During the "Water: Trending Issues in the States" session at the 2016 CSG National Conference on Friday, a few attendees sipped the ice water poured from pitchers on the tables. In the U.S., there is not typically concern about whether or not it's safe to drink the water. However, "we do have, in this country, a problem with our drinking water infrastructure on the pipes side of it," said Brian Pallasch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The problem will only get worse, and costly, if the nation doesn't invest in the aging infrastructure, he said.

Foreign direct investment, or FDI, is a vital component of states’ economies, helping build new industries and supporting nearly 6.4 million jobs nationwide.

But attracting foreign investment is increasingly difficult, said experts during Thursday’s “Best Practices in Attracting Investment” session, presented by the State International Development Organizations, or SIDO, at the 2016 CSG National Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Many state leaders participate in international trips, education exchanges and foreign delegations in their states and districts. Understanding the proper protocol to guide interactions with foreign visitors is key to overcoming intercultural communications barriers and building relationships with overseas contacts. During this session, experts discussed the proper protocol for meeting with foreign delegations, including proper greeting and business card exchanges and how to conduct business meetings and other events.   

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two of its most significant cases of the term so far for states. It is difficult to predict what the court will do based on oral arguments but it is the only clue the court offers.

The Council of State Governments hosted its 2015 National Conference from December 10th-13th in Nashville, Tennessee. 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.