Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

State/Local

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May 16: The Nursing Shortage

One of the effects of the pandemic has been to highlight, and exacerbate, the shortage of skilled heath care professionals such as RNs, CMAs, etc. On Monday, we’ll discuss the extent and causes of the shortage, as well as what can be done about it.

Here are some relevant readings:

State of Nursing 2022 (Nurse.org)

Nurses are not OK (Grid News)

Board Report on Closure (Island Nursing Home, Deer Isle)

If you haven’t already read the Island Nursing Home report in this week’s Packet, I encourage you to do so. It provides real, local information on many challenges we have discussed in the past.

For 18 September: Marijuana

As a warm-up to this evening’s “Community Conversation” and the Town of Surry’s public hearing on the subject, we’ll be discussing marijuana, legalization in Maine, and Peninsula town’s reactions to the opportunity to decide whether to regulate certain commercial marijuana activities.

Here’s a link to a recent Denver Post article, provided by Richard Jacoby (who spends a lot of time in Colorado–resident?), that should help to get us started. Richard notes that the Denver Post has generally been sympathetic to marijuana legalization. He also adds:

Note it is only a correlation but does underestimate the impaired problem because the samples have usually been taken several hours after the fact and in many cases once a legal limit of alcohol has been detected the coroner doesn’t bother with testing for other drugs.  It points out the difficulties of addressing the effect of drug impaired driving.

See you later today!

For July 17: Voting in the US (and Maine?)

Next Monday, we plan to discuss a variety of topics and current events having to do with the US voting system. Possible sub-topics include:

  • OK, so the Russians tried to “hack” our election. What happened, and what can be done to safeguard the integrity of the system?
  • Every ten years, there’s a scramble to gerrymander congressional districts. While some of the most egregious cases are being resisted by the courts, there must be a better way. What is it and how could it be implemented (assuming the Dems and Reps wouldn’t be big fans of a more neutral system)?
  • Maine’s voters have approved a ranked choice voting system, which will presumably be implemented over time as constitutional issues are resolved. Is this a “better way” to tally votes, and should it be adopted by other states?
  • What other safeguards are appropriate or necessary to ensure that our elections are free and fair?

See you next week!

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