As Congress Dawdles, States Take Policy Lead

Minimum wage, same-sex marriage, pension reform, marijuana and food safety are on the agenda in state capitals.

With Congress paralyzed by partisanship and legislative peace unlikely to break out anytime soon, states are aggressively setting public policy at a pace last seen in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when states took an early interest on both sides of civil rights legislation.

Civil rights issues are at the forefront again. But states will also take the lead on economic and social matters, even environmental concerns. And they’ll do so for years to come. Now, as in the Civil Rights era, U.S. lawmakers and judges will be slow to catch up.

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Kenneth R. Bazinet
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter