Stateline Midwest

Capitol Ideas Magazine

Special Reports


A Publication for and about the Region's State Legislatures and Legislators

Published monthly, Stateline Midwest keeps members of the Midwestern Legislative Conference up to date on policy issues impacting their states, actions being taken by the region's 11 state legislatures, and work being done by the MLC and The Council of State Governments. This publication is provided to state government officials free of charge. If you are not a state government official, the annual subscription rate is $60.


May 2016












Past editions of Stateline Midwest


April 2016 »
Cover story: State proposals in Midwest seek to legalize, regulate daily fantasy sports »
Other featured topics: The Midwest's "Protein Highway," the potential for greater use of passenger rail, strategies to expand broadband access, Iowa's launch of Medicaid managed care, cross-border obstacles for businesses, state laws banning armed drones, and a First in the Midwest feature on how and why Ohio became the first U.S. state to adopt a bilingual education law
Profile: North Dakota House Minority Leader Kenton Onstad »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota Rep. Jacqueline Sly on a new education law that will raise teacher salaries »


March 2016 »
Cover story: Big challenge of addressing the Midwest's aging drinking water infrastructure comes to the surface »
Other featured topics: Selection of state supreme court justices, Ohio's efforts to improve college remediation rates, renewed focus on North American energy partnership, and age criteria in state juvenile justice systems
Profile: Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Sen. Dave Burke on a new pharmacy law in his state that he says will save lives »


February 2016 »
Cover story: Rise in solar power generates interest among Midwest's state legislators »
Other featured topics: Broadband expansion in Minnesota, rise of state "crowdfunding" bills, Indiana's plan to improve education of incarcerated youths, possible Medicaid deal in South Dakota, and laws that permit paramedics to provide non-emergency care
Profile: Ohio Senate Majority Whip Larry Obhof »
FirstPerson article: Nebraska Sen. Merv Riepe on the value of direct primary care »


January 2016 »
Cover story: In aging Midwest, more emphasis being placed on Alzheimer's care and policies »
Other featured topics: How states can operate without a budget, a look at fiscal conditions for 2016 and beyond, the demise of country-of-origin labeling, a look at key federal actions on Great Lakes protection, the rise of teacher shortages in the Midwest, and state programs that provide students with tuition-free community college
Profile: Indiana House Majority Floor Leader Matt Lehman »
FirstPerson article: Kansas Sen. Mitch Holmes on the path his state took to improving the solvency of its pension system »



December 2015 »
Cover story: New state policies help high school seniors leverage" senior year, prepare for postsecondary success »
Other featured topics: Big moves on transportation funding in Midwest, state programs for military veterans to enter agriculture sector, new plan to fix rail 'chokepoint' in Chicago, Michigan's strategy for helping clean up Lake Erie, Ohio commission explores ways to reduce infant mortality, and a review of state policies on giving remote testimony at legislative hearings
Profile: Kansas Senate Vice President Jeff King »

FirstPerson article: Michigan Sen. Curtis Hertel on combating sexual assault on college campuses »


November 2015 »
Cover story: States put more watchful eye on tax incentives and their impact on job, economic
growth »
Other featured topics: Marijuana laws in the Midwest, review of new-member orientations in state legislatures, a look at the potential of the TransPacific deal on agriculture, Iowa's new compensation plan for teachers, Ontario's Great Lakes Protection Plan, regional trends in the uninsured under new federal health care law, and the use of "pay to play" fees by K-12 school districts
Profile: Nebraska Senator Bob Krist »
FirstPerson article: Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate on his state's new Safe at Home program to protect victims of domestic violence, stalking »


October 2015 »
Cover story: Deadly rise in drug abuse, overdoses has states searching for policy answers; responses have included greater oversight of prescription drug use, improving access to treatment »
Other featured topics: Preview of new U.S. Supreme Court term and its impact on states, effects of lower crop prices on Midwest's economy, new nationwide accounting standards for state tax incentives, state-federal plans to prevent the spread of Asian carp, analysis of the cross-border trusted-traveler program, and a review of state bans on the construction of new nuclear plants
Profile: Minnesota Senate President Sandy Pappas »
FirstPerson article: Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma on his state's path to legislative ethics
reform »


