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Stateline Midwest Archive

 
September 2013 »
The September edition features articles about state efforts to improve health care for high-need, high-cost beneficiaries; a Wisconsin program to address invasive sea lamprey; an Illinois law aimed at improving efficiency in K-12 education; an update regarding a planned bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario; the uncertain future of rural "critical access" hospitals; upcoming Supreme Court cases of importance to states; trends in state prison populations and policies; state laws regarding the ability of local governments to levy sales taxes; and how legislative pay is determined throughout the Midwest. Iowa Rep. Tom Sands writes this month's FirstPerson article on his state's recent and long-awaited tax reform legislation, and this month's legislative profile is on North Dakota Sen. Rich Wardner.

 

July/August 2013 »
The July/August edition features a cover story on the new policy priorities emerging in the fight to protect the Great Lakes. Other articles discuss the role of 'navigators' in health insurance exchanges; states' performance in evaluating their tax-incentive programs; the battle over the farm bill in the U.S. Congress; questions over the future of the Common Core initiative in three Midwestern states; below-average gains in GDP among states in this region; new state tax policies begin taking effect. The Question of the Month examines which states have 'no-excuse' absentee or early voting, and this month's Capitol Closeup takes a look at policies and laws governing legislative adjournment. North Dakota Sen. Tony Grindberg writes this month's FirstPerson article on his state's ongoing efforts to manage its water resources and prevent flooding, and this month's legislative profile is on Iowa Sen. Pam Jochum.
 
MLC Annual Meeting Edition, 2013 »
This special issue is dedicated to coverage of the 68th Midwestern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting in St. Paul. It includes a recap of the keynote address by Jonathan Haidt, who discussed the forces that cause good people to disagree — and the challenge of promoting civility in politics. Other articles focus on sessions offered during the four-day conference, with topics ranging from state fiscal conditions to how state higher-education systems are preparing the future workforce. Also included are wrap-ups of MLC committee meetings and resolutions passed by the MLC. Minnesota Rep. Bob Dettmer writes about his state's efforts to better support veterans returning home to his state. Also included is a profile of Nebraska Sen. Beau McCoy, incoming MLC chair.

 

June 2013 »
The June edition features articles about state policies and recent legislation on immigrants in the Midwest, proposals to buy private health coverage with Medicaid funds, tuition freezes in higher education, new funding for dredging waterways in Michigan, a change in Iowa's recreational-use statute to strengthen liability protections for landowners, North Dakota's new performance-based funding plan for higher education, and the Midwest's changing carbon footprint and mix of energy sources. The Question of the Month highlights property tax relief for disabled veterans, and the first article in our new "First in the Midwest" series examines the history and legacy of Wisconsin's groundbreaking personal income tax. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt writes this month's FirstPerson article on new efforts to combat gangs and violent crime, and this month's legislative profile is on Ohio Rep. Anne Gonzales.

 

May 2013 »
The May edition features articles about the future of Medicaid and how states are preparing for upcoming changes to the program, business-creation rates in the Midwest, federal legislation that would create a new agency to manage the nation's nuclear waste, state efforts to prevent farms from being secretly videotaped by activists, the expansion of school vouchers in Indiana, a federal bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases, upgrades to the region's passenger-rail lines, the status of medical-marijuana laws in Midwestern states, and rules governing conflict of interest in state legislatures. Illinois Rep. Carol Sente writes this month's FirstPerson article on legislation to limit full-contact hitting in youth football to prevent concussions, and this month's legislative profile is on Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.

 

April 2013 »
The April edition features articles about tax proposals around the Midwest, a Wisconsin bill to enhance worker training, an Iowa initiative aimed at increasing pay and career opportunities for teachers, state efforts to support farming startups, the rising use of nurse practitioners as a way to combat health workforce shortages, a drop in prison populations in three states, mining and fracking legislation in Wisconsin and Illinois, efforts to address childhood obesity, and Iowa's unique presidential caucus system. Minnesota Rep. Jim Davnie writes this month's FirstPerson article on his state's efforts to improve mental health services for children and young adults, and this month's legislative profile is on Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath.
 
March 2013 »
The March edition includes articles about the rising use of charter schools and changes in the way states regulate them; proposals in the Midwest to boost early-childhood learning; the impact of an increase in older workers on the economy; state decisions on whether to expand the Medicaid program; the future of federal investments in Great Lakes protection; state policies on guns in capitols; a declining workforce in the rural Midwest; and tax credits for K-12 education expenses. Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long writes this month's FirstPerson article on the need to compete with other states for gaming revenue, and this month's legislative profile is on Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle.

