From the ground up: New laws, investments reflect interest in building local food systems and helping home-based vendors

Since 1891, Eastern Market has served as a hub for Michigan farmers in the heart of the state’s largest city. Its value only grew when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Families from all over Michigan drove to the market to access local food,” says Brandon Seng, the director of food business development at Eastern Market. But this big increase in demand also showed the market “couldn’t keep running on 100-year-old technology and facilities,” Seng adds.

To adequately store food, accommodate vendors and serve customers, the nation’s largest historic public market district (owned by Detroit, run by a nonprofit) is in need of an upgrade. And as one example of how states in the Midwest are trying to bolster their local food systems, Michigan legislators allocated $12 million in the most recent budget for capital improvements at Eastern Market.

“While the funding may be going to an urban Detroit location, the return on investment is going to be realized at rural family farms across Michigan and by having a safer and more secure food supply for everyone,” Michigan Sen. Roger Victory says.

In all, Michigan’s FY 2023 budget includes $50 million in one-time funding for grants that support the state’s food supply chain, as well as food safety and security. Additionally, since 2017, lawmakers have provided more than $7 million in grants to expand local food processing and distribution.

‘Take lessons from broken supply chains’

This emphasis on “local” is partly a response to disruptions during the pandemic to food production, distribution and inventory levels. “We need to take the lessons learned from broken supply chains and focus on keeping our local communities fed and our local farmers growing,” Victory says.

Hence the new state support in Michigan for the 315-acre Eastern Market, a place that hosts 175 different vendors and attracts 2 million visitors a year.

“While most people see it as a farmers’ market, that is only one aspect of it,” Seng says. “It is a wholesale market, a food hub, and an aggregation and distribution facility. Michigan farmers from as far as 200 miles away bring everything from asparagus to peppers to the market, and independent grocers can buy the products for retail sales.”

Across the United States, more than 2,000 farmers markets are in operation, and those that could stay open during the pandemic became lifelines of sorts — for producers who lost commercial contracts due to breakdowns in the global supply chain, and for consumers who couldn’t find what they needed or wanted on grocery shelves.

One example of their increased importance: A survey by the Farmers Market Coalition showed an almost 40 percent increase in sales from farmers markets for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) between 2019 and 2020.

States currently support farmers markets in a variety of ways, including grants to help with promotion and awareness or to modernize operations (including installing equipment to accept payments for SNAP benefits). They also play a central role in overseeing farmers markets, with regulatory structures that are long-standing and often fairly consistent across the Midwest.

More options on how home-based food is sold

In contrast, laws have varied widely on how to handle another part of local food systems: home-based businesses. What foods can people sell from their homes? Where can they sell these products?

Legislators have been taking a close look at those questions, and since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, five Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota) have changed their laws to open up new sales options.

One of those new measures is Indiana’s HB 1149.

“[It] creates new opportunities for home-based vendors, not by changing what they can sell, but by changing where they can sell,” says Rep. Ed Clere, a co-author of the bill.

Clere, who previously helped manage a farmers market in his hometown, says the new law allows for online sales. “They can keep selling at farmers markets and then turn those customers into repeat buyers [via online transactions],” Clere says.

Unchanged in Indiana’s new law, he adds, are the types of foods that can be sold by these home-based businesses — only items that aren’t potentially hazardous and don’t need refrigeration to remain safe for consumption. Sanitary procedures must be followed by these vendors, who also are required to complete food-handling training, Clere says.

In neighboring Illinois, the state’s Home to Market Act (SB 2007 of 2021) opens up new direct-sales opportunities for cottage food producers — for example, selling to customers online or at fairs and festivals. The same law also removed a $1,000-a-month cap on sales while allowing for home-based pickups, shipping and delivery.

New laws in Iowa and South Dakota, meanwhile, address the other question: What can people sell from their homes? In both states, legislators chose to loosen restrictions.

