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Session Topics

Session Topics

At NCSL's Legislative Summit, you can choose from more than 100 sessions. These sessions, many featuring national experts, will explore topics ranging from drones to the 2014 legislative elections, from the nation's economic outlook to Internet gambling. A complete online agenda with session times will be available in May.

Hot Topics

Raising the Bar on Community Corrections
In this new era of community corrections, states are reducing their reliance on prisons with policies that go beyond traditional probation and parole supervision. Learn how innovative state-local funding mechanisms are helping states reduce crime and control costs.

Keeping the American Dream Alive
A lot has changed since President Johnson declared war on poverty in 1964. Our economy is different and families are more diverse, yet many still struggle to make ends meet. Learn how states can use research on the effects of poverty to shape programs and public-private partnerships to tackle this complex problem and ensure every American has the opportunity to succeed.

Robocops: From Phones to Drones
New technologies can help investigators solve crimes in ways once thought impossible. But debate continues over how to balance a person’s 4th Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure with the community benefits gained from these new tools.

The New Economy of Sharing
It’s been called one of the “Ten Ideas That Will Change the World.” It’s the sharing economy, and it encompasses everything from ride-sharing to vacation rentals. Examine transportation-sharing options and how states are providing consumer protection and oversight for this burgeoning industry.

Municipal Bankruptcy: What are States to Do When A Locality Heads South?
Municipal finance distress can have dire consequences on states. Learn what legislatures can do to prevent municipal bankruptcies and how to make sure local pension plans are well-funded.

3D Printing is Here
Making a three-dimensional solid object from a digital model is no longer just a thing of science fiction. Explore the potential of this revolutionary new technology and what it means for the future of manufacturing, the way we do business, and how we develop state policy.

Crypto-Currencies: Changing the Way We Do Commerce
Some stores offer alternative credit options and accept alternative payments, such as Bitcoins and other virtual currencies, that benefit both customers and merchants. With the concept of cryto-currencies becoming more popular, the IRS issued new guidelines on virtual currencies. Explore the policy implications these new payment methods present for the states.

American Politics

Voter Verification, the Courts and the Future
Courts have ruled on the legality of voter verification requirements. Discuss their findings, whether technology can speed up the review of signatures and driver’s licenses, what impact REAL ID has on voting, if QR, holographic or bar codes help, and when biometrics such as finger prints or iris imprints, will be the norm.

Outlook for 2014 State Elections
In November, voters will determine more than 80 percent of legislative seats and 36 governorships. They also will decide on well over 100 ballot questions. Preview what’s hot this year on state ballots and what the political landscape might look like come January.

Reaching Across the Aisle to Bridge the Ideological Divide
The problem of gridlock can’t be laid at the feet of one political party or the other so what is causing it?  Former Congressman Mickey Edwards and Congressman Alan Lowenthal draw from their experiences in Congress and offer ideas on specific reforms that might help improve our system of government, overcome ideological roadblocks and avoid unnecessary conflict based on party rather than principle.  

Promoting Collaboration in an Era of Polarization
Discuss strategies, practices, procedures and other tools that help state legislatures promote cooperation and collaboration between parties and chambers in an era of increasing partisanship, restrictive ethics laws and other factors that seem to work against it.

Criminal Justice

Outgrowing Crime: Research and Juvenile Justice
Learn about the latest adolescent development research, how it  has influenced court rulings and how it is shaping response to juvenile crime.

Predicting Pre-Trial Success
New risk assessments are helping courts make informed decisions about public safety and the conditions they set to determine who needs to be held in jail pending trial and who can be released.

Raising the Bar on Community Corrections
In this new era of community corrections, states are reducing their reliance on prisons with policies that go beyond traditional probation and parole supervision. Learn how innovative state-local funding mechanisms are helping states reduce crime and control costs.

Robocops: From Phones to Drones
New technologies can help investigators solve crimes in ways once thought impossible. But debate continues over how to balance a person’s 4th Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure with the community benefits gained from these new tools.

Supreme Court Roundup
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent term included decisions in several cases with implications for states and states’ rights.   Affirmative action, campaign finance and the Fourth Amendment were all before the Court this term. Hear an overview of the court's review and opinions handed down in these cases.  

Educate America

Implementation of Common Core and Assessments:  Lessons from the Trenches
This year statehouses are ground zero for the nationwide debate over the new Common Core State Standards and assessments. A panel of legislators will reflect on these debates and share their expertise and lessons learned. Learn about NCSL’s innovative Common Core legislation bill tracking tools and interactive roadmap designed to help you understand options for implementing the new standards and assessments.