 

February 2013 »
The February edition includes articles about state strategies for improving mental health systems, the type and location of the fastest-growing businesses, new rules for tracking livestock, efforts to address inefficiencies at the U.S.-Canada border, trends in K-12 education funding in the region, concerns about falling water levels in the Great Lakes, state decisions regarding federal health reform's "essential health benefit" packages and the unique size of Ohio Senate districts. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor writes this month's FirstPerson article on Ohio's Common Sense Initiative, an effort to implement regulatory reform in her state, and this month's legislative profile is on Nebraska Sen. Heath Mello.

 

January 2013 »
The January edition includes articles about the future of gun laws in the Midwestern states, the impact of budget cuts on universities, states' progress on setting up health care exchanges, North Dakota's "right-to-farm" law, newly available energy resources in this region, a review of state budget conditions in the Midwest, notable and unique laws going into effect in 2013, state restrictions on prescriptions covered under Medicaid and data collected by CSG Midwest on ages of legislators in the region. Nebraska Sen. Kathy Campbell writes this month's FirstPerson article on her state's efforts to fix ongoing problems in its child-welfare system, and this month's legislative profile is on Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos.

 

December 2012 »
The December edition includes articles about state efforts to improve higher-education attainment, upgrades planned for the Midwest's passenger-rail system, policies to encourage livestock operations, barriers to trade between the United States and Canada, water-infrastructure initiatives in two Midwestern states, the "right to work" debate in Michigan, legislative turnover in the region's state houses, exit-exam requirements for high school students and recent federal court cases that affect states. Kansas Rep. Tom Sloan writes this month's FirstPerson article on an initiative in his state to make renewable fuels more dependable, and this month's legislative profile is on Illinois Rep. Tom Morrison.

 

November 2012 »
The November edition includes articles about state efforts to improve access to healthy food by addressing "food deserts," a proposal to relax a Michigan rule regarding ballast water discharges, how states rank on promoting energy efficiency, the expiration of the federal farm bill and its impact on the region's agriculture producers and consumers, state strategies for better coordinating care for "dual eligibles," how states compare on their unfunded liabilities, the results of recent state policies to reduce recidivism, what states are doing to promote urban agriculture and the unique process of adjusting census data for purposes of redistricting in Kansas. Illinois Sen. Don Harmon writes this month's FirstPerson article on legislation to bring stricter limits and more transparency to political contributionsin his state, and this month's legislative profile is on North Dakota Speaker David Drovdal.
 
October 2012 »
The October edition includes articles on Midwestern states' varying methods of taxing farmland, policy ideas for fostering growth in state economies, the impact of a recent federal court decision on the future of spent nuclear fuel storage, a historic binational agreement aimed at protecting the Great Lakes, vaccinations among U.S. teens and state policies that affect immunization rates, required training for school board members in the region and lobbying laws in Midwestern states. Michigan Lt. Gov. Jack Calley writes this month's FirstPerson article on legislation to improve access to evaluation and treatment related to autism, and this month's legislative profile is on Iowa Rep. Steven Olson.
 
September 2012 »
The September edition includes articles on gambling expansion and the future of online gaming in the Midwest, data showing a decline in access to health care in the states, livestock tracking in the United States and Canada, concerns about the federal Renewable Fuels Standard and its impact on food prices, the battle against Asian carp in Lake Erie, a "cap and trade" water program that includes two Midwestern states, recent state education reforms that target help for struggling young readers, and the unique system of judicial election and retention in Illinois. Iowa Sen. Jack Hatch writes this month's FirstPerson article on recent efforts in his state to overhaul the mental-health care system, and this month's legislative profile is on South Dakota Sen. Mike Vehle.

 

MLC Annual Meeting Edition, 2012 »
This special issue has several articles based on the Midwestern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting in Cleveland. It includes an article on Charles Wheelan's speech about the role of Midwestern states in reviving the region's economy; a recap of the MLC policy committee meetings; an overview of the resolutions passed by the full MLC; and stories on sessions that explored education reform, strategies to improve state criminal justice systems, and the importance of humility in public leadership. In addition, North Dakota Sen. Curtis Olafson writes about the important, but often overlooked, powers granted to states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Also included is a profile of Minnesota Rep. Alice Hausman, incoming MLC chair.

