Whether a first-time elected official or a veteran policymaker, all members of The Council of State Governments share in common a distinguishing characteristic. By their very nature, state elected and appointed officials have demonstrated leadership—in their professions, in their communities, in their aims to strengthen their states.

President Trump released a fiscal 2018 budget plan today, which includes a $54 billion increase to defense spending and a corresponding decrease to domestic spending by the same amount. The fiscal plan, called a “skinny budget,” only contains the top-line spending numbers for each federal agency.  The plan also highlights the major cuts and increases to federal programs that the administration is seeking.

The full budget...

As the only organization representing all three branches of state government, CSG, in 2005, established an Interbranch Awareness Working Group, which later became the Interbranch Affairs Committee, that seeks to foster collaboration and understanding among and between the branches of state government. We asked the 2017 CSG Interbranch Affairs Committee co-chairs why interbranch cooperation is so important and how the states are helping to promote more multibranch approaches to public policy. Here’s what they had to say.

When it comes to comparing state legislative salaries, there are lots of caveats. In 2016, seven states paid legislators a per diem salary rather than an annual salary. Thirty-eight states paid their legislators an annual salary, with a huge range. In Texas, legislators were paid $7,200 per year while in California lawmakers earned $100,113. The average annual salary for these 38 states was $37,447.

President Trump signed a revised version of the Executive Order on Immigration yesterday, after the original order was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court. The purpose of the order is to protect U.S. citizens from terrorist attacks, including those committed by foreign nationals. It states that the U.S. will improve screening and vetting and the process of visa issuance. The revised order removes Iraqi citizens from the travel ban and scraps the provision that protected religious minorities. The order also suspends the refugee program for 120 days and lowers the acceptance of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 a year.

The 2016 Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey summary was released in January 2017. According to the survey, just over half of all military personnel are married, while 36 percent are married with children. Survey respondents indicated family quality of life is the top reason for leaving the service. When asked about their top concerns, 37.9 percent of military spouses site their employment as a major concern.

In the first month of the new single party control of the federal executive and legislative branches, a little known 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act has become one of the most discussed issues. 

Meet your 2017 CSG leadership: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Nevada state Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and Delaware state Rep. Helene Keeley.

Prevailing wage laws are created by state governments or local municipalities to set a rate of pay that is thought to be standard for a labor group contracted to do public-sector projects in that area. Twenty-nine states currently have prevailing wage laws. Since 2015, three states have repealed their laws and a number of states are considering repeal this year. 

Prevailing wage laws are laws created by state governments or local municipalities to set a rate of pay that is thought to be standard for a labor group contracted to do public-sector projects in that area. The standard rate of pay is oftentimes determined by analyzing local wage data and identifying the median or average rate of pay for a labor group or project.Twenty-nine states currently have prevailing wage laws.

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