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Rig Blog

As Heroin Overdoses and Deaths Rise, Is More Legislative Action on the Horizon in New York?


By Jim Malatras
June 2017

With the 2017 New York State legislative session coming to a close, the executive and legislative branches are reportedly working to finalize another legislative package to address the ongoing opioid epidemic. In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras examines trends in New York State Department of Health data on heroin use to illustrate why additional changes to law as well as evaluation of existing programs are priorities.



Not the “Same Old Same Old Politics as Usual”: Why Insiders Won’t Dominate a Constitutional Convention


By Peter J. Galie and Christopher Bopst
June 2017

Every 20 years, voters in New York State are provided the opportunity to decide whether a state constitutional convention should be convened. This November, the chance to call a constitutional convention will once again appear on the ballot. In a new blog post, Peter Galie and Christopher Bopst address some of the arguments critics have made against holding a constitutional convention.



Forget Paris? With the Federal Government Withdrawing From the International Climate Change Initiative, U.S. Higher Education Could Lead the Way


By Jim Malatras
June 2017

President Trump recently announced that the United States will withdraw from the multination Paris Climate Agreement. In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras posits that while states and cities have demonstrated a willingness to work together on climate change, there is also an opportunity for higher education institutions to play a leadership role.



Until Death Dues Us Part?


By Jim DeWan
June 2017

In the fall term, the U.S. Supreme Court may consider the case of Janus v. AFSCME, which challenges state laws that permit public employee unions to automatically withhold fees or dues from employees, regardless of union membership. In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute Visiting Fellow Jim DeWan examines the potential impact overturning this precedent would have on organized labor generally and in New York specifically.





A Ripple Effect or a Tsunami? How the Trump Administration's Signals Are Driving Increased Costs in the ACA Markets


By Jim Malatras
May 2017

The Trump administration’s signaling that they are likely to eliminate the Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already beginning to drive increased health insurance rates in ACA markets. In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras examines the impact in North Carolina, where Blue Cross and Blue Shield has recently announced health insurance rates would increase more than 20 percent. This is the latest in a series of posts by the Institute on health care reform in the United States.



Why New York Needs a Constitutional Convention


By Peter J. Galie and Christopher Bopst
May 2017

Every 20 years, voters in New York State are provided the opportunity to decide whether a state constitutional convention should be convened. This November, the chance to call a constitutional convention will once again appear on the ballot. In a new blog post, Peter Galie and Christopher Bopst outline why they support a constitutional convention and believe it is the only way to achieve solutions to the state’s systemic problems.




The OPEN Government Data Act: What’s at Stake?


By Grace Begany and Erika Martin
May 2017

Among the many issues to be considered by Congress is the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, which would make data from federal agencies freely and publicly available. In a new blog post, Grace Begany and Erika Martin examine previous efforts to improve government transparency under the Obama administration, as well as why open data initiatives benefit both external users and the government itself.




When Numbers Can’t "Lie"


By Jim Malatras
May 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today on a revised version of the American Health Care Act without the benefit of analysis by the independent Congressional Budget Office. Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras discusses the necessary role of objective analysis in policymaking.




State and Local Governments Face Six Significant Issues with the Trump Tax Cut Outline


By Donald Boyd, Lucy Dadayan, Tom Gais, and Jim Malatras
April 2017

The Trump administration recently unveiled its outline for tax reform. While more in-depth analysis is needed, Rockefeller Institute staff outline in a new blog post six issues with the new tax outline that will impact state and local governments.




New York IS a Referendum State — In Local Government


By Gerald Benjamin
April 2017

While New York does not employ the initiative or referendum process on the state level, it is used frequently in matters of local government. In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute board member Gerald Benjamin examines the use of referendum on the local level in New York. He also assesses popular attitudes towards alternative governance approaches by examining the outcome of recent town votes on terms of office.




To Actively Dismantle the ACA or Not? The Trump Administration Will Soon Have to Show Its Cards


By Jim DeWan
April 2017

After the failure to pass the Affordable Health Care Act, the future course of health care reform in the U.S. has been unclear. In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute Visiting Fellow Jim DeWan argues that the pending federal budget deadline will provide clues as to how the Trump administration will manage the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), depending on whether it eliminates or embraces Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies. This piece is the second in a series about the future of the ACA under the Trump administration.




What Next? — The Political Conundrum of Health Reform


By Richard P. Nathan
April 2017

After Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pulled the American Health Care Act prior to the vote, the question remains: What is next for efforts to reform health care? In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Richard Nathan examines both the political landscape and the substantive policy issues that are in play for any future attempts at reform.




When State and Federal Laws Clash: The Possible Showdown Over Marijuana Laws


By Heather Trela
April 2017

While the states have moved toward expanding the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law. Rockefeller Institute Chief of Staff Heather Trela examines this potential federalism showdown over marijuana policy that could come to a head under the Trump administration.




Do We Need to Raise Awareness About Sexual Assault?


By Patricia Strach
April 2017

President Trump has proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In a new blog post, Rockefeller Institute Deputy Director for Research Patricia Strach questions if the use of awareness campaigns are a useful strategy for solving an intractable problem like sexual assault.