 

July/August 2012 »
The July/August edition includes articles on the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the federal Affordable Care Act — and its impact on states; data on physician discipline in Midwestern states; an "interlocal" agreement to build a bridge between Detroit and Windsor; state implementation of a compact to protect the Great Lakes; proposed legislation to reallocate fertilizer fees in Illinois; recent state actions to reform pension systems; the variety of controversial ballot questions being posed to Midwestern voters this fall; state progress on meeting renewable portfolio standards; and a slowdown in the rising number of women in state legislatures. Wisconsin Sen. Julie Lassa writes this month's First Person article on legislation she sponsored to help returning military veterans find jobs, and this month's legislative profile is on Ohio Sen. Keith Faber.
 
June 2012 »
The June edition includes articles on Midwestern states' 2013 budgets, an upcoming study on Asian carp in the Great Lakes, the status of health insurance exchanges in the region, a report showing positive signs for the region's manufacturing sector, the impact of redistricting on rural legislative districts, public funding of professional sports facilities, income growth in Midwestern states compared to the nation's, "freedom of conscience" provisions in state laws and constitutions, and the unique term-limits law in Michigan. Minnesota Rep. Mike Beard writes this month's First Person article on his views of the state's investment in light rail, and this month's legislative profile is on Indiana Sen. Brandt Hershman.
 
May 2012 »
The May edition includes articles on state responses to the rise in "fracking" to release oil and gas, improper payment rates in Medicaid, the future of federal rail funding, Minnesota's tax credit for angel investors, proposed federal rules regarding CAFOs, how states are evaluating tax-incentive programs, legal disputes over the effective dates of bills, and how states compensate people wrongfully convincted of crimes. South Dakota Rep. Justin Cronin writes about legislation that requires "roll your own" cigarette operations to follow regulations imposed on other types of tobacco vendors, and this month's legislative profile is on Wisconsin Sen. Mark Miller.

 


 

April 2012 »
The April edition includes articles on state efforts to prevent and prosecute cases of elder financial abuse, ballast-water policies in the Great Lakes, how the Midwest ranks in high-tech employment, new EPA emissions rules and their impact on coal-fired plants in the region, a proposed ban on owning exotic animals in Ohio, grading the states on corruption, battles in three Midwestern states over voter-ID laws, the possibility of shifting partisan control in Midwestern states, state policies on publishing public employees' salaries, and the pros and cons of Minnesota's large legislature. Wisconsin Rep. Pat Strachota writes about legislation that would require insurers to equally cover oral forms of chemotherapy, and this month's legislative profile is on Nebraska Sen. Tom Carlson.

 

March 2012 »
The March edition includes articles on Midwestern states' strategies for funding transportation and infrastructure, the region's struggle to attract venture capital, a proposed interstate compact on transmission siting, the cost of a possible solution to the Great Lakes' invasive species problem, a Nebraska measure aimed at boosting students' "agricultural literacy," a look at the region's first high-speed train, how the Midwest will benefit from a recent settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage lenders, and the authority of legislatures to call special sessions. Indiana Sen. Tim Lanane writes about legislation aimed at making outdoor events safer, and this month's legislative profile is on North Dakota Reps. Jerry Kelsh and Scot Kelsh.

 

February 2012 »

 

The February edition includes articles on recent school-reform proposals in the Midwest, state tax incentives designed to lure businesses, the status of the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, efforts to streamline trade regulations between the United States and Canada, policies on the disposal of roadkill in Midwestern states, the recent decrease in state higher-education funding, the debate of "right-to-work" legislation in Indiana, rules regarding protests in Midwestern capitols, and the unique powers of the Indiana lieutenant governor. Michigan Sen. John Hune writes about a program that teaches farmers to identify and prevent environmental issues, and this month's legislative profile is on Iowa Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
 
 
January 2012 »

 

The January edition includes articles on state policies to support teens "aging out" of the foster care system, the rising cost of health insurance premiums, Michigan's efforts to battle invasive species, state measures aimed at boosting small businesses, violent crime rates in the Midwest, the future of biomass residuals in the Midwest, the National Popular Vote Compact, states' processes for selecting committee leadership and infrastructure needs in rural areas. Ohio Rep. John Barnes writes about a proposed program to help promote Ohio products and businesses around the globe, and this month's legislative profile is on Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer.
 
