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March 8, 2010

State Legislators’ Spring Meeting Looks to Melt Deep Freeze on Washington

Legislators from across the country will share what works to solve problems

DENVER – Some of the hottest issues in state government could help melt the ice in the nation’s capital.

This spring, legislators from across the country will join a bipartisan meeting in Washington, D.C., to collaborate on policy solutions to curb rising unemployment, keep higher education costs down and develop clean energy alternatives. While the national recession might be over, states still grapple with declining revenues in the current economy.

Because of continuing budget constraints, state legislatures are forced to act on a host of reforms and cost-cutting measures ranging from education and health care to budgets and revenues. Just this fiscal year, states have bridged a cumulative budget gap of $145.9 billion in their FY 2010 budgets. This was on top of the gaps that were closed in FY 2009 and ones many faced in FY 2008.

To solve these ongoing challenges, the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Spring Forum features some of the nation’s leading policy experts on energy, health care, education, transportation and a host of other issues. The meeting, April 8-10, includes an exchange of ideas and innovations from both sides of the aisle in an effort to find the best possible solution.

“Legislators need to be resourceful and enterprising to tackle the complex issues before states now and in the future,” said William Pound, NCSL executive director. “States want to know what works and why. This meeting enables them to hear about policy solutions from experts and state lawmakers as well as share their own.”

This year, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will talk to state legislators, legislative staff and others from across the nation about the responsibilities and opportunities states have in the current economy.

Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who has devoted his recent career to the search for new solutions to our energy challenges and ways to stop global climate change. Gingrich has remained involved in national politics and public policy debate since he left Congress. He is chairman of the Gingrich Group and of American Solutions for Winning the Future, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and founder of the Center for Health Transformation.

The Spring Forum will be held at the Marriott Wardman Park in the Woodley Park area of Washington, D.C. Members of the media are invited to attend. A complete listing of the schedule will be posted online.

Members of the media can register online or onsite and there is no registration fee for reporters. Media is asked to check in at the NCSL registration desk to obtain a press badge. Please drop by the Press Room in the hotel.

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.