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2020 ISSUE 5


W EN D EL L H A N N A FO R D Dire c tor, C SG E as t / E as ter n Re gional C on f erence


COVID-19 CSG is closely monitoring this evolving health crisis and is working to bring our members the latest resources to assist their communities.

Visit us at web.csg.org/covid19


ISSUE 5 / 2020

ON THE COVER Wendell Hannaford, director of CSG East/Eastern Regional Conference retires at the end of 2020 after 42 years of service to The Council of State Governments.


The COVID-19 global health crisis upended communities across the world and changed the way people worked, learned, ate, shopped, lived and more. CSG moved its annual national conference to a virtual platform in 2020 to protect our members and partners.

C E L E B R AT I N G S E R V I C E After 42 years of service to CSG East/Eastern Regional Conference, Director Wendell Hannaford is retiring. His colleagues join CSG members in honoring his work and legacy.

2 0 U N D E R 4 0 R E C I P I E N T S Through its inaugural 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, CSG recognizes the

outstanding leadership of up-and-coming elected and appointed officials. Meet the recipients of this year’s award and discover what motivates them to serve their communities.


Over the last 60 years, the number of jobs requiring a government approval to practice a profession has grown from about one in 20 to nearly one in four. Learn more about how states can prioritize these occupational licenses for military families and others.










06 New Year’s Resolutions


There is no denying that 2020 has been a tough year. So join CSG members as they look ahead to 2021 and cast their hopes for the new year.

08 A Reimagined National

Conference The COVID-19 global health crisis upended communities across the world and changed the way people worked, learned, ate, shopped, lived and more. CSG moved its annual national conference to a virtual platform in 2020 to protect our members and partners.

10 State by State


For more than eight decades, “The Book of the States” has served as the resource of choice for state-by-state comparisons and relevant, accurate and timely information for all 56 states, commonwealths and territories of the U.S.

32 Future of Occupational

To help elected and appointed state officials across the country, CSG continues to update its online resources each week to offer the latest data and trends, a comprehensive list of executive orders and more.


12 Celebrating Service

40 Final Facts


After 42 years of service to CSG East/ Eastern Regional Conference, Director Wendell Hannaford is retiring. His colleagues join CSG members in honoring his work and legacy.

During the holiday season, communities around the world take part in special traditions unique to their location and history. Discover holidays celebrated around the world.



Through its inaugural 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, CSG recognizes the outstanding leadership of up-and-coming elected and appointed officials. Meet the recipients of this year’s award and discover what motivates them to serve their communities.

Licensure Over the last 60 years, the number of jobs requiring a government approval to practice a profession has grown from about one in 20 to nearly one in four. Learn more about how states can prioritize these occupational licenses for military families and others.

11 COVID-19 Resources


16 20 Under 40 Recipients






contributing ROGER MOORE writers CSG South/SLC

publisher DAVID ADKINS


Policy Analyst rmoore@csg.org

editor-in-chief KELLEY ARNOLD



managing editor BLAIR HESS

Membership Assistant mrobertson@csg.org


associate editor JOEL SAMS

CAPITOL IDEAS, ISSN 2152-8489, ISSUE 5, Vol. 68, No. 1 – Published five times annually by The Council of State Governments, 1776 Avenue of the States, Lexington, KY 40511-8536. Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Council of State Governments nor the views of the editorial staff. Readers’ comments are welcome. Subscription rates: in the U.S., $42 per year. Single issues are available at $7 per copy. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Capitol Ideas, Sales Department, The Council of State Governments, 1776 Avenue of the States, Lexington, KY 40511-8536. Periodicals postage paid at Lexington, Ky., and additional mailing offices.

jsams@csg.org Mailing lists are available for rent upon approval of a sample mailing. Contact the sales department at (800) 800-1910.

graphic designers THERESA CARROLL tcarroll@csg.org


Copyright 2020 by The Council of State Governments.

snorthern@csg.org An accessible version of this publication is available upon request. Please email capitolideas@csg.org.

JESSICA RUSHER jrusher@csg.org


capitolideas@csg.org 30 SFI-01681

Rep. Joan Ballweg

Sen. Sharon Carson

KANSAS CSG National President

WISCONSIN CSG National Chair


David Adkins

Wendell M. Hannaford


CSG EAST DIRECTOR whannaford@csg.org

Rep. Lucy McVitty Weber NEW HAMPSHIRE CSG East Co-Chair

Sen. Ken Horn MICHIGAN CSG Midwest Chair

Speaker Cameron Sexton

Sen. Michael Von Flatern



Michael H. McCabe

Colleen Cousineau

Edgar Ruiz

CSG MIDWEST DIRECTOR mmccabe@csg.org

CSG SOUTH DIRECTOR fitzgerald@csg.org

CSG WEST DIRECTOR eruiz@csg.org


Gov. Laura Kelly


What’s Happening at CSG


Don’t Miss Out: Watch Pre-Recorded CSG National Conference Reimagined Sessions


Due to the COVID-19 health crisis and in an effort to best serve our members, CSG moved its national conference online in 2020 and offered eight weeks of virtual programming on topics including health care and Medicaid, disability employment policy, interstate compacts and occupational licensure, criminal justice, emergency management, COVID-19, equity and inclusion, sustainability, cybersecurity and more. If you missed any of these sessions and are interested in viewing this free content, visit web.csg.org/2020 and select “Past Events” in the menu.


CSG 2021–22 National Task Force Will Develop Public Policy Solutions for Healthy States CSG Justice Center Launches Criminal Justice Metrics Project Justice Counts, a new initiative led by The Council of State Governments Justice Center and supported by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, is designed to help policymakers and criminal justice practitioners make better decisions using data. The initiative centers on intense collaboration to provide policymakers with data to develop a set of criminal justice metrics that are attainable and impactful for any state or agency. Justice Counts establishes a large network of partners with connections in all 50 states and thousands of counties and cities across the U.S., representing key officials in the areas of policymaking, law enforcement, courts, corrections, behavioral health and more. Visit justice-counts.org to learn more.


CSG Joins Department of Defense in Effort to Develop New Interstate Compacts for Occupational Licensure


For decades, members of the U.S. military and their families have been hampered by the variations in state occupational licensing regimes. States have prioritized license portability for military spouses by enacting legislation to streamline or expedite licensure, but barriers to true reciprocity still exist. In September 2020 the CSG National Center for Interstate Compacts entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to support development of new interstate compacts for occupational licensure. CSG will help develop interstate occupational licensure compacts, addressing multistate professional licensing issues that impact transitioning military spouses and professionals in statelicensed occupations. To learn more, visit compacts.csg.org.

Following the conclusion of the work of the two CSG National Task Forces — Healthy States and The Future of Work — and the resulting recommendations, The Council of State Governments will launch a new two-year task force in 2021 to continue this great collaborative work. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created an abrupt disruption to state revenues and immediate implications for state leaders charged with oversight of fiscal, health, education and public safety systems. To assist states with recovery and rebuilding, the CSG Healthy States National Task Force will address major public policy issues arising from the pandemic in 2021–22. CSG will bring together 80 state officials and CSG Associates to identify challenges faced during and as a consequence of this unprecedented crisis.

Legislative Leaders Join Leading Experts for Problem-Solving Discussions at Virtual Forecasts CSG invited legislative leaders from across the country to participate in a series of virtual roundtable discussions with leading experts. The groups were brought together to equip CSG members with insights and data-driven information to lead in a time of national crisis. Spanning August through December, the CSG 2021 Forecast for Legislative Leaders was made up of eight collaborative conversations that provided a trusted, non-partisan environment for candid and collegial discussions among legislative peers and intellectual authorities on an array of topics. As states continue to lead amidst COVID-19, legislative leaders are beginning to ponder long-term fiscal impacts and how to rebuild post-pandemic. To learn more about this series and the upcoming 2022 Forecasts, visit web.csg.org/forum.

They Tweeted It

THEY T WEETED IT Sonya Jaquez Lewis @sonyajlewis • Oct 15 @CSGovts Thanks for the shoutout. I'm honored to serve as the first #Latina Rep from Boulder County. Much work to do around #healthcareaccess especially now during #COVID but first let's #VOTE #HispanicHeritageMonth

Carmelo Ríos @CarmeloRios • Nov 13 At a meeting of the advisory committee of @CSGovts discussing the achievements made this year and projects that we will launch during 2021.#TrabajandoPorTi #Experiencia #Liderato #Compromiso

Matt Wilhelm @WilhelmForNY • Nov 13 Congrats to the inaugural Council of State Governments' 20 Under 40 Leadership Awards!

Barb Byrum @BarbByrum • Oct 24 Thank you @CSGovts and @CSGovts_OVI for the PPE! #COVID19 #Vote

Sen. Steiner-Hayward @ESHforOregon • Oct 27 During @CSGovts elections seminar, @StefWKight points out Gen Z much less likely to believe online disinformation since they’re much more familiar with social media algorithms, etc.

Bo Watson @SenBoWatson • Nov 23 Opened up “Capitol Ideas” from @CSGovts and...BOOM! My good friend and colleague @ElectPatsy featured. Awesome! @ TNGOP @hcgoptn @tnhousegop @robints @estherhelton5 @Todd_ Gardenhire @HakeemForHouse @RepMikeCarter @TNECD

Rep. Donna Bullock @RepDonnaBullock • Nov 27


#BlackWomenLead #BlackWomenVote thank you @ CSGovts for highlighting the contributions of women in electoral politics.


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award


For 2021 As we look ahead to the new year, CSG members reflect on 2020 and set goals for 2021.

2020 has been a year filled with challenges for families and policymakers. I look forward to working with my colleagues in addressing the challenges that we will face in 2021. I resolve to adhere to and follow the advice of the scientists and healthcare providers in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in a nonpartisan manner. I am very hopeful that we will turn the curve in 2021.”

— Sen. Hillman Frazier, Mississippi


My New Year’s resolution is to approach the challenges facing my home state with a fresh perspective. This coming year, I have been given a new opportunity to serve as my caucus’ leader, which will require me to look at the issues through others’ eyes. I hope to take on this new role with awareness, understanding and discernment.”


