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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.

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.

Public pensions continue to be a topic of great concern to state policymakers across the country. Struggling from years of insufficient contributions, combined with longer-living retiree populations, many states face mounting public pension liabilities. Understanding how your state’s plan compares to others around the country and having access to reliable data about pension plans are both essential  to making evidence-based policy decisions. This FREE CSG eCademy session, presented in partnership with the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, offers background on the state of public pension systems and introduces a free tool which can be used to inform debates about retirement security issues: Public Plans Data.

Many believe that taxes paid at the gas pump are what financially support roads, bridges, buses, trains and other public transit. While it is true that gas tax revenues are used to build and maintain transportation infrastructure, this revenue stream is no longer sufficient to pay for public transportation needs. Several states have begun to explore alternatives to the gas tax, such as the road usage charge—also known as the mileage-based user fee and the Vehicle Miles Traveled method. This eCademy session from The Council of State Governments West provided an overview of the road usage charge, as well as an update on how pilot programs are beginning to take shape in a few Western states.

Eight states passed gas tax increases in 2015, while a variety of others took other actions to shore up transportation revenues. But 2016 could also see a large number of states join the club even after Congress approved a federal surface transportation bill late last year. At least seven states appear poised to consider gas tax increases. Others are actively exploring tolling or other revenue options. During this annual CSG eCademy session, transportation experts, state house and political beat reporters discuss how transportation funding might fare in 2016 legislative sessions across the country.

Product stewardship laws have a goal of reducing the environmental, safety and health impacts of consumer products. These laws typically focus on the end-of-life management of these products and generally require the manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling or safely disposing of these products when consumers cease using them. This FREE eCademy webcast featured Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy for the National Association of Waste and Recycling, who discussed emerging issues and trends in product stewardship laws in the states.

Produced water is a term used to describe water trapped in underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production. Because the water has been in contact with the hydrocarbon-bearing formation for centuries, it carries some of the chemical characteristics of the formation and the hydrocarbon itself. Produced water may include water from the reservoir, water injected into the formation, and any chemicals added during the drilling, production, and treatment processes. Often, produced water is regarded as wastewater, but if managed as a resource rather than a waste for disposal, produced water has the potential to be used beneficially, such as helping to alleviate drought and reducing earthquakes caused by waste water injection. This webinar explores alternative uses and factors that influence the demand for alternative uses, as well as environmental concerns posed by produced water.

During this webinar, Dr. Nadene Davidson, Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Northern Iowa, and Chair-Elect of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's Advisory Council of State Representatives, discussed the effect of teacher shortages on the educator pipeline in the Midwest. She also described actions being taken by educator preparation programs, their PK-12 partners, and state policymakers to address this and other issues impacting the education profession.

Public pensions continue to be one of the biggest fiscal challenges confronting state and local governments. Even before the onset of the Great Recession, many state and local government plans were struggling to meet their pension and retirement health care obligations. While the run-up in the equity markets in recent years might have alleviated some of the fiscal pressures faced by public sector pension plans, there continue to be major challenges ahead on this front. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference provides an overview of the latest state pension trends alongside presentations from two SLC states on the specific measures initiated to bolster the funding positions of their plans.

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