Jim Ogsbury, executive director of the Western Governors' Association, brought webinar participants up to speed on the creation of the Western Policy Network. The network is an effort by a number of western organizations to improve the state consultation process with the federal government. Pete Obermueller, executive director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, will focused how his organization has attempted to improve the state consultation process as it applies directly to the local government level.

By Sarah Pingel
Postsecondary education is expensive and students are paying more and more for college each year. Amid concerns about rising tuition, state legislatures have become increasingly active in tuition policy even though there’s only one state legislature—Florida’s—that has the authority to set tuition in the four-year sector and two legislatures—Florida’s and California’s—that havethe authority to do so for two-year institutions. In most states, legislatures have adopted statutes that grant the authority to set tuition to campus- or system-level boards.

On November 3, the House voted to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance, or CHIP, program, passing the measure with a 242-174 bipartisan vote. But the bill also must pass in the Senate before it can take effect, so many states will likely run out of money before they receive any new CHIP funds.

By Sara Dube and Darcy White
Policymakers want to improve outcomes for children and youth but often struggle with how best to allocate limited resources. In recent years, many have turned to evidence-based policymaking—the systematic use of high-quality research in decision-making—to help address this challenge. Extensive analysis, for example, has demonstrated that some interventions achieve outcomes that benefit children and youth—such as reducing child abuse and juvenile recidivism rates. But policymakers need access to these findings to identify, fund and sustain these proven programs.

Maine voters will have a chance to vote on Nov. 7, 2017, whether to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 70,000 Mainers under the age of 65 with incomes below or equal to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This is exactly the Medicaid expansion provision included in the Affordable Care Act.

In Virginia, the November ballot impact on health care is a little less direct, but is also being watched by political observers. All 100 House of Delegate seats are up for election. If the Democrats pick up a number of seats the legislature could approve Medicaid expansion, bringing health care insurance to 400,000 low income Virginians.