Lisa McKinney

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The Council of State Governments has announced a new technical assistance project called Occupational Licensing: Assessing State Policy and Practice for state leaders. Through this policy learning consortium, selected states will receive assistance to improve their understanding of occupational licensure issues and best practices; identify current policies that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry; and create an action plan that focuses on removing barriers to labor market entry and improves portability and reciprocity for select occupations. Technical assistance will be provided through a partnership of The Council of State Governments, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the National Conference of State Legislatures, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Under Gov. Matt Mead, Wyoming has maintained one of the largest rainy day funds in the nation despite financial volatility in the energy-producing state caused by fluctuating gas prices. He has also focused on diversifying Wyoming’s economy through innovation and technology and by expanding business opportunities in the technology, renewable energy and manufacturing sectors. Mead said opening up the state to new industries combined with disciplined budgeting have kept Wyoming stable through the economy’s ups and downs.

By Brian Sigritz and Kathryn Vesey White
In December, the National Association of State Budget Officers, or NASBO, released the latest edition of its semiannual Fiscal Survey of States. According to data collected from state budget offices, fiscal 2017 is expected to mark the seventh consecutive annual increase in both general fund spending and revenue.

By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
With newspapers and scholarly reports full of discussion about states and their shortages—or surpluses—of tax revenues, it would be easy to focus exclusively on the dollars brought in through sales taxes, income taxes and so on. That kind of analysis misses out on the revenue elephant in the room, though: the money that comes from the federal government.

States play a key role in attracting businesses, including foreign, to invest and grow in their respective states. The United States remained the top destination for foreign investment, attracting more than $3.1 trillion in 2015, which helped support more than 6 million jobs. This FREE CSG eCademy webinar will highlight innovative programs, resources and tools for states to attract investment to their local economy.

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers releases the Infrastructure Report Card, which details the condition and performance of 16 categories of infrastructure and assigns a letter grade to each. Each infrastructure category is evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. During this webinar, ASCE officials discussed what the 2017 report says and the resources available to policymakers who may want to explore their states’ infrastructure needs as they consider funding and policy options this year.

States are battling an unprecedented opioid epidemic. There is new agreement among the treatment community--backed by research--that medication-assisted treatment for addiction and harm reduction measures, such as syringe exchange programs and easy access to naloxone, are effective. This eCademy webcast will highlight innovative programs, practices and policies focused on the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and opioid addiction in the states.

Ask anyone what a contract is and they likely will tell you. But ask what an interstate compact is, and it may be a different story. But that’s starting to change, said compact experts and administrators who gathered at the National Center for Interstate Compacts’ Summit of the States on Interstate Collaboration in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis and Connecticut Deputy Speaker Bob Godfrey have collected a few tips for legislating effectively over their combined 46 years of state legislative service. CSG’s Capitol Ideas magazine sat down with them during the 2016 CSG National Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, to get their thoughts on what freshman legislators need to know as they start their terms.

Whether a first-time elected official or a veteran policymaker, all members of The Council of State Governments share in common a distinguishing characteristic. By their very nature, state elected and appointed officials have demonstrated leadership—in their professions, in their communities, in their aims to strengthen their states.

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