Capitol Comments

For the first time, CSG has made the contents of the Book of the States available online in its entirety.  The 2010 Book of the States, including all of the articles and tables, can now be found in the CSG Knowledge Center.   Each article is available in both HTML and PDF, and the tables can also be downloaded in Excel.

To browse the Book of the States, click on "Content Type" in the menu bar at the top of the page, and select Book of the States, 2010 version.  This will bring you to a Table of Contents with links to...

While tolling has long been a fact of life for folks in the Northeastern United States, other parts of the country have also been getting into the act in recent years. Our latest CSG Capitol Research brief entitled “Tolling and Congestion Pricing” examines toll projects underway across the country, the use of tolling as both revenue generating mechanism and part of a congestion reduction strategy, the modernization of toll payment systems and the chances for future proliferation of toll facilities. The brief includes a 50-state chart breaking down the number of each type of toll facility in each state. With a complete list of references, it’s also a good source for further reading on tolling and congestion issues. But there are a number of other recently released reports that may be of interest to you as well.

The Prescription Monitoring Program Compact is nearly drafted following a successful meeting between CSG staff and prescription monitoring program experts.  During the day-and-a-half meeting the draft compact underwent a detailed review, with extensive emphasis placed on the compact's Purpose Statement, its definitions, Article III dealing with authorized uses and restrictions on the prescription data, Article IV addressing technology and security, and Article V addressing funding.

China is now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) which contribute to climate change.  But, China has refused to enter into international agreements capping its GHGs - basically because it doesn’t want to be bound by any agreement that potentially limits the expansion of its economy.  However, the nation is taking steps to limit those emissions by shutting down polluting plants and installing cleaner equipment.

The Council of State Governments will convene the fourth meeting of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Compact drafting team next week.  During the meeting, which will take place September 13-14 in Lexington, finishing touches will be put on the draft compact, which CSG aims to have ready for introduction into the states during the 2011 session.  CSG, through The National Center for Interstate Compacts, began efforts to draft the compact in late 2010 at the request of its membership.  To learn more about the meeting or the compact please check CSG's Knowledge Center following the meeting or contact Crady deGolian at cdegolian@csg.org or at 859-244-8068.

 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced this week that highway deaths in 2009 fell to the lowest number since 1950. That happened even while vehicle miles traveled increased. Last year saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded (1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled). The number of people injured in motor vehicle crashes declined for the 10th straight year. Alcohol impaired driving fatalities declined by 7.4 percent. All of this evidence points to successful federal and state efforts to make the nation’s roads safer.

President Obama this week proposed $50 billion in new infrastructure spending for roads, railways and airport runways and promised to pair it with “a long-term framework to reform and expand our nation’s investment in transportation infrastructure.” While the plan was welcomed by many, others wondered if it was too little, too late and pretty much dead on arrival with just eight weeks to go before the mid-term elections. It was—at the very least—a long-awaited conversation starter that included some not altogether unfamiliar or unexpected ideas.

Yesterday I told you about our new CSG Capitol Facts & Figures brief on the Condition of U.S. Roads and Bridges. Well, if you’re looking for some better news, there’s a new annual study out this month from the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, that gives a somewhat different perspective. The report finds that state highways are in the best shape they have been in nearly 20 years.

The federal government’s moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling—which was expected to continue through November 30th in order for the government to devise new safety regulations and environmental response measures—has faced a stumbling block in court today as the federal judge overseeing the case permitted the challenge to proceed.

According to a new report released today by the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has dropped to 11.1 million in 2009 from a peak of 12 million in 2007, an 8 percent decline.   The researchers note that this is the "first significant reversal" in illegal immigrant growth in the last twenty years.

The study found that fewer illegal immigrants came to the United States every year between 2007 and 2009 than in years in the first half of the decade.   Specifically, approximately 300,...

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