Did California Paid Family Leave Impact Infant Health?

Source: Ariel Marek Pihl, Gaetano Basso, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 38 Issue 1, Winter 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The effects of paid parental leave policies on infant health have yet to be established. In this paper we investigate these effects by exploiting the introduction of California Paid Family Leave (PFL), the first program in the U.S. that specifically provides working parents with paid time off for bonding with a newborn. We measure health using the full census of infant hospitalizations in California and a set of control states, and implement a differences‐in‐differences approach. Our results suggest a decline in infant admissions, which is concentrated among those causes that are potentially affected by closer childcare (and to a lesser extent breastfeeding). Other admissions that are unlikely to be affected by parental leave do not exhibit the same pattern.

Election 2018: Midterm Analysis

Source: Tim Storey and Wendy Underhill, State Legislatures Magazine, November-December 2018

Republicans Still Control Most of the Nation’s Legislative Seats, but the Gap Between the Parties Narrowed Considerably

Related:
Voters Make Policy
Source: Patrick Potyondy, State Legislatures Magazine, November-December 2018

Citizens Had Their Say on More Than 150 Ballot Measures That Could Transform Their States

What every healthcare facility should do NOW to reduce the potential for workplace violence

Source: Thomas A. Smith, Journal of Healthcare Protection Management, Volume 34 Number 2, 2018
(subscription required)

The increase in workplace violence in healthcare facilities is now recognized by OSHA and other regulatory bodies as well as IAHSS, major nursing organizations, and the Joint Commission according to the author. In this article he reports on the causes and effects of such violence and presents security guidelines for taking action to reduce it as well as how COOs can be convinced to support such action.

Chronic Medical Conditions in Criminal Justice Involved Populations

Source: Amy J. Harzke and Sandi L. Pruitt, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 41 No. 3, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Nationally representative data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) have shown increasing and elevated prevalence of a number of non-infectious chronic medical conditions in criminal justice populations relative to the non-institutionalized population. Prevalence of these conditions, including hypertension and arthritis, are especially high among elderly and female prisoners and jail inmates. State- and site- specific prevalence estimates, however, have revealed patterns that are somewhat inconsistent with BJS national data. We summarize the extant literature regarding prevalence of chronic medical conditions in U.S. prison and jail settings, determinants of these conditions across the phases of criminal justice involvement, and potential opportunities for reducing and managing the burden of chronic medical conditions in criminal justice populations. We provide research and policy recommendations for improving measurement of the burden of chronic medical conditions in criminal justice populations, provision of healthcare in correctional settings, and post-release continuity of care and community reentry.

Institutional Design of the ACA Health Insurance Exchanges: Factors Affecting Policy Implementation In State Administration

Source: Shihyun Noh and Christian L. Janousek, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 41 No. 2, Fall 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In state implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges, sixteen states decided to create and administer their own exchanges, determining the institutional location of the exchanges. This institutional design of implementing organizations affects aspects of state policy implementation of the health exchanges, reflecting the intentions of state officials to exert control over the administration of operations and other decisions such as funding sources. This research examines whether state decisions regarding agency assignment of the ACA health exchanges were associated with political, economic, and historical-cultural explanations. This study provides evidence that, in the decision of the location of health insurance exchanges, state officials were influenced by the factors of state budget shortfalls and state histories of creating independent agencies, but not by divided government, compound divided government and state personnel capacity.

2019 State Business Tax Climate Index

Source: Jared Walczak, Scott Drenkard, Joseph Bishop-Henchman, Tax Foundation, September 26, 2018

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to gauge how their states’ tax systems compare. While there are many ways to show how much is collected in taxes by state governments, the Index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems and provides a road map for improvement…..

Beige Book: Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, December 5, 2018

Commonly known as the Beige Book, this report is published eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector. An overall summary of the twelve district reports is prepared by a designated Federal Reserve Bank on a rotating basis.

Overall Economic Activity
Most of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts reported that their economies expanded at a modest or moderate pace from mid-October through late November, though both Dallas and Philadelphia noted slower growth compared with the prior Beige Book period. St. Louis and Kansas City noted just slight growth. On balance, consumer spending held steady – District reports on growth of nonauto retail sales appeared somewhat weaker while auto sales tended to improve, particularly for used cars. Tourism reports varied but generally kept pace with the economy. Tariffs remained a concern for manufacturers, but a majority of Districts continued to report moderate growth in the sector. All Districts reported growth in nonfinancial services – ranging from slight to strong. New home construction and existing home sales tended to decline or hold steady, while construction and leasing of nonresidential structures tended to rise or remain flat. Overall, lending volumes grew modestly, although a few Districts noted some slowing. Agricultural conditions and farm incomes were mixed; some Districts noted impacts from excessive rainfall and from tariffs, which have constrained demand. Most energy sectors saw little change or modest growth. Most Districts reported that firms remained positive; however, optimism has waned in some as contacts cited increased uncertainty from impacts of tariffs, rising interest rates, and labor market constraints…..

Workplace Monitoring: Where Do Employers Draw The Line?

Source:
Gina LeBlanc, McGuireWoods LLP, December 12, 2018

Recent developments in privacy law and a rise in class action lawsuits related to data collection offer a cautionary tale about understanding legal and ethical boundaries of monitoring “on-the-clock” employee conduct. With a hodgepodge of federal, state, and local legislation governing employee privacy rights, employers are often left to navigate a complicated legal landscape while balancing the practical need to understand how employees are using company information and equipment. Employers, for example, have a legitimate interest in protecting company trade secrets, detecting unlawful transmission of unlicensed material, and improving work productivity. Employees, on the other hand, may have a reasonable expectation of privacy in certain contexts while at work.

This quandary begs the question, where do employers draw the line?

Municipal Brief: New York City

Source: S&P Global Ratings, November 19, 2018
(subscription required)

The City of New York’s recently released 2018 comprehensive annual financial report confirms expected year-end results with those identified in the 2019 adopted budget. The audit presents a story of continued economic strength supporting strong revenue growth, outpacing higher-than-inflation expense growth, thereby supporting a slow-but-steady increase in the city’s reserves.