— Sen. Dan McConchie, Illinois

2021 Resolutions

My New Year’s resolution is to help build a new “post-COVID normal” in which ALL people have the opportunity to thrive. The “old” normal was terribly inequitable. Let’s build the new normal.”

— Rep. Javier Martínez, New Mexico

I can honestly say the New Year is all about one word: HOPE! Research indicates that hope can help us manage stress and anxiety and cope with adversity. It contributes to our well-being and happiness and motivates positive action. My hope for 2021 is that our great nation will focus on hope through the strength and strong belief in faith, family, freedom and friendships. America is too great to lose hope!”

— Rep. Rick Youngblood, Idaho

Each new year and legislative session brings with it the opportunity to explore new challenges, take a step back and look at an issue from a fresh perspective, build coalitions and to rededicate oneself to driving legislation to the finish line that has previously fallen short for any number of reasons. I have numerous priorities to tackle for 2021 including criminal justice, health care, water quality and workforce investment, but the end goal always remains the same: to find a way to make the greatest positive impact I can in my constituents’ daily lives as an advocate for their families and future, within the limited time we are all granted on this earth.”

— Sen. André Jacque, Wisconsin

— R ep. Tim Butler, Illinois


My 2021 resolutions as a legislator include continuing to work across the aisle to find common ground, while holding true to my values. Also, as co-chair of the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial Commission, I resolve to reach out to my colleagues just to the west of Illinois — Missouri — to make sure they have a great Bicentennial celebration this year. Sorry that we beat you to the punch on statehood by almost three years.”


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

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CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

State By State The Book of the States Reference Tool Provides Relevant and Valuable Resources

Did you know that Alabama has the longest constitution by word count in the U.S.? Or that Vermont’s constitution is the shortest at just 8,565 words? Here’s another interesting fact: in 2020, Rhode Island had the fewest number of amendments adopted to its constitution, at just 12.

answers and comparisons for all 56 states, commonwealths and territories of the United States. The 2020 volume includes 195 in-depth tables, figures and infographics — like the one below on state constitutions — illustrating how state government operates. CSG mined more than 500 sources to obtain the information shared in this year’s edition. Discover more at issuu.com/csg.publications/docs/bos_2020_web.

Since 1933, CSG has served as a resource for state leaders and a catalyst for innovation and excellence in state governance. “The Book of the States” has been the annual reference tool of choice since 1935, providing relevant, accurate and timely information,

Table 1.3 | State Constitutions




Constitution Length by Word Count LONGEST

of Alabama’s constitution


is made up of local amendments that apply to only one county.


Amendments Submitted

Amendments Adopted




92,345 85,036

Oklahoma Colorado

Highest Number of Constitutions



Vermont Iowa

Rhode Island Indiana

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5






Rhode Island • 14 Illinois • 22 Connecticut • 35 Pennsylvania • 40 Alaska • 43



#1 #2 #3 #4 #5

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5

Alabama • 946 California • 538 Texas • 507 South Carolina • 500 Oregon • 258



HIGHEST Alabama • 1,280 California • 909 South Carolina • 690 Texas • 686 Oregon • 505

Rhode Island • 12 Illinois • 15 Alaska • 29 Michigan • 32 Montana • 32





Covering COVID-19


s 2020 comes to a close, COVID-19 persists in communities across the world. In the U.S., the pandemic CSG KEEPS STATE LEADERS INFORMED continues to have a significant impact WITH ONLINE RESOURCES on the country's health care industry, the economy, education, employment and nearly every aspect of life. The Council of State Governments (CSG) recognizes the challenges our members face in developing budgets, policy and solutions for their constituents. To help elected and appointed state officials across the country, CSG built an online resource, updated weekly, that offers the latest data and trends, state-by-state comparisons, a comprehensive list of executive orders and more. Since April, CSG has updated this resource for our members. Most recently, CSG has tracked the certification of election results by state, a complete list of state vaccination plans and the most recent executive orders and enacted legislation. To learn more and to view this exhaustive list of resources, please visit web.csg.org/covid19. If you need assistance with finding a resource, please contact membership@csg.org.










CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award


By Joel Sams


For 42 years, retiring CSG East/ERC Director Wendell Hannaford has served the states

CSG East Director Wendell Hannaford


olitical discussions were a main course during Wendell Hannaford’s childhood. Around the dinner table, the Hannaford family served up strong opinions on everything from presidential candidates to current events, reinforcing the value of dialogue, diplomacy and evidence-based argument. Lessons learned around the table bore fruit. Throughout his 42year career, the retiring CSG East director has earned a reputation for collaborative problem solving, and his relational approach to policy work has proven its worth through the decades.

“By nature, I'm a consensus builder,” Hannaford said. “Maybe I learned it at home; maybe it was those fights over candidates around the dinner table, trying to bring empirical evidence to the arguments and discussions.” Hannaford’s official last day at CSG will be Dec. 31, but he leaves behind a legacy of accomplishments — from the creation of the Eastern Trade Council to the recruitment of five Canadian provinces as international associate members — that will serve the states long beyond his tenure. “Building relationships is at the core of our work at The Council of State Governments,” said CSG Executive Director/CEO David Adkins. “No one is better at forging meaningful connections between state officials than Wendell Hannaford. Wendell has been a gregarious and smart ambassador for CSG for decades. State officials have consistently looked to Wendell for trusted information and wise counsel. CSG has relied on Wendell to creatively develop new ways to deliver on our promise to the states. His humor and integrity make him a valued colleague and friend. Wendell’s professional legacy is reflected in the improved public policy outcomes of the states he served. Those states are stronger because of his commitment to our mission and his passion for bringing people together to do good. Wendell Hannaford made a difference for CSG and for our nation.”

As a CSG field representative, Hannaford was assigned to four states. He had policy responsibilities in energy and environment and was also responsible for dues and developing relationships with leaders — “In fact, all the things I do now as director,” he quips. In 1981, Hannaford was promoted to assistant director, and was promoted again in 1982 to deputy director. Serving under then-Director Alan Sokolow, Hannaford created a regional task force on economic development exploring how states could collaborate on export promotion.

in Crisis

COVID-19 isn’t the first crisis Wendell Hannaford has weathered with CSG. He also lived through two disasters in New York City — the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 9/11 attacks. In the wake of 9/11, Hannaford, along with New York state Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and former state Senator Carl Marcellino, went to the governor with a request: the CSG Eastern office has been in Manhattan since 1937. Help us stay. “We pitched [Gov. George Pataki] on helping us out with an extra appropriation of $100,000 a year so that we could stay in Manhattan and they came through for us,” Hannaford said. “They’ve paid it ever since.” Seven states also created a “Rebuild the Eastern Office” fund to help cover expenses not covered by grants and insurance — nearly $158,000. CSG East also received $108,000 from corporate sponsors at the time: Phillip Morris, Sunoco, Verizon, Astra Zeneca, Pfizer and the Karol Group. “The states really came to our rescue,” Hannaford said. “We were created out of crisis to help the states share information during the Great Depression, and 75 years later, when the Eastern office was in crisis, the states came forward to support us. That, to me, really shows the value of the organization.”


Hannaford’s CSG career began in 1978, when he was hired as a field representative for CSG East. Coming to CSG from the office of New York state Sen. Bernard C. Smith, where he had served as a research assistant, Hannaford was excited to gain broader experience with state government.

Standing Strong


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award “One thing we needed to do was identify commonalities between states in exports,” Hannaford said. “The Urban Institute had done a study for five Southwestern states, identifying what they exported and international markets where those products would have a competitive advantage.” The two-year study provided individual analyses for each CSG East state, with results that surprised many. “The signature line […] is that our analysis determined the Northeastern states were ‘export underachievers,’ exporting about 4% of their GSP compared to a national average of around 7.2%,” Hannaford said. Leveraging that data, states could make better-informed decisions about where and how to market their products. They just needed to work together. Following a conference at Harvard, with three governors in attendance, the Eastern Trade Council was created to identify opportunities and bring the Eastern states into conversation about trade issues — a mission it continues to fulfill. “We decided one of the ways to sustain a regional strategy was to create an ongoing mechanism where the state trade directors could meet and jointly decide where we had markets,” Hannaford said. “So, we created the Eastern Trade Council. And that’s probably one of the things I’m most proud of at CSG.”

A panda steals the show during an Eastern Trade Council trip to China led by Hannaford (top left). Hannaford makes remarks during the 2019 Eastern Leadership Academy (ELA).

Véronique Cavaillier, director of the Eastern Trade Council, has worked with Hannaford for more than 20 years and was a board member from the council’s beginning. She says Hannaford’s ability to inspire collaboration was crucial for success. “He had to convince the different states that it was in their interest for the trade offices to come together and actually share best practices in a business climate where everything is about job creation and performance, and you’re measured annually on your production,” Cavaillier said. “The idea of sharing your talent and your resources can be very difficult to overcome, and I can say that was not easy at the start of the Eastern Trade Council.”


What’s something people may not know about you?


Get to Know


I coach soccer. I coached my son from about age

7 all the way up through high school, and we were pretty competitive. He played in college. He was a goalie — I put him in that position, because nobody else would take it. I do sing in my church, and have done solos on occasion. I’m sure nobody knows that!

