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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Louisiana has the highest imprisonment rate in the nation, but that is expected to change as a result of comprehensive sentencing and corrections reform legislation signed into law this summer. Through a bipartisan effort, state leaders adopted a package of innovative, evidence-based approaches to reducing recidivism and incarceration, such as steering less serious offenders away from... Read More
State and local pension plans hold over $3.6 trillion in retirement fund investments for participants and their beneficiaries, with returns on these investments accounting for an estimated 60 percent of the money paid out in pension benefits each year. In recent decades, public pension funds, in a bid to boost returns, have shifted funds away from low-risk, fixed-income investments—such as... Read More
Most states do little to analyze the fiscal health of their local governments. As a result, policymakers can be caught by surprise when counties, cities, or towns fall into fiscal distress—events that have proved costly to state budgets. States can be proactive by assessing and tracking the fiscal health of their localities, as 23 states currently do, according to research by The Pew... 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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