Finding workers

In a press release (pdf, 6p.) issued Sept. 25, the Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced Hawaii's unemployment rate for August at 2.6 percent, noting that it was the 32nd consecutive month that the unemployment rate remained below 3 percent.

The long-running low unemployment rate has created an extended labor shortage. In August the Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Hawaii, a private-sector led body that advises the Governor on workforce development, published a booklet to help employers expand their labor options "to include people less commonly considered." The publication provides information on hiring:
  • Immigrants
  • Older workers
  • People with disabilities
  • Welfare recipients
  • People with criminal histories
The report also summarizes tax credits available when hiring from certain groups, and presents an array of flexible employment alternatives to retain employees, especially older workers: compressed work week, flextime, job reassignment, job redesign, part-time work, phased retirement, job sharing, telecommuting, sabbatical.

Solutions at Work...Finding Workers (pdf, 32pp/3.7MB)

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Just in . . . Legislative drafting

The Legislative Drafter's Desk Reference, Second Edition, 583pp., updates the first edition published in 1992 by considering the impact of electronic documents and the Internet, and the role of the courts in interpreting legislation. (Ref. KF4950 F55 2007)

Table of contents:
  • The first stage: preparing to put pen to paper
  • Writing the bill: preliminary considerations
  • Writing the provisions of a prototypical bill
  • Writing amendatory provisions
  • Style, form, and usage generally
  • The role of the courts
  • The uniquely federal forms and styles
  • State and regulatory drafting considerations
The authors: Lawrence E. Filson is former Deputy Legislative Counsel and Sandra L. Strokoff is Senior Counsel, both for the Office of the Legislative Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives.



Give and get

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is an education project to provide the world's children "with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves.".
Any nation's most precious natural resource is its children. We believe the emerging world must leverage this resource by tapping into the children's innate capacities to learn, share, and create on their own. Our answer to that challenge is the XO laptop, a children's machine designed for "learning learning."
The XO laptop is a "a flexible, ultra-low-cost, power-efficient, responsive, and durable" laptop. Its operating system is built from free and open-source software:
The children-and their teachers-will have the freedom to reshape, reinvent, and reapply their software, hardware, and content.
Beginning November 12, OLPC will offer its Give 1 Get 1 Program: $399 will provide one XO laptop to be "sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation," and one will be sent to your home.

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Plugged into science

The National Academies offers a weekly series of podcasts "focusing on a wide range of critical issues in science, engineering, and medicine." Begun in early March 2007, the many podcast topics include:
  • None of Your Business: Privacy in the Information Age (Fri, 14 Sep 2007)
  • Critical Issues in Transportation (Fri, 31 Aug 2007)
  • Uninsured in America (Fri, 6 Jul 2007)
  • Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up? (Wed, 6 Jun 2007)
  • Tech Tally: Approaches to Assessing Technological Literacy (Fri, 23 Mar 2007)
  • Engaging Schools (Fri, 16 Mar 2007)
The shows are ten minutes in length and, like all podcasts, may be donwloaded and played on one's computer or loaded onto an MP3 player for playback on the go. The National Academies also provides a subscription link for automatic download.

The Sounds of Science Podcast - key findings and important recommendations made by The National Academies.

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Health care dollars - state by state

Health Affairs published today their study on state health care spending, presenting "updated per capita health spending estimates by state of residence for 1991-1998 and new estimates for 1999-2004." Examining the "huge variations in personal health spending among states," (New York Times, September 18, 2007), the authors feel "can yield new perspectives on recent state health spending trends and provide context for policy discussions,"
Finally, these data can shed light on differences in state health care delivery and consumption and on the demographic and economic factors that contribute to health care spending patterns.

Health Affairs is a peer reviewed journal of health policy thought and research:
Every article Health Affairs has ever published is available online at www.healthaffairs.org. The 25-year archive is fully searchable. All back content is free access after three years. Selected content is free access at time of posting...

Health Spending By State Of Residence, 1991-2004
(available in HTML and pdf, 13pp/140KB)

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Internet taking state cigarette taxes

A discussion paper from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) examines the rise of cigarette sales on the Internet and the concominant loss of cigarette tax revenues by states. According to the paper, since 2002, 36 states have raised cigarette taxes to counter budget deficits. Although technically subject to state taxes, Internet sales are vitually tax free because tax collection is ineffective. The authors cite New York State's attempt to ban Internet cigarette merchants as its estimated loss of revenue from the Internet, "800 numbers," and Indian reservation sales is $500 to $600 million annually.

The SIEPR study finds:
...the increased sensitivity from cigarette smuggling over the Internet has lessened the revenue generating potential of recent cigarette tax increases substantially. Given the continuing growth of the Internet and of Internet cigarette merchants, the results imply serious problems for state revenue authorities.
Playing with Fire: Cigarettes, Taxes and Competition from the Internet, SIEPR Discussion Paper No. 07-02 (pdf, 43pp/404kB), September 2007

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State e-waste laws

Twelve states (AR, CA, CT, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, OR, RI, TX, and WA) have enacted laws on managing electronic waste. A recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) analyzes these laws - discussing the issues leading to state action, their common elements, and an overview of each law.

CRS considers the following issues as spurring state legislation: the volume and bulky nature of e-waste, hazardous components of e-waste, cost of recycling electronics, and the inability of stakeholders to agree on a national system. The common provisions of the laws noted by CRS are: definition of "covered electronic devices" (CEDs); funding mechanism (consumer or producer pays); collection and recycling criteria (banning landfill disposal, restricting e-waste exports, setting recycling standards, and prohibiting prison labor); and product restrictions (labeling and registration requirements, restrictions on using certain materials, and restrictions on retailers).

Managing Electronic Waste: An Analysis of State E-Waste Legislation, CRS Report RL34147 (pdf, 24pp/156kB, from Open CRS), August 29, 2007

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