By Nicholas Johnson Vice President, State Fiscal Policy Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

When it comes to raising the minimum wage, the objection opponents most often make is that it will cost jobs. But the experience of numerous states proves otherwise.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard in March signed legislation to make his state the 43rd one to ban texting while driving. The new law, which will take effect July 1, prohibits drivers from using any handheld wireless device to write, send or read text messages or emails while the vehicle is in motion.

During the Great Recession, states faced enormous challenges related to funding a number of vital programs. One of those programs was adequately financing their unemployment insurance trust funds, a program that originated in the 1930s. As a result of the doggedly high unemployment rates in so many states during the Great Recession and previous actions taken by states (such as expanding unemployment benefits and cutting unemployment insurance taxes), the unemployment insurance funds in a majority of the states were thrust into perilous shape. By 2013, the funding position of these funds improved as a result of an advancing economy and a series of actions initiated by states.

A 2011 study by Deloitte for the Manufacturing Institute found that American manufacturing companies could not fill as many as 600,000 positions—or 5 percent of manufacturing jobs—due to a lack of qualified candidates, and 56 percent of manufacturers anticipate that shortage will increase in the next three to five years. Technological advancements, particularly in the manufacturing area, mean that workers need more specialized skills to both get and keep jobs. To get to those skilled workers, companies must make a decision: Look for new, qualified employees or retrain their current workforce.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan includes an emphasis on Next Generation Compliance, a model that focuses on achieving a higher rate of regulation compliance using advances in both emissions monitoring and information technology. A key component of that strategy shifts reporting responsibilities to industry, requiring companies, states and other entities to submit compliance data electronically. In this webinar, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies convenes a group of experts to discuss how the new focus will affect the EPA's current enforcement approach; practical implications for state enforcement staff; changes in reporting requirements for states; and state implementation of new compliance technologies as well as the cost.