When a Nevada rancher sparked a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing his cattle without paying fees to the federal government, it highlighted once again the longstanding debate over ownership of federal lands in the West.

 Policymakers from eight Western states gathered April 18 in Salt Lake City for a legislative summit to discuss the transfer of public lands from the federal government back to the states. Some state leaders believe they are better prepared to manage the land and will do so in an economically and environmentally responsible way.

The U.S. Department of Labor is using $100 million dollars of current funds to increase the use of apprenticeships in the workforce.  As part of President Obama's charge to Vice President Biden to build a stronger middle class, these competitive grants will allow state partnerships to develop and increase the use of internships that lead to employment.

On April 22, the Supreme Court issued a decision in one of the biggest cases of the term. And that case might affect your state today—or could affect it soon.  In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action the Supreme Court held 6-2 that voters may by ballot prohibit affirmative action in public universities admission decisions.

As NCSL’s Affirmative Action:  State Action chart describes, a number of states prohibit the use of affirmative action in a variety of contexts.  While this case was limited to the use of race in public university admission decisions, Michigan’s constitutional amendment also prohibits the use of racial-preference in state and local employment and contracting.  Presumably, these provisions are also constitutional. 

On April 16, 2014, President Obama asked Vice President Biden to take the lead on investments necessary to assist individuals get trained with the skills needed to land a job. Following training the initiative strives to help hard-working Americans get placed in a good, middle class job.  The first effort offers competitive grants to partnerships of community colleges, employers and industry so they can create job-driven training programs.

April is Safe Digging Month, the time of year when key stakeholders in the energy community come together to communicate how important it is that professionals and homeowners alike call 811 and follow the safe digging process to help prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient utility outages.

The American Gas Association, a CSG Associate member, has...

Talk to state leaders who have been through The Council of State Governments’ Henry Toll Fellowship Program and one thing becomes clear: They took something away from the weeklong program that immediately help them be a better public servant.

The 2014 Toll Fellowship Program, set for Sept. 5-10 in Lexington, Ky., likely...

When a Nevada rancher sparked a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing his cattle without paying fees to the federal government, it highlighted once again the longstanding debate over ownership of federal lands in the West.

Policymakers from eight Western states gathered April 18 for a legislative summit to discuss the transfer of public lands from the federal government back to the states....

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard in March signed legislation to make his state the 43rd one to ban texting while driving. The new law, which will take effect July 1, prohibits drivers from using any handheld wireless device to write, send or read text messages or emails while the vehicle is in motion.

During the Great Recession, states faced enormous challenges related to funding a number of vital programs. One of those programs was adequately financing their unemployment insurance trust funds, a program that originated in the 1930s. As a result of the doggedly high unemployment rates in so many states during the Great Recession and previous actions taken by states (such as expanding unemployment benefits and cutting unemployment insurance taxes), the unemployment insurance funds in a majority of the states were thrust into perilous shape. By 2013, the funding position of these funds improved as a result of an advancing economy and a series of actions initiated by states.

A 2011 study by Deloitte for the Manufacturing Institute found that American manufacturing companies could not fill as many as 600,000 positions—or 5 percent of manufacturing jobs—due to a lack of qualified candidates, and 56 percent of manufacturers anticipate that shortage will increase in the next three to five years. Technological advancements, particularly in the manufacturing area, mean that workers need more specialized skills to both get and keep jobs. To get to those skilled workers, companies must make a decision: Look for new, qualified employees or retrain their current workforce.

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