Capitol Comments

With one swipe of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pin the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children has now been adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The Compact, which was developed jointly by CSG’s Compact Center and the Department of Defense, eases education transition issues faced by the children of active duty service members transferring between school districts and states.

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children represents the fourth interstate...

At the recently concluded National Conference held in Anchorage, Alaska, the CSG Executive Committee approved eight policy resolutions on a wide range of topics, including greenhouse gas regulations, the EPA's definition of "Waters in the U.S.," intellectual property rights, reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, support for online voting technology for military and overseas voters.
Two of the resolutions provide support to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and the Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA). Both agreements were developed with support from CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts. SARA aims to increase access to online higher education, while REPLICA attempts to increase access to licensed and trained EMS personnel.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA--Political polarization and economic inequality dramatically affect civic education in the United States, speakers at the session, “Understanding and Promoting High Quality Civic Education,” said.

Diana Hess, senior vice president of the Spencer Foundation at the University of Wisconsin Madison, said the movement to the political extremes leaves very little in the middle. In fact, she said, only 35 of the 435 seats n the U.S. House of Representatives are competitive.

Alaska presents some unique challenges when it comes to delivering health care to rural residents. Telemedicine is helping to solve some of those challenges.

Laurel Wood, former immunizations director for the Alaska Department of Public Health, told attendees Monday at the CSG/CSG West Health Committee meeting that Alaska is one-fifth the size of lower 48 states. It is twice as large as Texas, but it has a population density of just 1.2 people per square mile.

Tom Massey, office director of policy, communications and operations for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, said the state’s decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act came down to math.

“We figured it would create about 20,000 more jobs over the next 20 years, bring in about $4.4 billion more into our economy and the average household earnings would rise by about $600,” said Massey, who spoke Monday during the CSG/CSG West Health Committee meeting.

Population growth, aging baby boomers and a dramatic rise in the number of insured Americans resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are stressing America’s health care system like never before. Demand for care is increasing dramatically, but access to a variety of health professionals has remained largely static.

As states continue to diversify their energy portfolios, renewable energy sources—like solar technology—will play an increasing role.

A recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed solar added 2,193 megawatts of capacity in 2013. Much of that added capacity came as the industry completed several large solar thermal plants in Arizona and California. More projects are on track for completion between 2014 and 2016. Power generation from solar technology is forecast to rise.

Noted author, professor and CNN senior political analyst David Gergen told attendees at Monday’s luncheon session that he’s worried about the world these days.

“We’re coming through a time when the country and the world are in a hell of a mess,” he said. “This is one of the roughest times I can remember, one of the toughest to understand. … There are surprises coming at us regularly both on the domestic side and the international side.”

The process for U.S. military servicemembers and other citizens overseas to vote in federal, state and local elections is benefiting from some much-needed enhancements, according to elections experts and federal officials at a session presented by CSG’s Overseas Voting Initiative Monday.

“The process of overseas voting has been drastically improved in recent years,” said Mark Raugust, voting action officer for the U.S. Department of State. 

The U.S. electricity sector is undergoing quite a bit of transition, partly because of regulations like section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

But those aren’t the only reasons, Jennifer Macedonia, senior adviser with the Bipartisan Policy Institute, said during Monday’s session, “A Closer Look at 111d.”

“We’re also dealing with an aging fleet of generators, which at some point … will need to retired,” she said. “So many of our fleet is past 30 and 40 year mark.”