Andy Karellas

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Andy Karellas, CSG's Director of Federal Affairs, outlines the top five issues in federal affairs policy for 2015, including unfunded mandates, pre-emption, international trade agreements, intergovernmental coordination, and the discontinuation by the U.S. Census Bureau of the Consolidated Federal Funds Report. 

As state leaders outline their strategies and goals for 2015, they are keeping a close watch on the actions of the federal government and how such policies will impact their respective state. Such federal actions – whether in the form of federal funds, congressional legislation, executive orders, and regulations – can dramatically influence the direction and overall strategy of the state. With nearly one third of state funds appropriated from the federal government, many state programs are dependent on a consistent source of funds. This close relationship between the federal government and states has grown more complex in recent years, leaving less certainty about the roles and responsibilities of each respective government.

Public education in the U.S. was established with a vitally important civic mission—to prepare each generation for informed and engaged citizenship. As part of CSG’s ongoing work exploring the history and current challenges of federalism, this session took a step back and explored how we are teaching future generations about government and civic participation.

America’s economic engine is fueled by intellectual property rights, which drive innovation and protect consumers. Innovative and creative companies perform better and contribute more to local economies than their counterparts. The direct and indirect economic impacts account for more than 40 percent of U.S. economic growth and employment, 40 million American jobs, 30 percent higher wages and 74 percent of total exports. This session highlighted the latest developments in intellectual property and how they affect your state.

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) a bipartisan, bicameral bill that was the result of months of negotiations between House and Senate leaders.  The bill, which received wide support (415 to 6), will modernize and improve the federal workforce development programs aimed at helping workers attain the skills needed for 21st century jobs.   The legislation recently passed through the U.S. Senate with overwhelming support (95 to 3, with 2 no votes) and now awaits the President’s signature.

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