Cottage food producers in Iowa now can sell pickled and fermented foods, as well as certain meat products (HF 2431).
In South Dakota, if an individual completes state-approved food safety training once every five years, he or she can sell all shelf-stable foods, and even some fermented foods or items requiring refrigeration (HB 1322). Two years ago, South Dakota legislators eliminated a $5,000 annual sales cap on cottage food producers while also allowing them to sell their food from home (HB 1125).

Minnesota lawmakers also recently changed the statutory limit on annual sales, from $18,000 to $78,000. Another provision in that 2021 law (SF 958) permits home-based food businesses to be structured as limited liability corporations. With an LLC, business owners are able to protect personal assets in the event of a lawsuit against them.

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Ballot Measures Impacting State Legislative and Executive Power

By Valerie Newberg

Please note that this article is based on projected results and may change with certified election results.

Changes to legislative and executive power in the states were on the ballot this November. In this year’s state elections, voters considered issues like the power to convene a special legislative session, the state legislative veto and the creation of new executive offices. This article analyzes the results of these ballot measures in Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas and Kentucky.

Arkansas, Idaho and Kentucky considered options for calling a special legislative session.

Kentucky voters decided against a constitutional amendment addressing legislative power with 54% of voters selecting “no”[1]. Constitutional Amendment 1 would have allowed the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House to convene the legislature by a Joint Proclamation for up to 12 days a year and allowed each chamber to extend the end date for the legislative session by a three-fifths vote.[2] With the failure of this measure, only the Governor can call a special legislative session in Kentucky.

In Arkansas, 61% of voters rejected a similar ballot measure for Issue 1.[3] This amendment would have allowed either a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers or a joint proclamation by House and Senate leadership to convene a special session. Currently, only the Governor of Arkansas has that power.

Kentucky and Arkansas are two of 13 states that give the governor sole power over calling a legislative session. Illinois, Ohio and Delaware are the only three states that do not require a legislative vote or Governor’s authority to convene a special legislative session.[4]

With 52% of Idaho voters selecting “yes” on Constitutional Amendment SJR 102, the state now allows Senate and House leadership to convene a special legislative session if they receive a joint proclamation from three-fifths of lawmakers in each chamber.[5] Idaho joins 17 other states where a supermajority is required to convene a special legislative session.

Arizona voters decided to create the position of lieutenant governor.

Proposition 131 is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that establishes the office of Lieutenant Governor who would run for election on a joint ticket with the gubernatorial candidate. Voters in Arizona supported this ballot measure with 55% voting “yes”. Before this ballot measure was passed, the Arizona constitution stipulated that if the office of the Governor becomes vacant, the Secretary of State should succeed, but the passage of this amendment transferred that power to the Lieutenant Governor.[6]

With this amendment, Arizona joins 45 states who have an elected lieutenant governor position.[7]

Kansas voters rejected the state legislative veto.

Kansas Constitutional Amendment 1, the Legislative Veto or Suspension of Executive Agency Regulations Amendment, was narrowly rejected by voters. Constitutional Amendment 1 authorized the legislature to veto or suspend rules or regulations adopted by executive agencies via a simple majority vote. With a close finish, 50.5% of voters selected to reject this amendment.

From 1939 through 1984, Kansas lawmakers could rewrite or veto any regulation adopted by an administrative agency. In 1984, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in Stephan v Kansas House of Representatives[8] that this legislative veto violated the constitutional commitment to separation of powers. Before the election, Kansas legislators could only revise or reject administrative procedures by passing a bill that the governor signs into law, but a joint committee could review regulations and make recommendations. Passage of Constitutional Amendment 1 would have expanded legislators’ power and limited the ability of state agencies to unilaterally implement rules that have the effect of law.

