 11 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

With 5,000-6,000 legislators, legislative staff and those interested in public policy expected to descend on Boston for the 2017 Legislative Summit, our guest today recommends being prepared to being engaged. Catherine Johns, a communications expert with experience as a Chicago talk show radio host, gives honest advice about how to start conversations, how to follow up with those business cards you'll get and even how to do a proper handshake. You'll learn how to listen in conversations, create a better approach to Elevator Speeches and how to gracefully get out of those conversations that have gone too long. “A good part of good conversation is really being present with the person I'm engaged with,” she says. See if her advice helps you prepare for the Summit on this edition of  “Our American States.” Catherine Johns will lead a workshop, “Making Your Case: Effective Communication,” at the 2017 NCSL Legislative Summit in Boston on Sunday, Aug. 6, 8-11 a.m. Transcription of Episode 11

 Martha King: State Health Spending | OAS Episode 10 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

While Congress considers major changes to the nation’s health care laws, states are doing their best to prepare. But, they are not waiting to make their health systems more effective and efficient. Martha King, who directs the health care program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, discusses innovations that are still being made at the state level.  In this edition of “Our American States,” King explains the impact that health care has on state budgets, including a recent item in a State Legislatures magazine article that said 5percent of patients can account for 50 percent of a state’s health care costs. She’ll discuss state initiatives, such as efforts to allow consumers to do online price comparisons and New Jersey’s “hot-spotting” program that is proving to reduce costs. We’ll discuss preventive care programs and Medicaid costs in this revealing talk. Transcription of Episode 10

 Beth Ann Bovino | OAS Episode 9 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Standard and Poors U.S. Chief Economist Beth Ann Bovino answers questions about the state of the U.S. economy in this edition of “Our American States.” We ask about the U.S. economic recovery, business confidence, consumer confidence, the stock market and how the economy has reacted in the first 100 days of the new administration. In addition, she lets us know about “spirit animals” in the economy and gives a preview of her presentation at the 2017 Legislative Summit. Transcription of Episode 9

 Frank Luntz | OAS Episode 8 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

In this episode, we take a look at national and state politics from the viewpoint of someone who has been in the trenches providing polling data and message development for the last 25 years. Renowned national pollster Frank Luntz shares results from a national poll he recently conducted regarding the public’s faith in government at both the federal and state level. While he says the public has more faith in governors and state legislators than their federal counterparts, they are not happy about the acrimonious nature of government today. In addition, he provides advice for candidates running for office and provides insight on what the public expects from elected officials. Luntz is a featured speaker at NCSL’s Legislative Summit this August in Boston. Transcription of Episode 8

 Cybersecurity | OAS Episode 7 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

"They only have to get it right once." On this episode of “Our American States,” we dive into the complex world of cybersecurity. For most Americans it’s not something we give a lot of thought to until a news story breaks regarding a breach of a major company’s data center. What many of us don’t realize is that nearly all of us have data stored on a state data system. If you’ve filed a tax return, applied for a driver’s license, started a business, or qualified for social services, your state has important information about you that you would not want in the hands of criminals or hackers. To walk us through this complex issue, we have Doug Robinson, executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, and South Carolina state Senator Thomas Alexander. They explain that state systems are the targets of attacks millions of times a month. And, and Robinson points out in the quote above, all it takes is for one of those attacks to be successful in order to cause a breach of data. The experts walk us through the steps policymakers need to consider to protect their data and how an NCSL Task Force on Cyber Security is helping state legislatures address the issue. Transcription of Episode 7

 Online Sales Tax | OAS Episode 6 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

In 1992, a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Quill v. North Dakota, said a state cannot require businesses to collect sales tax unless that business had a physical presence in that state. Since that decision, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has been working to find a fairness solution and has been trying to convince Congress to take action as the Quill case suggested. Now, 25 years later, a court case in South Dakota may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court and could challenge the Quill ruling. In this episode, we talk with South Dakota Senator Deb Peters (R), who also is president-elect for NCSL, and find out how states are positioning themselves on this issue, and to learn more about the court case that is designed to go quickly to the U.S. Supreme Court. We also get the inside scoop from NCSL analyst Max Behlke, who will fill us in on the details of the issue and give us an inside look at the effort to get Congress to act. Transcription of Episode 6 2017 Remote Sales Tax Legislation Chart

 Leadership in the Legislature | OAS Episode 5 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Advice on leadership is abundant in books, online and electronic resources. But the leaders in the 99 chambers of America's state legislatures operate in a unique environment. In today’s podcast, Tim Storey, director of state services for the National Conference of State Legislatures, shares his top 10 things that great legislative leaders do.  Transcription of Episode 5  "What Great Leaders Do," State Legislatures magazine

 State Marijuana Policy | OAS Episode 4 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Marijuana the word, when spoken, often elicits smiles, smirks, guffaws and goofy comments. But to policymakers responsible for writing rules and regulations, this serious subject matter is full of weeds and thickets. We’re going to do our best to take our tools and jump into the marijuana patch and look at the challenges and opportunities that it provides to our American states. Our guest today has been tracking the issue for several years now, and is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the political, legal and economic aspects of this issue. Karmen Hanson is a program director in the Health Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Transcript of Episode 4

 The Security of American Elections | OAS Episode 3 | File Type: audio/mp3 | Duration: Unknown

The security of America's voting systems is under the microscope. Revelations about foreign hacking into state registration systems and allegations of voter fraud are a focal point of public policy discussions. In this edition of "Our American States," we examine those issues, equipment costs and concerns, military voting, mail-in ballots and other related issues. Giving us his national perspective on these issues is elections expert Doug Chapin, director of the Program for Excellence in Election Administration at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and director of the university's Election Academy. Transcript of Episode 3

 Education: No Time to Lose | OAS Episode 2 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Historically, citizens have held high expectations for education in the United States. Over the course of the last several years, while the delivery of that education has become more politically challenged, there is still a strong belief that American students should compare favorably with their counterparts across the globe. In today’s edition of “Our American States,” we talk with experts in international and U.S. education, and talk to a state legislator in one state that rates highly when compared to other countries. No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State Transcript of Episode 2

 State of State Legislatures 2017 | OAS Episode 1 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

In today’s podcast, we will take a close look at the political landscape of state legislatures, examine the top 10 issues they will tackle this year, take a look at how the new Trump administration will affect their work, and talk about the possibility of a national constitution convention. Today's guest is William Pound, the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, otherwise known as NCSL. Bill has directed NCSL for around 30 years, and is one of the nation’s foremost experts in state legislatures and how they operate. Transcript of Episode 1


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