While Congress remains tied in knots over thorny issues like immigration, gun control and various fiscal pitfalls, states agree the federal government should be focusing on renewing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address included some key points state policymakers should note.

Shortly before the 112th Congress adjourned last week, members passed a sweeping deal to save the U.S. from hitting the fiscal cliff. Some of the revenue measures in the cliff deal may surprise state leaders, especially those with a focus on state estate taxes.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday offered a present to states, just in time for the holidays. The agency announced the forthcoming Medicaid expansion, passed into law as part of the Affordable Care Act, would only be an option for states as a package deal.

2012 marked a busy year for The Council of State Governments’ Legal Task Force. A committee of 12 legislators representing all four CSG regions, the task force decides whether to file amicus briefs advocating the principles of federalism with federal courts. The task force has signed on to six briefs and authorized an additional brief to be drafted this year, with more to consider before the end of December.