Since 1976, Idaho, Iowa and Nevada have passed ballot measures expanding the legislative veto.[9] If Constitutional Initiative 1 was passed, Kansas would have joined at least six others- Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, New Jersey and Nevada– in allowing legislators to veto executive actions.[10]

CSG will continue to provide initial results on key topics as well as more in-depth analysis in the days following the election. Find those articles on Twitter (@CSGovts) and at









[9] Https://,_Legislative_Veto_or_Suspension_of_Executive_   Agency_Regulations_Amendment_(2022)


Capital Closeup: More than 40 percent of U.S. state legislative races had no party competition in 2022

Even before a single ballot was cast, the outcome of party control in five of the Midwest’s 20 partisan legislative chambers already had been decided. The reason: many legislative races went uncontested by one of the two major political parties.

Nationwide, more than 40 percent of the 6,278 state legislative seats lacked two-party competition, and the “no contest” rate was even higher in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to Ballotpedia researchers.

Republicans were assured majorities in the South Dakota, Indiana and Ohio senates, as well as super-majority control of the entire North Dakota Legislative Assembly. Outside the Midwest, the absence of opposing-party candidates ensured Democrats control of the California Senate and entire Massachusetts Legislature.

“When you look across the country, you can say that about one-third of the legislators win just by signing up,” says Steven Rogers, an associate professor of political science at St. Louis University, noting the lack of both primary- and general-election challenges. “That’s troublesome when we think of this idea that the purpose of an election is to create incentives for those in office to serve their constituents.”

Past research has found an adverse impact on at least some measures of job performance, says Rogers, who studies uncontested elections and is writing a book about accountability in state legislatures. Compared to their legislative peers, retiring or unchallenged legislators are more likely to miss roll-call votes, sponsor fewer bills and get fewer measures enacted.

Party control not in doubt

Fifty years ago, it was much more common for state legislative seats to be contested — around 80 percent of them, on par with how many U.S. House races had two-party competition at the time.

But between 1970 and 1990, a marked decline occurred in the number of contested state legislative races. The rate has not gone up since then. In contrast, the number of contested U.S. House races has remained steady or even risen over the past half century.

Rogers points to a rise in safe districts (one party having a major electoral advantage) as a primary reason for many legislative seats going uncontested. In addition, partisan control of many legislative chambers often is not in doubt. Entering this year’s election, for example, nearly all of the Midwest’s chambers were deemed “safe” or “likely safe” for one of the two parties. The two exceptions were Michigan and Minnesota.

In turn, those states had the region’s highest rate of contested elections: 98.6 percent of the legislative races in Michigan and 87.1 percent in Minnesota.

More open seats in 2022

Along with the partisan lopsidedness of districts, Rogers says other factors may dissuade would-be legislative candidates. Running a campaign takes considerable time and money, and once in office, the job of legislator requires many hours and days away from family, long commutes and a forgoing of other career opportunities.

Some of those same considerations also cause legislators not to seek re-election. In the Midwest this year, the number of legislative retirements was much higher than usual in some states — the highest in 50 years or more in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Term limits in Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota also have forced many legislators to leave office.

This year’s number of open state legislative seats in the Midwest (no incumbent running) ranged from a low of 12.4 percent in Illinois to a high of 54.2 percent in Nebraska. Because of a nationwide increase in open seats, as well as a higher number of incumbents facing primary challengers, Ballotpedia rated this year’s election cycle for U.S. state legislative races as the “most competitive” since 2010. However, compared to the last two cycles, there was less competition in the 2022 general election among the two parties.

Capital Closeup is an ongoing series of articles focusing on institutional issues in state governments and legislatures.


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In Indiana, $1,000 ‘micro grants’ are now available for eligible families to get tutoring for their children

Across Indiana, some families of academically struggling fourth- and fifth-graders are getting first-of-its-kind support from the state: up to $1,000 to spend on intensive tutoring or other interventions. Enrollment in Indiana Learns began in October, six months after the General Assembly’s passage of HB 1251.

“We look at this as really a micro grant for parents,” says Indiana Rep. Bob Behning, the bill’s sponsor. “We wanted to make sure they were the ones who would be the decision-makers on how to use this money.”

He and other legislators set out general parameters for the tutoring program, and left many details to the Indiana Department of Education.

As far as eligibility, the department chose to make micro grants available to any fourth- or fifth-grader from a low-income family who is not proficient in both math and reading (as determined by scores on Indiana’s standardized assessment). Tutoring supports can be delivered through any number of entities — for example, individual current, retired or prospective teachers, colleges and philanthropic organizations, or local schools themselves.

“Families get to select the learning provider, the time/frequency of support, and the format of enrichment support, which can be in person, virtual or follow a hybrid model,” notes Holly Lawson, the department’s deputy director of communications. Providers, though, are required to meet several guidelines.

At least 60 minutes of services must be provided every week, and be delivered outside of school hours by a credentialed educator. The number of students per tutor cannot exceed three, and the per-student cost cannot be more than $100 an hour. Lastly, any state-reimbursed program must measure learning growth and provide weekly progress reports to parents and schools.

Behning says the new program reflects two longstanding goals of education policy in his state: empower parents and “individualize learning for kids.”

But it also is the result of a unique period, one marked by concerns about learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and the availability of new federal support for state K-12 education. Indiana Learns is being financed by a portion of state dollars from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Grants from this fund must be used within the next two years. However, Behning says if the program proves popular and successful, own-state funding is possible in subsequent years.

Each participating student will receive a one-time grant of $500. A local school can contribute an additional $250 to the student’s account (using a portion of the school’s federal relief funds); if that happens, the state chips in another $250.

Learning loss, falling scores

According to the Indiana Department of Education, pandemic-related learning disruptions had a moderate to significant academic impact on student performance in English/language arts and a significant impact in math. Learning has since stabilized and recovered for many, but not all, students, the department says.

Nationwide, between 2019 and 2022, math and reading scores among fourth- and eighth-graders declined in most states, according to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (see graphic for results from the Midwest). At both grade levels, declines in the national average math score were the largest ever recorded.

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Women in State Government: Impact of the 2022 Election

By Rebecca Halpryn

Women Making History

Prior to the 2022 general election, only ten women across nine states and one territory held the gubernatorial position. Nine of these women ran as the incumbent candidates in the 2022 election – all nine gubernatorial incumbent women won (Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon did not run for reelection due to term limits). Four other states, Arkansas, Arizona, Massachusetts and Oregon, elected women governors, setting a record for the most women serving as governors concurrently. 

Nationally, prior to the 2022 midterm elections, 23 states had never elected a woman as governor, 16 of which held gubernatorial elections during the 2022 midterm elections. Women were on the ballot for the 2022 gubernatorial race in 12 of these 16 states, and nominated as either a Republican or Democratic candidate in six (Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio). Women won the gubernatorial election in three states, Arkansas, Massachusetts and New York, bringing the number of states that have never elected a woman to the gubernatorial role down to 20.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) made history in 2022 as the first woman to be governor of Arkansas. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) is the first woman elected as lieutenant governor in Arkansas. Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey (D) and Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) of New York made history as the first elected governors of their respective states (both states appointed women as governors previously). Arkansas and Massachusetts are the first states to have women serving concurrently in both the governor and lieutenant governor positions. Additionally, both Healey of Massachusetts and Tina Kotek (D) of Oregon made national history simultaneously as the first openly lesbian candidates to be elected governors in the US.

Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands also held gubernatorial elections in 2022. The Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands have never elected a woman to the gubernatorial position. Christina Sablan made history as the first woman in the Northern Mariana Islands to be nominated by a major party for the gubernatorial role. In Guam, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero made history in 2018 as the first woman elected to governor. Guerrero won reelection in 2022.

Results as of 11/15/22

Election Results So far

As of Nov. 15, 2022, Ballotpedia has projected winners for 92.1% of the 6,514 state-level races in the 2022 general election. Data from Ballotpedia shows that 35.5% of state-level race candidates are women. Of these women, 45.3% were incumbents, 7.1% ran for positions in the executive branch, 5.0% ran for positions in the judicial branch and 88.0% ran for positions in the legislative branch. In just under half (48.6%) of the state level races, at least one candidate identified as a woman. Overall, women won 34.1% of all projected state level races and won 71.5% of all projected state level races with at least one woman on the ballot. 46.1% of women incumbent candidates won reelection.

(NOTE: gender information for 12.9% of state level candidates was unavailable. Gender information for all candidates within a race was unavailable for 1.7% of all state races. These candidates and races were excluded from all analyses).

Gubernatorial elections took place in 36 states and three territories in 2022. Women won 12 states and one territory out of the 29 gubernatorial races with a woman candidate on the ballot (27 states and two territories) and accounted for 31.8% of the gubernatorial candidates on the ballot. The number of states and territories with a female governor increased from 10 to 13.

Of the 4,464 lower legislature races across 49 states and three territories, just under half (47.9%) had at least one woman candidate on the ballot.

35.2% of these candidates were women of which 46.9% were incumbents.

Women won 72.6% of the 1,938 projected lower legislature races with a woman candidate and 33.9% of all projected lower legislature races.

96.9% of women incumbents in projected races won.

In the upper legislature, nearly half (48.0%) of the 1,278 races across 46 states and two territories, had at least one woman running on the ballot, and women made up 34.2% of the candidates. Of these women, 40.4% were the incumbent candidate.

Women won 69.2% of the 1,193 projected state senate races with a woman candidate and 32.4% of all projected upper legislature races.

96.3% of women incumbents in projected races were reelected.

What These Results Tell Us

Overall, data from projected races indicate that fewer women than men, about one-in-three candidates, appeared on the ballot in the 2022 general elections. Women won just over one-in-three races across all state level races. When looking just at the races that include at least one woman on the ballot, women perform better, winning about seven-in-ten races. Women perform particularly well in state judicial races and in the races in which they appear on the ballot, perform worst in state executive races.

Aligning Policy Goals: How States can Pair Continuing Education Requirements with Mentorship Programs

By Sandi Abdelshehed

The Economic and Workforce Health Subcommittee of the CSG Healthy States National Task Force recently explored ways to fill workforce gaps with paid pathways to employment, including ways state governments may expand apprenticeships.

In September 2022, the subcommittee issued a recommendation from these discussions that, “states should consider allowing mentorship to satisfy any continuing education requirements as an incentive for industry-based mentorship. Industry professionals could count activities such as mentoring a career aspirant or hosting a job shadowing session.”

Apprenticeships are a work-based learning model that provide participants with opportunities to connect classroom instruction to work activities. Career mentorship is a key piece of the apprenticeship experience. Knowledgeable mentors are often able to translate written instruction into the mechanics of the job, they are also beneficial to the entity offering these programs since the retention rate for mentees is significantly higher than those not mentored, and turnover rates are lowered as a result.

Employees can also view mentorship programs as informal leadership training that also improves the mentor’s understanding of their field by teaching apprentices and other aspiring workers. To recruit capable mentors for apprenticeship programs, states may consider the recognition of mentorship as professional development, counting toward continuing education requirements (if required).

Continuing education requirements are set by states to ensure licensees maintain competencies and stay current with legal and professional standards in their respective fields. There is the potential to pair these requirements to achieve dual policy goals, which is why some states have implemented exemptions to continuing education requirements in other instances. State leaders, in partnership with private sector employers, credentialing organizations and other stakeholders, could incentivize mentors by allowing mentorship to count toward a licensee’s continuing education requirements. If licensees are allowed to use mentorship programs to fulfill their requirements, they will have the opportunity to support the growth of their career field.

While a preliminary scan found no current state examples of this recommendation, some states offer flexibility to the established continuing education requirements to achieve other policy goals.

For example, New York requires licensed professional engineers to obtain 36 hours of continuing education. Licensees directly employed on a complete full-time basis by the state of New York are exempt from this continuing education requirement. Another example of states implementing exemptions comes from Maine; the state requires public accountant and certified public accountant license applicants to complete a minimum of 20 hours, but no more than 40 hours, of continuing professional education. Maine allows the fulfillment of other states’ continuing professional education requirements to attain Maine’s requirement for continued education requirement.

Incumbency Performance in State Elections

By Ben Reynolds

In elections, incumbents typically hold an electoral advantage. Attempts to defeat an incumbent, or flip a seat’s partisan control, can be difficult. Generally, incumbents have advantages in fundraising, name recognition and past policy work to name a few. In the 2022 general election, there were 6,728 state legislative seats, 307 state executive seats and 384 judicial court seats on the ballot. There were 5,095 incumbent candidates and 7,069 non-incumbent candidates running for election. Overall, the judicial branch had the highest percentage of incumbents running for election compared to the legislative and executive branches.

Table 1: Incumbent candidates by branch of state government

Office BranchPercentage of Candidates that were Incumbents

When comparing candidates by party, 49% of Republican candidates were incumbents and 45% of Democratic candidates were incumbents. Republican and Democratic incumbent candidates made up 33% of all total candidates running for office in the 2022 midterm elections.

Table 2: Percentage of Incumbents Running

Political PartyPercentage Incumbent
Other Parties>1%

17% (2,088) of state races were uncontested elections (elections in which candidates run unopposed). Republican candidates were more likely to run in uncontested elections (55%) while Democratic candidates were more likely to run in competitive races (66%). Of Democrats running unopposed, 87% were incumbents. In comparison, among Republicans running unopposed, 79% were incumbents.

The following analysis looks at competitive races, defined as races that have two or more candidates running for the same office. In this year’s election, 83% of races were competitive.

As of November 15, 2022, there were 4,302 winners of competitive races in this year’s election. Of those winners, 67% were incumbents. Among incumbents, only 4% lost a competitive race.

Breaking down incumbent performance by party shows that Republican incumbents performed slightly better than Democratic incumbents. Republican incumbents won 85% of their races compared to 83% of competitive races won by Democratic incumbents.  

Table 3: Incumbent and Non-Incumbent Performance in Competitive Races

Political PartyIncumbent WinIncumbent LostNon-Incumbent WinNon-Incumbent Lost
Democrat1,450 886231,734

Incumbents vs Non-Incumbents by Office Branch

Incumbent performance in competitive races was relatively similar among the three office branches.

Table 4: Incumbent Performance by Office Branch

Office BranchTotal Incumbents WonIncumbent Win PercentageTotal Races Won

Incumbents won the majority of executive races. Nearly all incumbent state governors won re-election. When breaking down incumbent performance by political party, Democratic and Republican incumbents won competitive executive races at similar rates, and nonpartisan incumbents won 9% of competitive executive races.

In the legislature, incumbents won 67% of races. Democratic incumbents won 43%, while Republican incumbents won 41% of competitive legislative races. Non-Republican and Democratic incumbents accounted for less than 1% of winners in competitive legislative races.

Incumbents won 65% of competitive judicial races. When you compare by political party, Democratic incumbents won 9%, Republican incumbents won 27% and nonpartisan incumbents won 27% of competitive judicial races. Many state’s judicial races are considered nonpartisan elections, so it is expected that nonpartisan incumbents performed better in this category.

In elections, incumbents typically hold an electoral advantage, and that stood true in this year’s general. Nearly all incumbent state governors won re-election. Currently, only Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak lost to challenger Joe Lombardo. Overall, judicial incumbents performed the best followed by legislative incumbents and finally executive incumbents.

Facilitating Veteran Employment: Strategies to Engage Veterans in Apprenticeships

By Rachel Wright and Mary Wurtz 

Each year, approximately 200,000 veterans transition to civilian life, but many struggle to find employment upon re-entry. Research shows that only a little more than half of U.S. veterans find a job within six months of the start of their search. Furthermore, those who do find employment are 37% more likely to experience underemployment than nonveterans.  

