CSG DC

Hardly a day goes by without news of a cyberattack on an American business or government agency. The threats all Americans face in the cyber world today have become far more aggressive, the attacks more frequent and the techniques employed far more sophisticated than just five years ago. This advancing threat underscores the need to respond with the tools and authorities necessary to protect the nation’s security and financial resources. President Obama in February signed an executive order, advisory in nature, which urges companies to share cybersecurity threat information with one another and the federal government. The executive order is part of a broader White House effort to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure, which the administration has been pushing on Capitol Hill.

When President Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 into law in April, he helped ensure more than 1 million children will continue to have health insurance. The Children’s Health Insurance Program—commonly known as CHIP—covers children from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet do not earn enough to qualify for federal health insurance subsidies. In 2013, 8.1 million children were enrolled in CHIP, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program has cut in half the rate of uninsured children, going from 14 percent in 1997 to 7 percent in 2012. CHIP originally had been set to expire this year due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. When the U.S. Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion voluntary, states that chose not to expand their programs would have run into problems with insurance being lost for children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid should CHIP have expired.

In his State of the Union speech earlier this year, President Obama promoted international trade as a way to improve the U.S. economy. As the federal government focuses on concluding two large free trade agreements on the international front, state trade offices are well positioned to help small businesses navigate the export process here at home. And the State International Development Organizations, a CSG affiliate program commonly known as SIDO, is helping states do this even better.

When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency bill in February, it took an important step toward ensuring the federal government considers the cost of regulations it places on state, tribal and local governments. The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California, targets loopholes in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, also known as UMRA, which allows some regulatory agencies to circumvent public reporting requirements and avoid publicizing regulatory proposals. Similar legislation has passed the House with bipartisan support on four separate occasions.

With record low voting turnouts, adequate proposals to ease voter registration are being discussed by various states. Such regulatory changes are expected to increase voter turnout and have acquired much support from the American public thus far. This month, Oregon became the first state to use data from their Department of Motor Vehicles for the purpose of automatically registering voters.  

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