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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.

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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United States

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

Redistricting: Partisanship, Politics, Power

10/10/2019
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Once every 10 years, America’s political landscape changes. While most people are aware the U.S. census takes place in years that end in zero, a smaller percentage know the data collected helps determine how the nation’s political power is divided. In most states, legislatures are charged with redrawing congressional and state legislative maps following the release of the census data. This means political control of the legislature and the governor’s office will be critical when maps are...

Duration:00:25:47

Homeless Youth: Risk Factors of the Vulnerable | OAS Episode 74

9/26/2019
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A 2017 study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago discovered that around 4.2 million people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience homelessness at least once during the year. Of those, 700,000 are 17 or younger. And, the study found, youth homelessness occurs at the same rate in rural and urban areas. In this episode, we learn why these young people experience homelessness, how public policy defines youth homelessness, why it’s difficult for these youth to access needed services...

Duration:00:22:11

How States Are Reacting to Drugged Driving | OAS Episode 73

9/12/2019
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Determining if a driver has too much alcohol in his or her system is now easily measured. But with more states approving the sale and use of recreational marijuana, knowing whether a driver is impaired with that drug—or other substances—is much more difficult to prove scientifically. In this episode, we explore actions states are taking to address this complex issue. Our guests are: Robert RitterRepresentative Jonathan Singer Additional Resources Transcription of Episode 73

Duration:00:32:48

"Almanac" Offers Inside Track on American Politics | OAS Episode 72

8/22/2019
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Columnist George Will says it’s “the bible of American politics.” Started in 1972, the “Almanac of American Politics,” has been a valuable resource tool for people needing to have comprehensive knowledge of Congress, congressional districts and state governors. Published every two years, the 2020 version has just been released. Our guest is Louis Jacobson, who is a senior correspondent for PolitFact and has written for publications such as Governing magazine, Roll Call, CongressNow and the...

Duration:00:19:40

End of an ERA at NCSL: Bill Pound Retires | OAS Episode 71

8/8/2019
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For the last 32 years, the National Conference of State Legislatures was led by Executive Director William Pound. He worked for NCSL for 44 years, starting soon after the organization was started in Denver. He retired in mid-July and is being honored at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Nashville this week. We asked him to share his thoughts on legislatures, legislators, state legislative staff and other areas of interest. He provides us with a history lesson of the organization and reflects on...

Duration:00:21:00

States Embrace Flexibility in Medicaid Strategies | OAS Episode 70

7/25/2019
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Medicaid is a state-federal health insurance program designed to provide relief for the less fortunate, including low-income people, the elderly and people with disabilities. The program is a significant part of state budgets. State expenditures on Medicaid exceeded $600 billion in 2018, with about 1 in 5 Americans receiving coverage. The federal government accounts for about 60 percent of this financing with the rest coming from state budgets. All 50 states participate in the Medicaid...

Duration:00:20:23

Supreme Court and the States: 2019 Wrapup | OAS Episode 69

7/18/2019
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In every term, the U.S. Supreme Court makes decisions that affect state and local governments. In 2019, the court addressed several such issues, including a blockbuster decision on political gerrymandering and an issue of critical importance to the census. In addition to these two rulings, our guests offer perspective on whether certain monuments may be on public land, a challenge on duel sovereignty, taking blood from someone who is passed out from drinking, and regulations on wine selling...

Duration:00:17:30

Criminal Justice Reform: A Bipartisan Issue | OAS Episode 68

7/11/2019
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While the country mostly hears how the political parties don’t work together, criminal justice reform is an untold story of how bipartisanship works. States are working together to reduce recidivism, provide released inmates a course for a productive future, and address the backgrounds and experiences of offenders to change behaviors. To illustrate that point, our podcast focuses on laws approved in two states, Mississippi and Colorado. Our guests are: Additional Resources Transcription...

Duration:00:26:59

The Latest in Online and Digital Privacy Laws | OAS Episode 67

6/27/2019
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Last year, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 was signed into law, and the landmark bill has become a model for other states when it comes to online privacy. This year, the California State Legislature is looking to modify the bill to address concerns expressed by businesses and advocates. In Utah, the Electronic Information or Data Privacy Act was signed into law this year. The bill gives electronic documents the same legal protection as printed documents. If law enforcement wants...

Duration:00:26:31

Measles, Vaccinations and the Role of Government | OAS Episode 66

6/20/2019
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Government and health officials from across the country have expressed concern in recent months as cases of measles have been reported in limited areas of the country—the most reported since 1992. The disease was declared all but eliminated in our borders in the year 2000. Maintaining that status is threatened by increased international travel and by the number of parents who are now hesitant to have their children vaccinated. To get answers about current outbreaks, how the various levels...

