Content Type

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.

For Kate Wren Gavlak, the work of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, or MIC3, is about more than legislation; it is work she engages in every day. Gavlak, who is chair of the commission, represents California, which has the largest population of active duty, Reserve and Guard service members in the nation. She also serves as the superintendent of the Travis Unified School District, a district created in 1962, in part, to serve the children of military personnel stationed at Travis Air Force Base.

With Hillary Clinton poised to make history as the first female presidential nominee from a major party, it is noteworthy that women are still underrepresented in state government leadership positions. In 2016, women make up less than one-quarter of state legislators and statewide elected executive officers, and less than one-third of all state court judges. The percentage of female state legislators has largely stalled over the last 20 years, while the number of women elected to statewide executive offices has fallen. Only the number of female state judges has seen significant increases in recent years.

Michael Botticelli serves as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House. In long-term recovery from a substance use disorder for more than 26 years, Botticelli has worked to confront the stigma associated with substance use disorders, which can prevent individuals from seeking treatment. He believes making a variety of treatment options available is key to addressing the opioid epidemic and saving lives.

In 2015, the U.S. exported over $56 billion in merchandise to the United Kingdom. That represents nearly 4 percent of all U.S. exports and makes the U.K. the fifth largest export market for the U.S. After
hitting a 10-year low in 2013, exports have been on the rise to the U.K. for the past two years, but recent political developments could put those gains at risk.

Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery, is a multibillion dollar, worldwide industry and one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises. The Polaris Project estimates that the number of adults and children being held and forced into labor in the United States numbers in the hundreds of thousands. States have taken action, however, setting up task forces to assess the extent of human trafficking and experimenting with policies to encourage reporting, train law enforcement personnel and increase the criminal penalties for perpetrators.

Pages