Lisa McKinney

Author Articles

High-quality early learning programs have been shown to boost educational outcomes for children, reduce rates of incarceration and lower health-care costs, according to research from economist James Heckman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Discussions about vaccinations occur regularly within legislatures across the nation. Policymakers aim to protect public health while scrutinizing conflicting information and heeding concerns of constituents, including parents who want options for their children.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in July signed into law one of the nation’s most comprehensive paid family leave programs, offering workers paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious medical condition of the employee or his or her family member. The legislation, which will take effect in 2020, offers eligible workers 12 weeks of either parental or medical leave, or 16 weeks for a combination of both. Only four other states guarantee paid family leave: California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, with New York’s program beginning in 2018. The District of Columbia also approved a paid family leave program this year to take effect in 2020.

By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
During the years when the baby-boom generation was being introduced to the population of the United States, the fertility rate equaled about three births for each woman of child bearing age. But since the mid-1960s, when the baby boom ceased, fertility rates have been dropping. By the early 1970s, the fertility rate fell below two births per woman, and it has been declining steadily for at least the last 10 years. Since then, the U.S. fertility rate has been below replacement level—the level that is needed for couples to replace themselves in the population—according to the Population Reference Bureau.

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Personal and commercial drone usage is on the rise, creating new challenges for the insurance industry and policymakers in areas like property damage and liability. Join legal and risk management experts from Florida State University for a nonpartisan, nonadvocative discussion of current and future drone usage. This hour-long session, presented in collaboration with The Institutes Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, will consider the legal and regulatory environment and examine the myriad insurance-related issues that emerging drone technology presents.

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Teacher shortages have been a significant topic of policy concern in nearly every state. Join this webinar to hear how policy leaders and innovators across the country have successfully addressed this challenge. From supporting new teachers to retaining accomplished teachers to accurately identifying teacher shortage areas, this webinar will provide research-based examples from across the teacher career continuum to equip policy leaders with new insights, ideas and inspiration to ensure a high-quality teacher workforce for each and every student.

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The Council of State Governments has announced a new technical assistance project called Occupational Licensing: Assessing State Policy and Practice for state leaders. Through this policy learning consortium, selected states will receive assistance to improve their understanding of occupational licensure issues and best practices; identify current policies that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry; and create an action plan that focuses on removing barriers to labor market entry and improves portability and reciprocity for select occupations. Technical assistance will be provided through a partnership of The Council of State Governments, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the National Conference of State Legislatures, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Under Gov. Matt Mead, Wyoming has maintained one of the largest rainy day funds in the nation despite financial volatility in the energy-producing state caused by fluctuating gas prices. He has also focused on diversifying Wyoming’s economy through innovation and technology and by expanding business opportunities in the technology, renewable energy and manufacturing sectors. Mead said opening up the state to new industries combined with disciplined budgeting have kept Wyoming stable through the economy’s ups and downs.

By Brian Sigritz and Kathryn Vesey White
In December, the National Association of State Budget Officers, or NASBO, released the latest edition of its semiannual Fiscal Survey of States. According to data collected from state budget offices, fiscal 2017 is expected to mark the seventh consecutive annual increase in both general fund spending and revenue.

By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
With newspapers and scholarly reports full of discussion about states and their shortages—or surpluses—of tax revenues, it would be easy to focus exclusively on the dollars brought in through sales taxes, income taxes and so on. That kind of analysis misses out on the revenue elephant in the room, though: the money that comes from the federal government.

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