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While its use dates back before the founding of the United States, the interstate compact mechanism has evolved from a tool to settle land disputes to an agreement between the states that allows policymakers to solve some of America’s most pressing issues. This FREE CSG eCademy offers a tutorial on the interstate compact mechanism and showcases the compact in practical use on issues ranging from healthcare to the criminal justice system and the education of military children.

Competency-based education—also known as proficiency-based, performance-based and mastery-based education—is a personalized, student-centered approach to learning in which students demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills and move toward graduation at their own pace. This FREE CSG eCademy features experts in competency-based education at the K-12 level, and explores the role of state policy in supporting the use of competency-based education.

Nuclear energy has provided commercial electricity generation in the United States since 1957, when a plant in Shippingport, Penn., came online. Between 1966 and 1977, 75 nuclear reactors were built in the U.S. However, a combination of escalating costs and increasing safety and environmental concerns halted almost all construction of new nuclear reactors in the U.S. after 1978. While the future of nuclear energy is uncertain, the construction of the first new reactors in decades and the continuing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is leading to an increased interest in nuclear energy.

International trade directors from more than 35 states participated in meetings and discussions with federal officials, foreign dignitaries and other partners at the State International Development Organizations’, or SIDO’s, Washington Forum in Washington, D.C., the first week of April. SIDO members met with federal officials to discuss implementation of two recent legislative actions, namely the passage of the Small Business Trade Enhancement Act of 2015, or the State Trade Coordination Act, and the reauthorization of the State Trade and Export Promotions, or STEP, program.

For state budgets, every dollar counts. But this is perhaps even more so the case at a time when state economies are still recovering from the Great Recession. That’s why New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller decided to take a closer look at state accounts when he was elected in 2014. In February, the New Mexico Office of the State Auditor released the second annual Fund Balance Report, which focuses on unspent funds in state government accounts that don’t automatically revert to the state’s general fund. In New Mexico, Keller took a look at unspent funds across all state agencies that didn’t automatically revert back to the general fund. And the results, he said, were somewhat surprising. “The dollars were much higher than anyone expected.”

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults—United States, 2014 report, which found that nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-60 are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The average hours of sleep Americans get each night vary across states and across geographic locations, the average hours of sleep Americans get each night also vary across racial and ethnic groups, age groups, employment statuses, levels of educational attainment, and relationship statuses.The implications of sleep deprivation extend beyond individual health and can impact public safety and the workforce.

State officials are closely watching as the U.S. Department of Education releases more information on what the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, changes in accountability system requirements and funding mechanisms. As states grapple with the upcoming changes to federal requirements, it is important to know about the increased flexibility for state and local policymakers. This FREE CSG eCademy webcast explores what the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act means for state leaders, with a focus on accountability systems and data policy.

Two years ago, Colorado reported success in dramatically reducing the state’s teen birth and abortion rates by 48 percent from 2009 to 2014 through a privately funded initiative that provided long-acting reversible contraception, known as LARCs. LARCs—intrauterine devices, or IUDs, and subdermal contraceptive implants—are highly effective forms of birth control, with a pregnancy rate of less than 1 percent within the first year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For comparison, oral contraceptive pills have a pregnancy rate of 9 percent and male condoms have a pregnancy rate of 18 percent in the first year. The LARC devices are effective for three to 10 years. In the last days of budget negotiation in Colorado in early April, legislators approved $2.5 million in state funding to provide LARCs to low-income women.

States may reap some revenue rewards following the rollout of new rules by the U.S. Treasury Department related to corporate income taxes. On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the issuance of new regulations that are intended to make it more difficult for companies to pursue corporate inversions—the practice used by companies to reincorporate overseas in order to reduce their tax burden on income earned abroad—and to reduce subsequent profits for tax purposes through a tactic called earnings stripping. Earnings stripping is a technique employed by companies after a corporate inversion to minimize U.S. tax obligations by transferring debt to a foreign parent company and declaring the interest on the debt as a deduction.

Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have produced a whirlwind of state government activity since 2013 with more than 30 states and the District of Columbia approving legislation to address the legality of the services and a host of other issues. The issue of the adequacy of insurance for rideshare drivers has produced some of the most significant questions for lawmakers. A model law developed by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators has become a template for many of the state laws passed in recent months but some states have approved rideshare laws with unique features.

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