CSG Midwest

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In mid-November the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed reducing the amount of biofuels in the nation’s fuel supply for the first time, potentially dealing a major setback to the ethanol industry.
The change would require almost 3 billion fewer gallons of biofuels — mainly ethanol — to be blended into gasoline in 2014 than under the current federal mandate. The proposal comes at a time when domestic oil production has exceeded oil imports for the first time in years, and when falling motor fuel demand has made ethanol an unexpectedly large part of the total fuel supply.
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For every 100 children born to a poor family in Iowa’s largest metropolitan area, Des Moines, about 11 will eventually reach the nation’s top quintile of income earners. In Indiana’s most populous metro area, Indianapolis, the rate is much less: Fewer than 5 of every 100 low-income children rise to the top rung of the income ladder.

These large variations in economic mobility occur across the country — among different cities, states and regions. What is the cause? 

November 2013 ~ Stateline Midwest » Preschool enrollment in Midwestern states (as % of state’s total population of 3- and 4-year-olds)
When Indiana Rep. Robert Behning was recently visiting a preschool, one of the instructors cited some alarming statistics.
The teacher pointed to three young African-American students. “She told me, ‘One of the three — if they don’t have the opportunity for a high-quality education in early childhood — [is likely to] end up in the criminal-justice system. Which one are you going to pick?’”
“No one wants to pick any of them,” Behning says. “It is much better for our society to provide early education and an opportunity to be a successful member of our community.”

In their new book “Why States Matter,” two of the nation’s leading scholars on American politics describe the far-reaching influence of states on the lives of citizens and on the direction of U.S. policymaking. They also say states matter more today than they have in at least two generations. And with no sign to an end of political gridlock in Washington, D.C., this rise in influence is likely to continue, creating new challenges and opportunities for state legislators and other leaders.

For many years, the livestock industry in Canada and the U.S., especially for cattle and pigs, has been integrated, with animals moving both ways across the border for feeding and slaughter. But new U.S. country-of-origin labeling requirements may change this relationship. 

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