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After more than four decades in public office, New York state Sen. Hugh T. Farley announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election and would retire at the end of 2016 to spend more time with family. Farley, also Senate vice president pro tempore, was first elected to the New York Senate in 1976, making him its second longest-serving member.

By Pennsylvania state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio
With a strong professional background in long-term care and working with older adults for more than 20 years before entering public service, I learned not to make assumptions about how people age. We all age differently. We live different lifestyles and make different choices at all points along life’s timeline, including through our 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. It is imperative to recognize the individuality of our older constituents and not generalize or assume—you know the adage about when we assume—that their needs are the same or even similar. We can best serve our older constituents by recognizing that many are still working well into their 70s and 80s.

More than a decade ago, analysts were predicting the next big challenge for state governments: The mass retirement of baby boomers. Then the Great Recession hit and those same baby boomers stayed put, delaying retirement until more prosperous times returned. Now that the economy is on the path to recovery, baby boomers are resuming their retirement plans. “Nearly all states have 30 percent or more of their employees eligible to retire within the next five years,” said Leslie Scott, executive director of the National Association of State Personnel Executives, a CSG affiliate organization.

A generation ago, retirement meant slowing down for most older adults—spending hours on the front porch swing, working crossword puzzles and playing the occasional game of Bingo. That was then, this is now. “It’s one of the great success stories of not only our country, but around the world, that people can be expected to live 20 or 30 years beyond the age of 65,” said Nora Super, chief of programs and services at the National Association for Area Agencies on Aging, or n4a. “And with this new opportunity, people are rethinking what that means and how they want to spend their time.” Super, who previously served as executive director of the White House Conference on Aging, said a growing number of seniors are searching for, and finding, purpose in retirement through volunteerism.

Multiple myeloma is the most common blood cancer among African Americans, with approximately 18,000 African Americans suffering from it in 2012, and the number of newly diagnosed cases are on the rise. One of the most effective ways for researchers to learn more about multiple myeloma is through clinical trials, which allow them to evaluate and address the differences across diverse populations. Unfortunately, African Americans are underrepresented in clinical trials, comprising only 8 percent of enrolled patients in clinical trials. The biopharmaceutical company Celgene noticed this disparity in diagnoses and treatment between the African American and other populations and decided to help.

The process for placing an adult under guardianship varies by state, but each branch of government plays a role in ensuring guardianship is a safe and effective mechanism for protecting individuals who can no longer make or communicate sound decisions about themselves and their property, or have become vulnerable to abuse, fraud or undue influence. Texas’ Guardianship Compliance Project was born out of this cooperative approach. The pilot project, which is funded by the Legislature and implemented by the Office of Court Administration, was launched in November 2015 to provide additional resources to courts handling guardianship cases. The goal of the project is to help courts make sound decisions in guardianship cases by reviewing current guardianships to identify reporting deficiencies, auditing annual accountings and reporting findings back to the court, and working with courts to develop best practices in managing guardianship cases.

By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, CSG senior fellows
The public’s sense that government isn’t serving them efficiently and effectively is particularly strong when it comes to their understanding of the federal government. But that’s little solace to those working in state governments, which are similarly targets of widespread mistrust. According to a September 2016 Gallup poll, some 37 percent of Americans surveyed had little trust or confidence in their states. Civic education serves an important role in helping young people gain the skills and knowledge they need to participate in civic activities and understand the way their government works. Civic Education: A Key to Trust in Government explores the state of civic education in the United States and potential solutions to the challenges involved in improving civic education in America's schools.

CSG South

The impasse in U.S.-Cuba relations has spanned 10 U.S. presidents, a failed invasion attempt, a nuclear missile crisis and witnessed countless asylum seekers. The tumultuous relationship, which has its roots in the Cold War, is characterized by a dual-pronged U.S. policy emphasizing economic and diplomatic isolation of the island nation.

Despite ongoing economic sanctions, the United States has emerged as a major exporter of agricultural goods to Cuba, which imports up to 80 percent of its food. Given Cuba's geographic and economic position, states in the Southern region of the United States have competitive export advantages in terms of production, quality, logistics and proximity. This SLC Regional Resource examines existing and future agricultural export opportunities for member states in the Southern Legislative Conference.

The federal reimbursement rate in 2016 is 54 cents per mile, down 3.5 cents per mile from the 2015 rate but up 9.5 cents over the rate 10 years before–44.5 cents per mile on Jan. 1, 2006. Thirty-four states have a reimbursement rate that is the same as the federal rate. For those 16 states whose rates differ from the federal rate, reimbursement rates range from 31 cents to 52 cents per mile. No state reimburses at a rate higher than the federal rate.

By Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum
Elder financial abuse costs older Americans $2.9 billion per year. In one year alone, reports of financial exploitation in Oregon increased by nearly 20 percent and represented almost half of all abuse investigations conducted by the state. That’s why fighting elder abuse has been a priority for me since becoming Oregon’s attorney general in 2012. Since then, I’ve worked hard to prevent and address the financial exploitation of older Oregonians.

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