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Issue Forums

Issue Forums
Choose from more than 100 sessions designed to give you balanced presentations and various viewpoints so you have the information and tools to craft smart policies that will work.

Criminal Justice

Brain Science and Kids: New Policy Approaches
Kids are different from adults, and a growing body of research on brain development and behavioral science is directing policies to tackle risky behavior, prevent youth crime and reduce costs. Learn how states are reforming health care and justice systems and identifying ways to reduce teen pregnancy, drop-out rates, delinquency and crime.

Cyber Warfare
The notion of a coordinated cyber attack is no longer a science fiction fantasy. Experts point out that large-scale cyber attacks on sensitive government and industry data are escalating. Hear how governments at all levels, along with the private sector, can work together to thwart potentially devastating cyber attacks.

Education

Anywhere /Anytime Learning
Technology can personalize learning and provide students a customized education anytime, anywhere. Schools, districts and states are experimenting with combining the best face-to-face instruction with rigorous online learning. Learn from their experiences how to harness the power of technology to provide students with a high-quality education.

Plugging The Skills Gap
Businesses and corporations have jobs they can't fill. Millions of Americans are looking for full-time employment. What gives? The skills gap. Through innovative partnerships among community colleges, the business community, K-12 systems and universities, states are trying to meet the workforce demands and encourage students to enter these high-need fields.

Reinventing College
What role should higher education serve in our society? Currently, it is in crisis.Tuition is high, graduation rates are low. Funding continues to be cut. Yet employers demand educated workers. Hear a diverse and dynamic panel on how online courses may drive down college costs and out-of-the-box ideas may bridge the K-12 to college gap.

Elections

Voting Technology
When it comes to elections, voting equipment is the hot topic. Most machines are old, new ones are expensive and certification is at a standstill. Technology has exploded, but can exciting new methods be secure, accessible, affordable and meet young voters' expectations of a paperless, online experience? Legislators play a huge role in sorting this all out.

Energy, Environment and Transportation

The Business of Sharing
One of the "10 Ideas That Will Change the World," according to Time magazine, is the growing market of individuals renting out their own goods, such as cars or housing. State legislatures are grappling with the best way to support this new way of doing business while protecting consumers and providing oversight. Learn how car sharing can create affordable transportation choices that may lessen congestion and environmental impacts.

Natural Gas: Panacea or Pariah? ( CLE)

Technological advances have made extracting natural gas affordable, creating an abundant supply that has helped energize the U.S. economy. But the recent growth of hydraulic fracturing has raised concerns about water quality and other environmental issues. Explore the domestic natural gas picture while reviewing federal, state and industry actions to ensure this resource is developed safely and responsibly.

How States Can Prepare for Disasters
Emergency management and disaster response continues to be a critical issue for state legislatures. From tornadoes to wildfires to hurricanes, legislators are working to find policy approaches to respond effectively to natural disasters.

Ethics

Cultivating an Honest Environment
Everyone has the best of intentions of behaving with integrity, but research shows that certain factors can lead us into dishonesty. What are these red flags, and how can legislators cultivate an environment that encourages honesty? Learn what to look out for and what small measures you can take to keep yourself and those around you on the straight and narrow.

Fiscal

U.S. Economic Outlook
The U.S. economy continues its long and sluggish recovery following the worst recession in decades. Hear a noted economist's in-depth analysis of the key issues affecting the U.S. and global economies, potential threats to continued growth, and what is sustaining the economic recovery. Consider the economic implications on your state finances as you probe how to address the new economic landscape.

Re-Reinventing Government
States are saving taxpayers' money by aggressively attacking waste and improving the efficiency of government by consolidating and eliminating redundant agencies and using "lean government" techniques. You'll leave with a tool box full of ideas to use back home that will improve government's customer service while saving the state money.

Gambling

Casino Royale: From Brick and Mortar to Zeroes and Ones ( CLE)
States are leading the charge into the next frontier of online gaming. Learn about the lingering threat of federal preemption and how some states are moving from traditional "brick and mortar" casinos to virtual casinos made up of "zeroes and ones."

Health Care

Can We Talk? Medicaid, Exchanges and New Technology
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires states to design and operate technology systems and develop collaborative relationships between Medicaid and the new insurance exchanges. Learn how states are dealing with the challenges of ensuring benefit and plan continuity, determining what the state can afford and developing a structural interface between Medicaid and the exchanges.

Taming Health Costs: New Solutions, New Challenges
America spends, on average, nearly $9,000 per person on health care each year. The cost to the nation is $2.8 trillion—almost 18 percent of total GDP. How can we keep people healthy and budgets affordable, while improving care and coverage as well as combating waste and abuse? Learn about the latest payment reforms and coverage plans and how to balance the benefits of future advances with our ability to pay for them.

