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Policy Pub

Each day, policy decisions that directly impact our lives are made at the local, state, national, and global levels. At the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, our faculty is in the business of researching, teaching, and furthering understanding these decisions, the people and institutions who make them, and how they affect us all.

Policy Pub is an opportunity to tap into that knowledge and experience and to connect with experts and fellow citizens in an informal atmosphere.

Policy Pub attendees listen to brief, plain-language talks about such topics as politics, economics, the environment, and more. Then they ask questions and engage in friendly dialogue. It’s fun, social, interactive, and highly informative.

After each Pub session, we post audio from the evening and the faculty presenter’s Power Point so you can follow along with their presentation. You can access these on the individual Pub pages below.


Unpacking the 2018 Midterm Elections: What Happened and What’s Next?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

Every four years, more than 60% of the eligible voting public turns out to cast a vote for president. But control of Congress often hinges on midterm elections, in which only roughly 40% of eligible Americans vote. How can we best understand the outcomes of the November 6, 2018 midterm House and Senate races? What factors generally shape national- and race-level outcomes, and which were especially important this year? Ultimately, how does low turnout affect these elections?

Local Organizations Supporting Aging-In-Place: What Can We Learn?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

In Kerala, India, the Elderly Inclusion Program makes it easier for people to age well in community and for families to support and care for their elders. Kerala outpaces the rest of India in the growth of its population over 65 years of age and has given rise to a number of innovative approaches to this new group in need of support. A core feature is a community network of Elderly Neighborhood Groups (NHGs) that is place-based, with 10 to 20 members per group.

Emerita Professor Rebecca Miles examines the aspects of the political, historical, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts that help make the Elderly Inclusion Program work well in Kerala, and explores how it might need to be adapted to be useful in other places and what we can learn locally and in the U.S. from their experience.

Long-Term Consequences of Economic Inequality

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

Policy analysts predict rising poverty among future retirees because Social Security cannot sustain its benefits and budgets will be strained by rising medical costs. In fact, the situation is much worse. Trends in economic inequality will further erode the well-being of people turning 65 in the future.

David Rasmussen, Dean Emeritus of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and the James H. Gapinski Professor of Economics, wraps up the spring semester Policy Pub series with a presentation on economic inequality, particularly as it applies to retired people.

After the brief talk, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue on the topic.

Could the Next Water Crisis Be in Tallahassee?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

One of the biggest stories of the past few years has been the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where due to insufficient water treatment, more than 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water. The crisis would seem to be almost out of character in a country as developed and wealthy as ours, but is it really all that unthinkable?

In the second Policy Pub session of 2018, Associate Professor of Sociology Katrinell Davis talks about her work on the Flint water crisis and how this kind of disaster could happen in any U.S. city - including Tallahassee.

Public Health in the Face of Climate Change

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

The spring Policy Pub series kicks off with a program orginially scheduled for last fall but postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

Assistant Professor of Geography Chris Uejio will present his talk on "Public Health in the Face of Climate Change" at the January session of the college's popular series that brings together the general public with policy experts from FSU for an open discussion of today's most important issues.

“Climate change is a very real environmental crisis,” Uejio says. “We want to look at ways to strengthen our institutions and infrastructure in order to help society withstand and recover from disasters as well as climate change.”

Ageism in an Aging Society

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

Our population is aging. Birthday celebrations for those reaching their 80s, 90s, and even beyond now commonplace. But ageism targeting these adults – and even those decades younger – remains curiously persistent.

In this presentation, Anne Barrett, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, asks why ageism persists and why it should matter to us all. She will discuss the issue and its implications for individuals in all life stages in our aging society.

After the brief talk, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue on the topic.

Medical Marijuana and Same Sex Marriage: Understanding State Choices

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 5:30-6:30 pm
Backwoods Bistro 401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(Corner of Gadsden St.)

Policy Pub is a recurring series of brief, plain-language talks by faculty of the college on public policy issues that affect everyone.

Frances Berry of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy will use the issues of medical marijuana and same sex marriage to illuminate the processes by which states determine the laws that will govern their citizens, sometimes at odds with federal laws and policy.

State laws regarding same sex marriage and medical marijuana have been changing fast. How have state laws differed? What are the causes of these changes? How do we explain state variation in laws adopted? Dr. Berry will open discussion about conflicts between federal and state laws and the impacts of court decisions in these policy areas.