The slow economy and unpredictable Trump administration have governors in a bit of a straitjacket, some more than others. Chief executives in states with reasonably stable finances are able to speak positively to their public—some are opting for long overdue pay raises for state workers, expanding programs, innovating others, and replenishing rainy day funds. Those in states suffering financially are less sanguine, holding firm to tight agendas by limiting policy concerns, discussion about budget priorities and/or emphasizing the need for continued hard work and sacrifices ahead. This is the first year since 2007 that gubernatorial concerns and policy options related to economic development and jobs have fallen from the top three issues considered by at least two thirds of governors. In 2007, these concerns tracked fifth in terms of being mentioned by at least 66 percent of state chief executives. The Great Recession officially began later that year and states seemingly have yet to fully recover.

Proceedings of the Medicaid 201 Leadership Policy Academy, Sept. 13-15, 2017

 

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Chapter 4 of The Book of the States 2017 contains the following articles and tables:

The mix of energy sources used to generate electricity across the country has changed significantly in the last decade as coal, while still the largest single source of fuel, has lost its share of the generation market to natural gas and renewables like wind and solar. States’ electricity generation includes such sources as coal, natural gas, nuclear power, hydropower, and renewables. The electricity generation mix varies significantly from region to region and even state to state, depending on available resources and regional market prices.

The U.S. House of Representatives this week approved bipartisan legislation known as the SELF DRIVE Act (HR 3388), which would give federal law priority over state laws when it comes to regulating the safety and design of autonomous vehicles. Action now moves to the Senate, where another bill is expected to emerge this Fall and where a hearing will take place next week. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao next week is expected to travel to Michigan to release an update to the autonomous vehicle policy guidance document issued a year ago by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These activities could lead to not only an increase in the number of vehicles being tested around the country in the years ahead but also provide clarity for state policymakers on the role state governments can play in regulating these vehicles going forward.

Voters left the overall partisan landscape in state legislatures relatively unchanged in 2016, despite a tumultuous campaign for the presidency. The GOP remains firmly in control of legislatures. Their overall ranks grew slightly in the 2015 and 2016 elections allowing the party to reach new historic heights. Democrats saw modest gains in Western states that were offset by Republican success in the Midwest and South.

Chapter 3 of The Book of the States 2017 contains the following articles and tables:

The start of a new presidency offers state and local government officials an opportunity to connect with representatives of the new administration, share their priorities and concerns, and calibrate their intergovernmental affairs strategies. For state and local governments in the Western United States, establishing effective partnerships with key federal agencies is crucial due to the federal government’s regulatory footprint on a number of regionally-important policy areas such as energy and water resources management, public land ownership, and national defense installations.

This article discusses eight Supreme Court cases of interest to states during the 2016–17 term. This term lacks any blockbuster cases at least partially due to being down a Justice most of the term. The court will decide three First Amendment cases (one religion, two speech), one education case, one preemption case, and a few other interesting but narrow cases.

On Wednesday, September 6, The Council of State Governments co-hosted a briefing entitled “The Future of the National Flood Insurance Program: Helping Communities Prepare and Respond” on Capitol Hill, along with the National Association of Counties, the National Governor’s Association, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), initially created in 1968, provides homeowners and small...

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