Capitol Ideas Jan/Feb 2014

State policymakers looking for an innovative policy response to an issue they face can find it in The Council of State Governments’ cookbook for state policy—Suggested State Legislation. The program, commonly known as SSL, is one of the oldest tools CSG offers in its efforts to serve the states.

When the federal government shut down last October, 850,000 federal workers were furloughed for an unprecedented 6.6 million combined days. Forecasters estimated the shutdown cost the economy between $2 billion and $6 billion in lost output. 

by Michael Christensen

Michael Christensen, chair of CSG West’s Legislative Service Agency/Research Directors Committee, has been director of Utah’s Office of Legislative Research & General Counsel for 13 years. His staff of 60 helps state legislators be more effective. Here are his tips for new and experienced lawmakers on how legislative staffers can help.

Ohio Sen. Frank LaRose has been working with the National Institute on Civil Discourse to spark discussion about the way legislators converse with one another. He believes restoring civility in government will improve the success of the federal—and state—governments.

Alaska Rep. Craig Johnson’s greatest disappointment with politics today is the inability of policymakers to disagree without being enemies. That inability to get along in Washington, D.C., is creating problems in the states, Johnson and other members of The Council of State Governments’ leadership believe.

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