Reading by Third Grade: It’s Critical
Kids who are behind in their reading skill often never catch up and struggle to succeed in school and work. Explore a range of strategies to ensure every child can read by the end of third grade, including strengthening early learning, identification, remediation, and retention as a last resort.

Rethinking the State’s Role in Higher Education
Join experts for a discussion on new approaches to funding higher education, that include accountability, affordability, relevance and workforce development.

School Choice: Success and Accountability
Hear about school choice efforts in the states, successful models and strong accountability systems for both traditional and virtual schools.

Kids Count
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT project is a national and state-by-state effort to track the well-being of children in the United States. Hear from the Foundation on the status of children today , a reflection on how kids have fared over the last 25 years and a discussion of  opportunities to promote children’s well-being in the future.  

Hot Topics Breakfast
Participate in 30 minute small group discussions on K-12 funding, STEM in Afterschool programs, digital learning, community schools, closing the achievement gap and more.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Communications
Discuss the latest progress in emergency communications, including Next Generation 911 and an inter-operable communications network for first responders.

Terrorism Risk Insurance
Following the 9-11 terrorist attack, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to provide government re-insurance in case of another large-scale attack to protect vulnerable sectors of the economy, including construction, real estate, transportation, energy and others. The act is set to expire at the end of 2014. Hear an update on reauthorization.

Energy

The New Energy Revolution
New technologies are driving dramatic changes in the electric system, offering unprecedented opportunities for energy users. Learn why aligning policymaker, utility and consumer goals is critical when exploring regulating the power industry.

Transforming North America’s Energy Outlook
America’s abundant supply of domestic crude oil and natural gas is driving industrial growth and influencing state energy planning. Examine the oil and gas revolution and how states are addressing its potential economic and environmental effects.

Health

Transforming Medicaid: Lessons from Pioneering States
Medicaid costs states billions of dollars a year. Learn how states are improving Medicaid’s quality and value through payment reforms, team-based service models, coordination of care and a targeted focus on the sickest beneficiaries.

States Cracking the Code on Health Costs
State-run public employee health programs, new insurance and payment initiatives and health exchanges provide opportunities for innovation and experimentation to tame health costs. Hear what’s new and what’s working, including bundled or “global” payments, consumer-oriented managed and accountable care models and price transparency.

Alternatives for State Health Innovation
Many state legislators don’t believe recent national health reforms are the best or only solution to the nation’s health care problems. States have proposed alternative initiatives for insurance reforms and Medicaid programs that contain costs, provide high quality care, coordinate care and services and focus on personal responsibility and preventive health. Hear about and share opinions on state and private sector initiatives that can move the country toward a more sustainable health care system.  

Improving Disability Services and Creating a Sustainable Medicaid System
Medicaid pays more than $50 billion annually for services to people with disabilities. Hear about how some states are using managed care to create a fiscally sustainable system of home and community-based services (HCBS) that meets the needs of people living with a variety of disabilities. 

Jobs and the Economy


States Debate Minimum Wage
As some states debate a minimum wage increase, the question becomes if an increase costs or creates jobs.  Find out how states are answering that question and what actions they are taking while a federal proposed increase has not moved in Congress.

State Tax Reform – Alive and Well
Since the economy showed signs of recovery from the Great Recession, the reform movement has gained momentum that is likely to continue. Hear what lawmakers are talking about in budget discussions around the nation.

Spurring Job Growth
Learn how small businesses can partner with your state to improve the jobs outlook.

Economic Outlook
The economy appears to be picking up steam after five years of a sluggish recovery. Will it continue? A leading national economist will provide the latest analysis and outlook for the coming year as you plan for the new budget year.

Financing Capital Improvements: Options and Emerging Trends
Limited money and mounting needs have dramatically altered the ability of states to invest in buildings, roads and water systems. Explore how public-private partnerships, tax increment financing, transit-oriented development and state infrastructure banks may help provide these critical infrastructure projects.

Dirty Forecasting Comes Clean
Nontraditional economic indicators like cardboard box production rates, underwear sales, the frequency of coupon use, the hemline length index and divorce rates can be surprisingly effective at interpreting the present and predicting the future direction of the economy. Learn how observing these rates and indexes, called dirty forecasting, can provide valuable insight.

From Minnesota to Mumbai: Economic Competitiveness and Immigration
Immigrants can counter the economic and fiscal impacts of baby boomer retirements, while supporting housing growth and contributing to scientific and technological innovations. Hear from leaders on both sides of the aisle on how to reform the nation’s immigration system to benefit the American economy.

Federal Budget Update
Hear how the actions Congress takes on the federal budget will affect states and your ability to craft your own budgets.

The New Economy of Sharing
It’s been called one of the “Ten Ideas That Will Change the World.” It’s the sharing economy, and it encompasses everything from ride-sharing to vacation rentals. Examine transportation-sharing options and how states are providing consumer protection and oversight for this burgeoning industry.

Pensions

New Policies in the World of Pensions
Recent rule changes that divorced accounting standards from funding standards have created a new world of public pension plan accounting. Learn what it means for you and your state.

The State Role in Private Retirement Security
A number of states are considering state-run retirement savings plans for private workers without an employer-provided pension. Some would mandate employer participation, others would be voluntary. These proposals raise several questions – do private employers and workers currently lack access to cost effective private retirement plans? Would these state proposals offer new options, lower costs or incentives not available from private sector providers? How would a state plan mesh with the federal framework of worker protections and income taxation? Explore the merits of state, federal and private sector savings reforms.

Public Pension Investment Policy – What’s the Role for Alternative Investments?
Legislatures play a key role in setting investment policy for their public plans. Hear from the various perspectives—from advocating for high-risk alternative investments to promoting only lower risk, low-fee investments.

Professional Track

Managing Your Online Image
Both legislators and legislative staff want to make sure their online images are professional, free of anything inappropriate or embarrassing. Learn 10 important steps to make to ensure you shine online.

Becoming a Transformational Legislative Leader
Becoming an effective legislative leader takes hard work, lots of thought, great colleagues and a dash of luck. Hear from some current leaders about how they made it to the top and what it takes to be extraordinary.

Winston Churchill’s Language of Leadership
Churchill’s communication skills are legendary. Come study the “British Bulldog” with your colleagues, not only for his masterful use of language to inspire but also as a quintessential leader.

Managing Legislative Staff: Best Practices
State legislatures manage their staff in diverse ways.  Hear about performance management innovations in state legislatures and discuss common performance challenges faced by staff today.

Technology

New Online Threats and Dangers: Can the Law Keep Up?
Bad actors are involved in revenge porn, mug-shot extortion, online impersonation, privacy invasions, harassment and hacking. Learn about actions legislatures are taking to combat these new challenges and the complex issues they raise.

All Bets are Off:The Battle Over Online Gambling
Despite decades of successful state stewardship of the gambling industry, Congress continues to try to encroach on states’ prerogatives to regulate gambling within their own borders. Find out about early efforts among a handful of states to introduce online gambling as well as the regulatory impacts on states posed by the federal legislation.

How Technology is Changing Agriculture
Since their introduction in 1996, genetically engineered crops have grown rapidly. But concern over the safety of these genetically modified organisms (GMO) continues. More than half the states have considered laws requiring GMO labeling. Hear what experts from both sides of the debate have to say about this hot issue.

BIg Data: Big Opportunities, Big Risks
HIgh profile security breaches have highlighted the enormous amount of data being collected, stored and shared by governments and businesses. Hear about the risks and opportunities big data creates for consumers, government and business, and learn about state and federal approaches to address the growing risk of data breaches. 

3D Printing is Here
Making a three-dimensional solid object from a digital model is no longer just a thing of science fiction. Explore the potential of this revolutionary new technology and what it means for the future of manufacturing, the way we do business, and how we develop state policy.

Crypto-Currencies: Changing the Way We Do Commerce
Some stores offer alternative credit options and accept alternative payments, such as Bitcoins and other virtual currencies, that benefit both customers and merchants. With the concept of cryto-currencies becoming more popular, the IRS issued new guidelines on virtual currencies. Explore the policy implications these new payment methods present for the states.

Telecommunications

The Changing Communications Landscape
Hear about the priorities for “Internet Protocol (IP) Transition,” how phone companies are adopting new technology and changes in regulation. Receive an update on the present conversations regarding spectrum availability and auction, and the implications for consumers.

The nation's largest gathering of legislators and legislative staff for 40 years.

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Meeting Resources

Denver

7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800

Washington

444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2014 by National Conference of State Legislatures