Capitol Comments

The Council of State Governments will convene the fourth meeting of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Compact drafting team next week.  During the meeting, which will take place September 13-14 in Lexington, finishing touches will be put on the draft compact, which CSG aims to have ready for introduction into the states during the 2011 session.  CSG, through The National Center for Interstate Compacts, began efforts to draft the compact in late 2010 at the request of its membership.  To learn more about the meeting or the compact please check CSG's Knowledge Center following the meeting or contact Crady deGolian at cdegolian@csg.org or at 859-244-8068.

 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced this week that highway deaths in 2009 fell to the lowest number since 1950. That happened even while vehicle miles traveled increased. Last year saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded (1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled). The number of people injured in motor vehicle crashes declined for the 10th straight year. Alcohol impaired driving fatalities declined by 7.4 percent. All of this evidence points to successful federal and state efforts to make the nation’s roads safer.

President Obama this week proposed $50 billion in new infrastructure spending for roads, railways and airport runways and promised to pair it with “a long-term framework to reform and expand our nation’s investment in transportation infrastructure.” While the plan was welcomed by many, others wondered if it was too little, too late and pretty much dead on arrival with just eight weeks to go before the mid-term elections. It was—at the very least—a long-awaited conversation starter that included some not altogether unfamiliar or unexpected ideas.

Yesterday I told you about our new CSG Capitol Facts & Figures brief on the Condition of U.S. Roads and Bridges. Well, if you’re looking for some better news, there’s a new annual study out this month from the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, that gives a somewhat different perspective. The report finds that state highways are in the best shape they have been in nearly 20 years.

The federal government’s moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling—which was expected to continue through November 30th in order for the government to devise new safety regulations and environmental response measures—has faced a stumbling block in court today as the federal judge overseeing the case permitted the challenge to proceed.

According to a new report released today by the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has dropped to 11.1 million in 2009 from a peak of 12 million in 2007, an 8 percent decline.   The researchers note that this is the "first significant reversal" in illegal immigrant growth in the last twenty years.

The study found that fewer illegal immigrants came to the United States every year between 2007 and 2009 than in years in the first half of the decade.   Specifically, approximately 300,...

At a time when good news seems to be scarce, the number of U.S. children in foster care is down sharply, according to new data released by the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. The number of foster children fell by over 20 percent during the last decade, from 540,000 in care ten years ago to 423,773 in care on September 30, 2009.

Despite billions in Recovery Act dollars spent on infrastructure over the last year and half, the nation still faces an epidemic of crumbling roads and bridges in the years ahead and a shortage of dollars to pay for it all under current funding conditions. That’s the picture that emerges from CSG’s new four-page Capitol Facts & Figures brief entitled “Condition of U.S. Roads & Bridges.”

The Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3) has launched its new Web site, www.MIC3.net.  The new Web site will serve as an information hub for military families, school officials, and other interested members of the public.

The compact was created because military families move between postings on a regular basis, and while reassignments can often be a boon for career personnel, they can be difficult for the children of military families. The average...

Two California bills creating the state health insurance exchange mandated by federal health reform law are on the way to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Governor is expected to sign the bills.

The California bills are the first state legislation on health insurance exchanges since Congress passed federal reform earlier this year....

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