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Colorado election officials were regularly seeing 70, sometimes 80, percent of voters casting their ballots by mail. That’s because the state offered the ability to vote as a permanent absentee. To do so, however, voters had to apply for permanent absentee status. That changed with a 2013 law that standardized the vote-by-mail process. Now, everyone in the state receives a ballot by mail that they can cast by either mailing it back or taking it to a voter service center.

Colorado is among several states in recent years to pass laws improving the election system and increasing voting access.

The New York Court of Appeals in June 2014 overturned New York City's highly publicized soda ban that limited purchases of fountain drinks to 16-ounce cups in an attempt to reduce constituents' consumption of soda.  Most states have lieved taxes on soda purchase intending to influence consumer choices, promote public health and generate revenue. 

Skin cancer is caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and results in about 13,000 deaths annually. Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, is responsible for 9,700 deaths each year. The American Cancer Society estimates 76,000 new cases of melanoma in 2014. Because tanning beds increase the risk of developing skin cancer, the FDA has recently reclassified tanning beds and states have enacted legislation limiting minors’ access to tanning beds.

NEMA is very proud to release the first-ever report tracing the history of EMAC and its impact on national mutual aid policy and operations. A state-driven solution, EMAC stands as a tested and proven success story and an example of what determined individuals can accomplish when working together to make a difference for the nation.

By Dennis L. Dresang

Officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state governments need all the traits and skills required of leaders generally. They must have vision, passion and energy. They must be able to communicate and both command respect and be respectful. The institutions of government and the values of public service place unique demands on state government leaders ... the general characteristics of leaders are not enough when serving in the state legislature.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—The solar electricity industry in the United States has seen dramatic growth in the past few years. But some believe states could be doing more with policy to put solar on a more level playing field with electricity produced by fossil fuels. That’s what two consultants told attendees Aug. 13 at a daylong policy academy during the recent CSG National and CSG West Annual Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—Strict adherence to the American principle of separation of powers should not stop members of the three branches of state government from coming together to improve child welfare and juvenile justice services to vulnerable children. That was the feeling at a panel discussion Aug. 13 at the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference moderated by Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—The UPS headquarters in Louisville, Ky., has found a way to attract good workers and connect those workers to higher education. UPS/Metropolitan College covers the cost of tuition, books and academic bonuses to employees who work in the UPS overnight air operation while they’re attending school. The company partners with the University of Louisville, one of the largest universities in Kentucky, and the Jefferson County Community and Technical College to offer the program, Nick D’Andrea, director of state government affairs for UPS, told attendees at the Aug. 13 session, “Linking Education, Workforce Development for More Competitive States,” during the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—Nicholas Burns, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and former adviser to four U.S. presidents, thinks the world is in pretty bad shape right now. That’s a sobering thought considering he began his career in public service during the height of the Cold War....

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—Nearly 200 state leaders, guests and Alaska legislative staff helped pack 32,000 meals for the Alaska Food Bank during The Council of State Governments’ service project Aug. 13. The project—which began in 2010-11 during Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris’ year as chair of CSG’s Southern Legislative Conference—grew this year to be part of Norris’ initiative as CSG national chair, “State Pathways to Prosperity.” The service project occurred on the final day of the joint CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference.

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