Capitol Comments

Check out the latest Capitol Research brief on how state officials are engaging the world of social media.  The report documents the growing popularity of social media, especially among state officials, and examines leading research into how state leaders are responding to these new utilities.

Check out the complete brief in CSG's Knowledge Center by clicking here.

Like Arizona before it, Alabama has become the latest state to up the ante on illegal immigration. Gov. Robert Bentley signed the controversial measure into law today and it’s slated to take effect Sept. 1st.

State officials exchange ideas and learn from experts at CSG regional issue meetings. Officials from all three branches of government, private sector partners and CSG staff meet to interact and share solutions in these one-of-a-kind meetings.  The regional meetings kick off in mid-July in Memphis and Indianapolis, followed by Honolulu and Halifax, Nova Scotia in late July / early August.  

In January 2010, the Missouri Department of Education organized its students to help young people stricken by a terrible disaster – an earthquake in Haiti, hundreds of miles away. As a result of the relief effort, Missouri students and school personnel raised enough money to pay for over 40,000 hygiene kits for young victims of the earthquake.

Now, in the aftermath of the May 22 tornado which leveled a large portion of the Joplin, Mo. and killed more than 140 people - the department has launched another humanitarian effort, this time to help children within its own state borders.

Yesterday, Connecticut lawmakers gave final approval to a bill (SB 1014) that will make the possession by an adult of up to one-half ounce of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia a civil infraction, punishable by a $150 fine. Violators will no longer be subject to jail time and will not receive a criminal record. Currently, it is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine. 

The most recent BLS jobs report in May offered good and bad news.  The good news: 54,000 jobs were created.  The bad news: only 54,000 jobs were created. Because the economy needs to add around 125,000 jobs every month just to break even and keep pace with new entrants into the workforce, the unemployment rate inched up to 9.1%.

States Perform, CSG’s interactive performance measurement website, has been updated with new information in key service areas: fiscal and economic, education, transportation, energy and environment, public safety and justice, and health and human services.

Since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010, states have launched several initiatives in the effort to preserve their ability to manage health care within their borders.  In addition to the several legal challenges brought by a number of states which are currently being reviewed by various federal circuit courts of appeals, some states have opted for Health Care Compact legislation as an alternative to the health reform bill.

In one California high school, frog dissection – which often tests students' queasiness as much as their knowledge about biology – has become as outdated as the abacus. From now on, when it comes to dissection, the frog will be replaced with the mouse – the computer mouse, that is.

A report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis out today reveals that state GDP increased in 48 states and the District of Columbia in 2010 over 2009, providing some much needed good news amongst recent less-than-stellar unemployment reports. Durable–goods manufacturing was the biggest contributor to real GDP growth in a slight majority of states – 29 – while retail trade contributed to growth in every state. Construction, however, continued to drag down recovery, declining for the sixth consecutive year and bringing down the growth rate in most states.