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On Sept. 2-8, a CSG-sponsored delegation of state leaders visited China to discuss regional policy issues and learn about bilateral relations. Over the course of the six-day trip, the delegation met with Chinese officials from the provincial, city and local levels in Beijing, Jinan and Shanghai. Additionally, the delegation met with Chinese nonprofit leaders to discuss cultural and social exchange programs and participated in an international convening of sister cities.

Since 2011, eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted state policies dealing with the testing and/or operation of autonomous vehicles. Those policies and other state initiatives have enabled a variety of autonomous technology testing activities around the country. With guidance to states from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expected this month and a number of states on the verge of enacting additional legislation, 2017 could be a big year for autonomous vehicles. But legislative challenges still could lie ahead for states looking to push the envelope on this potentially transformative technology.

What do natural disasters, the sharing economy and an aging population have in common? These are all policy topics where a basic knowledge of risk management and insurance can help state leaders make better policy decisions. In collaboration with The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, The Council of State Governments addresses these topics and more throughout a four-part webinar series designed to provide public policymakers with a greater understanding of risk management insurance through the lens of emerging issues. 

Natural resource extraction is a key component of many Western states’ economies and often generates a sizeable share of state revenue. However, natural resources are finite, the price of energy commodities is increasingly unpredictable, and revenues are volatile and tough for state forecasters to accurately predict. As a result, many states have created severance tax-based sovereign wealth funds to set aside a share of today’s revenue in order to generate investment earnings for state use in the future. This free CSG eCademy features Patrick Murray of The Pew Charitable Trusts, who presents findings and policy recommendations from a new research brief, including challenges and opportunities for state policymakers in energy-producing states.

During The Council of State Governments' eCademy webcast, "Building the Grid of the Future: How Technology Can Help," panelists discussed the aging electric grid, how new technologies can help meet energy reliability and affordability objectives, and how policymakers can help ensure the grid continues to meet consumer demands.

States are increasingly turning to community paramedicine to help fill the gap in the health care workforce. States have been experimenting with community paramedicine programs for the last five years or more. Expanding the role of licensed or certified emergency medical technicians—or EMTs—and paramedics to provide non-emergency preventive health care services directly to patients in their communities can be cost-effective and make up for health care work force shortages. 

In May 2016, the national unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, which is the lowest rate in eight years. The unemployment rate was 5 percent when the Great Recession began in December 2007, and it peaked in October 2009 at 10 percent.

This year, some university and college students in Pennsylvania will be permitted to serve as substitute teachers in the state’s public school districts, vocational-technical schools and intermediate units under a new law that becomes effective Sept. 12. The legislation signed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in July is an attempt to increase the number of substitute teachers in a state with a longtime shortage. The problem, however, is not unique to Pennsylvania. School administrators across the country struggle to find temporary stand-ins for teachers, and the law that allows college students to take the reins is just one example of several diverse solutions being reviewed and implemented by the states.

Technological innovation enabling autonomous vehicles is advancing rapidly. These advancements are likely to disrupt traditional automobile insurance models in the very near future. This FREE non-partisan and non-advocative eCademy webcast examined how autonomous vehicle technology works; its likely evolution and impact on insurance models and products; and how policymakers can address the myriad questions and challenges the technology presents.

As the nation’s electric grid ages and the ways in which consumers and utilities are interacting with the electric grid are changing, policymakers and regulators face the challenge of ensuring the continued efficiency, reliability, affordability and ease of operation upon which the grid was initially built. This FREE CSG eCademy webcast explores how new technologies can help meet energy reliability and affordability objectives and the role regulators and policymakers can play in formulating policies to help ensure the grid continues to meet consumer demands now and in the future.

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