Laura Kliewer

Author Articles

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In the span of just two years (during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions), every Midwestern state adopted laws to better protect young people from concussion-related injuries. These so-called “return-to-play” laws had three key components:
 
• educating parents, coaches and players on the signs and symptoms of concussions;
• removing a player from a game or practice who may have a concussion, and not allowing him or her to return that day; and
• requiring sign-off from a medical professional before the player returns to action.
 
 
 
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In Minnesota, state legislators have created a new program to better help displaced workers turn a lost job into an entrepreneurial opportunity. Meanwhile, that state and a growing number of others in the Midwest are trying to keep more people from losing their jobs in the first place — by reworking unemployment-insurance programs in ways that encourage employers not to lay off workers when business is slow, but to instead reduce their hours.

"Ban the box” is a nationwide effort to remove inquiries about criminal history from employer job applications. Supporters argue that the question should be deferred until later in the interview process and not used as an automatic bar to employment at the application stage. Ten states have enacted “ban the box” measures, including Illinois and Minnesota in the Midwest, according to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit group that advocates for these restrictions on employers.

There are 27 Amtrak routes that travel less than 750 miles from start to end. Sixteen of these are entirely state-supported, while five have some state support. States pay for these shorter-distance routes through a variety of means.
 

During the current fiscal crisis, most states in the Midwest have chosen not to enact broad-based tax increases — a trend likely to continue as new annual and biennial budgets are finalized. 

Ridership is on the rise on many passenger rail routes in the Midwest, as is federal support for strengthening the region's passenger rail system. But some newly elected governors opposed new state investments in rail.

Seven Midwestern states are receiving assistance from the $8 billion High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to upgrade four federally designated high-speed rail corridors.

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