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With less than a month before the Nov. 4 midterm elections, voting laws in eight states are being challenged in state and federal courts, some going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This eCademy session sheds light on several recent voting law challenges across the country and how these cases may impact the states in November and beyond.

In a fiscal environment with much competition for limited state resources, state leaders need the ability to make data-driven policy decisions more than ever before. Increasingly, state leaders are using economic analysis software and data systems to predict economic impacts. Users have used one of those programs, IMPLAN, to estimate the direct, indirect, induced and total impacts of foreign direct investment to their state’s economy including the number of jobs supported, labor income, total value added and tax revenue.

Only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh, with 2 percent locked up in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining 1 percent that is available for human and animal uses has seemed, in the past, to be an inexhaustible, yet vital, resource. Abundant water for drinking, sanitation, industry, irrigation, transportation and recreation has been a hallmark of much of the South. Development pressures, changes in precipitation patterns and transitioning priorities and consumption levels, however, have caused a shift in this situation.

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.

Tooth decay affects nearly 60 percent of American children. More than one in three adults reports not visiting a dentist in the last year. Though dental care was once considered merely cosmetic, its importance to overall health is well documented. Untreated decay can lead to serious, potentially life-threatening infection. Pregnancy outcomes and heart disease also are linked to dental disease. 

This eCademy session explored how the Affordable Care Act can bring coverage to more children and adults in states that expand...

MAP-21, the 2012 federal surface transportation authorization bill, is set to expire later this year. Meanwhile, the Highway Trust Fund faces an insolvency crisis due to rapidly dwindling gas tax revenues, and there appears to be little agreement in Congress on how to fund the federal transportation program. Some say that makes this year ripe for a reconsideration of the federal role in transportation and have proposed devolution of the federal program to the states.

Interstate compacts often are seen as a way for states to work cooperatively to avoid federal intervention; however there is considerable precedence for federal participation in interstate compacts. In fact, federal officials are active in several compacts, with participation ranging from congressional consent to direct federal involvement.

A 2011 study by Deloitte for the Manufacturing Institute found that American manufacturing companies could not fill as many as 600,000 positions—or 5 percent of manufacturing jobs—due to a lack of qualified candidates, and 56 percent of manufacturers anticipate that shortage will increase in the next three to five years. Technological advancements, particularly in the manufacturing area, mean that workers need more specialized skills to both get and keep jobs. To get to those skilled workers, companies must make a decision: Look for new, qualified employees or retrain their current workforce.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan includes an emphasis on Next Generation Compliance, a model that focuses on achieving a higher rate of regulation compliance using advances in both emissions monitoring and information technology. A key component of that strategy shifts reporting responsibilities to industry, requiring companies, states and other entities to submit compliance data electronically. In this webinar, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies convenes a group of experts to discuss how the new focus will affect the EPA's current enforcement approach; practical implications for state enforcement staff; changes in reporting requirements for states; and state implementation of new compliance technologies as well as the cost.

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