September 2015 »
Cover story: New state laws and programs target improving water quality, reducing nutrient runoff »
Other featured topics: States join forces to improve access to online higher education, the veto authority in the Midwestern states, Illinois law ensures college credit for high-performing AP students, the potential of new tariffs on Midwest-based products, a look at trends in rural employment, EPA study examines progress in Great Lakes cleanup, and review of state laws limiting schools' use of "seclusion and restraint"
Profile: Iowa House Majority Whip Joel Fry »
FirstPerson article:Minnesota Rep. Jeff Howe on new legislation in his state to better protect firefighters »


July/August 2015 »
Cover story: A Supreme Court term to remember for states: Rulings in eight cases have immediate, and long-term, effects »
Other featured topics: Fiscal solvency of states, the age gap in voting patterns and state policies designed to improve turnout, a proposed new high school diploma system in Indiana, legislation to improve Medicaid access among individuals released from prison, the impact of the current property-tax squeeze on farmers, the rise of veterans treatment courts and a Wisconsin town's plan to divert Lake Michigan water
Profile: Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger »
FirstPerson article:Illinois Rep. Elgie Sims on a new state law that aims to improve police-community relations »



MLC Annual Meeting Edition: 2015 »
Cover story: During plenary session at MLC Annual Meeting, legislators learn about impact of EPA's Clean Power Plan, and potential state responses and policy options »
Other featured topics: An overview of this year's MLC committee meetings; a look at the policy sessions on "Leveraging the Senior Year," state budget conditions, juvenile justice and police body cameras; a recap of Anne-Marie Slaughter's keynote session on how to reshape health care policy; and a summary of the resolutions passed by the region's state legislators
Profile: Wisconsin Rep. Joan Ballweg »
FirstPerson article: Minnesota Sen. Kathy Sheran on how her state is improving its county-administered system for protecting children »


June 2015 »
Cover story: No end to death-penalty debate: In Nebraska, legislative repeal leads to push for statewide vote; in Ohio, new laws and policies center on lethal-injection protocol »
Other featured topics: Pension woes and successes in 11-state Midwest, this year's legislative debate over the future of prevailing-wage laws, strategies to expand access to Advanced Placement courses, new Iowa guardianship law, binational plan to improve safety of oil shipments by rail and new law in Indiana to promote regional cooperation among cities
Profile: South Dakota House Majority Floor Leader Brian Gosch »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Sen. Jim Marleau on his state's new Peace of Mind registry »


May 2015 »
Cover story: States take new approach to juvenile justice to cut costs, improve long-term outcomes »
Other featured topics: New federal plan for storage of nuclear waste, Indiana legislation allowing local needle exchanges to deal with public health crises, Wisconsin measure to help students with disabilities transition out of high school, status of "shared parenting" proposals in Midwest, and "lame duck" sessions in state legislatures
Profile: Michigan House Majority Floor Leader Aric Nesbitt »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Sen. Michael Connelly on "right to try" legislation »


April 2015 »
Cover story: New health policies that focus on prevention, community health »
Other featured topics: Debate in Midwest over religious-freedom laws, regionwide decline in labor participation, strategies to increase number of skilled workers, state proposals to ban microbeads, new plan to ease bottlenecks at U.S.-Canada border, increased scrutiny on USDA's agriculture research centers, proposals to require paid sick leave, and a Minnesota proposal to expand dual enrollment
Profile: Nebraska Unicameral Legislature Speaker Galen Hadley »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. Melissa Sargent on the role of states in protecting privacy »


March 2015 »
Cover story: A look at legislation on police body cameras, investigations of officer-related deaths »
Other featured topics: Nebraska proposal to strengthen academic rigor for soon-to-be graduates, "blue laws" in the Midwest, regional support for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, progress on new Detroit-Windsor bridge, rise of the region's craft beer and wine industries, and Kansas' leading role in the women's suffrage movement
Profile: Iowa Sen. Amanda Ragan »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota Sen. Deb Soholt »


February 2015 »
Cover story: States' expansion of Medicaid and use of unprecedented federal waivers »
Other featured topics: Ohio program to train high school dropouts in high-need careers, Iowa's rural-urban conflict over nutrient runoff, U.S.' and Canada's new "known worker" pilot program, review of State of State addresses, and state policies and exemptions for mandatory auto insurance
Profile: North Dakota Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Sen. Frank LaRose on redistricting reform in his state »


January 2015 »
Cover story: Transportation funding shortfalls and potential legislative fixes »
Other featured topics: U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid, minorities and the innovation economy, Midwest agriculture and trade with Cuba, regulatory hurdles blocking U.S.-Canada trade, fiscal trends in the Midwest, legislative-immunity clauses in state constitutions and statutes, and state policies on scrap-metal theft
Profile: Minnesota Speaker Kurt Daudt »
FirstPerson article: Indiana Senate Majority Floor Leader Brandt Hershman on ideas to ensure economic development incentives are working, and worth the investment »


