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The Council of State Governments hosted its 2014 National Conference from August 9-13 in Anchorage, Alaska. The meeting provided state leaders with a robust agenda structured to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing state governments. If you would like to watch any of the sessions or would like to get copies of the presentations, please visit the individual session pages housed here in the Knowledge Center. Audio of many of the presentations will be available shortly.

Colorado election officials were regularly seeing 70, sometimes 80, percent of voters casting their ballots by mail. That’s because the state offered the ability to vote as a permanent absentee. To do so, however, voters had to apply for permanent absentee status. That changed with a 2013 law that standardized the vote-by-mail process. Now, everyone in the state receives a ballot by mail that they can cast by either mailing it back or taking it to a voter service center.

Colorado is among several states in recent years to pass laws improving the election system and increasing voting access.

The New York Court of Appeals in June 2014 overturned New York City's highly publicized soda ban that limited purchases of fountain drinks to 16-ounce cups in an attempt to reduce constituents' consumption of soda.  Most states have lieved taxes on soda purchase intending to influence consumer choices, promote public health and generate revenue. 

Skin cancer is caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and results in about 13,000 deaths annually. Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, is responsible for 9,700 deaths each year. The American Cancer Society estimates 76,000 new cases of melanoma in 2014. Because tanning beds increase the risk of developing skin cancer, the FDA has recently reclassified tanning beds and states have enacted legislation limiting minors’ access to tanning beds.

NEMA is very proud to release the first-ever report tracing the history of EMAC and its impact on national mutual aid policy and operations. A state-driven solution, EMAC stands as a tested and proven success story and an example of what determined individuals can accomplish when working together to make a difference for the nation.

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