CSG East Director Wendell Hannaford “Wendell, you have been an astoundingly competent, dedicated, passionate, energetic, informative leader of the region, and we owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude for holding things together, for being sensitive to your staff and for respecting all of us from our different jurisdictions. You’re a very special human being. You’ve done an astounding job and deserve to chart your own course. Congratulations.” Former Massachusetts state Sen. Paul White, 1991 CSG National Chair

Cavaillier says Hannaford’s personal approach carries through to all of his work at CSG. “Everything is crafted,” she said. “He puts a lot of thought into everything that he does and the relationships that he creates to make projects like the Eastern Trade Council happen.” Another key accomplishment during Hannaford’s tenure was the recruitment of five Canadian provinces as international associate members of CSG East / ERC — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. “The provinces are hugely valued and appreciated by our members,” Hannaford said. “It gives us an opportunity to talk about how they are addressing things like COVID-19, and how we are. We can make comparisons in healthcare and other ways.” The economies of the Northeastern states and the eastern Canadian provinces are closely linked — Hannaford says the Eastern states do $1.3 billion in daily trade with Canada — so maintaining a close relationship benefits everyone. “One of the most valuable things we did in my time was to slowly bring the individual provinces on board as international associate members,”

Hannaford said. “Now they regularly appoint to our committees, and we had planned to take the ERC Annual Meeting to Ontario this year in August. Previous CSG East annual conferences have been hosted by Nova Scotia and Quebec. Hannaford’s relational approach to his work extends to colleagues and members alike. CSG Midwest Director Mike McCabe says Hannaford has often reached out to him for input or guidance, even when Hannaford was an expert on the subject himself. “He just felt that he would benefit in his own thinking by reaching out to others, and I'm sure he does the same thing with his members in the East,” McCabe said. “I think that helps to ensure that the members with whom he works truly are engaged in the process and take ownership for its success. Wendell talks about these efforts being member-driven efforts — they truly are, and I think that's a real credit to his approach. “Someone who devotes 42 years of of a professional career to one organization has already told you something important,” McCabe continued. “In Wendell’s case, clearly he cares deeply about the things that CSG stands for. He's given almost his entire professional life to CSG, and I don't think anybody who does that does it lightly.”

Pick three books for a desert island. The Power Broker by Robert Caro The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam The World According to Garp by John Irving

Sailing, soccer, tennis, running, music. I play classical piano — took lessons for many years, growing up.

What’s one thing you’ve kept in your office through the years? I have an old compass. It was given to me by a fellow sailor. It reminds me — stay focused; have a direction.


What are your hobbies outside of work?



CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award


Award Recipients

The Council of State Governments is excited to announce its inaugural 20 Under 40 Leadership Award recipients. As esteemed and accomplished public leaders from across the country, these 20 elected and appointed officials represent their states and territories with hard work and a dedication to public service. The CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award recognizes the outstanding work of up-and-coming elected and appointed officials throughout the U.S. who not only exemplify strong leadership skills but have also demonstrated a true commitment to serving the citizens of their state/territory.

They come from different states, from different political parties, from different backgrounds and experiences, but each shares a common goal: to improve the lives of those in their communities.

If you would like to apply for the 2021 CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award or if you have someone to nominate for the recognition, applications will be open in January. Visit web.csg.org/20-40 to learn more.


The 2020 recipients are distinguished leaders who exhibit the ability to engage officials across parties, departments, branch and/or state lines in meaningful ways to advance the common good for their state or territory, provide exceptional leadership to a state project, committee, chamber, commission or special group and serve as a champion of change, seeking to enhance the lives of all constituents within important policy areas.


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

james coleman Representative, Majority Co-Whip | CO When Colorado state Rep. James Coleman saw the number of students facing suspension in his state, he knew he had to take action. In Pre-K through third grade alone, 7,000 Colorado students were suspended in a single year. To Coleman, the issue was clearly an opportunity for bipartisan effort — everyone should be driven to find a solution to an issue that has profound implications for students’ lives. The passage of HB17-1211 in Colorado provided cultural and behavioral sensitivity training to teachers across the state to reduce suspensions and expulsions of Pre-K through 12th grades students, especially students of color. “This bill first passed the Democratic-controlled House and was then sent to a Republican-controlled Senate committee where it was going to be voted down,” Coleman said. “When I learned of the plans to kill this bill, I paid a visit to Senate President Kevin Grantham to discuss the importance of this policy and to seek areas of common ground with him. Despite our profound differences, the Senate President and I were able to approach this systemic problem not from a political or partisan viewpoint, but rather from the sincere desire to help our children succeed in their academic endeavors.”

Coleman is proud of the policies that he has helped enact by using this bipartisan approach. He is the majority co-whip and serves on the Appropriations and Education committees and is vice-chair of the Business Affairs and Labor Committee. “I was inspired to run for office by my wife, children, family and community,” Coleman said. “I believe in serving the most vulnerable members of my community to help them make a better life for themselves and their families.” Bettering his community means helping all people by helping those at the bottom, Coleman said. “The biggest obstacle I've faced in public service is being a Black man. I have received criticism for championing issues facing the Black community because it is believed that I don't care about issues facing all whom I represent. The Black community makes up only 4.6% of Colorado's population, yet we make up the highest percentage of academic failure, incarceration and economic hardship per capita. I believe a rising tide lifts all boats.” When he isn’t working, Coleman spends time on the basketball court playing with his son, James Jr., in the kitchen baking with his daughter, Naomi, and spending time with his wife.


“2020 has been a tough year, but I'm encouraged by the way America has shown up to


protest for racial justice … I’m encouraged by the external pressure and support placed on the Colorado legislature by the people who rallied, shouted, shed tears and suffered injuries, yet continued to push for police reform. Those same individuals are voting and planning for what comes after Election Day. That is what democracy looks like, and I'm encouraged to see that it is not dead.”

Award Recipients

“As the youngest member of the Washington state Senate, I work every day to engage young voices in the political and legislative process […] I tell them that it takes a village to get something done. You need to show your neighbors that you’re listening to them, understand their concerns and will work with them to fix the problems that need solving.”

emily randall Senator, Majority Whip | WA

Washington state Sen. Emily Randall, a self-proclaimed “impatient optimist” needs a magic wand or, perhaps, a pot of gold under the rainbow. “I want to make sure everyone can afford a roof over their head, that we can all get to work or school or the doctor safely, that we can all build a career path that’s right for us, that every one of our community members is empowered to make the health care choices that are right for them,” Randall said. But without that magic wand, she knows the resources are limited, which means it can’t be done all at once. “I’ve had to learn to embrace incremental accomplishments — building the scaffolding to support the future we all deserve.”

“A lot of people told me that I should run for lower office first — and those city council, county council or commissioner positions are super important!

Health care has been an important issue for Randall for many years. Her sister, Olivia, was born with a complex disability and even with good government employee health insurance, the care she needed wasn’t completely covered. When the state of Washington expanded Medicaid in 1993, her family, along with many others, got the coverage they needed. “I ran for office because I know that we can do more collectively than individually,” Randall said. “I ran for office because I’ve seen the power of systems and policy to change people’s lives in my own life. I ran for office because I saw families still struggling to afford health care, to pay for college and to find work that was safe and fulfilling and allowed them to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. I ran for office because I believe that when we work together, we can build a stronger future for all of us.”


Randall took office in 2019 and was just elected Majority Whip by her party. She said the best piece of advice she’s received is to decide which problems you want to solve and put yourself in the position that has the power to solve those problems.

But I wanted to make sure people had access to health care that was affordable, high quality and there when they need it. I wanted to make sure young people could afford to go to college. Those were problems that the state could solve, and that’s why I became a state senator — so I could be part of those solutions.”


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

tony vargas As an immigrant family in America, Nebraska state Sen. Tony Vargas’s parents often felt unseen and unheard, like their voice didn’t matter. Seeing the tremendous sacrifices that his parents made to provide for Vargas and his two older brothers, he realized that he had a responsibility to do more for his family and for his community. “Upon moving to Nebraska, I saw firsthand the obstacles families are facing — from inadequate access to health care to lack of affordable housing. I decided that I have a responsibility to step up and help other families, just like my own.”

Senator | NE

Since his election in 2016, Vargas has worked to tackle the biggest issues facing his constituents, including access to high-quality, affordable health care. “That basic human right must be met if we expect our communities and economies to thrive,” Vargas said. “My district has always been the most impacted when it comes to health care access and we can see the impacts of that now as we are dealing with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing issue of poor health outcomes for people with chronic conditions resulting from a lack of access to medical care.”

“When I interned on Capitol Hill, someone told me that the only thing that you have in politics is your word. It’s some of the best advice that I ever received. I have used it to make big decisions and it’s something that I remember each and every day as I shape my leadership style.”

samara heavrin Representative | KY 2020 has been a tough year for many, but Kentucky state Rep. Samara Heavrin acknowledges that the year also offered her and others the opportunity to slow down and reflect on what is most important in life.


“One of those things includes the importance of mental health,” Heavrin said. “I cannot pour into others if my cup is empty.”


When the opportunity came to run for the Kentucky State House, Heavrin was inspired not by her own ambition, but by a desire to be an example for younger people and other women who seek leadership positions. When she was elected in 2019, she became the youngest woman ever to serve in the Kentucky State House of Representatives. “As the youngest female elected to the state house, I have the responsibility to be a generational voice in policymaking,” Heavrin said. “As the only one born in the 1990s, my perspective is unique.” Heavrin, who serves on several committees including the Judiciary, Veterans, Military Affairs and

Public Protection and Transportation committees, encourages young people who are interested in running for office to promote civility among different political parties. “We can recognize that philosophically we aren’t going to agree on certain issues. So, let’s put those issues aside and seek solutions to problems that we can meet in the middle on. When both opinions are valued and listened to, the solution to the policy will be stronger for the constituents that we all serve.” The challenge of enacting the disparate desires of her constituents is sometimes an obstacle and Heavrin has quickly realized that not every decision makes everyone happy. “Social media often creates an environment for people to see the worst in one another. While I catch a lot of flak for being a millennial without Twitter, I am thankful to not have it because I am able to stay focused and meet real people where they are: at church, in the grocery or out in the community.”

