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April 5, 2010

A Federal Perspective on State Legislative Issues 

Energy, leadership, the economy--keynote  addresses at the premiere spring meeting for state legislatures  

In times of complex fiscal problems and a new agenda set by Congress, state legislators need to be resourceful, inventive and enterprising.

The National Conference of State Legislatures’ Spring Forum features some of the nation’s leading experts on energy, health care and transportation. 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.

NCSL's Spring Forum allows lawmakers and legislative staff to work with fellow colleagues to examine how federal issues affect the states and develop states' advocacy positions before Congress and the administration.

But before any positions are taken, several cabinet members and federal officials will address NCSL's legislative community. Here is a list of speakers for the 2010 NCSL Spring Forum.

Newt Gingrich has remained involved in national politics and public policy debate since he left the position of speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. 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. He and Steven Chu will talk to state legislators, legislative staff and others from across the nation about the responsibilities and opportunities states have in the current economy.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven 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. 

At Thursday's general session, forum attendees will hear from Alex Fergusson, the presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament. Fergusson is the Parliament's third presiding officer and has an extensive background in agriculture and farming. 

Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer will speak at the start of Friday's general session. Ambassador Doer won three consecutive elections as premier of Manitoba. As premier, he led strategic investments in health care, education, and training and infrastructure.

At Saturday's general session breakfast, Joung Lee of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) will discuss state transportation funding issues. Lee reviews surface transportation policy and legislative matters with the state transportation departments, congressional staff and executive branch. He also examines highway and transit funding scenarios, evaluates options and proposals for innovative financing of federal highway projects.

In addition to the impressive list of speakers, sessions on managing health costs and coverage, analyzing sentencing and corrections costs, developing clean energy and balancing state budgets are open to legislators, staff and members of the media.

NCSL's 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 is posted online.

Members of the media can register onsite and there is no registration fee for reporters. Media are 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.