Duration:00:22:39

It’s Legit to Get Financially Fit | OAS Episode 65

6/13/2019
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What do children know about taxes, credit reports, mortgages, money management, insurance or investing? For that matter, what do parents know about these topics? In this episode, we explore financial literacy. We talk with two guests who are working to get more financial education into our schools, creating more informed citizens about the complex and changing nature of finance issues. Our guests: Laura Levine Corey Carlisle Additional Resources Transcription of Episode 65

Duration:00:17:04

Moon Landing at 50: STEM, States, Science | OAS Episode 64

5/23/2019
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On July 20, the United States will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with traveling exhibits and special ceremonies at museums, the Johnson Space Center and the Kennedy Space Center. In honor of the historic feat, we wanted to explore technical innovations, STEM education and a launch project designed to include contributions from all 50 states at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Jody Singer is the director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight...

Duration:00:15:43

For Victims, Policies on Rape Kits Hard to Understand | OAS Episode 63

5/16/2019
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An estimated 25 million Americans are rape survivors. The Bureau of Justice Statistics three years ago estimated only 23 percent of rapes or sexual assaults are reported. For those that do report their assaults, they are confronted with medial and legal procedures that are challenging and sometimes not understandable. And there is an assumption that if a rape kit is produced, it will be stored as long as the victim needs. But the local and state laws across the country are not uniform and...

Duration:00:24:55

Principles of Debate Thinking | OAS Episode 62

5/9/2019
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With May 6-10, 2019, being Legislative Staff Week, we focus this episode on a critical skill: debate thinking. In the heat of a disagreement, argument or debate, it can be difficult to plot a persuasive strategy that effectively articulates one’s point of view while rebutting the position of the other party. We explore the foundations of debate thinking, a model of thought that will sharpen the ability to think quickly and to develop compelling offensive and defensive arguments in real...

Duration:00:27:45

Celeb Chef Hugh Acheson on Hunger in America | OAS Episode 61

4/25/2019
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At some point in 2016, 1 in 7 U.S. households was food insecure and more than 44 million people participated in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The nonprofit No Kid Hungry says more than 13 million U.S. children live in "food insecure" homes. The National Conference of State Legislatures created a Hunger Partnership to address food insecurity. With more than 20 legislators and three legislative staff, the partnership works to address hunger in America....

Duration:00:17:53

2020 Census: What’s at Stake for States | OAS Episode 60

4/11/2019
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In less than a year, the United States will embark on its decennial charge to count every person living in the nation. And, as our guest explains, an accurate count is needed for both economic and political reasons. About $800 billion in federal funding is at stake, as well as each state’s apportionment in the House of Representatives. Our guest is Wendy Underhill, director of the NCSL Elections and Redistricting Program. She tells us about changes to this year’s form and how technology is...

Duration:00:14:39

In Search of Civil Discourse | OAS Episode 59

3/28/2019
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What’s your sense of the state of civil discourse in America today? The answer is likely as diverse as political viewpoints today. So we decided to talk with someone who studies civil discourse and is an active participant. Keith Allred is the executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. He discusses the differences of civil discourse at the federal and state levels, and why his organization is promoting programs aimed at state legislatures, communities and the general...

Duration:00:22:35

Top Energy Official Talks Technology, Security | OAS EPISODE 58

3/14/2019
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In this episode of “Our American States,” we talk with one of the federal government’s top energy officials. It’s easy to take energy for granted. From turning on the first light in the morning to fixing a meal, taking a hot shower and working on a computer—we generally accept that the energy we need is going to be there. And we become upset when it’s not. For policymakers, though, the regulation and oversight of energy is a series of complex issues, and it’s often difficult for states to...

Duration:00:14:33

Child Support Program Changes Result in Stronger Families | OAS Episode 57

2/28/2019
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The nature and demographics of employment are changing, with fewer men entering the workforce and the gig economy chipping away at traditional job relationships and structures. And state programs that oversee child support programs are taking notice. We talk with officials in two states that are seeing success by working to address the issues and concerns of those who owe child support payments, and, as a result, are improving relationships between parents and their children. Our guests...

Duration:00:30:40

What I Wish I Knew: Veteran Legislators Reflect (Part 2) | OAS Episode 56

2/14/2019
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In this episode, we complete our two-part series aimed at the more than 20 percent of the nation’s 7,383 state legislators who are new to the job in 2019. We talk with two current and two former state legislators—all who have held leadership positions—and ask them to give newly elected legislators advice or offer what they wish they knew when they walked into that legislative chamber for the first time. Our guests, in alphabetical order, include: Senator Curt BrambleSenator Toi...

Duration:00:27:25