Learn about the people, policies and politics of America's state legislatures with NCSL's three podcasts: "Our American States," "Legislatures: The Inside Story" and "Building Democracy."
Alaska’s New Frontier: Ranked Choice Voting OAS Episode 161
Plurality voting is the most common system in the U.S. A voter picks one candidate in each race and the candidate that receives the most votes wins.
Then Maine enacted a new system called ranked choice voting for the November 2016 election. Now Alaska has joined Maine, and will use ranked choice voting for the first time this year as well as a new open primary system in which the top four candidates advance to the general election.
Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D) of Alaska is the first guest on the podcast and he discusses how Alaska came to adopt the system, and the challenges and costs it posed to the state’s election administrators. This discussion took place the day before Alaska’s open primary on June 12.
The second guest is Ben Williams, a principal in NCSL’s elections and redistricting program and author, along with an advisory panel, of a new report on ranked choice voting that will be published in July. He discusses the national landscape for the new approach to voting and some of the information they discovered in surveying election administrators around the country.
Tackling Prescription Drug Costs OAS Episode 160
Our focus on this podcast is the prescription drug market and the role of pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs. PBMs play a major role in the drug supply chain. They are third-party administrators of prescription drug benefits for health plans, large employers and other payers, including state Medicaid programs. They process claims, review drug utilization, develop pharmacy networks, and create lists of covered drugs called formularies. They also negotiate rebates from manufacturers for placement on those formularies.
To reduce the costs for prescription drugs in their states, some legislators are considering strategies related to pharmacy benefit management. Legislatures have pursued a number of strategies, including reverse auctions.
We invited two legislators on who have worked on legislation related to PBMs to discuss the experience in their states. Our guests are Rep. Susan Lontine, a Democrat from Colorado, and Sen. Fred Mills, a Republican of Louisiana. Both states have passed legislation authorizing a reverse auction for their PBM contracts and they discuss why they pursued that avenue and other efforts to control prescription drug costs.
Keith Allred on Keeping Our Democracy LTIS Episode 10
Keith Allred, the executive director of the National Institute of Civil Discourse, has spent a lot of time thinking about partisanship and what it takes to bring together Independents, Republicans and Democrats. He’s also done it, during a five-year pilot project in Idaho. Along the way he picked up a Ph.D from UCLA and competed at the top level of cutting horse competition.
Host Tim Storey talks with Allred about the CommonSense American project that he’s brought to the institute, why America’s political parties seem farther apart than most Americans and what it will take for Americans to preserve their democracy.
Talking Books With Florida’s House Speaker OAS Episode 159
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) has a very demanding job, as do legislative leaders across the country.
So, when NCSL learned he was hosting a podcast in addition to leading a chamber in one of the nation’s largest states, he seemed like a perfect guest for this podcast.
Sprowls’ podcast, “Read, White and Blue,” wrapped up its first eight-episode season on April 12 and featured authors ranging from Todd Rose, author of “End of Average, to “Devil in the Grove” author Gilbert King.
Sprowls talked about why he decided to start the podcast, the opportunity to talk about issues in depth and his favorite book from childhood. He also shares the biggest challenge to leaders in Florida.
A Changing Approach to Mental Health Emergencies OAS Episode 158
People having a mental health crisis in this country are more likely to encounter law enforcement than to receive treatment. And because of a lack of other resources, police sometimes spend a fifth of their time dealing with people with a mental illness. Studies indicate that more than 80% of people in jails with mental illness do not receive adequate treatment.
States are following a number of paths to deal with the problem and the guests on this podcast discuss the work they’ve done.
Jac Charlier is a former law enforcement officer in Illinois who is a pioneer in the area of deflection, a set of preventive measures aimed at reducing reliance on law enforcement as we respond to the mental health crisis in this country. He discussed how deflection programs work and offered some advice for legislators.
Also, guests on the program are Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Colorado, and Rep. Dwight Tosh, a Republican from Arkansas. Both have worked on legislation in their states to better address the issue.
If you’d like to learn more about this issue, don’t miss “5 Big Ideas: Collaborative Approaches to the Mental Health Crisis” at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Denver Aug. 1-3. The session will be Aug. 2 and will feature lawmakers discussing what worked in their states.
Amy Walter on Politics, Money and the Midterms LTIS Episode 9
Amy Walter has been covering American politics for more than 25 years. She recently took over as publisher and editor-in-chief of The Cook Political Report, a venerable D.C. institution with a reputation for covering politics in detail and right down the middle. She’s a frequent guest on cable and network news and a regular contributor to the “PBS NewsHour.”
On this podcast, she talks with Tim Storey, CEO of NCSL, about changes in the media and how it covers politics, how incentives for some elected officials have changed, the diminishing power of parties and the most interesting storylines in this year’s midterm elections.
I learned so many new things from the NCSL podcast I especially like the new inside storey addition!