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November 23, 2010

Pressing Issues Await Action by Both Veteran and Freshman Legislators

State budgets, pension plans, immigration legislation and health care are some of the issues state legislators will tackle in 2011.

With these challenging issues facing nearly all 50 states, state legislators from across the country are coming together to share ideas, experiences and insights during a three-day policy meeting, Dec. 7 - 11, in Phoenix, Ariz.

The National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Fall Forum will feature an array of speakers who will address state budget issues, the impact of the November election, immigration legislation, job creation ideas, innovative state policies, and political civility. Also, NCSL will release reports on the condition of state budgets and an overview of all immigration-related laws in the states. 

Credentialed members of the media may attend for free. You can register online until Dec. 6, after that you must register in the Press Room at the Arizona Biltmore. All requests to record sessions at Fall Forum must be made through the  NCSL Media and Public Affairs office. To register online, click here.

"State legislators and staff have the opportunity to come together to collect and share ideas, opportunities and innovations before they begin another legislative session where closing budget gaps will most likely take top priority," said NCSL Executive Director William Pound. 

NCSL does not create model legislation for state legislators to use. This meeting provides a forum for lawmakers to come together, discuss some of the most pressing issues facing states, share solutions and get new ideas to take back to their own states. Legislators serving on NCSL's 12 Standing Committees will develop policy resolutions that guide NCSL's actions before Congress and the administration.

NCSL's Fall Forum brings together the best ideas, the most knowledgeable speakers, and the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across the nation grappling with the same hard decisions. Some of the policy sessions legislators and legislative staff from all 50 states and from around the world will attend include:

  • Immigration Reform at the State Level 
  • The State of State Pensions
  • Solutions to Closing Budget Gaps
  • An Update on the Federal No Child Left Behind Policy
  • Concrete Examples of How States Can Boost Employment 
  • New Energy Technologies
  • The State's Role in New Foreclosure Programs

Christopher Thornberg, an economic forecaster from Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, will address the group on Thursday, Dec. 9, and look at prospects for economic recovery during his discussion on Saturday, Dec. 11. 

Lou Cannon is author of the critically acclaimed book "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime." His distinguished journalism career includes five books, 26 years as a reporter for The Washington Post, and contributing editor and chief executive officer of California Journal. He will discuss \ Republican gains in state houses during the 2010 election and what they could mean for policy and legislation.

Other notable speakers include Cassandra Dahnke and Tomas Spath of the Institute for Civility in Government who will discuss what civility is and why it is important in the legislative process. Legislators willl have the opportunity to participate in communication exercises.

A searchable full agenda is available online.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.