Capitol Comments

This week the Obama Administration unveiled an ambitious plan to curb prescription drug abuse by cracking down on pill mills and doctor shopping and requiring drug manufacturers to develop education programs aimed at both doctors and patients. 

Staff from CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts recently convened the second Electricity Transmission Line Siting advisory group meeting in Uncasville, CT.  During the meeting panelists continued discussion about the feasibility of an interstate compact designed to improve the process for siting interstate transmission lines.  The panel, which was co-chaired by Rep. Tom Sloan (KS) and Rep. Kim Koppelman (ND), concluded that a national compact that called for a common application process, standard timelines, and a more uniform review process would allow lines to be more efficiently sited across state lines.

State officials have plenty of thoughts on what should be in the next authorization of federal transportation programs. Last week they used a variety of venues to once again let Congress know their priorities for the successor to SAFETEA-LU, the 2005 authorization legislation that officially expired in 2009 which has been operating under a series of temporary extensions since. But many wonder whether a new bill that is expected to be substantially more limited in scope and dollars than past efforts can come close to meeting state wish lists.

This week CSG released a new Capitol Facts & Figures policy brief highlighting efforts to increase or otherwise change State Motor Fuel Taxes in a number of states this year. Although some earlier this year predicted that several states, faced with significant infrastructure challenges and limited options to raise needed transportation revenues, would increase their gas taxes in 2011, that hasn’t yet come to pass. Instead, escalating gas prices caused by instability in the Middle East and North Africa have meant that gas tax increases are still just as politically unpopular as they were in 2010, when no state adopted one. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some interesting developments this year. Here are some updates on recent activity in South Dakota, Arkansas, Oregon and other states.

Today, one day after President Obama's speech on reducing the national deficit, the federal government announced it approved a Medicaid waiver from New Jersey that will expand Medicaid coverage to almost 60,000 persons three years before the 2014 deadline in the federal health reform law.         

New Jersey’s 1115 Demonstration waiver will expand Medicaid to certain childless adults in the state.  The 1115 demonstration will expand health coverage to nearly 70,000 uninsured, low-income people through the Work First New...

One in four Medicare dollars goes to care for individuals in the last year of their life. The Dartmouth Atlas Project has just released a new study looking at end-of-life medical care. The study found that there are lessons to be learned by looking at geographical differences.

In 2003, 32.2 percent of patients died in a hospital but by 2007, the rate had dropped to 28.1 percent. The rates vary greatly by geography: In 2007, the highest rates of death in a hospital were in regions in and around New York City, including...

With a federal budget deal last Friday, Congress may have temporarily averted a government shutdown, but there are still plenty of potentially contentious issues coming down the pike in Washington this year. One of those could be the future of federal transportation programs. This afternoon at 3pm EDT, CSG will host a webinar focusing on how that debate might take shape. It’s part of CSG’s Growth and Prosperity Virtual Summit of the States, a four-day webinar series. The forum will include two perspectives from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Dr. Ronald Utt is a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C. think tank. Donna Cooper is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in the nation’s capital. Here’s a brief glimpse into where these speakers come down on some of the key issues in federal transportation reauthorization.

Early learning, K-12 education and postsecondary education all combine to create competent graduates ready for 21st century jobs.  Highly-skilled workers lead to prosperity for states in the new economy.  Institutions can't wait until high school to begin preparing students for the future, whether it be technical school, college or straight into a career.

State policymakers play a critical role through funding strategies and policy decisions in developing a competent work force.  Join us on Wednesday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m...

Three leaders in health will present during CSG's Virtual Summit 2.0 on Wednesday, April 13, at 3PM. The session, entitled "Encouraging American Innovation & Competing in a Global Economy – Health Care,"  will explore the policies state leaders can adopt to ensure that their states are fertile ground for high-tech companies.

From their viewpoints as private sector leaders, panelists will explore the policies states can adopt to help ensure innovative companies stay in place and thrive, as well as to attract...


Creating a Culture of Entrepreneurship:  Live Webinar, Tuesday, April 12, 3 p.m. EDT

Despite the Great Recession and its impacts on big business, the entrepreneur has been hard at work creating new opportunities as well as jobs. A quick glance at new start-ups data from the Kauffman Foundation shows new businesses being created at an increased rate over each of the last five years. Admittedly many of these new businesses may have been created by those who may have lost jobs in the economic downturn, but it may likewise hint at an increasing trend present in state economic development policies: the overt drive to create a culture of entrepreneurship.