Capitol Comments

Two California bills creating the state health insurance exchange mandated by federal health reform law are on the way to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Governor is expected to sign the bills.

The California bills are the first state legislation on health insurance exchanges since Congress passed federal reform earlier this year....

CSG health policy staff and CSG DC office staff met in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday with federal officials from the Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS staff told CSG that they fully expect federal regulations on health insurance exchanges to be released in early 2011, in time for state legislative sessions to consider enabling legislation.

Health insurance exchanges are required under the federal health reform legislation passed earlier this year by Congress. The exchanges are required to be up and running on...

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions solely for the first time on July 1, 2011 under authority of the Clean Air Act.

Nine states and D.C. will share in the $3.4 billion in federal funding to improve schools

The U.S. Department of Education announced today the winners of the second round of Race to the Top funding. They included: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. All of them will share in the $3.4 billion left over from the first round, in which Delaware and Tennessee were named winners.

I’m not sure if it’s enough to constitute a groundswell or a movement just yet but there have certainly been rumblings in recent weeks that there will at least be a push for Congress to consider a reauthorization bill in the near term, perhaps in a “lame duck” session after the election. This after months of hearing that it likely wouldn’t happen until after the 2012 presidential election.

Mental health caucuses were discussed as an effective strategy to increase legislators' knowledge and commitment to mental health services during the CSG Midwest annual meeting in Toronto, Ontario in August.

Senator Kevin Coughlin from Ohio and Laura Moskow Sigal, the executive director of Mental Health American Franklin County (OH) presented their experience with the caucus and lessons learned. Click here.

During...

The Council of State Governments’ Midwest Legislative Conference endorsed and passed a resolution on prescription drug monitoring at its recent Annual Meeting.  The meeting, which was held August 8-11, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario drew state legislators from across CSG’s Midwestern region. 

Charleston, South Carolina. July 31, 2010.  More than 20 southern state legislators gathered to discuss forming state legislative caucuses on behavioral health issues. 

Originally Published on the Huffington Post, August 11, 2010

The House of Representatives rushed back to Washington this week to send $26 billion in budget relief to beleaguered state capitols by extending stimulus payments for Medicaid and state education programs. The funding arrives at a critical juncture, with the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, police officers, and other public employees on the line.

IndyStar.com reported today that Indiana University employees must "stop smoking and control risk factors such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels or face higher health insurance premiums" up to about $1900 per year.

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