Capitol Comments

At a time when good news seems to be scarce, the number of U.S. children in foster care is down sharply, according to new data released by the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. The number of foster children fell by over 20 percent during the last decade, from 540,000 in care ten years ago to 423,773 in care on September 30, 2009.

Despite billions in Recovery Act dollars spent on infrastructure over the last year and half, the nation still faces an epidemic of crumbling roads and bridges in the years ahead and a shortage of dollars to pay for it all under current funding conditions. That’s the picture that emerges from CSG’s new four-page Capitol Facts & Figures brief entitled “Condition of U.S. Roads & Bridges.”

The Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3) has launched its new Web site, www.MIC3.net.  The new Web site will serve as an information hub for military families, school officials, and other interested members of the public.

The compact was created because military families move between postings on a regular basis, and while reassignments can often be a boon for career personnel, they can be difficult for the children of military families. The average...

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. 

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