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For decades, Iowa has served as the national kickoff event for the presidential election season, hosting the first caucus of the year. But who actually informs the process? Iowa hardly provides a demographic snapshot of the nation--with a population that is 94% white and with high proportions of Evangelical Christians. Who are the Iowa caucusgoers who set the stage for the national presidential election season? Here's a snapshot of who participates in the Iowa Caucuses.

Produced water is a term used to describe water trapped in underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production. Because the water has been in contact with the hydrocarbon-bearing formation for centuries, it carries some of the chemical characteristics of the formation and the hydrocarbon itself. Produced water may include water from the reservoir, water injected into the formation, and any chemicals added during the drilling, production, and treatment processes. Often, produced water is regarded as wastewater, but if managed as a resource rather than a waste for disposal, produced water has the potential to be used beneficially, such as helping to alleviate drought and reducing earthquakes caused by waste water injection. This webinar explores alternative uses and factors that influence the demand for alternative uses, as well as environmental concerns posed by produced water.

During this webinar, Dr. Nadene Davidson, Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Northern Iowa, and Chair-Elect of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's Advisory Council of State Representatives, discussed the effect of teacher shortages on the educator pipeline in the Midwest. She also described actions being taken by educator preparation programs, their PK-12 partners, and state policymakers to address this and other issues impacting the education profession.

Public pensions continue to be one of the biggest fiscal challenges confronting state and local governments. Even before the onset of the Great Recession, many state and local government plans were struggling to meet their pension and retirement health care obligations. While the run-up in the equity markets in recent years might have alleviated some of the fiscal pressures faced by public sector pension plans, there continue to be major challenges ahead on this front. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference provides an overview of the latest state pension trends alongside presentations from two SLC states on the specific measures initiated to bolster the funding positions of their plans.

As federal standardized tests fall out of favor, many states are exploring alternative measures on which to base their school accountability systems. In this free CSG eCademy webcast, presenters reviewed alternative measures for school accountability, charter schools, teacher assessments and student assessments.

The importance of ensuring effective teacher preparation programs, or TPPs, continues to be an issue of significant interest to state policymakers. As the focus of teacher education increasingly shifts from training to preparing, several states are undertaking new approaches to identifying and promoting successful TPPs. Louisiana and Tennessee have developed statewide systems that track the academic growth of a teacher’s P-12 students back to the preparation program from which that teacher graduated. This webinar focused on strategies by Southern states to ensure teachers are well-prepared for the classroom.

The American judicial system is complicated. How does a case get to the United States Supreme Court? Why are some cases heard in federal court and others in state court? Why do courts refuse to decide some issues? This free CSG eCademy webcast features Lisa Soronen, executive director of the State and Local Legal Center, and Paul Clement, partner at Bancroft PLLC and former U.S. solicitor general who has argued more than 75 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. The presenters explain the basics of how our court system works and how the decisions of this complex judicial system impact state governments.

More than 40 states considered legislation in 2015 aimed at allowing or regulating rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft. While many of these bills served to enforce standards already in place at these companies, others add additional requirements. During this free eCademy webcast, Dr. Kim Staking of California State University reviews the 2015 legislative, regulatory and insurance landscape for rideshare companies and look at what may lie ahead in 2016. A follow-up to a June webinar, this webcast is part of a collaboration between CSG and the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation to inform state officials on these issues, while maintaining a commitment to an unbiased, nonpartisan and academic approach to programming.

Released Aug. 3, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan, designed under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. One of the key changes in the final Clean Power Plan was to promote cross-state emissions trading between states, including through the establishment of mass-based targets and “trading-ready” mechanisms. This free CSG eCademy webcast features experts who discuss state emissions trading options as well as federal plans for states that fail to submit a satisfactory state plan that embraces trading.

Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal a significant increase in the use of heroin in the United States between 2002 and 2013, and the increased use of the drug spans across gender, age and income categories. The rate of death from a heroin overdose has nearly quadrupled over the same period of time; in 2013 alone, more than 8,200 people died from a heroin overdose. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference examines the policy options for lawmakers, recent legislative action in Kentucky to address the growing epidemic and efforts being undertaken by law enforcement in the SLC states to remove heroin from the streets.

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