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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.

As Americans age, they look to live in communities where they can remain active and have transportation options once they are no longer able to drive. That’s a big concern for a state like Connecticut, which is largely thought of as a car-centric state. “By 2025, 20 percent or more of almost every Connecticut town will be 65 and older,” said Christianne Kovel, senior policy analyst on aging at the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors. “Connecticut, while it’s a small state, has areas that are very, very rural. … Public transportation is not an option.”

Nebraska state Sen. Beau McCoy serves as the 2016 national chair of The Council of State Governments. Among the 16 percent of Nebraska’s legislators who are millennials, McCoy believes strong leaders should not be limited or defined by their age. He said leaders of all ages must come together to identify and achieve solutions to the challenges facing states—taxes, federal regulation, education and workforce development. McCoy, a 2011 Henry Toll Fellow, said he is inspired by so many public servants representing the three branches of government, with whom he has worked and forged lasting friendships over the years.

What is the best state for retirement and aging? If you ask this question, you are likely to receive a listing of states with more favorable and less favorable tax policies. Rifle through the state tax policies and any number of tax breaks will pop up. Some policies benefit everyone—the states that don’t impose any income taxes or sales taxes are examples. Then there are the specific exemptions for older taxpayers—certain types or amounts of income, including Social Security, pensions and retirement savings, property tax exemptions, and even some long-term care insurance deductions. While the fairness, value and efficacy of these tax policies may be in question, it is clear that tax policy, alone, isn’t what people who ask about the best states for retirement are really seeking. They are more likely looking for places with amenities and affordable services that will keep them comfortable and safe as they age.

By Jenni Bergal, Stateline staff writer | Reprinted with permission from Stateline.org
Facing a wave of aging baby boomers, many states are trying to make it easier for frail seniors to stay in their homes—as many prefer—instead of moving into more costly nursing homes. States have a huge stake in where aging seniors and disabled people end up getting long-term care because many of them won’t be able to afford to pay for their care and will have to rely on Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled. Each state has its own Medicaid program, funded jointly by the state and the federal government. Some states have been ahead of the pack in dealing with long-term care issues. In Minnesota, for example, nursing home beds have been cut more than a third as the state focuses on its home and community-based care system. In Hawaii, the state set up a program offering frail older adults in-home services at no charge.

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