Award Recipients

“Earlier this year, my wife Lauren and I found It didn’t take Vargas long in office to realize that there is never enough time in the day to get everything accomplished that he hopes to, but he continues to work to engage with constituents, especially those that historically have not had a voice in the process.

out that we will be welcoming our second child, a baby boy, in January 2021. After losing my father to COVID-19 in April, my family has seen

“My parents, Lidia and Antonio Vargas, are my greatest role models,” he said. “They are both idealistic, hopeful and incredibly hard workers. Despite facing significant obstacles along the way, they always believe that things could always be better […] Their never-ending perseverance, compassion and idealism continues to amaze me.

this new addition to our family as paying an honor to my father.”

jeremy miller Senator, Senate President | MN When Sen. Jeremy Miller was in middle school, his father was elected as mayor of Winona, Minnesota, a position he went on to hold for 16 years. Growing up, Miller’s parents had taught him important values like hard work, respect and honesty. Once his father was elected, he also learned about the importance of public service. “My father taught me the importance of developing relationships, working together and finding common ground, all of which have been incredibly important in helping me get things done during my time in the Minnesota Senate,” Miller said. His father’s final two years as mayor were Miller’s first two years as a senator, and serving their community together is an experience he treasures. During his time in the Minnesota Senate, Miller said he has been fortunate to work on many important issues. The Super Gav Act is one of his proudest accomplishments. Gavin “Super Gav” Quimby was diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) in 2013 and later passed away at just five years old. “After being approached by his parents, we suc-

cessfully worked together on a grassroots effort to expand the newborn screening list in Minnesota to help save lives in memory of Gavin.” It is this united effort to accomplish great things that inspires Miller, and in contrast, he finds the extreme polarization that often comes with party politics to be a major obstacle of public service. “My experience is that there is much more that unites us as Minnesotans and Americans than divides us,” Miller said. “But unfortunately, the areas of disagreement and division tend to get more attention.” Miller, who currently serves as Minnesota’s state Senate President, strongly encourages young people to get involved in their community, specifically something they are passionate about like he was inspired to do at a young age with public service. “Surround yourself with a core group of people who you trust, but who will also challenge you,” Miller said. “Develop relationships and be positive. These are all things that have helped me become a better public servant, businessman, husband and father.”

me that still sticks with me to this day: It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you. To me, this emphasizes the importance of developing strong relationships and leaving a positive impression on the people we meet.”


“During my first year of college, a gentleman named Michael Ditchfield said something to


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

joe moody

Representative, Speaker Pro Tempore | TX The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked communities across the globe, but Rep. Joe Moody knows El Paso is one of the hardest-hit places in America. “My number one priority right now is addressing that emergency,” Speaker Pro Tempore Moody said. “Once that has passed, what we want is what every community wants: good jobs, better schools and a fair system for those opportunities to exist in.” El Paso and the surrounding communities Moody serves are particularly concerned with gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso in 2019, which killed 23 people and injured 23 others. He knows that challenges lie ahead and knows he must work together with his fellow legislators against the hyper-partisanship that Moody says has been the most negative force in American political life in the last century. “Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen once told me, ‘If you don’t care about the people you serve with and their lives outside of the building, you’ll never accomplish anything with those people inside of the building.’ I think that is profoundly

true, and I’ve always made a point of relating to my colleagues as people first and legislators second.” While Miller has worked on many pieces of meaningful legislation that he is proud of, he said it is the little differences that he’s been able to make that really keep him going. “In an era where politics has become defined by brutally partisan walls, I’ve worked hard to build bridges for everyone, and I’ve had a lot of success in holding back the march toward the worst kinds of factionalism in the Texas House,” Moody said. “We can and should disagree, but we have to stand up for decency and respect as we do so.” Some of his inspiration and commitment to leadership comes from his father, Judge Bill Moody, who is one of the longest-serving district court judges in Texas and who Moody calls his role model. “He’s spent decades working tirelessly in public service and always led by example. He showed me that a leader has to be thoughtful and fair, set their ego aside to become a servant of other people and put principles first, even — perhaps especially — when there’s a cost to doing so.”

“The most important thing I keep in my office is Something I keep close to me right in the top drawer of my desk — notes from constituents who I’ve been privileged to help over the years. When things are tough, I know I can reach into that drawer, pull out a card or letter and be holding a tangible reminder about why I do what I do. That’s always more than enough to keep me going.”

sean bowie ISSUE 5 2020 | CAPITOL IDEAS

Senator | AZ


Arizona Sen. Sean Bowie has some advice for young people considering a career in public service — work hard and always strive to put the public interest ahead of your own.

Appropriations, Senate Finance and Senate Commerce committees. He was always interested in politics and public policy but wasn’t sure he had the self-confidence to run to office.

“To this day, the people I respect the most in politics are the ones who put their heads down and do the work, and who care less about promoting themselves than they do about what’s right,” Bowie said.

“I decided to run because I was frustrated with our state legislature and thought my kind of experience and background would be a good fit to represent the district I grew up in,” he said.

Now in his second term representing Arizona’s Legislative District 18, Bowie serves on the Senate

Bowie and his family moved to Legislative District 18 in 1994, and he attended public school there. “My district is home to some of the best public

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“If our democracy is going to be able to succeed in the future, it is critical that young people be willing to commit to public service. As one of the younger members of the legislature, I hope that other young leaders might consider running for office by seeing me do it first. I truly believe if you can see it you can be it … I know putting yourself out there can be scary, but we must be willing to feel that fear and do it anyway if we want to see the world change.”

sara howard Senator | NE

When her older sister, Carrie, passed away in 2009, Nebraska state Sen. Sara Howard was living away from her home state. It only took a short time for to realize that her priority was her family, and she returned home to Omaha and sought a way to give back to a community that had been so good to her family. “It was the folks in Unicameral, our neighborhood and district, that took care of my mom and took care of my family when I couldn’t come home right away,” Howard said. “It was the folks on our block who walked the dogs when my mom [former Nebraska state Rep. Gwen Howard] had late nights in the session, and the neighborhood associations who brought over casseroles and would text me to let me know she’d eaten. “I often joke that if I had a million dollars, I would probably build a very beautiful park in this district. But I don’t have a million dollars. What I had to give back was my time, my talent and energy, and I am very fortunate that in serving as a senator I

During his four years of service in the state senate, Bowie has had more bills signed into law than any member of his party. That ability to get things done for his constituents is what he considers to be his proudest accomplishment.

In 2015, Howard introduced LB 471, which completely overhauled Nebraska’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program after its passage in 2016. She sees this as her biggest legislative accomplishment, and a very personal one. Her sister died as a result of an opioid overdose, and as a result of the legislation and Howard’s subsequent statutory work, Nebraska now has one of the lowest drug overdose rates in the country. “One of the reasons I am so open about what happened to Carrie is because a lot of times people think it is a problem for other families, not a problem for their family,” Howard said. “It was really impactful for my colleagues to realize it happened to someone’s family who is just like theirs. Addiction has no party. It is not a Republican or a Democrat issue; it is a state issue and we all have to work together to address this problem.”

“I’ve always sought to listen to advice that several of my colleagues gave me when I started, which was to work hard and treat those around you with respect. You may disagree on some issues, but at the end of the day, you need to work with your colleagues, and personal respect and kindness can go a long way towards getting things done.”


schools in the state of Arizona, some of which I am a proud product of,” he said. “My constituents want me to work to strengthen those schools and also to work in a bipartisan way with my colleagues to get things done.”

have had the opportunity to return the gifts that this district has given my family.”


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

ryan martinez Representative | OK

When Oklahoma state Rep. Ryan Martinez was in third grade, his town’s mayor visited his class on career day. With other students talking to the visiting firefighters and police officers, Martinez peppered the mayor with all of the questions that he could come up with.

“These are accomplishments that do not get media attention or a lot of recognition, but being able to help people when they are struggling through a tough circumstance is something that I look forward to, and it makes being elected worthwhile.”

“I knew after that day I would work hard and run for political office,” Martinez said. “It was clear that I could use my talents to help other people and get involved in government.”

He recognizes that he and his fellow elected officials face a big obstacle: lack of information and apathy. For the country’s form of government to succeed, Martinez said, citizens must be fully engaged and willing to listen to opposing viewpoints and agree to disagree at times.

Representing Oklahoma’s District 39 and serving as assistant majority whip, Martinez was first elected in 2016. Since being elected, he says his greatest accomplishment is his ability to help his constituents with the minutiae of everyday life.

“I believe that it is the role of elected officials to lead by example and engage in civil discourse and disagree in a civil fashion,” he said.

“I encourage young people to volunteer on some campaigns to experience the practical side of electoral politics, but don’t stop there. Study at least basic economics and political philosophy, read a daily newspaper and a foreign publication — I like The Wall Street Journal and The Economist — and to be open to what you can learn from people with whom you disagree. And don’t just read the news, read books. Lots of them.”

gordon l arsen

Policy Director | Utah Office of the Governor


“We are each in our own tribes and tend to see the world through only that lens,” said Gordon Larsen, policy director for the Utah Office of the Governor. This reality reminds Larsen to seek out varying viewpoints and understand how other people think, especially considering what is important to those who aren’t immersed in daily public policy debates.


Larsen grew up talking about economics, political philosophy and the proper but limited role of government with his dad, and he was inspired to run for public office by his civic-minded parents. His father, who he says always quietly does what is right, is his role model. “He gave me a love for books and classical music,” Larsen said. “He and my mom successfully raised five kids, instilled us with religious

faith and a sense of civic duty, and they remain anchors of their community. As a husband, a dad and a professional, I aspire to follow his example.” Since taking office with the Utah Governor, Larsen has played a role in a number of important policies including navigating federal approval of the state’s Medicaid waivers, the U.S. Senate passage of a large water deal between Utah and the Navajo Nation and proactive support for increasing refugee resettlements in Utah. “Utah has remarkably talented leaders, and it’s an honor to work alongside them,” Larsen said. “A lobbyist once counseled me not to burn bridges, even when I strongly disagree with someone’s decision. Great advice.”

Award Recipients

“In my office, I keep one of my favorite pictures … it is an old black and white picture of my grandma as a little girl with her grandpa. They are standing by the railroad tracks and he is in his nice, new blue jeans. They are standing in a place where Mexicans were only allowed before dusk. This is a great reminder that the American dream is attainable and to work on policies that protect that dream for future generations.

