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2016 saw the release of federal guidance designed to define the roles of the federal and state governments in regulating autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles. It also saw Michigan enact the most sweeping autonomous vehicle legislation in the nation. But while those efforts sought to focus on the immediate policy concerns and jurisdictional boundary issues involved in the testing and deployment of self-driving cars, others are starting to consider what are expected to be profound long-term policy and planning impacts of these vehicles across a wide variety of sectors in the decades ahead. These include impacts to the economy, the built environment, safety and energy consumption.

While states have made excellent progress during the past 20 years, more work is needed to ensure that existing waste tire stockpiles are remediated and new stockpiles are prevented. This article outlines some of the key criteria contained in states’ waste tire disposal laws and regulations, and assesses best practices undertaken by states.

Community Solar and Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA, are two relatively new, increasingly pursued, and still evolving strategies helping to transform the U.S. electricity system. These approaches put local governments at the center of energy purchase and development decision-making efforts. States should pay attention to these two potentially overlapping approaches as they can address a number of energy-related challenges. Their effectiveness depends on the form they take, including whether they are enabled by state legislation. This article describes these programs and recommends support for strategic energy planning to gain a full awareness of challenges and opportunities.

As rural communities struggle to grow their economies and retain skilled labor, work-based learning experiences such as internships and apprenticeships offer a promising strategy to address workforce talent shortages and connect individuals to in-demand careers. To achieve scale, there are promising actions state policymakers can take to better align existing programs and resources to support economic development and educational attainment in the rural areas of their states.

The chair of the Midwestern Legislative Conference, Iowa state Sen. Janet Petersen, is putting a spotlight on healthy birth outcomes in the Midwest, from home visit and safe sleep programs to (sadly, when necessary) child and/or infant death review teams. States can do plenty to help newborns and their parents get a good start to life.

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