E-Newsletter

The new advertising campaign for the Federal Voting Assistance Program makes clear its mission for military and civilian voters living overseas: “Americans make small votes every day and we want to make sure that you get your most important vote home.” The program, a part of the U.S. Department of Defense, is using that campaign—in addition to an active social media presence and other efforts—to spread the word about the resources it is providing for citizens living overseas, according to Scott Wiedmann, the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s director of communications.

The language of workforce development is changing and the federal government’s shift in focus presents both some big opportunities and challenges for states. In July, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act—also known as WIOA. It was a reauthorization of the legislation formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The act requires regional and statewide collaboration between workforce development programs, industry leaders and educators. Each state will be required, beginning July 1, 2016, to submit a four-year unified strategy that identifies skills gaps with employers and how the state is going to close those gaps.

Transportation policy experts expect transportation funding to be high on the agenda in many state capitols when legislators around the country convene for their 2015 legislative sessions. Some states are long past due for addressing the transportation funding issue. Others have been hard at work this summer and fall in legislative study committees and other venues trying to come up with potential funding solutions. State lawmakers and others will have an opportunity in November to hear about past legislative successes, what lies ahead for 2015, innovative funding mechanisms from around the country, lessons learned from funding campaigns, and ways to develop messages and build coalitions for success in their own states. The Washington, D.C.-based organization Transportation for America is hosting a forum Nov. 13-14 in Denver.

North Carolina has exceeded the limits on emissions for ground-level ozone only once in the past two years. That could change under a proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is preparing to release a new rule lowering the ground-level ozone standard from 75 parts per billion, where it’s been since 2008, to an expected range of 70 to 60 parts per billion. The Council of State Governments will hold an eCademy session, “How Clean is Clean Enough: A Look at EPA’s Upcoming Ozone Regulations,” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EST Nov. 19.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in 1932 that a “single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Brandeis’ “laboratory of democracy” concept is very relevant to Alaska’s successful online ballot delivery and return voting system. Alaska is the only state that will allow its registered voters to receive and cast their ballots electronically for the Nov. 4 midterm election.

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