December 2014 »

Cover story: Improving work outcomes for people with disabilities »
Other featured topics: Impact of country-of-origin labeling on cross-border agriculture, new federal support for passenger rail in Kansas, the effects of a California law on the Midwest's egg industry, a 2014 review of legislative trends in state capitols, and a look at the role of this region in establishing land-grand universities
Profile: Illinois Senate President John Cullerton »
FirstPerson article: Kansas Sen. Elaine Bowers on how new legislators can make the most of their first year in office »


November 2014 »
Cover story: State preparedness for public-health emergencies »
Other featured topics: A first-of-its-kind coal plant opening in Saskatchewan, cooperation among Midwestern states and provinces to battle invasive species, new revenue sources for state fairs, Minnesota's mission to close the achievement gap, voter approval in three Midwestern states of an increase in the minimum wage, the expansion of Republican majorities in most of the region's legislatures, the role of nonpartisan staff in Midwestern legislatures, and how states and provinces are regulating new "ride-sharing" services
Profile: Wisconsin Sen. Sheila Harsdorf »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Rep. Elgie Sims on closing the "resource gap" among the state's schools »
October 2014 »
Cover story: Big changes occurring in state campaign-finance law in the Midwest »
Other featured topics: Ariculture-driven economic development, federal proposal to limit state regulation of ballast water, a new Michigan law requiring scientifically based policies on hunting and fishing, calls for stricter safety standards for transporting crude oil, state legislation aimed at closing the "gender gap" in wages, how Midwestern states are using information technology to boost efficiency and better serve citizens, state policies to encourage people to seek assistance during a drug overdose, and the roots of today's drunken-driving statutes — which date back to Indiana's first-in-the-nation law, passed 75 years ago
Profile: Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof »
FirstPerson article: Nebraska Sen. Brad Ashford on his state's path to juvenile-justice reform closing the "resource gap" among the state's schools »
September 2014 »
Cover story: Payment reform in state health care systems »
Other featured topics: New anti-bullying laws in Illinois and Minnesota, the need for federal support for a new Detroit-Windsor international crossing, the problem of algal blooms in Lake Erie, state policies on industrial hemp, the upcoming 2014 elections, and serving with close family members in the legislature
Profile: South Dakota Minority Leader Jason Frerichs »
FirstPerson article: Iowa Sen. Bill Dotzler on his state's new plan to invest in programs that "upskill" workers, help businesses »


July/August 2014 »

Cover story: New state initiatives, proposals to boost career and technical education »
Other featured topics: Legislative concerns about the safety of triclosan, bacteria counts on Great Lakes beaches, the use of "big data" in agriculture, industry clusters as as economic development tool, concentrated areas of poverty in the Midwest, the debate over full- or part-time state legislatures and state regulation of alcoholic beverage sales
Profile: Indiana Rep. Tim Brown »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. Cory Mason on a proposal to address the problem of rising student debt »
2014 MLC Annual Meeting Edition »
Cover story: Kotkin: Midwest positioned for bright economic future »
Other featured topics: State policies to increase participation in Advanced Placement courses, concern over a fee hike that would affect cross-border shipments, "economic gardening" as a state development tool, state responses to the rising use of e-cigarettes, protecting bee populations, results-based budgeting, how to weather state revenue volatility, privacy legislation, and helping young people who suffer from mental illness
Profile: North Dakota Sen. Tim Flakoll »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite on a new state law to combat nutrient runoff »


June 2014 »
Cover story: Early voting, online registration and other trends in state election law »
Other featured topics: The role of universities in innovation development, a battle in Michigan over a proposed nuclear-waste disposal site near Lake Huron, state policies and proposals regarding labeling of genetically modified foods, training teachers and school staff in preventing youth suicide, new data tracking the performance of state health systems, and state laws and licensing requirements for new teachers
Profile: South Dakota House Majority Leader David Lust »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Sen. Judy Emmons on efforts in her state to curb human trafficking »


