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Summary drafted by The Council of State Governments

Congress’ swift passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) demonstrates the importance of modernizing workforce and jobs training programs to help equip workers with the skills needed for 21st century jobs. Shrinking the skills gap and placing workers in good-paying jobs is the cornerstone of CSG’s 2014 “State Pathways to Prosperity” initiative, and this legislation is an important step. This memorandum will provide an overview of WIOA and the key changes for states.

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The Council of State Governments, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense, launched a $3.2 million Overseas Voting Initiative in late 2013 to improve the U.S. overseas voting process. CSG is working to develop policy solutions to ensure that overseas voters have the tools to vote while serving their nation abroad. That effort will be the subject of a workshop 9-11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11, during the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference.

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Will the fate of the Obamacare subsidy be in the Supreme Court's hands soon?

Short answer: almost certainly.

In an unusual turn of events, two federal courts of appeals on Tuesday issued opinions on whether the Affordable Care Act permits tax credits on insurance purchased through federal exchanges. Less surprisingly, perhaps, the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit disagreed, making Supreme Court review almost inevitable.

The ACA provides tax credits to low and middle income purchasers of health...

According to the Washington Post, New York has become the first state to propose separate regulations for virtual currencies like Bitcoin. The New York Department of Financial Services announced yesterday in a press release that it has released it’s first draft of regulations. According to the press release, the proposed regulatory framework "is the product of a nearly year-long DFS inquiry, including public hearings that the Department held in January 2014 – contains consumer protection, anti-money laundering compliance, and cyber security rules tailored for virtual currency firms". The proposed rules will be published in the New York State Register’s July 23, 2014 edition at which point the 45-day public comment period will begin. After the comment period, the rules are subject to additional review and revision based on that public feedback before DFS finalizes them.

Policymakers across the country continue to focus on expanding the collaboration between education--at the high school and postsecondary levels--and economic development in an effort to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce. Cooperation between the education and economic development sectors in state government, combined with active input from the corporate sector, is a critical factor in recruiting and retaining industry, particularly in manufacturing. Several states in The Council of State Governments' Southern...

While marijuana use for medicinal purposes has been on the legislative agenda in many states outside the Southern region for a number of years, Southern state legislatures only recently have begun to grapple with the complexities of the issue. Many Southern lawmakers cite stories of families with children suffering from severe seizure or muscular disorders as the impetus for the push toward some form of legalization. But for every family that puts a face on the issue, lawmakers are confronted with a plethora of questions about the science behind medical marijuana and about ways to implement a program in their state.

By Therese Murray, Massachusetts Senate President

As president of the Massachusetts Senate, I have encountered—and still encounter—many challenges. Being a leader is never without struggle, but it can be especially difficult when you are also a woman.

Dr. James Mold believes the health care profession can learn a lot from farmers. When farmers have a problem, many times they’ll look to the network of cooperative extension agents spread across counties in a state. Mold believes creating a similar extension service network can provide that same support for health care providers.

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Andy Karellas learned a lot while working in his family’s restaurant growing up. He has used those lessons in his work in Washington, D.C.

Karellas, the new director of federal affairs for The Council of State Governments, has worked in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“I remembered working in the Senate was kind of like working in a restaurant, where we were just serving our constituents and serving our...

Which states have the highest rates of avoiding preventable deaths? How does the Midwest compare to the nation in providing equitable access to health care?
The most recent edition of a Commonwealth Fund report aims to provide policymakers with the tools to start answering these questions — and look for the best policies for maximizing health system performance.

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