 
December 2011 »
The December edition includes articles on the TransCanada oil pipeline and Nebraska's recent legislative actions to address environmental concerns, state rate reviews of insurance premium increases, new dollars for states to promote exports, changes in horse-processing rules, concerns about "Buy American" provisions in the federal Jobs Act, state laws governing retiree benefits for legislators, comparisons of state graduated driver's license laws, and new developments on state and federal ballast water regulations. Kansas Sen. Tim Owens writes about a new law in his state to reduce the prevalence of DUIs, and this month's legislative profile is on Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis.

 

November 2011 »
The November edition includes articles on workers' compensation reform, the use of hydroelectric power and out-of-state generation to meet renewable portfolio standards, the rise in the use of intercity passenger rail lines in the Midwest, the high cost of state supreme court races, trends in state and local government revenue, and South Dakota's unique tax structure that relies heavily on sales taxes and does not include an income tax. Illinois Sen. Terry Link writes about the need to consolidate or eliminate some local government units, and this month's legislative profile is on Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers.

 

October 2011 »
The October edition includes articles on the state response to the ongoing foreclosure crisis; the rise in poverty rates and decline in household income in much of the Midwest; one lawmaker's idea to reform redistricting through a "competition model"; new efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp; the efficacy of new energy-efficiency standards; state compliance with a federal sex-offender law; and the varying ways that states staff their legislatures. Iowa Rep. Chuck Soderberg writes about the role of nuclear power in meeting the nation's energy needs, and this month's legislative profile is on Ohio Sen. Kevin Bacon.

 

September 2011 »
The September edition includes articles on the increased importance and future direction of student grant aid, a status report on state implementation of the new Great Lakes compact, wind energy growth in the Midwest, state and local tax burdens on business, the record number of abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, state policies that require schools to have a certain number of instructional days and hours, and the unique powers of Wisconsin's Joint Committee on Finance. North Dakota Sen. Tim Mathern writes about the establishment of state-based health insurance exchanges, and this month's profile is on Indiana Senate Majority Caucus Chair Jim Merritt.

 

 
MLC Annual Meeting Edition, 2011 »
This special issue has several articles based on the Midwestern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. It includes an article on Ron Brownstein's speech on gridlock and polarization in the U.S. political system; a recap of the MLC policy committee meetings; an overview of the resolutions passed by the full MLC; and stories on sessions that explored the future of nuclear waste management, transportation financing and state budgets. In addition, Nebraska Sen. Steve Lathrop writes about his state's unique approach to public employeecollective bargaining, and this year's reform of the system. Also included is a profile of Illinois Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon.

 

July/August 2011 »
The July/August issue includes articles on new state laws that will change how teachers are retained, laid off, paid and evaluated; trends in regional state-by-state GDP; the push to require voter ID at the polls; the Midwest's reliance on Canadian oil and gas imports; the impact of making Medicaid a block-grant program; the future of state and federal dairy policy; and the growing number of carbon-capture-and-storage projects in the Midwest. In addition, Minnesota Rep. Kim Norton writes about the value of investing in lifelong learning accounts. The July/August issue also includes a profile on Nebraska Sen. Abbie Cornett.

 

June 2011 »
This month's issue includes articles on efforts to boost states' export economies; the push to make hunting and fishing a constitutional right; a new federal program to encourage long-term-care reform; funding mechanisms for state-supported passenger rail; and the powers granted to the minority party in state legislatures. In addition, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback writes about his state's new Rural Opportunity Zones, and this month's profile is on Wisconsin Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

 

May 2011 »
This month's issue includes articles on local government reform; Census 2010 data on the Midwest's cities; the estimated fiscal impact of the new federal health care law on states; North Dakota's unique legislative rules; and programs and laws that aim to ensure accountability in state-funded tax incentive programs. In addition, Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross writes about concussion education, and this month's profile is on Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer.

 

April 2011 »
This month's issue includes articles on the past and future of collective bargaining and public employee labor laws in the Midwest; the continued loss of population in rural areas and one state’s new plan to combat the trend; state policies on juveniles in the adult criminal justice system; details on the Medicaid funding cliff for states; and the debate over annual vs. biennial budget cycles. Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown writes about legislation to address the problem of cyberbullying, and this month's profile is on Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder.

