Jennifer Burnett

Author Articles

On July 1, 2016 the minimum wage will increase in Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The minimum wage is scheduled to increase in Minnesota on August 1, 2016.

In 2015, the U.S. exported over $56 billion in merchandise to the United Kingdom. That represents nearly 4 percent of all U.S. exports and makes the U.K. the fifth largest export market for the U.S. After hitting a 10 year low in 2013, exports have been on the rise to the U.K. for the past two years. However, those gains could be in jeopardy following the U.K.’s recent vote to leave the European Union, also known as “Brexit”. On a state-by-state basis, exports to the U.K. range from less than one percent of total exports in six states (Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota) to a high of 22.9 percent in Utah and 16.3 percent in Delaware.

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two Texas abortion restrictions. The first required doctors at abortion clinics to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. The second required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers. Currently 26 states have one or both of these provisions.

Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes and texting is one of the most common distractions. State leaders have taken action. In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Nine years later, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans.

In May, more than 50 state policymakers, federal experts and private-sector representatives convened for two-and-a-half days in Seattle for The Council of State Governments’ second annual Cybersecurity and Privacy Policy Academy.

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, most states (46) will start their fiscal year on January 1, 2016. Most states (39) have enacted their budgets for the new fiscal year, including 16 states that operate on a biennial budget and who passed their fiscal year 2017 budgets last year. That leaves 11 states that have yet to enact a budget for 2017: Alaska, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

The agenda and materials from the 2016 SIDO Washington Forum 2016 are now available. 

For many years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has published statistics on employment and other characteristics of the labor force by level of education. For example, we know from these statistics that in general, more education means a higher salary. For those that held a bachelor’s degree in 2014, median weekly earnings were $1,193. Compare that to median weekly earnings of $488 for those with less than a high school diploma. While these data are very informative, they didn’t give us a complete picture because they didn’t include statistics on nondegree credentials – like professional certifications or licenses (for example, commercial driver’s licenses, teaching licenses, medical licenses, information technology certifications, etc.).

According to the Organization for International Investment (OFII), foreign direct investment in the United States totaled $2.9 trillion through 2014 on a historical-cost basis (cumulative investment). In 2008, investment reached a 10-year peak at $310 billion. In 2009, the global economic recession led to significant reductions in U.S. investment, falling by more than half the previous year’s levels. In 2014, foreign companies invested $112 billion in the U.S. – the weakest year in a decade. However, based on preliminary data for the first three quarters of 2015, OFII suggests that foreign direct investment in the U.S. may make a comeback, possibly breaking records by exceeding $300 billion. 

Ballots that address the minimum wage have been certified for 2016 to appear in three states with certification pending in another eight states. All of the initiatives seek to raise the minimum wage, except one - in South Dakota, the Decreased Youth Minimum Wage Referendum is a veto referendum that would overturn Senate Bill 177, which decreased the minimum wage for workers under age 18 from $8.50 to $7.50 and provide that the youth minimum wage is not pegged to inflation.


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