Content Type

 

Free and fair elections serve as the cornerstone of a democratic system of governance. Providing an efficient and accurate voting system, and securing such a system against the threat of fraud and manipulation, is a challenge as old as our nation itself, one which states successfully have met. But these times, in which there are unsupported allegations of voter fraud and the potential of election systems being hacked by enemies foreign and domestic, bring both new needs and new opportunities for federal, state and local elections officials. As technologies advance to offer opportunities to strengthen state and local election officials’ capacities to carry out elections, opportunities also emerge to jeopardize our voting systems.
As an experienced convener of the nation’s most seasoned elections officials, The Council of State Governments stands ready to assist in addressing the complex issues facing the American elections system.

In 2016, The Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures assembled a national task force to focus on workforce development efforts targeting people with disabilities in the states. This task force had four subcommittees composed of state policymakers along with non-voting stakeholders from the private sector and academia. The third in a four-part series that coincides with the subcommittee topics, this CSG Capitol Research brief highlights the recommendations from the Hiring, Retention and Reentry, or HRR, Subcommittee of the National Task Force on Workforce Development and Employability for People with Disabilities.

Six Questions County Leaders Need to Ask
by Risë Haneberg, Dr. Tony Fabelo, Dr. Fred Osher, and Michael Thompson

Not long ago the observation that the Los Angeles County Jail serves more people with mental illnesses than any single mental health facility in the United States elicited gasps among elected officials. Today, most county leaders are quick to point out that the large number of people with mental illnesses in their jails is nothing short of a public health crisis, and doing something about it is a top priority.

Over the past decade, police, judges, corrections administrators, public defenders, prosecutors, community-based service providers, and advocates have mobilized to better respond to people with mental illnesses. Most large urban counties, and many smaller counties, have created specialized police response programs, established programs to divert people with mental illnesses charged with low-level crimes from the justice system, launched specialized courts to meet the unique needs of defendants with mental illnesses, and embedded mental health professionals in the jail to improve the likelihood that people with mental illnesses are connected to community-based services.

Risk and needs assessments are now routinely used in correctional systems in the United States to estimate a person’s likelihood of recidivism and provide direction concerning appropriate correctional interventions.1 Specifically, they inform sentencing, determine the need for and nature of rehabilitation programs, inform decisions concerning conditional release, and allow community supervision officers to tailor conditions to a person’s specific strengths, skill deficits, and reintegration challenges. In short, risk and needs assessments provide a roadmap for effective correctional rehabilitation initiatives. When properly understood and implemented, they can help correctional organizations to provide the types and dosages of services that are empirically related to reductions in reoffending.

People with disabilities are a major contributing group to the workforce. However, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities is about twice as much as the unemployment rate of the general population. This high rate of unemployment could be reduced by taking the proper steps to provide workers with disabilities the appropriate accommodations to allow them to be successful in the workplace. These accommodations include access to transportation, assistive workplace technologies and other employment supports.

CSG South

Among the many concerns currently facing America's healthcare system, few are more significant, both medically and fiscally, than long-term care (LTC). Broadly defined as a range of services that support individuals who are limited in their ability to care for themselves, long-term care stands to become one of America's foremost healthcare challenges in the years ahead. With the continuing rise of U.S citizens 65 and over — statistically, the demographic most in need of LTC — states need to begin preparing for the growing pressures that will be placed on their budgets by the nation's aging population. This SLC Special Series Report explores the challenges long-term care poses for states in the SLC region. Subsequent reports will examine possibilities for managing long-term care and highlight actions that states in the SLC region have taken to tackle this important issue.

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.

Pages