May 2014 »
Cover story: The enduring effects of childhood trauma, and how states can help those in need get the help they need »
Other featured topics: Regional trends in the number of farms, upgrades to the Midwest's passenger-rail system, the push for tighter regulation of "petcoke" storage, a new ban in Illinois on plastic-containing health and beauty products, Minnesota's passage of the highest minimum wage in the region, an interstate compact designed to increase access to online education, state legislation banning handheld cellphone use, and Illinois' role as a pioneer in the use of a juvenile court system.
Profile: South Dakota Rep. David Lust »
FirstPerson article: Minnesota Sen. Patricia Torres Ray on an education model for English language learners that embraces a student's native tongue »


April 2014 »

Cover story: The influence of the courts on school funding in the Midwest »
Other featured topics: Ongoing battle for funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, state funding for full-day kindergarten, an effort in Illinois to examine business incentives, drug testing for welfare recipients, state policies on the use of drones, a drop in public-sector jobs in parts of the Midwest, and laws on sports-related concussion prevention
Profile: Ohio House Minority Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Sen. Michael Hastings on new legislation that takes aim at cyberbullying »


March 2014 »

Cover story: Unemployment insurance: A look at the safety-net program and recent changes to it made by state and federal lawmakers »
Other featured topics: State programs that focus on parent engagement in early-childhood education, a joint state effort to block federal runoff-control regulations, proposals in Michigan to control invasive species, medical-marijuana laws and proposals in the Midwest, rising propane prices in the region, the history of Wisconsin's Legislative Reference Bureau, and laws governing the creation of local land banks.
Profile: Minnesota House Deputy Minority Leader Jenifer Loon »
FirstPerson article: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon on preparing to meet the needs of aging Baby Boomers »
February 2014 »
Cover story: Trends in criminal justice reform in the Midwest »
Other featured topics: The status of a bilateral trade initiative between the U.S. and Canada, regional economic collaboration in the Midwest, questions surrounding the future of preventing Asian carp invasion, Wisconsin's kindergarten program for 4-year-olds, the debate over laws regulating all-terrain vehicles, State of the State addresses around the region, and a review of state policies on food stamps and ID
Profile: Nebraska Sen. Kate Sullivan »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on an initiative in his state to reduce violent neighborhood crime »
January 2014 »
Cover story: The role of states in improving broadband access in the Midwest »
Other featured topics: Recent changes to benefits in the federal food-stamp program, the rise in apprenticeship programs in the Midwest, a push to improve safety standards in rail shipments of crude oil, changes to federal food-safety regulations in response to producers' concerns, rates of population growth in the region, states' focus on higher-education funding and costs in 2014, state policies to prevent human trafficking and the Indiana legislature's paperless initiative.
Profile: Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton on a new plan to provide struggling school districts with more support and resources »


December 2013 »
Cover story: State policies and other factors that impact economic mobility in the Midwest »
Other featured topics: Minnesota's state-run insurance marketplace, a new law in Iowa on homeschooling, recent state and federal developments regarding ethanol policy, a Wisconsin town's plan to divert Great Lakes water, Midwestern states' policies on same-sex marriage, trends in alcohol-related vehicle deaths and related state laws, and a look at the Bank of North Dakota — the only state-owned bank in the nation
Profile: Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick »
FirstPerson article: Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale on how states can crack down on the filing of fraudulent property liens »


November 2013 »
Cover story: State policies to support early-childhood education and expand preschool »
Other featured topics: Minnesota program that provides incentives for protecting water quality, new rules taking effect regarding country-of-origin labeling, North Dakota's new funding formula for K-12 education, concerns over an Ontario proposal to store nuclear waste near Lake Huron, the relative reliance of Midwestern states on federal funding, the rising influence of states in the face of gridlock at the federal level, "ban the box" legislation (which bars employers from asking about criminal history on job applications) and the impact of a devastating October blizzard on South Dakota's livestock population
Profile: Michigan House Speaker Pro Tempore John Walsh »
FirstPerson article: Indiana Sen. Ron Grooms on ways to curb prescription-drug abuse and crack down on "pill mills" »


October 2013 »
Cover story: State bankruptcy laws for local governments »
Other featured topics: "Work share" programs that help provide employers with an alternative to layoffs, efforts to reduce Medicaid fraud and abuse, Minnesota's decision to eliminate its high school graduation exam, the challenge in Kansas of addressing its unsustainable use of groundwater, trends in the Midwest's poverty rates and food-stamp use and policies, state laws that encourage medical volunteerism, and a look back at Minnesota's first-in-the-nation charter school law
Profile: Illinois House Assistant Majority Leader Elaine Nekritz »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard on the path to criminal justice reform in his state »


Older editions of Stateline Midwest »