Homeland Security

Viviette Applewhite has voted in every presidential election since she cast her first ballot for John F. Kennedy in 1960.

But the 93-year-old Philadelphia resident’s streak may end this year.

“I’m going to miss this one, though, because I don’t have any ID,” she explained in a video statement aired at a May 1 news conference at the Capitol. That’s because of a new Pennsylvania law that requires her to present photo identification at the polls.

Almost 60 years of federal record-keeping passed before this country reached its highest number of major disaster declarations, 81 in 2010. It took only one more year to shatter that record, with 99 in 2011. State emergency management handled the growing number of events even as the average operating budget slid for the second year in a row. While Congressional scrutiny over federal spending persisted in Washington, D.C., state emergency management showed the initiative and proposed a substantial restructuring of related federal grants, one that promotes flexibility and accountability. The backdrop to all of this is national elections, which can turn every issue—including better preparation for the next disaster in order to save lives and protect property—into a political football.

Chapter 9 of the 2012 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Book of the States 2012

Chapter 9: Selected State Policies and Programs

Articles:

  1. Elections, Greater Federal Grant Scrutiny and Ongoing Disasters Continue to Test Management System
  2. ...

The U.S.'s borders with Canada and Mexico are the subject of frequent and sometimes heated debates regarding trade, security and immigration. America's frontiers across the Caribbean basin and along the Arctic, however, have received little attention, but are just as vital for the future of commerce and public safety. This session featured discussions of the economic opportunities and security challenges along these forgotten borders and the impact that developments in these regions will have on states.

The U.S. is an arctic nation. It’s also a Caribbean nation.

While Alaska and Puerto Rico put the U.S. into those categories of nations, the interests of those states don’t typically make it to the top tier of American concerns. These forgotten borders were the topic of the International Committee meeting discussion Friday morning.

The U.S.'s borders with Canada and Mexico are the subject of frequent and sometimes heated debates regarding trade, security and immigration. America's frontiers across the Caribbean basin and along the Arctic, however, have received little attention, but are just as vital for the future of commerce and public safety. This session featured discussions of the economic opportunities and security challenges along these forgotten borders and the impact that developments in these regions will have on states.

The American Institute of Architects' Design Assistance Program, which aids communities in rebuilding after natural disasters, seems destined to be in high demand again this year after tornadoes and severe thunderstorms tore across Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky in early March. AIA’s Design Assistance Program brings together a team of experts from a variety of disciplines to evaluate how best to rebuild communities hit by natural disasters. The goal is to help communities rebuild to be safer, healthier and more attractive to residents and businesses.

The November/December 2011 edition of Capitol Ideas lists immigration as one of the top 15 issues facing the states. Listed below are several recent examples of how states are addressing immigration, as considered by CSG’s Suggested State Legislation Committee (SSL). 

The transportation systems of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are tied together in myriad ways and support hundreds of billions of dollars in commerce. Each nation faces its own unique challenges in the years ahead to ensure those systems continue to allow them to remain competitive in the global economy. This session examined how each country is addressing those challenges and what innovative ideas to improve transportation are worth examining elsewhere in North America.

The tsunami that followed a devastating earthquake in Japan in March threatened to impact the U.S. Pacific Coast, causing emergency management officials to issue tsunami warnings, make evacuation decisions and implement emergency operations plans.  While states were able to handle the event, a larger tsunami could have required international mutual aid assistance. The Pacific Northwest and Canada already have an agreement in place to provide resources and assistance. This session explored lessons learned from the tragedy in Japan and ways the U.S. might respond to such a catastrophic disaster. 

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