Labor and Employment

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state prison populations have grown significantly over the last few decades and in 36 states, the prison population has more than tripled as a share of the state population since 1978.  Spending on corrections has also increased in states: state corrections spending more than doubled between 1986 and 2013 (after adjusting for inflation), from $20 billion to over $47 billion.   

A new federal law allows persons with disabilities to save for their futures through tax-advantaged  savings accounts set up by states. These accounts -- called ABLE -- are much like 529 college savings plan. 

On February 23, Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenburg announced plans to make his state’s plan available nationwide.

Paid leave laws are only found in three states; California, Rhode Island and New Jersey.  14 states total have leave laws that provide unpaid or paid leave beyond the employee supports found in the federal Family Medical Leave Act, known as FMLA.  The infographic below highlights information on leave laws and the impact they have on employees and employers.  

On January 29, President Obama announced an executive action that will require companies with 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity. The action is part of a larger effort to close the pay gap between men and women.

This past weekend, Winter Storm Jonas pummeled the East Coast covering the ground in feet of snow. According to The Weather Channel, snowfall records have been set at Baltimore, JFK Airport in New York City and in other cities and towns across the Northeast. 

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Following on the heels of an active December that saw Congress avoid a government shutdown, extend tax breaks for Americans and pass education reform, there is hope that President Obama and Congress will carry this unexpected span of bipartisanship into 2016. Although impossible to know with certainty which issues will be tackled, criminal justice reform could be on the list.  

Public pensions continue to be one of the biggest fiscal challenges confronting state and local governments. Even before the onset of the Great Recession, many state and local government plans were struggling to meet their pension and retirement health care obligations. While the run-up in the equity markets in recent years might have alleviated some of the fiscal pressures faced by public sector pension plans, there continue to be major challenges ahead on this front. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference provides an overview of the latest state pension trends alongside presentations from two SLC states on the specific measures initiated to bolster the funding positions of their plans.

CSG Director of Fiscal and Economic Development Policy Jennifer Burnett outlines the top five issues for 2016, including strategic decisions following modest revenue growth, workforce development, public pensions, federal instability, and health care costs. 

Top 5 Issues in Workforce Development

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Implementation

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, also known as WIOA, became effective on July 1, 2015. However, the act includes several provisions that become effective on other dates. On March 1, 2016, governors must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan pertaining to workforce...

CSG Director of Education Policy Elizabeth Whitehouse outlines the top five issues in workforce development policy for 2016, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act implementation, employment issues for people with criminal records, engaging people with disabilities in the workforce, veterans' employment issues, and career pathways for students.

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