A group of The Council of State Governments’ members recently visited the headquarters of CSG Associate member Esri, an international Geographic Information System, or GIS, software company, in Redlands, Calif., to discuss how to use data and apps to make better policy decisions in their states.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say yes, using a sophisticated microsimulation model to predict impacts of the tax. In a report released last month, the Harvard researchers calculated the proposed soda tax in Philadelphia would prevent 2,280 cases of diabetes each year once the tax is fully implemented. The Harvard microsimulation model assumes lower consumption if the city implements the three cents tax per ounce of sugar-sweetened beverage, a 49 percent price increase.

The Virginia Department of Elections is revolutionizing how the public and election officials see election data at a local and state level. Last week, the Virginia Department of Elections released the Virginia Election Data Project, which provides election and voter data online in an interactive, user-friendly format. The project was completed by department and local registrars, with the assistance of the Pew Charitable Trusts Election Initiative.

Annual observation created to raise awareness of mental illness and mental health offers a catalyst for making changes in the criminal justice system.

It has been called the sharing economy, the peer-to-peer economy, the app-based economy, the gig economy. New platforms and businesses such as Uber and Airbnb allow individuals to make use of underutilized resources such as their cars and homes, keep their own hours, and pocket the earnings. But with these new platforms have come fundamental concerns about the changing nature of work that expose thorny questions not only for workers, consumers and the businesses themselves but for government at all levels, as well.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation on May 18 that will allow him to name two new justices to the Arizona Supreme Court, bringing the number of justices to seven from the current five-member court. But how does the number of justices on the Arizona Supreme Court compare to courts of last resort in other states? Here’s a state-by-state look at the number of judicial seats on state courts of last resort from The Book of the States 2015.

Pursuant to Article VI Section I of the adopted Bylaws of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission and of Section 11, Subsection H of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, duly adopted by the Legislative Bodies of, and, signed into law by the hand of the Governors of the assembled member states of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission, notice of a public meeting of the full Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission is hereby served.

HIV and Hepatitis C, both highly infectious diseases, continue to spread in some states and among some parts of the population. Several states introduced legislation in 2015 and 2016 that explicitly allows needle exchange programs as a means to prevent and control potential public health crises.

With Kansas and Mississipi joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission, membership now stands at 16 states.

California Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon chairs the state’s Select Committee on Youth and California’s Future and is a founding member and co-chair of the Legislative Technology and Innovation Caucus. He believes technology is a key driver for economic development efforts, and the state can help build the technology infrastructure and ensure the future workforce is well equipped for the jobs of tomorrow.

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