6 State Policy Trends to Watch

Driving Laws for Medicaid Funding

On the well being entrance, whereas vaccines and vaccine mandates have dominated the headlines, the guts of state legislative exercise can be on different well being care-related points, comparable to inexpensive well being care and drug prices. prescriptions, and the way forward for telehealth in post-pandemic care supply. . Then there’s the ever-present funding consideration, together with different well being care imperatives which have accelerated through the pandemic.

“Once more, cash is an enormous subject,” Underhill mentioned. Drivers for the laws can be Medicaid funding, which on common accounts for 30% of state spending, and behavioral well being, together with main initiatives anticipated to deal with the opioid epidemic. As Underhill’s colleagues identified on the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures, the disruptions attributable to the pandemic created extra boundaries to therapy for substance use issues. Nevertheless, this well being care emergency might trigger a uncommon break within the impasse between lawmakers.

“That [opioid epidemic] it is an space the place Democrats and Republicans might discover frequent floor,” Underhill mentioned.

State Workforce Retention

Whereas the headlines transfer from the “Nice Resignation” to the “Nice Return”, the truth is extra muted. With 11.5 million job openings and solely half of job candidates, employee shortages proceed to have an effect on almost each trade, contributing to increased costs, provide chain points and manufacturing slowdowns. . The adoption of labor-saving know-how will meet speedy wants however current new challenges.

In the course of the pandemic, unemployment insurance coverage was stretched to the max. UI methods will proceed to battle to get well as states grapple with job openings and employee layoffs, in addition to hiring and retention challenges.

In the meantime, past infrastructure funding, a major quantity of state {dollars} will proceed to go towards worker will increase as states double down on workforce retention in a sturdy worker labor market.. State lawmakers will proceed to prioritize salaries in funding issues.

With the ability to retain staff is vital for corporations, and that’s true for governments as properly,” mentioned Underhill.

Cut back spending on state corrections

On the legal justice entrance, whereas headlines deal with gun security, states are battling a legal justice system stretched past capability. Financial and effectivity considerations prime the listing. Whereas main price range areas like increased training and Medicaid obtain important federal funding, corrections rely nearly completely on state normal funds, as famous by the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures.

In the meantime, of the state price range pie, about 5% goes to corrections. Nevertheless, the legal justice system continues to make alarming progress. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, for instance, states spent simply over $45 billion on corrections, in comparison with $43.5 billion within the earlier fiscal yr, based on NCSL information evaluation.

Looking for to cut back this spending, state legislative exercise will even deal with countermeasures comparable to legal justice information assortment (together with the flexibility to investigate criminals who undergo the state legal justice system) and early justice reform, he mentioned. Underhill. Within the latter case, states will proceed to take varied steps to cut back jail stays, whereas holding criminals accountable and sustaining public security.

“That is largely as a consequence of each what [appropriate] for folks within the jail system and for the funds of the jail system,” Underhill mentioned. Anticipate this difficult balancing act to proceed into 2023 and past.

Addressing training job shortages and pandemic-related studying loss

Whereas dialogue of parental calls for for extra management over the college curriculum and youth sports activities made headlines associated to training, state legislative exercise on the college entrance has largely centered elsewhere, Underhill mentioned.

As with the broader financial system, faculties proceed to face deep and unprecedented staffing shortages. Even earlier than the pandemic, there was a scarcity of high-quality lecturers, tutors, and psychological well being professionals, as famous by the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures. With added urgency, state lawmakers have now needed to contemplate much more aggressive steps to draw and retain not simply lecturers, however different important employees, like cafeteria staff and bus drivers.

Equally, considerations about social-emotional psychological well being additionally rating excessive on the state legislative radar “for each college students and lecturers,” Underhill mentioned. In parallel, state legislatures face the good crucial of closing the hole in pandemic-related studying loss. Among the many initiatives, states like Illinois have allotted funds for after college and summer season packages to help college students’ development in social, emotional, and tutorial wants. Related efforts embrace literacy-based skilled growth for varsity employees who ship summer season packages to college students.

With stories suggesting that it may well take three to 5 years for college students to get well from studying loss, training will proceed to rank excessive amongst state legislative priorities.

Promote election accuracy and strengthen voter listing upkeep and cybersecurity

Amongst state legislative exercise, election points are distinguished by the absence of cash as the first driver, Underhill mentioned.

“Sure, there is a component of [questioning if] the federal authorities [should] present more cash to states and localities, however for essentially the most half, elections are run by native election officers, with native {dollars}, with some help from states,” Underhill mentioned.

Throughout the elections, state legislators will deal with measures that reveal the accuracy and transparency of voting methods which have lengthy been in place. As an ordinary finest observe, states will proceed to deal with voter roll upkeep. This consists of guaranteeing voter ID accuracy via well timed updates, comparable to voter tackle adjustments; in addition to the continued upkeep of fresh voter lists via measures comparable to voter elimination for lack of voting-related exercise.

Equally, states will proceed to strengthen cybersecurity measures. Lately, states have doubled down on measures associated to electoral cybersecurity. For instance, the state of Washington exempted delicate election infrastructure and cybersecurity information from public information requests in 2021, as did Louisiana the yr earlier than. Amongst different efforts, states have additionally enacted cyber navigation packages, wherein a statewide individual or crew helps native election officers implement cybersecurity protocols. These election safety ensures will proceed, Underhill mentioned.

[For more insights into state policy, get up-to-the-minute state legislation tracking and expert news at Bloomberg Government.]

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