 

 

March 2011 »
This month's issue includes articles on early budget proposals by governors and legislatures in the Midwest, attempts to expand broadband access to rural areas, the new state health insurance exchanges, a proposed new Detroit-Windsor bridge and state laws requiring supermajority votes to enact tax increases. Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma writes about education reform in his state, and this month's profile is on Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

 

February 2011 »
This month's issue includes articles on Medicaid reform, the governor's State of the State addresses and their focus on job growth, allowable population variations in  congressional and legislative districts, and Nebraska's unique form of legislative government — the Unicameral Legislature. Ohio Sen. Chris Widener writes about changes in tax law designed to grow his state's energy sector, and this month's profile is on Michigan Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dave Hildenbrand.

 

 

January 2011 »
Includes stories on the challenging year ahead in K-12 education finance and potential cost-saving ideas that states might consider, the impact of Census 2010 on the Midwest, incarceration trends and state criminal justice reform, redistricting in Iowa, state meat-inspection programs, and efforts in Wisconsin to improve the state's mental health system.

 

December 2010 »
Includes stories on performance-based funding in higher education, new federal data showing how far the economy of the Great Lakes region has sunk, election-recount laws in the Midwest, state policies and restrictions on the sale of raw milk, and changes in North Dakota in how it uses oil tax revenues.

 

November 2010 »
Includes stories on the revenue and fiscal outlook for Midwestern states in 2011, results of the fall elections in the region, the potential impact of pending federal livestock-marketing rules, a new law in Illinois requiring preschool services for ESL students, and legislation in Ohio that aims to address the problem of family instability.

 

 

October 2010 »
Includes stories on a new law in Ohio to prevent wrongful convictions and expand DNA testing; poverty, insurance and income trends in the Midwest; 2010 ballot proposals in the region; state laws regulating "puppy mills"; Kansas' decision to raise the sales tax; and Indiana's new study committee examining the potential impact of cloud computing on state government.

 

 

September 2010 »
This special edition of Stateline Midwest provides a recap of the 65th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference. It includes stories on a presentation by James Fallows on the impact of China's economic rise on the Midwest; a preview of the 2010 elections by Washington Post columnist David Broder; and a recap of the policy roundtable discussions held on the future of state pension systems, education reform, Ontario's new feed-in tariff, and strategies to promote multi-modal transportation. The September issue also details the policy resolutions passed by conference attendees and summarizes the work done by the MLC policy committees at the meeting.

 

July-August 2010 »
Includes stories on the future of Medicaid under the new federal health care law, gubernatorial veto powers in the Midwest, state efforts to address the needs of offenders with sexually transmitted diseases, a flood-control plan for the Mississippi River Valley, and a proposed interstate compact to address concerns about prescription drug abuse.

 

June 2010 »
Includes stories on the battle against Asian carp and other invasive species, new reporter shield laws in the Midwest, a proposed regional repository to help postsecondary students on their path to graduation, Iowa's new effort to reorganize state government, and the legislative debate over whether to regulate tanning salons.

 

 

May 2010 »
Includes stories on the region's economic strengths and vulnerabilities, the Bank of North Dakota, proposals in Minnesota to change nuclear waste and energy policy, and state efforts to limit political "robocalling."

 

April 2010 »

 

Includes stories on how federal health care reform will affect the states, the impact of budget woes on legislative budgets, Minnesota's successful strategy for identifying food-safety issues, trends in corrections policies, pay-to-play laws and Ohio's innovative Third Frontier initiative.

 

March 2010 »
Includes stories on the possible expansion of state sales tax bases, the use of online learning to improve K-12 education, the varying conditions of state pension funds, the region's dearth of venture capital activity, court challenges to medical malpractice laws and Minnesota's experience dealing with a closely watched election recount.

 

February 2010 »
Includes stories on the creation of uniform academic standards, the impact of reapportionment on the Midwest, the governors' January State of the State addresses, state physical education requirements, the effects of a Supreme Court decision on state campaign-finance laws, efforts in Wisconsin to reform the state's child- and foster-care systems, and proposals to improve the safety of Illinois nursing homes.

 

January 2010 »
Includes stories on state efforts to make sure more children have health coverage, how state officials are using social media to better connect with constituents, the impact of menu labeling on consumers' food choices, economic recovery in rural areas, plans to improve the region's passenger-rail system, and redistricting reform.