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The Council of State Governments hosted its 2014 National Conference from August 9-13 in Anchorage, Alaska. The meeting provided state leaders with a robust agenda structured to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing state governments. If you would like to watch any of the sessions or would like to get copies of the presentations, please visit the individual session pages housed here in the Knowledge Center. Audio of many of the presentations will be available shortly.

This session provided an overview of solar technology and policy. Panelists discussed current markets and trends, the value of solar technology, and benefits and barriers to this technology. Speakers explored how solar technology fits into net metering and discussed the future for solar technology.

Children often are a voiceless population, left to navigate the incredibly complex child welfare system—from family and juvenile courts to child protective services—depending on that system to provide the protection they need to survive and thrive. This workshop highlighted three state multibranch efforts to enhance services to children and families, provide protection for children and pave the way for future generations to escape cycles of violence, poverty and neglect.

Several medical professions have been working with CSG’s National Center on Interstate Compacts to explore the use of compacts to promote license portability to ensure access to high quality health care. These efforts have the potential to help facilitate telemedicine and widen access to a variety of medical services. Licensing compacts also provide a mechanism to ensure state regulatory agencies maintain their licensing and disciplinary authority. This session featured a discussion about the proposed compacts and their potential to enhance access to medical care across the states.

States must make the connection between education and workforce development to compete in the global economy. Reducing the skills gap and providing an educated workforce are important not only to help individuals attain prosperity, but also to help states reach economic prosperity. This session explored how higher education initiatives—combined with effective state policy—will prepare America’s workforce to meet the needs of today’s employers.

America’s economic engine is fueled by intellectual property rights, which drive innovation and protect consumers. Innovative and creative companies perform better and contribute more to local economies than their counterparts. The direct and indirect economic impacts account for more than 40 percent of U.S. economic growth and employment, 40 million American jobs, 30 percent higher wages and 74 percent of total exports. This session highlighted the latest developments in intellectual property and how they affect your state.

Public education in the U.S. was established with a vitally important civic mission—to prepare each generation for informed and engaged citizenship. As part of CSG’s ongoing work exploring the history and current challenges of federalism, this session took a step back and explored how we are teaching future generations about government and civic participation.

With the new proposed rules by the United States Environmental Protection Agency related to section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act, many states have questions about what the rule means for their state. The session addressed the questions state leaders need to ask to have a better understanding of how the rule affects their state’s businesses, citizens and energy future.

The 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act aims to ensure U.S. military personnel, their dependents and other U.S. citizens living overseas have sufficient time to request and receive ballots and states allow enough time for the ballots to be counted. Significant progress has been made, but more improvements are needed. In this session, key stakeholders shared their perspectives in working to enhance voting for overseas Americans and discussed the need for state-level policy improvements.

While debate about improving the nation’s health care system continues, policymakers, health care experts and consumers essentially agree on three goals—improving patient care, creating healthier communities and reducing health care costs. States face huge challenges in developing successful strategies for broad population impact, and even bigger challenges for having a positive impact in rural areas and among certain disadvantaged population groups. Speakers addressed strategies for improving population health, increasing immunization coverage, and providing data to guide state decision-making.

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