Policy Area

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Maine voters approved (59 percent of the vote) a ballot measure to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 70,000 low-income individuals. Maine is the first state to approve Medicaid expansion through a voter referendum. It would bring the expansion total to 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Gov. Paul LePage, who has vetoed Medicaid expansion bills five times, has issued a statement saying he will not implement the measure unless the legislature fully funds it.

Infrastructure investment was a big winner on Election Day 2017 as a variety of state and local ballot measures around the country to raise taxes or authorize borrowing won voter approval. Here’s a roundup of what happened Tuesday and a look ahead to 2018.

By Sarah Pingel
Postsecondary education is expensive and students are paying more and more for college each year. Amid concerns about rising tuition, state legislatures have become increasingly active in tuition policy even though there’s only one state legislature—Florida’s—that has the authority to set tuition in the four-year sector and two legislatures—Florida’s and California’s—that havethe authority to do so for two-year institutions. In most states, legislatures have adopted statutes that grant the authority to set tuition to campus- or system-level boards.

CSG South

Since NAFTA’s implementation in 1994, trade between the SLC region and Canada and Mexico has changed dramatically. As officials from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. attempt to renegotiate the agreement’s stipulations, it is instructive for policymakers to understand the current position of their states’ exports and imports with these trading partners. A renegotiation could have significant ramifications across state economies, including in the agriculture, automotive, and manufacturing industries.

On November 3, the House voted to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance, or CHIP, program, passing the measure with a 242-174 bipartisan vote. But the bill also must pass in the Senate before it can take effect, so many states will likely run out of money before they receive any new CHIP funds.

By Sara Dube and Darcy White
Policymakers want to improve outcomes for children and youth but often struggle with how best to allocate limited resources. In recent years, many have turned to evidence-based policymaking—the systematic use of high-quality research in decision-making—to help address this challenge. Extensive analysis, for example, has demonstrated that some interventions achieve outcomes that benefit children and youth—such as reducing child abuse and juvenile recidivism rates. But policymakers need access to these findings to identify, fund and sustain these proven programs.

Today Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), spoke to the state Medicaid directors at their fall conference in Washington, D.C. She outlined her vision for the future of Medicaid and unveiled a number of new CMS policies during that speech and in this press release. She pledged to give states more freedom to design innovative programs and to remove federal impediments that stand in the way of states.

Climate Adaptation

The states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island released three reports (see here, here, and here) last week that together set out a roadmap for the development of offshore...

Maine voters will have a chance to vote on Nov. 7, 2017, whether to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 70,000 Mainers under the age of 65 with incomes below or equal to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This is exactly the Medicaid expansion provision included in the Affordable Care Act.

In Virginia, the November ballot impact on health care is a little less direct, but is also being watched by political observers. All 100 House of Delegate seats are up for election. If the Democrats pick up a number of seats the legislature could approve Medicaid expansion, bringing health care insurance to 400,000 low income Virginians.

While technology has opened new doors for teachers, the use of innovative technology in the classroom has resulted in the collection of sensitive student data. Many state lawmakers are now acting to secure vulnerable student information, while also allowing for the educational edge technology provides.

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