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In the last few days, Congress has moved forward on two sizable agenda items, the payroll tax cut extension and a long term surface transportation bill. As always, however, the devil is in the details and the details are open for interpretation. 

First, the payroll tax cut extension. House and Senate negotiators are slowly making progress toward a deal on extending the payroll tax cut, which has been extended repeatedly over the past few years. The package also would stave off a massive cut to Medicare and extend long-term...

While President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address Tuesday focused primarily on familiar themes of economic recovery, the president tipped his hat to some new policies that could have a major impact on states, specifically education reform, infrastructure and hydraulic fracturing.

Obama announced a goal to increase the minimum student dropout age to 18 or until they graduate.

”When students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma,” Obama said. “When students...

While CSG supports efforts by Congress to promote economic growth by safeguarding intellectual property, it has not endorsed either the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) currently being considered in Congress. 

The U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 16 approved the first gun-related effort since the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in January. House Resolution 822 would create a national standard for the right to carry concealed firearms, effectively allowing nonresidents of a state to carry a concealed weapon as long as the person possesses a concealed weapons permit from any of the other 49 states.

Next year promises to be a very active year for states in the U.S. Supreme Court. The court will not only hear highly controversial challenges to the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, and widely publicized state immigration enforcement laws, but also will hear several other cases that will shape the relationship between the federal government and states for years to come.

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