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To paraphrase former first lady and the first U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights begin in small places, close to home. In that spirit, the U.S. State Department would like to share important information about the Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, a major international human rights mechanism in which every U.N. member state participates, and invite state government officials to join public consultations that are part of this process.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas unveiled a new performance-based funding model for higher education. The proposal will go before the Legislature in 2017. Most states have some element of performance incorporated in to funding formulas. If the proposal is passed, Arkansas would become the fifth state to have a funding formula based exclusively on outcomes. Universities and community colleges would receive their funding not based on enrollment, but rather on measures of their productivity, such as degree completion.

West Virginia state Sen. Ron Stollings, or Dr. Stollings to his patients, used his experience as a physician to inform his policy decisions while serving as the chair of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee for four years. “I have boots on the ground,” said Stollings. “I see up to 20 patients a day and I see what all is troubling them and what issues they are having and frequently I can take those issues to the statehouse and try to implement changes that might positively impact people.” Stollings said only about 20 percent of health outcomes are attributable to the traditional medical care system, so he focused on public health issues such as obesity, vaccinations and tobacco use during his time as the Health Committee chair.

On July 29, President Barack Obama signed into law S. 764, a bill to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, which includes a provision to create a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs, and preempts any state laws. The legislation, also known as the Roberts-Stabenow bill, passed the House of Representatives 306-117 and Senate 63-30 earlier this month.

Massachusetts took an innovative approach to closing the wage gap between men and women with first-of-its-kind legislation barring employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. Bill S.2119, or An Act to to Establish Pay Equity, was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on Aug. 1 and will go into effect July 1, 2018.

“I am pleased to sign bipartisan legislation to create a more level playing field in the Commonwealth and ensure that everyone has...

By Crit Luallen
It would be no surprise if a young person whose perception of public service has been formed through the lens of cable news and its 30-second sound bites was forever dissuaded from choosing a career in the public arena. So much of what we see today involves the negative attacks and divisive rhetoric that have fueled increased polarization in this nation. But an innovative program in Lexington, Kentucky, offers an opportunity for a select group of future leaders to see public leadership in a far different and much more positive way. The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship is a nonprofit dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders in the essential skills of diplomacy, negotiation and conflict resolution. Thanks to a collaborative partnership that includes The Council of State Governments, the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky, and Transylvania University, the Henry Clay Center expanded in 2016 to hold both a high school and college-level Student Congress in the same year for the first time.

By Sallie Clark

Counties are at the forefront of assisting individuals with behavioral health needs, annually investing $83 billion in community health systems, including behavioral health services. Through 750 behavioral health authorities and community providers, county governments plan and operate community-based services for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse conditions. County-based behavioral health services exist in 23 states that collectively represent 75 percent of the U.S. population. Counties also help to finance Medicaid, the largest source of funding for behavioral health services in the U.S., and serve as the local safety net, administering wrap-around human services support.

Across the nation the Pokémon Go craze is sweeping people off their feet and, most importantly, out of their houses. Whether it’s in front of a small coffee shop or the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital, one need not look far before spotting an impromptu gathering of youth, clutching smartphones and searching for virtual Pokémon creatures that have seemingly infiltrated the real word through the game. Businesses have caught on, purchasing “lures” as a way to attract Pokémon creatures to their location—and to attract...

During The Council of State Governments’ eCademy webcast, “Human Trafficking—How States are Responding,” panelists discussed legislation, task forces and funding to combat human trafficking at the state level.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which people, often children, are forced into sex work or other labor. The Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization that works to combat human trafficking, estimates that the number of adults and children being forced into labor in the United States numbers in the...

In the wake of several high-profile incidents involving the injury or death of citizens during altercations with law enforcement, questions surrounding police misconduct and use of force have grown in recent years. Increasingly, policymakers and the American public alike are looking to and calling for the use of body cameras by law enforcement officers in an effort to increase transparency in police-civilian interactions. A 2015 University of Nevada, Las Vegas survey revealed that 85 percent of those in a national sample of U.S....

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