The start of a new presidency offers state and local government officials an opportunity to connect with representatives of the new administration, share their priorities and concerns, and calibrate their intergovernmental affairs strategies. For state and local governments in the Western United States, establishing effective partnerships with key federal agencies is crucial due to the federal government’s regulatory footprint on a number of regionally-important policy areas such as energy and water resources management, public land ownership, and national defense installations.
Recent voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington legalizing the use of recreational marijuana have amplified the debate and the uncertain social and legal ramifications. The Future of Western Legislatures Forum featured industry perspectives and insights from officials about how their states are implementing these initiatives. The session also focused on state medical marijuana laws, including state program comparisons and challenges.
The U.S. in 2015 will chair the eight-nation Arctic Council. The WESTRENDS Board, a program of CSG West that looks at trends affecting the region, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn what the Arctic means for the West and about state and local perspectives in Arctic policy decision-making.
Western legislators will have the opportunity to review and discuss recent draft guidelines aimed at determining which waters are within the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act. The CSG-WEST Western Water & Environment Committee will consider the guidelines, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during the 64th CSG-WEST Annual Meeting in Hawaii.
While enjoying an unprecedented level of cooperation in recent years on numerous cross- border policy issues, the United States and Mexico face important challenges that will affect the long-term prosperity of North America. These challenges include the need for both countries to address the contentious issue of immigration, promote a shared vision for competitiveness in the 21st century and give government the tools to manage binational concerns along the U.S.-Mexico border.
One of the most crucial linkages in contemporary international relations involves the multifaceted and complex one shared between the United States and Mexico, a relationship that spans centuries and extends into myriad different arenas.