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Like many programs, state tourism efforts took a significant hit during the Great Recession. Experts argue, however, that cutting tourism marketing programs can have long-term negative consequences for state economies.

 

April 2014 ~ Stateline Midwest »
Since 1996, states have had the authority under federal law to require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing.
In recent years, more and more legislatures have given serious consideration to using this authority, including a handful of states in the Midwest. Kansas and Minnesota are among the nine U.S. states with drug-testing laws already in place, and according to the Center for Law and Social Policy, at least 30 states considered bills last year (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota among them). 
Will Longwitz was sitting in his office in Washington, D.C., when Hurricane Katrina hit his home state of Mississippi in 2005.
Days passed and he hadn’t heard from his family and friends....
The popular perception that interstate compacts provide a tool for states to work cooperatively to avoid a federally mandated solution is true, but the long held opinion oversimplifies the use of compacts....

Many states are following a new path to economic development—retraining their workforce for jobs of the 21st century. Wisconsin is one of those states. Its Fast Forward Initiative allocates state funds to help companies train new and current employees, administered through a grant application program. Two Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development officials—Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry and Scott Jansen, administrator of the Division of Employment and Training—will discuss the state’s retraining efforts during an April 21 webinar, “Training for Today: Retraining the Workforce for 21st Century Jobs.” The webinar, presented by Capitol Ideas magazine and CSG’s State Pathways to Prosperity initiative, will begin at 11 a.m. EDT.

Entrepreneurial experts from the Kauffman Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts say Nebraska is in pretty good standing when it comes to state policy that fosters entrepreneurship. But there’s always room for improvement, said Dane Stangler, vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Overall, Nebraska is doing well,” Stangler said after the event. He was comparing the state to the two other states where The Council of State Governments has held Entrepreneurship Days. “Nebraska has good assets in the legislature and an engaged community from what we can tell.

New companies likely will be the ones bringing new jobs to the U.S. economy, and most of those will come through entrepreneurs, said Yasuyuki Motoyama, a senior scholar for policy and research at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. For that reason, states should be looking for ways to help entrepreneurs.

Laws in forty-two states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit texting behind the wheel by all drivers. The eight states without such laws have all seen efforts in recent years to follow suit. Four of the states with texting bans have secondary enforcement statutes requiring an officer to catch the driver in another traffic offense. Two of those states have seen legislation introduced this year to move up to primary enforcement, where an officer can ticket a driver solely for texting while driving. But even as states are trying to crack down on texting, some in law enforcement question the degree to which such laws can be enforced and the degree to which they can be successful. 

The health home, sometimes called a patient-centered medical home, is a relatively new health care model intended to provide team-oriented care for patients with chronic conditions. The intent is for providers to focus on improving care rather than managing costs, although savings are expected as a result of better care coordination. This brief reviews a number of studies of this care model. Early results of the research suggest that the model leads to improved care and may also save costs. The research also suggests that this change in health care delivery will not alone yield all the outcomes desired. Under the ACA, states are receiving funds to implement the health home model.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the 2014 president of The Council of State Governments, sees education as a key to developing a workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. But he believes states also can do other things to attract jobs.

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