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WHEREAS, international trade and foreign investment are major contributors to the United States economy and help support millions of good-paying jobs throughout state and local communities; and

WHEREAS, U.S. exports account for nearly 13 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and support an estimated 11.5 million jobs; and

WHEREAS, the United States and Canada have one of the largest trading relationships in the world, and Canada is the United States’ largest export market, valued at $322 billion in goods and services; and

WHEREAS, in 2016, trade between the United States and Canada totaled over $1.7 billion in goods and services every day, supporting 9 million jobs in the U.S., and Canada is the leading export destination for 32 U.S. states; and

WHEREAS, the Farm Bill supports our nation’s farmers, ranchers, forest owners, food security, natural resource and wildlife habitats, rural communities and the 16 million Americans whose jobs directly depend on the agriculture industry; and

WHEREAS, the Farm Bill addresses America’s critical farm, nutrition, and conservation needs and requires strong bipartisan support; and

WHEREAS, the state and local tax deduction has been a feature of the federal tax code for over 100 years, dating back to 1913; and

WHEREAS, eliminating the state and local tax deduction would increase taxes for approximately 24 percent of taxpayers nationwide; and

WHEREAS, it is in states’ best interests to stabilize health insurance markets, increase consumer choices, reduce health insurance premiums and stem health care cost growth; and

WHEREAS, regulation of health insurance markets has been a traditional area of state responsibility; and

WHEREAS, federal funding for the CHIP program has not been appropriated for 2018 or beyond; and

WHEREAS, states adopted budgets for 2018 during their 2016 or 2017 legislative sessions assuming that federal funds for CHIP would be appropriated; and

CSG Midwest
Concerns about twin, 64-year-old pipelines located under the Straits of Mackinac (which connect lakes Michigan and Huron) led to a new agreement in late November between the state of Michigan and Enbridge. In announcing the deal, Gov. Rick Snyder said “business as usual by Enbridge is not acceptable.” According to the Detroit Free Press, the state has been frustrated about a “lack of forthrightness” regarding the safety of these pipelines, which are known as “Line 5” and carry up to 540,000 barrels of light crude oil and natural gas liquids every day.
CSG Midwest
In late October, an open letter detailing “#MeToo” stories in Illinois government became part of the larger national story about sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment. “Ask any woman who has lobbied the halls of the Capitol, staffed Council Chambers, or slogged through brutal hours on the campaign trail,” the letter begins. “Misogyny is alive and well in this industry.”
It then recounts specific stories of unwanted sexual advances, crude jokes, and inappropriate texts and comments. “Illinois deserves responsible stewards of power. Let’s demand better,” concludes the letter, signed by more than 300 legislators, lobbyists, staffers and policymakers.
It didn’t take long for the General Assembly to respond.
Because of the timing of the letter, the national #MeToo movement and a fall veto session, Illinois became one of the first states to pass legislation in the wake of the heightened awareness about sexual discrimination and harassment.
CSG Midwest
What’s at stake for the Midwest’s food and agriculture sectors when it comes to the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement? A whole lot of jobs and economic activity, according to a letter signed in November by nearly 170 agriculture organizations and companies and sent to all 50 U.S. governors.
“Withdrawal from the accord would have adverse impacts,” the letter states before detailing why, as well as the economic consequences in various sectors.
For instance, Canada and Mexico account for 40 percent of the volume of U.S. pork exports (seven of the 10 leading states for pork production are in the Midwest) and 27 percent of U.S. beef exports (five of the 10 states with the most cattle are in the Midwest).
CSG Midwest
At the peak of North Dakota’s oil boom, some schools in the western part of the state not only were employing teachers, but began housing them as well — in duplexes, triplexes or mobile housing units, Sen. David Rust recalls. This school-as-landlord idea has been one of the more dramatic actions taken in recent years to address the shortage of teachers.
More recently, housing costs have subsided in North Dakota’s oil country (“They’re still higher than we would like to see,” Rust says), but the lack of qualified teacher candidates persists there, as well as in many communities across the state.

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