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U.S. veterans involved in the justice system face unique challenges. Since 2008, court officials have begun to step in to prevent jail time for veterans suffering from mental health disorders. Judge Robert Russell of Buffalo, N.Y., has offered one solution--specialized veterans treatment court.

The new advertising campaign for the Federal Voting Assistance Program makes clear its mission for military and civilian voters living overseas: “Americans make small votes every day and we want to make sure that you get your most important vote home.” The program, a part of the U.S. Department of Defense, is using that campaign—in addition to an active social media presence and other efforts—to spread the word about the resources it is providing for citizens living overseas, according to Scott Wiedmann, the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s director of communications.

The language of workforce development is changing and the federal government’s shift in focus presents both some big opportunities and challenges for states. In July, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act—also known as WIOA. It was a reauthorization of the legislation formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The act requires regional and statewide collaboration between workforce development programs, industry leaders and educators. Each state will be required, beginning July 1, 2016, to submit a four-year unified strategy that identifies skills gaps with employers and how the state is going to close those gaps.

by Leon T. Andrews, Jr.
President Obama in February launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative that focuses on improving outcomes and opportunities for boys and young men of color. My Brother’s Keeper is not a new government program, but an initiative that builds on the momentum in communities across the country to improve life outcomes for boys and men of color.

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In Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, the Supreme Court will decide whether a federal court is barred from deciding a constitutional challenge to a Colorado law that requires remote sellers who don’t collect state sales tax to comply with notice and reporting requirements. The State and Local Legal Center’s ...

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Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate and maintained their control of the U.S. House of Representatives during the midterm elections Nov. 4.

Republicans also had success at the state level, winning governorships and seats in state legislatures across the nation. President Obama, acknowledging the election results, has expressed his intention to work in a spirit of cooperation with the Republican Congress for the next two years.

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The U.S. Senate has a full docket of White House nominations to consider when lawmakers return to Congress this week, including 35 ambassadorships, 16 federal district court judgeships and other administrative positions.

The most anticipated is the nomination of federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to replace departing Attorney General Eric Holder. In addition to the nominees, President Obama has selected Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson as the new White House liaison to state and local governments. Abramson was Louisville’s longest-serving mayor and also was president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the early 1990s. Abramson’s priorities will include helping states coordinate on the second open enrollment process under the Affordable Care Act and helping push for a raise in the minimum wage in states and cities.

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After the midterm elections saw Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate and increase their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, President Obama said he is willing and eager to work with a Republican Congress to address national priorities, including immigration reform.

By Nevada Sen. Pat Spearman
Veterans offer unique assets to the workforce and economic development of our country. Unfortunately, many challenges exist in pairing veterans with job, career and entrepreneurial opportunities. Members of the CSG Subcommittee on Military and Veterans’ Concerns identified five categories to address this issue and ensure active service members and veterans successfully move toward their goals on the pathway to prosperity.

by David Carroll

Over the last 25 years, the Carter Center has observed nearly 100 elections in 38 countries around the world. These experiences have generated a wealth of information about electoral practices across the globe, and an interesting basis to compare how elections are conducted in the U.S. A quick review suggests that while elections in the U.S. are generally of high quality and enjoy broad public confidence, the U.S. compares unfavorably with other democracies in a number of areas and/or fall short of widely recognized international benchmarks.

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