Pregnant women were warned about Zika virus after an outbreak in Brazil because it was determined that the virus could cause birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition that results in babies born with undersized heads and underdeveloped brains. State and local health departments with limited resources have scrambled to prepare for the virus’ arrival. Zika virus could spread locally if a mosquito bit an infected person, possibly someone who got the virus while traveling, then lived long enough to bite another person.

Recognizing the challenge of financing and completing needed infrastructure projects, several states in 2016 approved legislation that allows them to enter into public-private partnerships (P3s). But P3 legislation has not always guaranteed quick success in moving projects forward and some states without P3 legislation have been able to explore P3s nonetheless. A number of other states have taken steps in recent years to clarify their goals and procedures with regards to P3 projects. These actions are taking place as the universe of P3 infrastructure projects around the country is expanding well beyond toll roads.

The June 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, one of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy initiatives, included a bit of a surprise for states. Writing the majority opinion of the court, Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged Congress’ ability to incentivize states’ participation in programs under the ACA, such as Medicaid expansion, but with a limit. “What Congress is not free to do is to penalize states that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding,” he wrote. And with that, a major component of the health care reform legislation became an option for the states, leading to a series of new debates in statehouses across the country.

The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country and that has a big impact on jobs in the health care field. Employment in the health care field has grown significantly in recent years and will likely continue to grow at a strong pace in the next decade.

The halls of Congress are quiet once again as lawmakers return home to their districts for the seven-week summer recess. Although Congress goes on recess every August, the adjournment will be longer this year due to the political conventions. Neither chamber will resume formal activity until after Labor Day when lawmakers return for 19 legislative days before adjourning again in October for the presidential election. They will return to a litany of unfinished items, including the annual appropriations bills and measures to address the Zika virus and the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan.