Stateline Midwest

Capitol Ideas Magazine

Special Reports


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

Published 11 times a year, 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 state and provincial 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.


February 2021 Edition




















Past Editions of Stateline Midwest


January 2021
Cover article: State policies help spur rise in school-based mental health »
Profile: South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack »
FirstPerson article: Minnesota Sen. Carla Nelson on how and why her state has advanced access to quality early-learning programs to families »


December 2020
Cover article: On the frontlines of vaccination: From public awareness campaigns, to storage and distribution, to funding, states will play a leading role in efforts to control COVID-19 in 2021 »
Profile: Michigan Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth »
FirstPerson article: North Dakota Rep. Robin Weisz on his state's slow, steady progress that has led to major changes in how social services are delivered »


November 2020
Cover article: States explore options for building stronger foundation of child care: COVID-19 led to unprecedented response to help this sector; long-term challenges remain »
Profile: Indiana Senator Jean Breaux »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford on how her state can use the power of procurement to improve economic inclusion »


October 2020
Cover article: States take steps to address lead in drinking water; much work remains — Recently enacted policies require more testing and reporting; new federal rule coming »
Profile: Nebraska Sen. Lou Ann Linehan »
FirstPerson article: Kansas Rep. Ponka-We Victors on the COVID-19 crisis among Native American communities in the Midwest »


September 2020
Cover article: Voters' turn: Ballot measures on key state policies in play this fall, with future of tax policy, marijuana legalization and payday lending laws to be decided »
Profile: Illinois Deputy House Minority Leader Tom Demmer »
FirstPerson article: Iowa Speaker of the House Pat Grassley on how legislatures can check the powers of the other three branches even when out of session »


August 2020
Cover article: COVID-19 pandemic strained usual interstate resource sharing during emergencies, but also underscored value of cross-border cooperation »
Profile: Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Sen. Stephanie Chang on why a new transparency initiative on use of force will help restore public trust in law enforcement »
July 2020
Cover article: After death of George Floyd, push for state-level change intensifies: Proposals seek new police training, protocols and ways to prosecute misconduct cases »
Profile: Kansas House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. Don Vruwink on why a package of bills will help his home state meet the challenge of providing high-speed internet to its residents and communities »


June 2020
Cover article: As election nears, states prepare for big changes in how people vote: In parts of Midwest, primaries had record-high numbers of individuals vote by mail »
Profile: Minnesota Senate Assistant Majority Leader Karin Housley »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Senate President Roger Roth on how his state executed a virtual
session this spring »


May 2020
Special edition: A look ahead at the many policy challenges ahead for states, provinces due to the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic »
Profile: Iowa Speaker of the House Pat Grassley on COVID-19, the unprecedented challenges it poses to states, and the role for legislatures »
FirstPerson article: Minnesota Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michelle Benson on meaningful inter-branch, bipartisan cooperation in her home state in the wake of the crisis »


April 2020
Cover story: COVID-19 pandemic makes virtual legislating a reality in some states »
Profile: Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder »
FirstPerson article: Indiana Rep. Ethan Manning on ideas to address health care workforce shortages in his home state »


March 2020
Cover story: States take lead on PFAS problem: Options include adoption of new drinking water standards, legal action to help fund cleanup efforts »
Profile: Michigan House Minority Leader Christine Greig »
FirstPerson article: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on how his state is transforming lives by reshaping its policies on addiction »


January/February 2020
Cover story: Prevention, intervention strategies target assistance for students and their families who lack stable housing »
Profile: Wisconsin Senate Assistant Minority Leader Janet Bewley »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Sen. Jon Bumstead on why students, schools would benefit from more flexible state graduation requirements »


December 2019
Cover story: With labor markets tight, states look for new strategies to "upskill" their incumbent workforces »
Profile: Nebraska Sen. Mike Hilgers »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Riordan McClain on his state's deepening investment in the Commission on Fatherhood »


November 2019
Cover story: A look at five trends and developments from 2019 in the Midwest's legislatures »
Profile: Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta »
FirstPerson article: Kansas Sen. Molly Baumgardner on her state's ongoing policy work to stem the rise in youth suicides »


October 2019
Cover story: A look at responses by states in the Midwest to address health concerns about vaping, particularly among young people »
Profile: Illinois Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Rep. Graham Filler on bipartisan expungement bills that would help deserving people get back on their feet »


September 2019
Cover story: No shortage of ideas: In recent years, states in Midwest have adopted many policies to attract new teachers — and keep them in the classroom »
Profile: South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer »
FirstPerson article: Iowa Rep. Joel Fry on how and why his state has created a mental health system for children »


August 2019 | MLC Annual Meeting Edition
Cover story: At MLC meeting, legislators explore "action plan" to implement "action civics" in states' high schools »
Profile: Michigan Sen. Ken Horn, incoming chair of the Midwestern Legislative Conference »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. Melissa Sargent on how and why to end backlogs of sexual assault kits »


June/July 2019
Cover story: Energy mix of the future? State legislation, plans of some utilities envision power sector that emits much less carbon — or none at all »
Profile: Kansas Rep. Tom Sawyer »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Sen. Pat McGuire on a bipartisan effort to "help higher education
thrive again" »


May 2019
Cover story: Mix of state policy reforms, new federal law bringing big changes to foster care
systems »
Profile: Minnesota Rep. Laurie Halverson »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota Rep. Sue Peterson on protecting free speech on college campuses »
April 2019
Cover storyTime to bail on cash bail? A growing number of states are scrutinizing current systems, and exploring alternatives such as use of risk-assessment tools »
Profile: Ohio Senate Majority Floor Leader Matt Huffman »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Rep. Mary Whiteford on her state's response to the emerging problem of PFAS contamination in sources of drinking water »


March 2019
Cover story: Overwhelmed by overdoses: The rise in drug-related deaths has states still searching for mix of strategies to address the public health crisis »
Profile: Iowa House Minority Leader Todd Prichard »
FirstPerson article: North Dakota Rep. Corey Mock on why his state is pursuing better ways to deliver its information technology-related products and services »


February 2019
Cover story: From changing laws that authorize dental therapists to expanding the use of telemedicine, state legislatures are implementing policies that expand access to oral health care »
Profile: North Dakota House Majority Leader Chet Pollert »
FirstPerson article: Indiana Sen. Erin Houchin on a new law in her state that aims to close the rural broadband divide »


January 2019
Cover story: 'Victim-centered’ approach: New policies on sexual assault, from handling of rape kits to new supports in hospitals, being implemented across Midwest »
Profile: Wisconsin Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Mary Felzkowski »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs on how states are working together to make ABLE accounts work for disabled »



December 2018

Cover story: New laws in Iowa, Michigan seek to build stronger 'middle skllls' workforce »
Profile: South Dakota Assistant Majority Leader Jim Bolin »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Rep. Scott Wiggam on a new tool to improve communications between police and disabled »


November 2018
Cover story: A review of legislative sessions, actions in Midwest in 2018 »
Profile: Incoming Indiana Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray »
FirstPerson article: Nebraska Sen. Anna Wishart on how a new law will help her state be positioned for a future that includes autonomous vehicles »


October 2018
Cover story: Privacy, data security becoming bigger and bigger issue in state governments and legislatures »
Profile: Nebraska Sen. John Stinner »
FirstPerson article: Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier on how principles in the medical profession can be used in legislatures »


September 2018
Cover story: No sure bets for states: Legal climate for sports wagering has changed, but impact in Midwest remains unclear as legislators weigh risks and benefits »
Profile: Minnesota Sen. Ann Rest »
FirstPerson article: Iowa Rep. John Wills on his state's new investment in water quality »


August 2018: Midwestern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting Edition
Cover story: Looking for breakthrough energy policies? Much of the action is in the states, former governor tells region's legislators at MLC meeting »
Profile: Illinois Sen. Elgie Sims, incoming MLC chair »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. John Nygren details his state’s ongoing efforts to fight opioid crisis »


June/July 2018
Cover story: With binational tensions unusually high, trends in key Midwest sectors are reminder of value of U.S.-Canada partnerships »
Profile: Kansas House Majority Leader Don Hineman »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota Sen. Jeff Partridge on how legislatures can jump-start efficiency in state agencies »


May 2018
Cover story: States in Midwest are examining their mental, behavioral systems with eye toward cost- and life-saving reforms »
Profile: Indiana House Minority Leader Terry Goodin »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. Rob Brooks on an initiative that fosters success for students with disabilities »


April 2018
Cover story: Steps for states to secure election systems include upgrading voting equipment, performing post-election audits »
Profile: South Dakota House Majority Leader Lee Qualm »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Rep. Klint Kesto on the work of a bipartisan House task force and its ideas for improving his state's mental health system »


March 2018
Cover story: South Dakota and Kansas have revamped their juvenile systems in recent years, and some of the early results are promising »
Profile: Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka »
FirstPerson article:Indiana Senate Majority Floor Leader Rodric Bray on his state's new plan for a better balance on the issue of civil forfeiture »


February 2018
Cover story: Work requirements approved by federal government, being pursued by some states in Midwest »
Profile: Ohio Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Sen. Peggy Lehner on legislation to prevent expulsions and suspensions in the early grades »


January 2018
Cover story: Redistricting, reconsidered: U.S. Supreme Court case, pending ballot initiatives and legislation could reshape process »
Profile: Illinois Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady »
FirstPerson article: Nebraska Sen. Matt Williams on the problem of affordable, available housing in rural areas —  and how to address it »


December 2017
Cover story: Big deals, big incentives: Competition to land new businesses, and jobs that come with them, have put spotlight on states’ economic policies »
Profile: Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz »
FirstPerson article: Kansas Sen. Carolyn McGinn on new economic opportunities for farmers, questions for legislators »


November 2017
Cover story: State-by-state review of the legislative year in the Midwest »
Profile: Iowa Senate President Jack Whitver »
FirstPerson article: Indiana Reps. Dan Forestal and David Ober on the importance of providing a bipartisan voice for millennials inside state legislatures »
October 2017 »
Cover story: Help wanted in health care: Student recruitment, telehealth expansion, and changes in scope of practice among strategies being pursued »
Profile: Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota House Majority Leader Lee Qualm on his state's path to resolving a dispute over who controls access to "non-meandered waters" »


September 2017 »
Cover story: New plans for K-12 success: A look at the Midwestern states' Every Student Succeed Act implementation plans »
Profile: Indiana Kathy Kreag Richardson »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Rep. Jonathan Dever on a measure to erase convictions of human trafficking victims »
August 2017 »
Cover story: Pursuing health birth outcomes — Lawmakers explore policy ideas to prevent stillbirths, maternal deaths »
Profile: Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Rep. Sonya Harper on how her state is leading an effort to get lead out of the schools »


June/July 2017 »
Cover story: Renegotiated NAFTA deal will likely focus on issues of critical importance to Midwest's workers »
Profile: Nebraska Unicameral Legislature Speaker Jim Scheer »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. Romaine Quinn on a multifaceted plan to help his state's rural communities »


May 2017 »
Cover story: Reinsurance, premium subsidies among limited strategies that states have to shore up health insurance exchanges »
ProfileKansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota Sen. Deb Soholt on a new law in her state to help deal with the shortage of physicians »



April 2017 »
Cover story: Earned Income Tax Credit enjoys bipartisan support, and may soon get a boost in some Midwest states »
Profile: Ohio House Majority Leader Dorothy Pelanda »
FirstPerson article: Michigan House Speaker Pro Tempore Lee Chatfield on how and why to improve transparency in the legislative, executive branches of government »


March 2017 »

Cover story: Healthy birth outcomes is focus of MLC Chair's Initiative for 2017 »

Profile: Minnesota House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman »
FirstPerson article: Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly Speaker Corey Tochor on connecting province's civics teachers with legislators for hands-on learning experience »


February 2017 »
Cover story: New laws in Illinois, Michigan seek to tap power of energy efficiency »
Profile: Wisconsin Sen. Alberta Darling »
FirstPerson article: Ohio Senate Assistant Minority Leader Charleta B. Tavares on a new plan to curb infant mortality »


January 2017 »
Cover story: Some states in the region are using more evidence, and more money, to revamp school aid »
Profile: Michigan Senate Assistant Majority Leader Goeff Hansen »
FirstPerson article: Kansas Rep. Susan Concannon on the need to address a crisis affecting the mentally ill and her state's emergency rooms »


December 2016 »
Cover story: Through new state laws and programs, states target help for jobless, "disconnected" youths »
Profile: Indiana Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane »
FirstPerson article: South Dakota House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley on one policy approach to better protect his state's waterways from nutrient runoff »


November 2016 »
Cover story: Just now being implemented, the Food Safety Modernization Act will have wide-ranging implications on the Midwest's states and their producers »
Profile: Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich »
FirstPerson article: North Dakota Rep. Thomas Beadle on the importance of turning the benefits "cliff" into a "slide" for individuals, families moving toward self-sufficiency »


October 2016 »
Cover story: How to get out the vote: States are changing registration laws, targeting outreach to young people and using social media to improve turnout rates »
Profile: Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling »
FirstPerson article: Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson on a new law to prevent financial exploitation of the elderly »


September 2016 »
Cover story: A review of new laws and legislation to legalize medical marijuana, as well as proposals to legalize or decriminalize marijuana »
Profile: Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn »
FirstPerson article: Illinois Rep. Will Guzzardi on how states can help save the population of bees »


August 2016 »
Cover story: With Every Student Succeeds Act, states must prepare to take on more responsibility for turning around struggling schools »
Profile: Minnesota Senate Minority Leader David Hann »
FirstPerson article: Michigan Rep. Robert Kosowski on how legalized sports gambling could solve a major funding problem in his home state »


Special Edition | 2016 MLC Annual Meeting »
Cover story: Nobel Prize-winning economist outlines why investing in young children and families can help change lives — and pay off for states »
Profile: Iowa Sen. Janet Petersen »
FirstPerson article: Minnesota Rep. Tony Cornish on how legislative compromise reshaped his state's drug laws »


June/July 2016 »
Cover story: Under MLC chair's initiative of Wisconsin Rep. Joan Ballweg, Midwestern Legislative Conference is highlighting how states can enhance child well-being, strengthen families and improve long-term outcomes »
Profile: Iowa House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow »
FirstPerson article: Wisconsin Rep. Jessie Rodriguez on a new cell phone law that will help victims of domestic violence »


May 2016 »
Cover story: Road to wider use of autonomous vehicles will go through the Midwest »
Profile: South Dakota Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton »
FirstPerson article: Indiana Rep. Ben Smaltz on a new law to deal with his state's meth scourge »


April 2016 »
Cover story: State proposals in Midwest seek to legalize, regulate daily fantasy sports »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »