July | August 2017


CSG Well-Positioned to Build on Strengths CSG’s outgoing chair,
Senate President David L. Williams, looks back on a productive year

As states worked their way out of the Great Recession, The Council of State Governments gathered in May for the Economic Summit of the States. It was my goal as chairman of CSG to give state leaders the opportunity to share innovative solutions that have worked for them and to learn from others’ insights and ideas. State leaders in attendance had a robust dialogue on the issues. CSG created a place where state leaders could connect, collaborate and emerge with new ideas and a renewed sense of purpose.
The Economic Summit of the States laid the groundwork for future discussions and information sharing that will help states address budgetary concerns in the future. But it is just one example of how CSG has helped states over the last year.
CSG’s leadership approved a resolution in May reaffirming constitutional sovereignty under the 10th Amendment. The resolution also appealed for a continued and meaningful dialogue between state and federal officials on matters of common interest. During the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions, 40 states introduced legislation or resolutions seeking to curb federal mandates and assumption of powers. CSG will continue to work diligently to ensure states’ rights are protected.
CSG, through its Washington, D.C., office, works to ensure states have a voice in issues facing Congress. And through its National Center for Interstate Compacts, CSG is leading the way to prevent federal pre-emption on issues best left to the states to handle. Interstate compacts are a very valuable tool to prevent federal intervention.
The proposed Prescription Drug Monitoring Compact, which will come before legislatures next year, will help states better address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. By sharing information about prescriptions, states can work together to address drug diversion, prescription fraud, “doctor shopping,” and illicit use and abuse of prescription drugs. Legislators will consider adoption of the compact in their upcoming sessions.
Under CSG’s guidance, the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission launched this year to ensure an easier transition for children of our military service members when they move from state to state.
In both instances, it is leadership from the states providing solutions. State efforts like these are just some ways to circumvent federal intervention in state issues.
CSG also participates in activities with other organizations promoting states’ constitutional sovereignty. We participated in a symposium on federalism and state law with the Uniform Law Commission and other national organizations. Our goal is to begin a dialogue among federal, state and local governments in areas of shared interest.
In addition to working at a national level, CSG uses its regional focus to foster the collaborative environment many states need to grow economic development efforts that cross state boundaries and encompass many policy areas. Policymakers in each region have the opportunity to share innovative solutions with others who may be dealing with similar problems. Of course, bringing all those issues together for a national dialogue involving all three branches of state government sets CSG apart from other state services organizations.
Behind the scenes, CSG staff work hard to provide members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches information about a range of policy issues facing them today. For example, members of the education policy team at the national headquarters have been traveling around the country holding educational sessions about the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-driven effort to align K–12 curriculum and standards. Those efforts have paid off, as two-thirds of state legislatures have adopted the standards.
Our National Conference in December will once again explore the challenges of health care and feature an engaging debate on the effects of federal health care reform on the states. We look forward to next year, when we will again be focusing on the economy at the 2011 Summit in March. In October, CSG’s North American Summit will focus on relations between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The past year has been a time of great challenge for state governments, but also a time of progress. As state leaders, we have recognized things that are working in our states, and through CSG have come away with innovative solutions our neighbors have used before us.
I’ve enjoyed my year as CSG chair working alongside South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds to lead the 77-year-old organization through this time of great economic challenge. I look forward to continuing my work with the organization next year as past chair as we continue to ensure states maintain their rightful place in dealing with issues they are uniquely qualified to address.




Reflections on the Toll Fellowship Program

Inspiring interbranch interaction
“My experience with The Council of State Governments comes solely through the 2010 Toll Fellows. I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect, refocus and re-energize.
“At Toll Fellows, I had the opportunity to reflect on my intergovernmental role and think about the system and how I can work with the other branches to effect positive change.
“I welcomed the opportunity to step out of my role as a trial court judge and interact with a group of outstanding individuals who happen to share my interest in public service. Unlike serving in the executive or legislative branches, which move one into public discourse, serving in the judicial branch isolates one from public discourse. By engaging in lively policy discussions with this very bright group, I believe I have been able to refocus on my role as a public servant working within a three-branch system.
“I returned to my office re-energized and ready to spend some of my out-of-court time reaching out to legislators and executive branch officials, engaging them is discussions about positive changes that will allow all of us to better serve our constituents.”
—Hon. Daniel Dean Narum
Judge of the District Court | Ellendale, N.D.
2010 Toll Fellow


From a Private Sector Partner

“CSG has been a valued partner for Procter & Gamble for more than 25 years. CSG’s unique national and regional structure provides us valuable insights into priority issues and trends in the states and the opportunity to engage in policy matters important to our business. We have been pleased to support many CSG programs, including the 21st Century Foundation and the Henry Toll Fellowship program, because assisting states in meeting the tough demands of governance, especially in these difficult economic times, is crucial to creating a business climate where P&G can operate and prosper. P&G’s purpose is to improve the lives of more consumers in more parts of the world more completely and working with world class, forward-thinking organizations like CSG is fundamental to delivering this purpose.”
—Pat Hayes
State Government Relations | Procter & Gamble