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IPPSR Kicks Off 26th Year of Public Policy Forums

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Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research kicks off its 26th year of public policy forums beginning Sept. 19 with a panel on the state’s recreational marijuana market.

IPPSR’s forums have attracted thousands of policy-minded listeners to hear presentations on pressing topics that drive community and capital debate, said Ann Marie Schneider, director of IPPSR’s division of program planning and policy education.

“We take research and ideas from MSU’s campus to a full range of the community, the Legislature, legislative staff and state agency leaders. Forums are designed to reflect the highest concerns of community and decisionmakers,” she said.

IPPSR will host eight forums during the 2018-19 academic year. Each takes place in the Mackinac Room on the fifth floor of the Anderson House Office Building, 124 N. Capitol Ave., directly across from the Michigan Capitol in downtown Lansing.

Wednesday, Sept. 19: The Recreational Pot Market – Michigan Voters to Decide
Public support for legalizing recreational marijuana appears to be increasing, but there are major concerns about managing the outcomes of a yes vote for legalization in Michigan. While state tax ledgers would receive a big boost from what is estimated to be a $1 billion-plus market in Michigan alone, questions loom over the potential of marijuana serving as a precursor to more powerful drug use, as well as impaired driving and job performance. The impact of more prevalent drug environments on disadvantaged populations, particularly adolescents, is also in question.

This forum will provide an overview of these issues in addition to related research on marijuana use and legalization.

Wednesday, Oct. 17: Michigan’s Workforce and the Prevailing Wages
The upcoming election will have a tremendous impact on Michigan’s workforce as well as its employers because voters will take a stand on Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law. The law requires wages and benefits set by union agreements be provided to all employees hired to work on publicly-funded construction projects. Fixing roads and building public schools are among many taxpayer projects requiring private construction companies to provide union wages and benefits.

The forum calls on human resources and labor relations experts to balance out the pros and cons of this proposal on behalf of employees and employers.

Wednesday, Nov. 14: Term Limits after 20 years
Michigan has held onto the toughest term limits in the U.S. for its elected officials in the House of Representatives, the State Senate, and the Governor’s Office since 1992. The debate on term limits rises every other election when a majority of office holders are term-limited out of office. This year’s turnover is no different with 70 percent in the Senate and 20 percent in the House finding their time is up, no matter how the public might rate their performance in office. This IPPSR Forum will look at the outcome of term limits over a 20-year term, the case for keeping them and the case for reform.

Forums are free and open to the public. A light luncheon is offered on a first-come, first serve basis. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Seats are conveniently reserved online by visiting: http://bit.ly/IPPSRForum.

IPPSR’s spring and winter forums are now slated for Wednesdays in 2019: Jan. 16, Feb. 13, March 13, April 17 and May 8. Topics and panelists will be announced prior to the events.

MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research is a unit within the College of Social Science. Its focus is on public policy education, leadership and survey research.

Besides the IPPSR Forums, the institute is the home of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, the Office for Survey Research, the State of the State Survey, Michigan Political Insiders Panel, the State of the State Podcast, the Michigan Applied Public Policy Research briefing papers, and the Michigan Policy Wonk Blog.

IPPSR hosts more than 60 affiliated faculty members, a directory of policy experts and the Coorelates of State Policy, making available data on policy changes over time in 50 states through a single database of more than 900 variables.

Find IPPSR at ippsr.msu.edu. Follow IPPSR Public Policy Forums: @IPPSR #IPPSRForum.

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