He is working hard to help Oklahoma diversify its economy as the state moves into the future. He excited for growth in the state’s aerospace industry as well as the maintenance of its commodity industries and oil and gas industries. Martinez also encourages young people to take an interest like he did — back in third grade — to get involved in public service. “It is easy to get distracted by power and titles, but never forget that being elected is one of the best opportunities to help people,” Martinez said. “Always keep friends around you that will tell you the truth even when it hurts.”

tram nguyen Before running for office, Massachusetts state Rep. Tram Nguyen worked as a legal aid attorney in Boston, advocating for survivors of domestic violence, for women, children, seniors, veterans and for many others in the courtroom and at the Capitol. Through that experience, she saw how the legislature worked. “I truly believed that my district was missing a legislator that listened to and worked for the interest of everyone in our district,” Nguyen said. “As a legislator, I make sure that people know that the government is their representation and that their voices matter.” Since taking office in 2019, she’s been proud to serve her constituents while responding to an unprecedented global pandemic. As a first-year legislator, Nguyen passed her first bill, which allowed the Massachusetts governor to increase unemployment benefits for an estimated 17,000 residents to meet the $100 threshold for the Lost Wages Assistance program.

Representative | MA

“Many families and small business are struggling as a result of the pandemic, and this bill not only helped people get additional relief, it brought federal dollars into Massachusetts and boosted our local economies.” Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Nguyen says she has maintained her commitment to be accessible, transparent and accountable and has found ways to connect virtually with her constituents through teleconferencing, hosting virtual town halls and providing updates on social media and through email. “I’ve seen the community come together in more ways than one,” Nguyen said. “People are making masks for one another, checking in on friends and neighbors and finding such creative ways to be there for one another. It’s been heartwarming and encouraging to see this. I know we will get through the pandemic and come out stronger.”


“My parents are my greatest role models. My family came to Massachusetts as political refugees from Vietnam when I was 5 years old. We had no more than $100 to build a new life here. The reason I have risen to where I am today is because of my parents. They worked incredibly hard and made many sacrifices to ensure that my sisters and I were given the opportunities we needed to succeed.”


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

bl ake tillery Senator | GA

Sen. Blake Tillery grew up in rural South Georgia and has watched many of his classmates grow up and move away to bigger cities. He recognizes that population decline is an issue facing his home community and works every day to improve issues and promote what is being done well. “It sounds cliché, but [I was inspired to run for office] out of general care and concern for my community,” said Tillery, who was elected to the Georgia state Senate in 2017. “People attract people and jobs and industry. I enjoy our area’s sense of community and values too much to leave.” Tillery said many rural areas have tried to blend that sense of community and values with jobs and industry, creating the quality of life we find attractive, at varying levels of success.

“I believe the current COVID-19 pandemic environment has created a renewed interest in rural areas — both as an effort to avoid illness and as the closure or restriction of sporting events, theaters and restaurants reduces an urban draw.” While 2020 has been quite difficult for many, Tillery said the quarantines and shutdowns have also made time for some individuals and families to slow down. He encourages people of all ages to get involved in their communities, in any capacity they can. “The best way to serve is to serve,” Tillery said. “You don’t have to be elected to make a difference. See a problem in your community and work to address it. Prove yourself in a smaller task, then you will be given larger tasks to accomplish. Luke 16:10.”

“Social media is the biggest obstacle in public service. When everyone is their own subject matter expert, subject matter experts no longer matter. It is truly a blessing to have so much information and connectivity at one’s fingertips, but I’m afraid it has made us lazy. We seldom research to learn information; we simply get bombarded by the loudest voice.”

ryan mackenzie Representative | PA


A senior member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, serving on the other side of the aisle from state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, once advised him to balance the “three C’s” when voting: Conscience, Constituents and Caucus.


“For conscience, there are some issues that you as an individual will feel strongly about and will vote in that manner,” Mackenzie said. “For constituents, there are issues that the individuals you represent will feel strongly about and you will vote accordingly. And finally, for caucus, there will be issues other members and their constituency feel strongly about that do not necessarily affect your region, but you will vote with them to help achieve their goal.”

Mackenzie keeps the “three C’s” in mind as he serves his fifth term representing the 134th Legislative District, most recently as the deputy majority whip. He grew up in the community that he represents, and the desire to give back to those who have given him so much is what inspired him to run for public office. He also draws inspiration from those who served before him. “I have one photo I keep on the wall of my office of me and a man who previously held the seat that I represent,” Mackenzie said. “Rep. Joseph Zeller, a Navy veteran, held the 134th seat from 1971-1980 [as a member of my opposing party]. This photo is important to me because veterans’ issues have been one of my priorities since

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“My wife, Lilianna, is my role model. Each day I am amazed by how she finds the energy and strength to do all that she does as an attorney, a mother, a wife and a daughter. Her path of immigrating to the U.S. as a child and working hard to thrive here is inspirational, a constant motivator to build a community where hard workers are welcome and hard work is rewarded.”

bryan townsend Senator, Majority Leader | DE Delaware state Sen. Bryan Townsend is inspired by the iconic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” “In an era of partisanship and sound bites, a big obstacle we face in public service is consistently creating the space for the thoughtfulness and deliberation that are critical to us forging solutions to the complex challenges we face,” he said. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the biggest issues facing his constituents, Townsend said, including increasingly expensive health care and a fast-changing job market that does not guarantee strong prospects for success to those willing to work hard. In its wake, he is working across the aisle to help the citizens of Delaware find solutions to some of the complex problems the country is currently up against. It is his bipartisan work since assuming office in 2013 that he is most proud of. An example of

that was a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate in 2015, which created a mechanism for undocumented Delawareans to drive legally. “We acknowledged them as the neighbors, the parents, the workers, the people they are. Led by their children, they sang patriotic songs as the Governor immediately signed the bill in his office. It was the essence of America — what we have been and what we can be again.” Townsend comes from a family of educators, and he was inspired to run for office to push for a focus on the root causes of challenges facing Delaware’s public schools. He encourages young people to find that cause they are passionate about and get involved as well. “We need you. We need your ideas, your energy, your sense of possibility,” Townsend said. “Only with your leadership and your persistence will we have the courage and capacity to implement the solutions to the many huge challenges we face.”

I took office, and as a policymaker, we must work with all sides to pass meaningful legislation.”

“On all of my bills, I have a process of working with all interested parties to gain a consensus on substantial reforms,” Mackenzie said. “I think it is important to involve all stakeholders to understand how proposed laws could affect them.”

“My older brother, Scott, is my role model. As kids, he led the way. As we became adults, he provided sound advice in many areas of my life. While we have taken different career paths, I still admire him for all of his accomplishments.”


Mackenzie has been successful in passing several efforts, but he says his greatest accomplishment so far has been the passage of the Construction Industry Employee Verification Act, which requires the use of E-Verify for new hires in construction. This helps create and protect American jobs and make sure those jobs have good, competitive wages, which Mackenzie says is an important issue to him.


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

“[After being crowned Miss Hawaii in 2011], my little brother, Matthew, gave me a hug and said, ‘Get over yourself!’ Such a little brother thing to say, but it gave me a moment to pause, step back and ref lect. While it pains me to admit it, I realized he was right. While I had just achieved a great accomplishment, I didn’t do it alone. There were so many people along the way that got me to that point. None of us accomplish great tasks alone.”

l auren matsumoto Representative, Minority Floor Leader | HI Hawaii state Rep. Lauren Matsumoto has a long list of inspiring women, but her grandmother, the first female director of agriculture of the state, is at the top.

in the next election. Maintaining a work-life balance as a young mother and legislator has proven incredibly difficult due to the legislative calendar and structure.”

“She is a huge influence in my life because she would always tell me that I could be whatever I wanted to be,” Matsumoto said. “When I first considered getting involved in government, I contemplated following in her footsteps to the Department of Agriculture.”

Her dedication to her work and to her family is also one of Matsumoto’s greatest accomplishments since taking office. “Giving birth to two children while completing my MBA and my doctorate and also serving in the legislature is one of my proudest personal accomplishments,” she said. “Balancing all of these different areas of my life, while difficult, has been tremendously rewarding.”

But after a year as Miss Hawaii 2011, Matsumoto found inspiration that moved her in a different direction.


“What I loved most about my job as Miss Hawaii was serving my community and advocating on issues I was passionate about,” she said. “I saw public office as a natural extension of this work. I see my job as a legislator as an incredible opportunity to give back to the district where I was born and raised and where my family has resided for the past four generations.”


Family is very important to Matsumoto, and something that has both motivated her and caused setbacks. She said one of the biggest obstacles she has faced in public service is being a young mother in the legislature. “Most of the legislatures across the country are not set up with parent-friendly policies, if any at all. I gave birth to both of my children while serving in office […] In the legislature with no maternity leave, you could potentially miss several hundred votes by choosing to take off a week, which could be counted against you

She encourages young people to get involved in things they are passionate about and not be afraid of inexperience or getting involved in public service. “Too often we think that we have to have everything perfect and all of our ducks in a row before we try something. When I first ran for office and was elected at the age of 25, I had a lot of people tell me, ‘You don’t have the right background, you are too young.’ Yet once I was in the legislature, I sat on the education committee as someone who had recently been through the public school system. I sat on the higher education committee as someone who graduated from the University of Hawaii. I sat on the Agriculture Committee as someone who grew up working on my family farm. I may not have the traditional background of a typical politician, but I still have something to bring to the table.”

Award Recipients

carlos tobon

Representative, Deputy Majority Leader | RI Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is the birthplace of America’s Industrial Revolution, but as industry slowly left the town, it took the people and the sense of community with it. Rep. Carlos Tobon’s signature bill in the 2019 session of the Rhode Island House of Representatives created a special account for designated areas in which the state wants to create activity and growth. “With the help of my colleagues, a tax incremental finance law was created and today, we have begun to see the early stages of a renaissance with projects approaching $500 million. And this is just the beginning.” This is one of Tobon’s proudest accomplishments since he took office in 2015. He was inspired to enter public service at an early age. As a Boy Scout and

through his involvement in other youth groups, he learned to serve his community. “From these organizations and the relationships that I developed, I learned not only to do my good turn daily, but also, I learned to love, respect and have pride in my community,” Tobon said. “I felt that times were changing and that I should not sit on the sidelines to see what others have planned for me and my community.” Tobon encourages young people to consider public service if it is their calling, but to study, learn and understand the responsibility and remember their potential role in history. “Entering the arena takes courage and entering for a title or vanity is a disservice to the people who give you this privilege,” he said. “Make it count.”

“In my office, I have a sign that reads, ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost.’ I spend a lot of time thinking and developing concepts that may seem far-fetched or impossible to others, so this sign reminds me that while there are times when it feels lonely, it’s all right.”

sonya harper Illinois state Rep. Sonya Harper says the best advice she ever received was from a teacher who told her to follow her passions wholeheartedly and the rewards would follow. Harper’s accomplishments demonstrate the rewards of following her passion for promoting community, economic development and civic engagement. Since taking office serving the 6th Legislative District of Illinois, she has simultaneously served her family, her daughter and her community by passing legislation and educating her colleagues about what life is like in communities like the one she’s from.

Representative | IL

inspired me to run for office,” Harper said. “I live on the south side of Chicago, which looks very different from many parts of the city because it lacks resources, basic needs for residents, after decades of disinvestment and neglect.” Some of the biggest issues facing her constituents are economic equality and community development, and Harper is always working in her district to try to solve those problems. “I try to take breaks with my daughter, Sophia, to enjoy nature, which is sometimes a challenge in the city, and to garden, visit state parks and fish,” Harper said. “When I can’t get outside, I enjoy listening to some nice jazz.”

“I would tell [young people considering a career in public service] to follow their passions and create the change that they want to see right where they are now […]. Most of the time, real change that needs to happen comes from everyday individuals who realize they have power, not necessarily from those who seek out an office or position in the hopes of attaining power.”


“Empowering my neighbors to take active roles in the development of the community is what


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

artemio ricardo hernandez Deputy Executive Manager, A.B. Won Pat International Airpor t Authority | Guam Giving back is something Artemio Ricardo Hernandez was taught as a native Chamorro.

ter and a fervor for doing things the right and most efficient way.”

“The inafa’maolek, which literally translates ‘to make’ (inafa’) ‘good’ (maolek), is the foundation of our culture,” Hernandez said. “For as long as I can remember, my parents demonstrated this through their decades of public service.”

In addition to his management of the airport authority, Hernandez has previously served as deputy administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority and the interim deputy director of the Department of Public Works. He is also an adjunct instructor of accounting and public administration at the University of Guam, his alma mater.

His mother, an educator in American history and government, and his father, a curator for the Guam Museum, positively impacted those they served. It is because of their unspoken love for public service that Hernandez says he chose a career in the same field — “So I, too, could “make good” in the lives of others.” One of his greatest accomplishments since beginning his career in public service has been protecting the integrity of his position.


“Oftentimes, in any job we do, it is simply easier to do just enough,” Hernandez said. “As a public servant, it is imperative that we go above and beyond our responsibilities to ensure that every public dollar spent is done so wisely. Each and every day, I conduct myself with an honest work ethic, high moral charac-


“Former Speaker and now Guam Public Auditor Benjamin J.F. Cruz always reminded me that no thief, no matter how skillful, can rob you of your education.” Hernandez encourages young people who are committed to advancing the cause of others to consider public service. “If you believe in helping those who may never know your name, you are needed,” Hernandez said. “People want leadership — to know that their government doesn’t just deliver public services, but that it is on their side. If this is what you want more than anything else, then be the leader you always wanted to see.”

“Hanging in my office is an old painting of a fire ember. It belonged to the late Speaker Vicente Cabrera Pangelinan and for several years used to reside in his office. I always found it interesting: an ember often signifies a dying fire. But in a matter of moments, it can spark a blaze strong enough to consume what is around it. It’s a sign of hope that what we think is slowly dying — whether it’s our memories, ideas or dreams — is still very much capable of being revived.”

Award Recipients

“I would tell young people that you are more powerful than you realize. It is easy to doubt yourself or be daunted by the task at hand, but you have the ability to create change. It may not be obvious when you start, and I had the same doubt and fear even before I was elected. It takes courage, but it is possible.”

joe nguyen “You belong here.” That’s the first of two pieces of advice that have inspired Washington state Sen. Joe Nguyen’s work in public service. “Don’t mess this up,” is the second. “Before announcing my run for Senate, I spoke with a local city council member and she gave me those two pieces of advice,” Nguyen said. “Coming from a modest background, I often struggle with imposter syndrome. Being a person of color often means you will be the only perspective colleagues will have of a person like you in leadership. If it’s a bad impression, that will reflect on other people of color. If it’s a good one, it would help open the door for future leaders.” Nguyen was a longtime activist working toward alleviating homelessness before he ran for office. Through that work, he met with many legislators and quickly realized that homelessness wasn’t a top priority for a lot of the people who had the power to fix it.

Senator | WA “As a person who was born and raised in my district, I saw firsthand the struggle people in my community faced and wanted to help in a systematic way,” he said. “Instead of lobbying legislators to invest in the community, I decided to run for office and make sure it happened.” Helping elect a new class of diverse leaders throughout Washington state is one of Nguyen’s proudest accomplishments since taking office. “Leadership is more than what an individual can accomplish; it’s how they can empower others to succeed as well. I’m proud that we’ve been able to support so many great candidates who never thought they’d ever hold elected office and see them lead.” Nguyen helps others because others have helped him. In his office, he keeps a framed picture of his family on the boat they used to escape Vietnam. “It reminds me of the sacrifices made on my behalf for a chance to succeed and my obligation to pay it forward.”

“Public service can be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling work you could do in the early part of your career. If you care about your local community and feel that you can help to make it a better place, you should absolutely look for a way to enter public service, whether it is through elected office or otherwise. Our government needs perspectives from all walks of life and that includes young people.”

dyl an roberts

“He was always the person in my life that deeply valued public service and working to make other people’s lives better,” Roberts said. “So when, shortly after his death, my state representative stepped down to run for higher office, I decided to step up to serve my community.” His predecessor, Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, gave him advice that Roberts said he thinks about constantly when he’s at the Capitol.

“She said that there are two types of legislators: work horses and show horses,” said Roberts, who works as a Deputy District Attorney in Eagle County when he isn’t working in the legislature. “You need to decide what kind of horse you would like to be. I try every day to put the work for my district ahead of politics.” Working across the aisle and ahead of politics has been a priority for Roberts since he took office in 2017. Of the bills that he has sponsored so far, 98% have received bipartisan support. “Regrettably, our political world has become so divided in recent years, and I try to do my best not to contribute to that by working across the aisle whenever I can. To see that validated in my personal bill statistics was heartening.”


He had previously worked in the political arena as a campaign staffer and legislative intern, but Colorado state Rep. Dylan Roberts said he didn’t imagine he’d be running for office. However, in 2016, he lost his younger brother in a tragic accident related to his Type 1 Diabetes and decided to run for state legislature as a way to carry on his brother’s legacy of service.

Representative | CO


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

Productive Partnerships Occupational licensing makes a difference for military families and others

Over the last 60 years, the number of jobs requiring an occupational license, or government approval to practice a profession, has grown from about one in 20 to nearly one in four. When implemented properly, occupational licensing can help protect the health and safety of consumers by requiring practitioners to undergo a designated amount of training and education in their field. However, differences and disparities in occupational licensing laws across states can create barriers for those looking to enter the labor market and make it harder for workers to relocate across state lines.


Certain populations — including military spouses and families, immigrants with work authorization, people with criminal records and unemployed and dislocated workers — are especially affected by the requirements and variances of occupational licensing.


States have prioritized license portability for military spouses by enacting legislation to streamline or expedite licensure, but barriers to true reciprocity still exist. To address these challenges, states and professions have turned to occupational licensure interstate compacts. These compacts create reciprocal professional licensing practices between states while ensuring the quality and safety of services and safeguarding state sovereignty. To date, more than 40 states and territories have adopted occupational licensure compacts for nurses, physicians, physical therapists, emergency medical technicians, psychologists and speech therapists/audiologists. In September 2020, CSG entered into a cooperative agreement with the

U.S. Department of Defense to support development of new interstate compacts for occupational licensure. Through this cooperative agreement, CSG, with support from Department of Defense, will assist in developing interstate occupational licensure compacts that address multistate professional licensing issues impacting transitioning military spouses and professionals in state-licensed occupations. “Across America, states recognize the need to streamline license protocols for military spouses,” said Dan Logsdon, director of the CSG National Center for Interstate Compacts. “CSG, with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense, will build lasting solutions to the problems caused by the variances in state licensing processes that will bring substantial benefit to the military community and practitioners at large.” This project is in response to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which states: “[T]he Secretary of Defense shall seek to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Council of State Governments to assist with the funding of the development of interstate compacts on licensed occupations in order to alleviate the burden associated with relicensing in such an occupation by spouse of members of the armed forces in connection with a permanent change of duty station of members to another State.” Through state enactment of new interstate compacts, CSG aims to help remove barriers that exist for military spouses and general practitioners in the current state regulatory structure.

Occupational Licensure

CSG Releases Report on Multi-Year Occupational Licensing Project CSG, in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, recently released the final report from the partner organizations’ multi-year, U.S. Department of Labor-funded project titled, “Occupational Licensing: Assessing State Policy and Practice.”

The 16 Consortium states — Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Utah and Vermont — organized teams of state leaders who attended convenings facilitated by CSG, NCSL and NGA. One of the foundational resources of the project is the development of a National Occupational Licensing Database to assist states in assessing licensure policies. The Database contains 30,000 datapoints on 48

“The Consortium has been a tremendous resource for Connecticut in our continued effort to address occupational licensing barriers and develop new solutions to strengthen [our] workforce,” said Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby. This report’s findings provide other states a blueprint on how advances in occupational licensing policy can further state efforts to support military families, reintegrate individuals with criminal records, strengthen state workforces and reduce the economic effects of regulation. In addition to the benefits afforded to state workforces, the report found the project itself helped Consortium states accomplish more in partnership than they could on their own. Consortium states enacted occupational licensing bills almost 20% more often than other states, and they led a nation-wide bipartisan trend in occupational licensure reform.


The purpose of the project is to assist states in assessing occupational licensing policies and identifying best practices to improve labor market entry and portability for occupational license holders. The partner organizations provided targeted technical assistance to states that applied to be part of the project’s Occupational Licensing Policy Learning Consortium, convened state policymakers to review progress and provide learning opportunities and authored supporting policy resources.

occupations from all 50 states, including information on education requirements, the cost of applications and exams, “good moral character” clauses and licensing board information. CSG, NCSL and NGA also produced supporting resources outlining historical and current trends in occupational licensing regulation, analyses of occupational licensing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of reports on four population groups who are disproportionately affected by occupational licensing laws: veterans and military spouses, individuals with a criminal record, foreign-trained workers and low-income and dislocated workers.


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award Since 2017, states have prioritized policies that improve licensure mobility to benefit those disproportionately affected by regulation. Across the 50 states: • 73 pieces of legislation were enacted affecting individuals with criminal records • 51 bills were passed affecting veterans and military spouses • 17 policies were adopted through legislation affecting immigrants with work authorization

• 42 states joined at least one interstate licensing compact and 106 individual pieces of licensing compact legislation have been passed. The work of the Consortium demonstrates that effective partnerships among states, the federal government and partner organizations are effective in developing solutions to employment barriers and the challenges of an increasingly mobile, and increasingly remote, workforce. To view this report and other resources, visit licensing.csg.org.

Occupational Licensure and Interstate Compacts Explained Occupational licensure is a type of interstate compact — a contract or agreement between states to work collaboratively when addressing problems that span state boundaries. “Compacts are voluntary agreements between states,” said Jeff Litwak, general counsel for the Columbia River Gorge Commission and a founding member of the National Center for Interstate Compacts. “States are choosing to give up a slice of their sovereignty to one another in order to help each other retain that sovereignty of an issue at the state level.” The benefits of interstate compacts include:

• Streamlined relicensing process between member states of the compact for all practitioners in the occupation

• Support for military spouses of relocating active duty

military personnel through provisions recognizing unique requirements of military life


• Creation of streamlined pathways for interstate practice


• Increased public access to care or services • Enhanced ability for member states to protect the public’s health and safety

• Increased cooperation of compact member states in

regulating multistate practice

• Enhanced exchange of licensure, investigative and disciplinary information

Access the occupational licensure database at licensing.csg.org/ the-database. Learn more about interstate compacts and the National Center for Interstate Compacts at compacts.csg.org.

Occupational Licensure

COVID-19 Occupational Licensure Policy Response While occupational licensing regulations provide certain public health and safety safeguards, the increased health care demands imposed by COVID-19 have compelled states to evaluate which regulations may impede response efforts. In response, states have implemented executive orders/proclamations, legislation and administrative rulings that temporarily amend certain regulations to increase the supply of health care workers, lessen administrative burdens and comply with social distancing measures. While many of these actions were made during the onset of the COVID-19 state of emergency and exist only temporarily, states may consider additional policy actions that may be needed in the event of subsequent increases in COVID-19 cases and future health emergencies. Through this health crisis, CSG compiled a collection of state actions, categorized by policy themes and types, to assist states with developing response plans. Learn more at licensing.csg.org/covid-policy-responses



CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

the east

CT • DE • MA • MD • ME • NH • NJ • NY • PA • RI • VT • NB • NS • ON • PE • PR • QC • VI

2020 STEP GRANTS In September, the Small Business Administration announced a total of $19 million in grant awards to fund 46 state international trade agencies in the program’s ninth grant cycle. The principal goals of STEP include increasing the number of small businesses that explore significant new trade opportunities and that export, as well as the value of those exports. Eleven Eastern Trade Council (ETC) jurisdictions were awarded STEP grants totaling approximately $5.7 million, a decrease from $6.3 million last year. Of note in this year’s STEP cycle, the New Jersey Business Action Center, headed by former ETC board member and current STEP Director Eddy Mayen, was awarded the largest grant in STEP’s history, valued at $1.3 million.

U.S.-CANADA PUBLIC HEALTH The Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., announced in November the creation of a task force to study the problem of how and when to lift the join restrictions imposed by the U.S. and Canada that limit cross border travel to essential transit. These restrictions took effect in March 2020 in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and have been renewed for 30 days at a time since. The members of the task force will meet virtually with various public-private sector stakeholders to understand the challenges of health screening and border security, as well as the impact of the border restrictions on communities, public health and economic recovery. The task force will deliver its recommendations in March 2021.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Massachusetts announced over $3.7 million in grants to 55 municipalities through the Community Compact Cabinet Information Technology grant program. This brings the total of municipal information technology grants issued over the past four years to over $25 million supporting more than 300 municipalities and school districts. Examples of grant program initiatives in this round include funding for a modern human resources system that centralizes town and school operations, a grant to bolster cybersecurity infrastructure and improve disaster recovery capabilities, and an initiative to deploy a computer network to complete a recently built fiber optic network.

ADDRESSING LEARNING LOSS New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and the state’s Department of Education announced a $2.5 million grant in early December to implement, scale up and enhance evidence-based interventions that accelerate students’ academic progress and reduce learning loss among New Jersey students that has resulted from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Addressing Student Learning Loss” grants will fund programs in public schools, including charter and renaissance schools across 16 districts. These districts will receive up to approximately $156,500 per award using funding that the New Jersey Department of Education set aside in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds for targeted initiatives.

FARMERS TO FAMILIES ANNOUNCES PHASE 4 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a fourth round of funding for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program (FFBP), which was created in April as part of a $19 billion program to help farmers and consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. The program has been the lifeline to farmers in the Northeast whose markets were disrupted by the virus, as well as to millions of consumers who lost their jobs amid the pandemic and lined up at local food pantries. Nevertheless, there have been challenges with distribution networks and criticism that the program did not rely enough on local providers. During the first two phases of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, there were 45 contracts awarded to food producers, processors and/or wholesalers in the 11 northeastern states, with contracts ranging from $61,600 to $10,043,500. However, during Phase 3 of the program, the number of contracts awarded in the region was reduced from 45 to only 10, and five states in the region had no contracts awarded at all. Also in Phase 3, the majority of the cancelled contracts had been intended for smaller, local entities who could source locally from struggling small farmers in the same area where the food was to be distributed. In many cases, contracts were awarded to large companies, sometimes far from the ultimate delivery location, potentially compromising freshness and the safety of the product. For FFBP Phase 4, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced an additional $500 million in food distribution from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.




The Maryland Department of Labor received a $6,012,924 award from the U.S. Department of Labor for a State Apprenticeship Expansion Grant. This grant is the fourth in a series of expansion grants awarded to the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program and will be used to further invest in the state’s Registered Apprenticeship sponsors, employers and apprentices. With the latest State Apprenticeship Expansion Grant from U.S. Department of Labor, Maryland has now competitively secured nearly $13 million to expand Registered Apprenticeship programs since 2016. These funds have allowed Maryland to increase the scope of services offered and reach a record-breaking milestone of 11,000 registered apprentices currently working and learning in the state’s apprenticeship and training program.

For more on CSG East, visit capitolideas.csg.org and csg-erc.org.

Regional Roundup IA • IL • IN • KS • MI • MN • ND • NE • OH • SD • WI • AB • MB • ON • SK

MIDWESTERN VOTERS SAW BALLOT MEASURES ON MARIJUANA, TAX POLICY AND MORE This year’s elections in the Midwest included ballot measures on marijuana, tax policy, payday lending and privacy. The results were mixed for supporters of these measures. South Dakota became the third state in this region to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining Illinois and Michigan. Fifty-four percent of South Dakota voters approved this constitutional amendment; an initiated measure to legalize medical marijuana won by an even greater margin (70% to 30%). In Illinois, tens of millions of dollars were spent by supporters and opponents of a legislative-initiated constitutional amendment on tax policy. The proposal called for an end to a constitutional requirement that any state income tax be imposed at a flat rate. In advance of the election, the state General Assembly had passed a bill detailing its plans for implementing a graduated income tax. About 55% of voters, though, rejected the constitutional amendment. As a result, Illinois will remain among the three Midwestern states with a flat income tax (the others are Indiana and Michigan).

For more on CSG Midwest, visit: capitolideas.csg.org and csgmidwest.org.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM The Council of State Governments Justice Center is helping leaders in Kansas identify ways to help save taxpayer dollars and reinvest those savings in proven strategies that control corrections costs and enhance public safety. CSG is partnering with the Criminal Justice Reform Commission, which was created by the Kansas Legislature in 2019 (HB 2290). This group of state legislators and other leaders has been charged with analyzing all aspects of the justice system.

INVESTMENT IN CHILD CARE Michigan’s recently enacted 2021 budget has several child care provisions, which include increasing the number of families eligible to receive state assistance (the cap was raised to 150% of the federal poverty limit), new grants for child care centers and a $1 million pilot project to expand the availability of child care via “tri-share” funding partnerships involving the state, local businesses and providers.

INCUMBENT GOVERNORS WIN HANDILY Following the November 2020 elections, little changed at the state level in terms of partisan control of legislatures and in governors’ offices across the Midwest. All nine incumbent U.S. governors seeking reelection won their races. Only two states in the Midwest had gubernatorial races this year, but control of 19 of the region’s 20 partisan legislative chambers was at stake (there were no elections in the Michigan Senate). No chamber flipped.

SUICIDE RATES INCREASE Newly released federal data on suicide rates among young people show a disturbing trend. The number of deaths rose dramatically over the past decade — by 47.1% nationally —according to research from the U.S. centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which compared suicides among people ages 10 to 24 between two time periods: 2007-09 vs. 2016-18. In the Midwest, rates were even higher in four states: Michigan (70.1%), Indiana (59.2%), Ohio (48%) and Kansas (60.2%) are all above the national increase of 47.1%. Wisconsin formed a legislative task force in 2019 to begin exploring how a state can better help young people and reverse this trend.

INCREASED VOTER TURNOUT Voter turnout in all 11 Midwestern states increased significantly from four years ago, with rates in some states nearing 80%. The U.S. Election Project’s data on turnout is based on the number of ballots counted vs. the number of total residents eligible to vote. Using that measure, Minnesota’s turnout rate was 79.9%, the highest in the nation. Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan were not far behind that (78.6%, 76.1% and 73.6%).


