More than half of states have now legalized marijuana use—recreational or medicinal. That’s a massive shift in policy from just a decade ago. With this shift comes a slew of legislative, regulatory and fiscal questions for state policymakers to tackle. This day-long policy forum will provide an overview of the current legal landscape and best practices for taxation, regulation and licensing. The forum will discuss emerging trends and provide attendees direct exposure to Nevada’s marijuana legalization experience.

The Council of State Governments will host its 2017 National Conference from December 14th-16th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The meeting will offer engaging policy sessions geared toward state officials in all three branches of government. To access copies of speaker presentations, please visit the individual session pages below.

Water issues are some of the most important policy questions facing state officials across the nation. Hurricane Harvey unleashed more than 9 trillion gallons of water and dumped more than an average year’s worth of rainfall in some places—leaving underwater as much as 30 percent of Harris County, home to Houston, our nation’s fourth largest city. Science tells us that flooding is becoming more common and severe, meaning that hurricanes like Harvey and Irma are likely harbingers of disasters to come. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, resulted in an estimated $385 billion in social costs, stemming from toxic levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. Other water issues, including water quality improvements, droughts, water resource management, integrated water planning and the impacts of new federal regulations, raise a host of policy concerns for state leaders now and in the future. This one-day policy academy will explore a variety of these topics and highlight innovative policies being adopted across the country.

Water consumption, quality, and water supply have become hot button issues in the past few years with hundreds of cities and towns at risk of significant shortages either because available water is not safe to drink or because there simply isn’t enough of it. Recent events, such as drought in California and the Flint water crisis, have focused attention on competing demands for this limited resource.

According to a report from the U.S. Government...

On November 30, 2017, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced H.R. 4492, the “Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Reauthorization Act of 2017.” The bill reauthorizes and doubles the funding levels for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, a credit assistance program designed to accelerate investment in our nation’s water infrastructure....

The House of Representatives is set to vote today on H.R. 3017, the “Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017.” The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), reauthorizes the EPA’s brownfields program which expired in 2006.

A brownfield is “a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant,...

CSG Midwest
In May and late June, heavy rains fell on the Maumee River, which begins in Fort Wayne in Indiana, runs through agricultural areas in northeast Ohio, and eventually flows into Lake Erie in Toledo. The river, scientists say, has high concentrations of phosphorus, and with all of the spring and summer precipitation, those nutrients discharged into the smallest of the five Great Lakes.
The end result: One of the worst observable algal blooms in Lake Erie. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only the years 2011, 2013 and 2015 had more severe blooms. The federal agency’s findings were the latest reminder of the “poor” and “deteriorating” health of Lake Erie (see table), and of the importance of states and the province of Ontario reaching their agreed-upon goal: reduce nutrient runoff into the lake by 40 percent by 2025. 
Climate Adaptation

We are living in an era of “big data,” with big data and evidence-based decision making transforming the world, from energy to health care sector—and increasingly in the public sector as well. We have access to monthly and annual energy consumption by the residential and commercial sector, which together account for 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. We know what is the monthly and annual employment, unemployment, and labor force data across U.S. states, counties, metropolitan areas, and even cities. If we want to know how...

For a while it seemed certain the Supreme Court would rule on the legality of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). With new regulations proposed to rescind the CPP, Supreme Court review seems less and less likely.  

If there was ever any doubt that President Trump’s March 28 executive order (EO) Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, which called for the “suspending, revising, or rescinding,” of the CPP would not ultimately lead to the repeal of the CPP, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule states directly that it will.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced on Monday that the Trump Administration would begin the official process of rolling back the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Speaking at an event in eastern Kentucky, he said, “Here’s the President’s message: The war on coal is over.”

The CPP would have required states to devise plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan gave states specific targets for reducing...

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