Bill Voit's blog
Executive Director David Adkins notes in his message to state officials on the CSG website, “Challenging times present many opportunities for innovation. The current economic crisis is no exception. The Council of State Governments was founded during the Great Depression and for more than 75 years, CSG has worked hard to provide state leaders with what they need to succeed in difficult times.”
“Information, Insight, Innovation” is the theme of the upcoming CSG National Leadership Conference in May, 2012.
The Council of State Governments presents Innovation Awards to highlight creative and effective programs which improve state government operations. Today, many other organizations recognize innovative federal, state, and local programs, and the Internet makes it easy to share that information. Here are four examples.
Local - National League of Cities
Academic/Other - Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation
Government officials and the public can access similar efforts through this CSG Capitol Ideas / Innovation / Best Practices – Portal.
The Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities maintains "whether an emergency is caused by natural forces or by a terrorist attack, persons with a disability will probably require assistance. Some physical disabilities may be obvious, while others, such as mental illness or cognitive disabilities, may not be obvious. Every person and every disability is unique. Respecting people with disability and treating them with dignity must be part of the response."
This December 13, 2011 recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board “for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle” put distracted driving back in the national spotlight.
Employee wellness programs are promoted as tools employees can use to live healthier and as mechanisms employers can use to stem rising health insurance costs. Employers traditionally offered wellness programs as benefits to employees. Sometimes they offered incentives to employees to participate. There were few penalties for not participating. For example, in 2008, Delaware state employees got a $100 pre-tax incentive paycheck bonus for getting biometric screening and completing a health risk assessment through the state’s DelaWELL wellness program. DelaWELL was funded by the State Employee Benefits Committee, which approved $500,000 for incentives over a two year period.
Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, and Utah are at the forefront of integrating wellness programs into health insurance plans for private sector employees and state employees through incentives such as premium discounts or rebates. State employees in Connecticut, Nebraska, and Oregon who don't participate in their state sanctioned wellness programs also face higher health insurance costs.
Wellness plans generally require employees get formal health “assessments’ to establish their health baselines (e.g., body mass index). They must participate in some form of wellness activity and report that activity to their plan administrators. They will be subject to regular monitoring to gauge their progress toward plan goals, and must be open to advice from the plan administrator to changing their lifestyles to achieve such goals. People with chronic disease are subject to additional requirements.
Initially, these plans' requirements seem benign and reasonably easy to accomplish. Participation and effort seem more important that results. That could change. Likewise, while imposing higher charges on people for not participating seems to motivate employees to sign up, it does grant third parties an unprecedented level of access to information about them and the potential to control plan members' lifestyles on and off the job.
As noted in CSG Education Policy Analyst Tim Weldon’s blog, preventing bullying remains a top priority for educators and policymakers, whether it occurs in school or cyberspace. Here are state bills the CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation reviewed about bullying, cyberbullying, and impersonating someone online, along with related resources about these topics.