Immigration

Immigration: Finally A Federal Fix?    ( CLE)
Learn about the possible implications of federal immigration reform on state laws, policies, services and budgets, demographic trends and the role of immigrants in the workforce. You'll also hear about the latest studies on the economic impact of immigrants at the national and state level.

Jobs

Plugging The Skills Gap
Businesses and corporations have jobs they can't fill. Millions of Americans are looking for full-time employment. What gives? The skills gap. Through innovative partnerships among community colleges, the business community, K-12 systems and universities, states are trying to meet the workforce demands and encourage students to enter these high-need fields.

Looking to the Future

Demographic Shifts and the Future of State Policy
As baby boomers age, immigration slows and the Latino population expands, the country is on the verge of a "cultural generation gap" that will affect state policy, from schools to the workforce to health care. Hear an energetic, wide-ranging and forward-looking discussion of what these demographic changes mean for state policymakers.

Supreme Court Update  ( CLE)
Discuss the recent U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in several cases with implications for states and states' rights, including constitutional scrutiny of the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action, and other cases with federalism implications.

Military and Veterans

Veterans and Civilian Employment: State Legislative Approaches ( CLE)
Some 1 million military personnel are returning to civilian life as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Hear how some states are helping veterans get jobs by issuing them professional licenses or credentials based on their experience in the military. And learn about veteran hiring preferences, tax incentives for employers to hire veterans, and efforts to help military spouses.

Pensions

Managing State Pension Liabilities and Litigation     ( CLE)
Almost every state faces large unfunded pension and other post-employment benefit liabilities. Hear about new legislation to increase funding streams, reduce future costs and provide for the long-term sustainability of state retirement plans. Learn about the ongoing litigation in many states and about recent developments in state court cases dealing with pension reform.

Attracting and Retaining a Qualified Workforce
In recent years, many states have reformed traditional defined benefit pension plans and some have made fundamental plan design changes for public employees. At this session, learn how these reforms affect employee recruitment, mobility and retention. Hear about increasing the overall quality of the public workforce given the economic challenges facing states and localities.

Retirement Income Security: Beyond the Three Legged Stool
Pension reform has been widespread across the states but do these new or modified retirement plans provide adequate retirement benefit levels for workers when combined with social security and private savings? In this session, hear about public employees’ level of benefits and how benefit adequacy affects the life decisions of current and future generations. Learn about innovative state policies to address these issues.

Technology

Cyber Warfare
The notion of a coordinated cyber attack is no longer a science fiction fantasy. Experts point out that large-scale cyber attacks on sensitive government and industry data are escalating. Hear how governments at all levels, along with the private sector, can work together to thwart potentially devastating cyber attacks.

Legal Implications of Social Media    ( CLE)
Social media has blurred the lines between professional and personal lives, and is creating new legal questions inside and outside of the workplace. Hear about emerging issues raised by social media, including information about social media policies and state laws protecting the privacy of employee passwords. You'll come away with best practices and guidelines for using social media.

All About Drones
“Unmanned aerial vehicles” or “drones” and their technological enhancements have captured the attention of government officials, the media and the general public. Thirty-nine states have introduced drone legislation in 2013 and states are addressing questions about their practical uses, economic impact and concerns over privacy. Explore the capabilities of drones and the regulations being proposed and implemented for their use at the state and federal level.

PROFESSIONAL TRACK

Being a Great Legislative Leader
Peter Drucker stated that "leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results." Leaders have great social intelligence, an enthusiasm for new ideas and the vision to carry them out. These are great skills for all of us. Join a group of respected leaders as they discuss the art of leadership.

A Crash Course on Parliamentary Procedure
In order to play the game, you have to know the rules. Parliamentary procedure is at the heart of the legislative process. Learning how to use it properly improves not only your effectiveness but the smooth running of your legislature. You'll leave this session with highly honed parliamentary skills.

Be Great at Debate
You'll make your points effectively and win colleagues to your viewpoint in committee, on the floor, out at the pub with your peers or whenever you need to rally your cause after learning the key techniques you'll take away from this session.

Going Mobile: What It Means for Legislatures
The dramatic growth in mobile devices is changing the way legislatures communicate and do business. States are seeing benefits and cost savings from moving to mobile devices and going paperless. Hear about and learn from experiences in states that are going mobile.

Increase your Presence with Tech Tools
Want to know about the best free and bargain apps and technology to improve productivity and simplify your life without breaking the bank? Need to jazz up your presentations or shake-up meetings? Want to jump into the new technology world but have no idea where to start? Walk away with 30+ tips and tricks you can use to add sizzle to your presentation.

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Fall Forum 2014
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