Ilene Grossman

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Iowa families who homeschool their children have some new options as the result of legislative actions this year that remove reporting requirements and allow parents to teach unrelated students. Included as part of the state’s major education-reform package (HF 215), the new provisions also allow for parent-taught driver’s education.
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. 

Stateline Midwest

Canada is the largest supplier of energy to the United States, providing 9 percent of this country’s energy needs — more than Saudi Arabia and Venezuela combined. These statistics, and other information related to bilateral energy trade, were the focus of a joint meeting this summer of the MLC’s Energy and Midwest-Canada Relations committees.

The Midwest continues to develop wind energy capacity at an impressive rate. According to a recent report by the American Wind Energy Associaton (AWEA), every state in the region is expanding its installed wind capacity, with Indiana seeing triple-digit growth in the last two years.

Several states in the Midwest are now involved in carbon-capture-and-storage projects. 

More oil and gas come to the United States from Canada than from any other country in the world. The U.S. is a net energy importer in terms of oil and gas trade with Canada. Canada’s energy exports to the United States were valued at $76 billion in 2009, while U.S. exports to Canada were valued at $11.5 billion.

When officials at the Wisconsin manufacturing company Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery began seeking ways to expand the business, it became clear that one of their best options was to export. Taking this step, however, is not an easy one for small and mid-sized businesses such as Spee-Dee. The firm got a helping hand from the state, and has since become an early exporting success story. The ability of Spee-Dee and other businesses to export their products and services will be a critical barometer of the region's economic recovery and long-term prosperity.

In the 1930s, exports accounted for just 3 percent of the nation’s GDP. Eighty years later, the goods and services sold to other countries made up 12 percent of GDP, note Bruce Katz and Emilia Istrate in a recent report for Export Nation, a research project of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

During his State of the Union address in 2010, President Barack Obama announced his plans for the National Export Initiative, the goal of which is to double U.S. exports by 2015. Meeting this objective would result in an additional 2 million jobs, administration officials estimate.

Over the past few decades, more states have move away from the use of biennial fiscal cycles in favor of annual budgets, but Iowa and Michigan are considering bucking that trend.


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