How Separate Will the Powers Be?


By Julie Novkov
April 2017

University at Albany Professor Julie Novkov explains what's at stake in the Gorsuch nomination: both the implications for the Supreme Court's ideology and the hot-button issues the Court takes up, as well as the potential for undermining or upholding the separation of powers.




Are the Stars Aligned to Defeat the Confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court?


By Jim Malatras
April 2017

Given the upcoming Senate vote on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras examines the factors that have contributed to the failure of previous Supreme Court nominations in a new blog post. Political ideology, timing of the nomination, and presidential (mis)management have been cited in recent nominations that have been rejected or withdrawn.




Collaborative State Models Could Fill the Federal Climate Change Void


By Jim Malatras
April 2017

Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras addresses the potential role for the states in regulating climate change efforts as federal regulations are rolled back by the Trump administration. He suggests that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) could serve as a model for states in regulating environmental concerns. The RGGI bipartisan collaborative has been successful in lowering CO2 emissions in member states.




The Excelsior Scholarship: Expanding College Access and Improving Success


By Jim Malatras
March 2017

Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras responds to some of the issues raised by Senior Fellow D. Bruce Johnstone in his post about the governor’s proposed Excelsior Scholarship Program. As one of the chief architects of the program, Malatras provides insight on concerns about tuition, the full-time credit requirement, the impact on private independent schools, and the projected cost estimate. He believes that the Excelsior Scholarship may help students stay in school and open the door for more people to consider going to college.



Tuition-Free SUNY and CUNY: Who Benefits, Who Doesn’t, and How Free Is It After All?


By D. Bruce Johnstone
March 2017

Former SUNY Chancellor, and Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow, D. Bruce Johnstone assesses the governor's proposed Excelsior Scholarship Program. Johnstone supports the proposal's goals but writes that it would offer little aid to students with the greatest financial need, that its benefits would go to a relatively small number of students, and that it might hurt the state's independent colleges and universities. He calls for more study and alternative solutions to the problem of access.



Climate Change: Avoiding the ‘Natural Variations’ Pitfall


By Mark Marchand
December 2016
Mark Marchand

Writer and Rockefeller Institute Alum Mark Marchand considers the ongoing debate on climate change presented in a recent Rockefeller Institute/University at Albany Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences forum on severe weather. The event, held November 10th, was the third in an annual series.




Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina Reconsidered 10 Years Later


By Marc Landy
August 2015
Marc Landy
From 2006 through 2008, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government partnered with the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana to conduct a regional analysis of the recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The Institute and the Council assembled a network of field researchers from throughout the region to examine how local and state governments, as well as the nonprofit sector, were dealing with the many challenges of recovery. In addition, the Institute drew on the reports and other research to examine the role of the federal system in the recovery. At the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Rockefeller Institute researcher Marc Landy revisits a proposal developed by him and a co-researcher, former Institute Director Richard Nathan, for the establishment of a federal officer in charge to coordinate federal response to major disasters.


Cyber Security Crosses Sectors and Levels of Government: Learning from Recent Federal Efforts


By Brian Nussbaum
December 2014
Brian Nussbaum
In this Observation piece, Rockefeller College Assistant Professor Brian Nussbaum looks at how the U.S. government has recently detailed roles and responsibilities for cybersecurity involving the efforts of government players at the federal level (including the military, law enforcement, and other security agencies). It argues a comparable framework for state and local governments, as well as corporations and not-for-profits, would be valuable. Through utilization of various capabilities, often across levels of government and across sectors, the piece argues that we can take advantage of the best of the capabilities of involved actors at the same time we realize the enhanced benefit that results from “cross-sector coordination.”



Solar Power Offers Greater Resilience in Severe Weather


By Richard Perez, Jeffrey Freedman, and James W. Fossett
October 2014

Researchers from the University at Albany Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and Rockefeller Institute researchers explore the advantages of solar power as a means of mitigating long-term power outages resulting from more prevalent severe weather occurrences. This proposed solution, the authors suggest, may be particularly vital in the Northeast, a region identified by climate researchers as a “hot spot” for an increase in severe weather events.


Let’s Stop Improvising Disaster Recovery


By James W. Fossett
July 2013
James Fossett

In this insightful observation piece, Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Dr. James Fossett indicates that improved disaster recovery from major natural and man-made disasters is possible through strategic planning, careful coordination between various levels of government, and the development of easily accessible response mechanisms.




New Roles for U.S. Universities in Latin America


By Jason E. Lane
March 2013
Jason E. Lane

Director of Education Studies Jason E. Lane examines the growing role that the United States is playing in the development of higher education in Latin America in a chapter of a new book from the Institute of International Education, Latin America’s New Knowledge Economy: Higher Education, Government, and International Collaboration.




Proposed Changes Will Improve Reimbursement for HIV Testing


By Erika Martin
February 2013
Erika Martin

Proposed changes by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force in HIV testing guidelines will remove financial barriers to receiving HIV tests, according to Institute Fellow Erika G. Martin and Bruce R. Schackman, Weill Cornell Medical College.




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