CSG West

The Border Legislative Conference, a program of The Council of State Governments West, released a report, “The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition,” at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. The report is the result of four Regional Economic Competitiveness Forums held along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 to collectively generate a shared vision and policy recommendations to strengthen economic competitiveness. The report lays out the major issues involved in border region economic development, compiles the many innovative ideas developed at the forums and weaves them into a series of policy recommendations that draw on the experiences of those who understand the border best: the individuals who live in border communities and who cross back and forth between Mexico and the United States as a part of their daily lives.

The CSG West Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee discussed hemp production and regulation, one of the oldest industries on the planet but only permitted in the U.S. since 1999. Members also considered conservation of water as it relates to agriculture uses.

With the cost of college tuition rising and graduates facing a globally competitive marketplace, states must focus on delivering quality higher education at a price that doesn’t prevent access. This session explored ways to ensure high-quality higher education in Western states.

The CSG West Canada Relations Committee discussed the Arctic Council and its importance to both the U.S. and Canada. Members also discussed how states and provinces play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change, as well as in emergencies such as fires and floods, independently and collaboratively through memorandums of understanding and compacts.

Nearly every energy issue federal policymakers address has some impact on state legislatures. The U.S. Senate is looking at a number of key issues that could affect states. This session explored current issues that affect the states and examined arguments on both sides of the issue regarding who should manage federal lands in the West—states or the federal government.

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