Eye of the Storm, Politically Speaking

13 Aug
National Conference of State Legislatures

National Conference of State Legislatures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This month has been the first this year, at least it seems to be, in which both the national and my adopted state’s (Indiana’s) legislatures are now out-of-session.  Of course, there are many political scandals and breaking news throughout the country such as New Jersey’s Senate primary election today, upcoming New York City municipal primary elections, the still-headline-news sexual harassment allegations against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, and the headline-grabbing legislation my home state of California is passing (CNN).  Unfortunately, not much is about policy, and it’s hard to read about news when the non-policy stuff is always shoved in my face.

It has been nice, however, to read about the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) in the news.  Over the past weekend, they have had their annual conference in Atlanta talking about the issues that, quite frankly, will be affecting Americans more than Congress will ever do.  They have been talking about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), because the states are going to be the primary facilitator, or blocker, for the benefits given and regulations imposed on us.  They have been talking about the effects of voting laws, whether expansive/restrictive, and how it will affect the integrity of our right to vote; voting laws have the greatest effect at the state-level, not the national.  They have been talking about the various policy initiatives that the states have taken such as different state per diem for a state’s legislators, whether a part-time or professional legislature is better, what the state should and shouldn’t do, how they can improve their public education system, the real costs of larger pensions, how to integrate our veterans into the workforce, and so much more.

Issues like these are what will affect me more in the short-term and tangibly.  We constantly look to the national government to make quick and timely decisions, but they are, in my opinion, a guide for the nation, but not an action-oriented body.  Questions that we constantly have about why our government isn’t working should not be towards Congress, but our respective state legislatures.  If we want something done, look to your state capitals; I guarantee you that you will get a lot done more that way.

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Boris Shor, PhD

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