Shawntaye Hopkins

Author Articles

California recently became the first state to restrict the distribution of plastic drinking straws in order to reduce plastic pollution and ocean waste.

The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Full-service restaurants will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless the consumer requests a straw. In bars and restaurants across the country, plastic straws have become a popular target among those aiming to reduce waste.

A national, nonpartisan group formed just five years ago has been busy organizing young policymakers at the state and national level to bring change in government.
In fall 2013, as opinion polls ranked partisanship as a top threat to democracy, as a government shutdown loomed and as the approval ratings of members of Congress and state governments dropped, a group known as the Millennial Action Project launched with a goal to look forward to the next generation of government leaders.
Steven Olikara, founder and president of the Millennial Action Project, said the group wanted to address how the millennial generation would do things differently. Would they transcend the partisan divide to build a better governing system?

Divisive politics can be disheartening for both constituents and elected officials, but collaboration across party lines still happens in government.

Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat, is proud of efforts that have been made in his state to put individuals before party affiliation. A former state representative and former state senator, Zuckerman said members of the minority party have served in some of the committee chair and vice chair positions for most of the 20 years that he has been in office.

The Council of State Governments convened its final meeting of the organization’s CSG Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, in Las Vegas last week culminating with a presentation to CSG’s national membership and the release of two major reports that detail best practices and associated case study materials resulting from the past three years of research by CSG, and its Technology Working Group, on ways technology can potentially advance military and overseas voting.

The Council of State Governments’ 2018 national leaders were announced Saturday, Dec. 16, during the CSG 2017 National Conference in Las Vegas after confirmation by the CSG Executive Committee.

The Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative released Practical Considerations Related to Release and Sentencing for Defendants Who Have Behavioral Health Needs: A Judicial Guide and an accompanying bench card, which were developed with the support of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation and the CSG Justice Center. The resources are designed to assist judges in making informed connections to treatment for people with behavioral health needs who enter their courts.

Climate Adaptation

During this webinar we will look at decision-making frameworks that have been set up on the state and community levels to address the potential economic, environmental and social costs of climate change. We will also explore initiatives and strategies that are part of climate adaptation plans states and communities have adopted to interpret climate science and become climate resilient.

Supporting People with Serious Mental Illnesses and Reducing Their Risk of Contact with the Criminal Justice System

This primer highlights how critical it is for psychiatrists to better identify and address the clinical and forensic needs of these patients and incorporate interventions that address their criminogenic risks and needs into patient treatment plans.

Dos and Don’ts for Reducing Recidivism Among Young Adults in the Justice System

This resource presents a concrete list of dos and don’ts that policymakers and justice system leaders can use to guide policy and practice changes focused on young adults in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Nevada’s Statewide Approach to Reducing Recidivism and Improving Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

As a result of participating in Improving Outcomes for Youth: A Statewide Juvenile Justice Initiative (IOYouth), Nevada passed legislation that supports the adoption and implementation of key policy and practice changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. This report summarizes the IOYouth process in Nevada, key findings from the CSG Justice Center’s comprehensive assessment of Nevada’s juvenile justice system, and AB472, the bill that Nevada’s legislature passed to address the challenges identified in the assessment.

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