State lawmakers play a major role in advancing the quality of Americans’ lives, from helping to protect the air we breathe and water we drink, to educating our children.  By researching emerging topics and developing 50-state comparisons, Pew identifies innovative approaches states are using to help solve complex challenges.  Pew also conducts extensive research and analysis to understand how states can better serve the public, and we work with states to develop data-driven, pragmatic solutions to issues such as dental health, the growing costs of incarceration, the need for cost-effective public pensions, and making voting more accurate, convenient, and secure.

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  • Dental Therapists Can Provide Cost-Efficient Care in Rural Areas

    A recently released study from Minnesota shows that a dental therapist can be a cost-efficient member of a rural dental clinic’s team, with average daily billings only slightly lower than those of clinic dentists. The findings suggest that expanded use of these therapists can improve access to oral health care—as envisioned by state legislation adopted in 2009—while keeping... Read More

  • More Imprisonment Does Not Reduce State Drug Problems

    Nearly 300,000 people are held in state and federal prisons in the United States for drug-law violations, up from less than 25,000 in 1980. These offenders served more time than in the past: Those who left state prisons in 2009 had been behind bars an average of 2.2 years, a 36 percent increase over 1990, while prison terms for federal drug offenders jumped 153 percent between 1988 and 2012, from... Read More

  • Interior Secretary Zinke Moves to Protect Big-Game Migration Routes

    To survive, wildlife needs the freedom to move, including traveling between summer and winter habitats. This is critical for many species across the Western United States, where a growing human population is increasingly obstructing migration corridors, stranding animals in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Highways, energy and housing developments, and even poorly designed fences are... Read More

Can Public Policy Be Inventive?

Our Sue Urahn shares the latest facts and examples from across the U.S. in Trend magazine. 

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Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civic life.

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