Capitol Comments

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.

The future of transportation was very much on the minds of participants at the annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference held earlier this month in Charleston, South Carolina. The role of transportation in economic development, the status of a new federal highway bill, state funding of infrastructure improvements and efforts to prepare southern ports for the expansion of the Panama Canal all received attention from various speakers over the course of the five-day meeting. Here is just some of what I heard on those topics.

Last week, I, along with members of CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts, participated in a meeting hosted by the office of Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Philip Moeller and co-chaired by Rep. Tom Sloan (KS) and Rep. Kim Koppelman (ND).  The meeting explored the potential for interstate compacts to facilitate transmission line siting across state boundaries.

Following a vote in the Senate today to advance a state aid package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced through Twitter that the House would reconvene next week to consider the legislation.

The Senate cloture vote on extending the enhanced Medicaid match passed 61-38 today, August 4, with Maine Senators Collins and Snowe voting with the Democrats.

On Monday, August 2, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to put on hold the vote for the extension of the enhanced Medicaid match for the period January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011.

A survey released today by AAA and Seventeen magazine reports that nearly nine in ten teenage drivers have engaged in distracted-driving behaviors - such as texting and talking on cell phones, adjusting radios, driving with four or more passengers, and applying makeup - even though they know that their actions increase their risk of an accident.

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