Capitol Comments

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.

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.

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