Capitol Research

Washington, D.C., and 28 states opt to implement state plans to provide insurance for uninsured persons with pre-existing conditions; the other 22 states will use the federal option under federal health reform.

Although some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs involve science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) skills, the number of women and minorities in these fields is lagging significantly behind white males.

Using a mobile device while driving - either talking on a cellphone or sending text messages - has significant negative effects on driver performance.  The National Safety Council estimates that 1.6 million crashes annually are the result of drivers using mobile devices.  States are combating driver distraction with laws limited the use of mobile devices by drivers.

Renewable energy accounts for 9 percent of U.S. electricity generation.  The Energy Information Administration predicts electricity generated from renewable energy will increase from 9 percent in 2008 to 17 percent by 2035 due, in part, to state policies requiring certain portions of electricity to come from renewable sources, cap and trade programs that favor renewable energy sources, and federal incentives for renewables.  According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. has vast renewable energy potential.

Twenty-six states and Puerto Rico have laws allowing public-private partnerships in transportation. While they can have significant benefits for states, questions remain about their suitability in some cases and the availability of private capital.