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Congress is making real progress on the first major rewrite of education law in more than a dozen years. These efforts may portend a rare legislative success for both Republicans and Democrats in a divided Washington.

Undocumented immigrants in Connecticut may soon qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid due to separate pieces of legislation passed by the state’s House and Senate in May. The House bill, signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy in June, expanded a 2011 law that reduced the required length of in-state high school attendance from four years to two in order to qualify for in-state tuition. The Senate bill, which has been sent to the House for review, would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for various forms of financial aid, including waivers, grants and student employment.

The U.S. Department of Labor has published a notice in the Federal Register proposing a new rule that could extend overtime protections to almost 5 million additional workers as early as 2016. Current law requires employers pay overtime for non-salaried workers. Salaried employees are defined by a set of criteria, including job duties and a salary threshold. The proposed new rule would more than double the salary threshold and tie it to inflation, which means more workers would qualify for overtime protections. The number of workers that would be affected by the changes varies by age, education level and state; middle-aged, educated workers would see the biggest impact.

Making the transition between military service and civilian life can be a difficult challenge for service members. Many find themselves without a job or the means to support a family without returning to school to further their knowledge and skills. But making the move from a battlefield to a college campus can be a difficult, isolating experience for student veterans.

Although women now serve alongside men on the battlefield in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, there is one place where male and female soldiers may not be getting the same treatment. That place is after they return home and become veterans.

As consumers continue to use the Internet to acquire goods, members of Congress are attempting to solve a quirk in tax law that is preventing states from collecting potential sales tax revenue. Bills in both the House and Senate aim to give states the authority to require out-of-state businesses selling online or through catalogs to collect taxes already owed under state law the same way local businesses do. Similar legislation failed to reach President Obama’s desk last Congress, but proponents are moving swiftly to ensure the bills remain at the top of the Congressional agenda.

Although many of the Internet’s technological underpinnings were invented in the United States, the U.S. continues to lag behind other developed countries in terms of broadband adoption and connection speeds. Cloud services provider Akamai Technologies ranks the U.S. 19th in average connection speed and 23rd in broadband adoption based on the Federal Communication Commission’s previous definition of broadband as 4 megabits per second.

During a recent CSG eCademy webcast, “Rideshare Companies: Insurance and Regulatory Issues for States,” Staking discussed insurance coverage and the risks associated with rideshare services, which he also referred to as transportation network companies. The webcast was part of a collaboration between CSG and The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation.

Long-term care for the elderly and disabled is driving up Medicaid costs, and states should take notice. That was the message of speakers at the 2015 CSG Medicaid Policy Academy held June 17-19 in Washington, D.C. “In nine states, at least 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees are elderly or disabled,” explained Matt McKillop, an officer for the State Health Care Spending division of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The main source of funding to provide long-term care and support for these individuals streams from Medicaid through state budgets. McKillop highlighted national data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that showed the elderly and disabled individuals comprised 24 percent of Medicaid enrollees in 2010, but accounted for 64 percent of total Medicaid expenditures in the states.

While it always has been possible to share information openly, the potential for open data that is easily shared and analyzed has developed slowly in the United States. Today, the global economy increasingly is operating in an open data world, with constant streams of information tracking human behavior—from where people are shopping to what TV shows they are watching. The private sector has been engaged actively in the open data space and producing large amounts of data concerning their operations in real time. Election industry policymakers and administrators are catching up.

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