Other notable results from this year’s ballot measures included voter approval of a new cap in Nebraska on the annual interest rates that can be charged by payday lenders (the limit is 36%); the addition of “electronic data” and “electronic communications” to a section of the Michigan Constitution that secures a person’s “houses, papers and possessions” from unreasonable searches and seizures; and voter rejection in North Dakota of a legislative-initiated proposal to change how the state’s Constitution can be amended. As a result of the November vote, North Dakota remains one of five Midwestern states where voters have broad authority to change state constitutions without legislative input.

the midwest


CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award

The South


BROADBAND EXPANSION Officials recently announced that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state’s environmental agency, added greater capacity to monitor pollution during and immediately following storms and other disaster events. The TCEQ retrofitted new and used vans to monitor emissions in real time while the vehicles are in motion, part of a broader initiative to provide timely and accurate emissions reports during emergencies. According to officials, TCEQ invested more than $2 million in the initiative over the past three years, including purchasing three mobile air monitoring vans, four drones and three automated gas monitors that will be placed at the Port of Houston. With the new technology, TCEQ will be able to deploy experts more easily during an emergency and provide important environmental data to local officials who then can decide which precautions need to be taken to protect the public. The information can be obtained in a matter of minutes once personnel arrive on the scene, whereas previously it could take up to a week to provide reliable data for local officials.


The rollout of the new technology comes three years after Hurricane Harvey, when TCEQ struggled to resume monitoring during and after the storm as millions of pounds of hazardous air pollution were emitted into the atmosphere. According to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General, the TCEQ did not start monitoring air quality soon enough following the hurricane. Due to the delay, the extent of emissions released by chemical plants, refineries and other industrial operators along the Gulf Coast during and after the storm remains unknown.


Although TCEQ began the process of adding mobile air monitoring technology prior to the EPA report, Hurricane Harvey added new urgency to the initiative. The new equipment adds to the state’s existing network of 200 stationary air monitors located throughout Texas. For now, the mobile monitoring units will deploy from Austin, although the goal is to have such units eventually placed in all TCEQ regional offices. For more on CSG South, visit capitolideas.csg.org and slcatlanta.org.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission unanimously approved a process that will allow businesses to begin submitting applications to manufacture medical marijuana in the state. The commission hopes to issue licenses by March and, according to prospective manufacturers, it could take anywhere from six months to one year for cannabis oil to be available. Patients have been allowed to use medical marijuana in Georgia since 2015, but the General Assembly did not pass a bill allowing its production and sale until 2019. Under the new law, six companies will be licensed to cultivate medical marijuana, which can have no more than 5 percent THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high. The law tasked the commission with creating a distribution network, establishing testing and oversight rules, and issuing licenses for businesses to sell the oil.

MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT FOR FARMERS The South Carolina Farm Bureau launched a new program, known as SC AgriWellness, to provide free mental health services for farmers and their families. According to the state’s Farm Bureau, depression and anxiety are common health issues among its members, many of whom live in rural parts of the state with minimal access to mental health treatment and services. Farm families do not have to leave their homes to take advantage of the new program. They can call a hotline at any time to talk confidentially with trained professionals.

IMPROVING LITERACY The Tennessee Department of Education, in partnership with Scholastic and the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, announced a new push to improve literacy rates across the state. Books and other literary resources will be delivered to the homes of students and teachers, at no cost to families or participating school districts. The latest initiative builds on the existing K-3 School Year Book Delivery Program, which began as a summer reading pilot and provided resources to more than 30,000 elementary school students in 36 districts, with an emphasis on counties deemed “distressed” and “high-risk.” Now, more than 50 counties, mostly in rural areas of the state, will have an opportunity to participate in the program. The program aims to increase literacy rates in Tennessee, as only about 36 percent of third graders read on grade level, despite a strong push from the state during the past decade to improve performances.

REDISTRICTING REFORM Virginia’s constitution will be amended to reform the state’s redistricting process after voters approved a constitutional amendment to curb gerrymandering. Under the new rules, the state’s map-drawing responsibilities will shift to a 16-member bipartisan commission of lawmakers and citizens. Legislative leaders in the House and Senate will each appoint four members, including two from each party, while the eight citizens will be picked by a committee of five retired circuit court judges. In the event the 16-member commission cannot agree on district boundaries, the Virginia Supreme Court will be responsible for drawing the maps.

HYPERLOOP CERTIFICATION CENTER West Virginia was chosen as the site for a $500 million hyperloop project by Virgin Hyperloop, a transportation and technology company that works to commercialize high-speed travel. The Hyperloop Certification Center will be constructed on nearly 800 acres of land in Grant and Tucker counties, located in the northeast corner of the state. Construction of the certification center is scheduled to begin in 2021 and will take approximately five years to complete, according to officials. West Virginia was chosen among 17 states that submitted bids for the certification center, which will serve as a construction testing hub for hyperloop pod vehicles and, eventually, a training site for conductors and operators of hyperloop systems. Hyperloop travel works by using electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation within a tube system, capable of moving people and goods at speeds exceeding 600 miles per hour.

Regional Roundup AK • AZ • CA • CO • HI • ID • MT • NM • NV • OR • UT • WA • WY • AB • AS • BC • CNMI • GU

The west

MONITORING AIR QUALITY In Fall 2020, the Border Legislative Conference hosted a binational virtual legislative exchange focused on air quality along the California and Baja California border region. This shared border stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Colorado River and has experienced rapid growth of people and trade, which is expediting small- and large-scale environmental issues unique to that area, exposing vulnerable communities to air pollution. California communities have had increased access to low-cost sensors resulting in improved community monitoring over the past several years. Through AB 617, the California Air Resources Board is required to implement strategies to reduce emissions of toxic air contaminants in communities affected by a high cumulative exposure to pollutants.

LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE The ability of state officials to engage with one another to exchange insights and experiences is a fundamental element in the development of regional solutions and strengthening of legislative institutions. Through the “Legislative Exchange” series, legislators and legislative staff can participate in virtual gatherings focused on development training and policy issues affecting the Western region. Sessions are free and can be accessed at csgwest.org/programs/ Legislative_Exchange.

WATER MANAGEMENT As part of a landmark treaty signed in 1944, the U.S. and Mexico share the waters of cross-border rivers. The treaty, which addresses the utilization of waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and the Rio Grande, continues to be a critical tool for both countries as rising demands and scarcity of water resources along this arid region persist. To address ongoing concerns related to binational water management, the Border Legislative Conference hosted a legislative exchange in November. This group will continue to work to ensure they solve persisting issues which include aging infrastructure, overreliance on limited water resources, severe vulnerability to drought and other climate change impacts.

TRIBAL POLICE AUTHORITY In United States v. Cooley, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether tribal police have the authority to temporarily detain and search a non-Indian on a public right-of-way within a reservation based on a potential violation of state or federal law. The Ninth Circuit held the tribal officer has no such authority unless a legal violation is “obvious” or “apparent.” If it isn’t, any evidence obtained in the search must not be used against the defendant. Follow the State and Local Legal Center for updates.


WESTERN LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT HANDBOOK PROVIDES TOOLS AND PROCESSES As co-equal branches of state government, legislatures have a constitutional role to hold state government accountable by ensuring tax dollars are spent wisely, programs are achieving their intended goals and monitoring agencies as they implement laws. As such, legislative oversight is as important as passing legislation and is critical to safeguard the checks and balances in the country’s democratic system of governance. In order to ensure and promote effective oversight practices that legislators and legislative staff need to continuously assess their respective protocols and tools that support them to function. To this end, CSG West released the “Western Legislative Oversight Handbook,” which provides an overview of the important role of legislative oversight, tips and tools to establish effective oversight processes and highlight oversight practices in the Western region. While all Western state legislatures have different laws, rules, protocols and capacities to conduct oversight, this handbook can be a useful resource. Thirteen legislators from across the Western region participated in the CSG West Legislative Oversight Working Group throughout 2019-20. The “Western Legislative Oversight Handbook” is available at csgwest.org.

In October, governors of Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington pledged to create a collaborative public process to save the struggling native fish stocks of the Columbia River Basin. In their statement, the governors commit to “work together to rebuild Columbia River salmon and steelhead stocks and to advance the goals of the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force, which was convened by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency in 2017. The governors further committed to a collaborative public process that will involve regional tribes as co-managers of natural resources. Tribes will have specific legal and cultural rights along with federal agencies and regional stakeholders. ISSUE 5 2020 | CAPITOL IDEAS

For more on CSG West, visit: capitolideas.csg.org and csgwest.org.


Final Facts

H o l i d ays Around the World

As we look forward to the holiday season, communities around the world will take part in special holiday traditions unique to their location and history. Learn more about holiday celebrations around the world.

Many Japanese families

CELEBRATE TOJI (the winter solstice) by eating pumpkin and taking citrus baths to promote health through the remaining winter months.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve,

The start of Hanukkah in Israel is marked by the “Torch Relay”.

families in Ecuador BURN DOLLS made of straw, paper mache or cloth. These dolls represent the año Viejo — or “old year”— and the burning represents cleansing for the new year.

People line the 20-mile road from Modi’in to Jerusalem to view the relay of the flame that will ultimately light the giant menorah at the Western Wall.

The people of South Africa celebrate the Day of Reconciliation on Dec. 16. The day celebrates racial harmony and national unity and commemorates several pivotal events in South Africa, including the end of apartheid.

Each Dec. 13 in Sweden, girls don long white dresses with red sashes and wear a

CROWN OF CANDLES upon their heads to commemorate St. Lucia Day.

BOXING DAY IS CELEBRATED DEC. 26 in Australia, Canada and several European and African countries. The holiday is believed to date back to the 1600s and have taken its name from the practice of giving

“boxed gifts” to those who provided service.

In Ukraine, Christmas Eve and Sviata Vechera, or the “Holy Supper” is held on Jan. 6.

The 12-course dinner commences when the first star appears in the eastern sky.

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Capitol Ideas | Issue 5 | 20 Under 40 Leadership Award Recipients