Capitol Comments

Jason Helgerson, leaving his job this week as New York Medicaid director after 7 years,  blogged in Health Affairs about the lessons he learned.  He says in the post that when his New York experience is combined with the previous 4 years as Wisconsin Medicaid director, he is the nation’s longest-serving Medicaid director. The average tenure of a Medicaid director, according to Helgerson, is 19 months.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) released this week their federally mandated 2017 Annual Report to the President and Congress. FVAP is a voter assistance and education agency established by the United States Department of Defense in accordance with federal law to ensure that members of the U.S. armed forces, their eligible family members, and U.S. citizens overseas are aware of their right to vote and have the tools to do so from anywhere in the world.

A variety of states are taking steps this year to consider tolling as they seek to generate revenues for transportation, relieve congestion and perhaps qualify for federal transportation funding, which could be more difficult to come by in the future. I have updates on expanded tolling legislation in Utah, tolling studies in Iowa and Minnesota and the failure of a congestion pricing plan in New York. Plus, details on how to attend one of the nation’s premier conferences on public-private partnerships this June.

West Virginia is on the verge of leading the nation as they begin testing a mobile application for military voting. Secretary of State Mac Warner announced last week that they have begun a trial for a secure military mobile voting option that will be used for their May 8th primary election. Two counties, Harrison and Monongalia, will be the testing ground for registered, qualified military voters to cast their ballots via a mobile app that uses blockchain technology.

For the first time since the Great Recession, the population of American citizens experiencing homelessness has increased.[1] Extreme levels of poverty, coupled with the steadily rising cost of housing in major cities, has made finding and maintaining housing for some virtually impossible. Homelessness in America is more prevalent among the youth population with an estimated number of at least 700,000 youth age 13-17 and 3.5 million kids aged 18-25...

Riverside County, California has some of the lowest per capita rates of primary care physicians in the country. For every 100,000 people there are only 34 primary physicians[1]. The shortage of care providers has forced many rural residents to travel to receive medical treatment or forego treatment all together because of the inconvenience.

To address this issue and extend medical care services into these underserved regions, the University of California at...

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This month is the Month of the Military Child and schools across the country will “Purple Up! for Military Kids” and wear purple as a visible way to show thanks to the military youth for their strength and sacrifice.
“Coping without a parent, and in some cases without both parents, for months at a time while they serve this country is normal in the life of a military child,” said Cherise Imai, executive director of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission. “It is only fitting that we acknowledge the Month of the Military Child. We can show how much they are appreciated, and thank them for the sacrifice they face as a military child.”

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, Atlanta’s municipal computer systems fell victim to a ransomware attack. As a result, the city began executing a large proportion of its business on paper, or not at all, and postponing court dates. With customer and employee data potentially compromised, the municipal government encouraged anyone who had ever done business with the city to take precautions such as checking their bank accounts and credit reports. The ransom was approximately $51,000.

Ransomware is a form of malware that blocks...

A March 18 fatal accident involving a self-driving Volvo SUV operated by Uber in Arizona continued to produce reactions and ramifications across the autonomous vehicle policy community this week. Here are some of the latest updates on what policymakers are doing in the wake of the crash, what the crash tells us about autonomous vehicle technology and what it means for Uber and others.  

One of the questions the Supreme Court may decide in Trump v. Hawaii is whether lower federal courts have the authority to provide injunctive relief that benefits non-parties as well as the party asking for relief. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief arguing in favor of lower federal courts authority to issue injunctive relief that benefits non-parties.

In this case Hawaii, the Muslim Association of Hawaii, and three individuals sued President Trump claiming the third travel ban, which indefinitely prevents immigration from six countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen, was illegal and unconstitutional.

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