Efforts are being made at the state level to increase the number of veterans in registered apprenticeships, including establishing tax-credits for employers that recruit veterans, augmenting funding streams for programs that recruit veterans, designating state agencies to promote and monitor veteran participation in apprenticeship and requiring public sector contractors to establish plans and goals for recruiting veterans. 

Apprenticeship as a Tool to Help Veterans Overcome Barriers to Employment 

Registered Apprenticeships – training programs that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor or state apprenticeship agency – provide participants with paid, on-the-job learning and tailored classroom instruction. Apprentices work one-on-one with a mentor that helps them navigate workplace culture and build strong support networks. Apprentices also earn a nationally recognized, portable credential upon completion of their program. 

Apprenticeship can help veterans overcome common barriers to employment, such as: 

Difficulty Translating Skills to the Civilian Workforce 

Veterans often face underemployment because they experience difficulty converting skills learned in the military to the civilian workforce. They also frequently lack professional networks outside of the military that can help them find a job that is consistent with their level of work experience. Apprenticeship addresses veteran underemployment by providing veterans with a clear pathway into a career that builds upon their skills and work experience without requiring a bachelor’s degree. The Department of Labor can even provide veterans with advanced standing in their program if their military training and experience is in a similar occupation.  

Lack of Support in the Workplace  

Studies show that veterans often leave their first civilian job because they encounter a lack of support and an unfamiliar work culture. Through apprenticeship, veterans receive individualized training with an experienced mentor who provides long-term support throughout the program.  

Lack of Professional Development Opportunities and Avenues for Advancement  

Many veterans may struggle to adjust to civilian work due to a lack of opportunities for professional growth and advancement – a key feature of apprenticeship programs. Through apprenticeship, veterans work one-on-one with a mentor to identify and engage in opportunities for growth. Apprenticeship also provides participants with progressive wage increases and a nationally recognized, portable credential. 

Additionally, veterans can utilize GI Bill benefits for approved apprenticeship programs, including tax-free money for books and supplies and a monthly housing allowance. 

State Strategies to Engage Veterans in Apprenticeship 

Recognizing these benefits, state policymakers have employed the following strategies to increase veterans’ access to apprenticeships:  

Establishing tax credits for employers that hire veterans as apprentices  

In South Carolina, the legislature enacted Senate Bill 0901 in June 2022. The bill provides a tax credit to any taxpayer that hires a veteran as part of a registered apprenticeship program. In the first year of employment, the employer will receive $3,000 for each eligible employee. An employer can receive this credit for three years. 

Montana offers a tax credit of $1,500 to employers for each new registered apprentice hired that is a veteran. The tax credit can be applied for the length of each apprentice’s training program or up to five years. 

Augmenting funding streams for programs that recruit minority groups – including veterans – into apprenticeships  

Michigan enacted House Bill 5783 (2022) providing $250,000 in funds to a national nonprofit program connecting military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. A portion of these grant funds must be used to help veterans transition into apprenticeship programs in the state. 

Similarly, Maryland enacted legislation establishing a Clean Energy Workforce Account to provide grants to support apprenticeship training programs. The fund set aside $750,000 for the recruitment of individuals, including veterans, to pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeships programs. 

Designating state entities that are responsible for promoting and monitoring veteran participation in apprenticeship  

To better monitor veteran participation in apprenticeship, the Colorado General Assembly enacted House Bill 21-1007 (2021) establishing the State Apprenticeship Agency and the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. The advisory committee was tasked with, among other things, providing annual reports to the executive director of the Department of Labor and Employment on apprenticeship data disaggregated by age, race, gender, veteran status, disability and industry. 

Similarly, California enacted Senate Bill 103 in 2018, directing the Department of Transportation to sponsor, fund or partner with apprenticeship programs engaged in specific efforts to increase participation in the construction industry among certain groups, including disabled veterans. 

Requiring public sector contractors to establish plans and goals for recruiting underserved groups – including veterans – in apprenticeships  

The Oregon legislature enacted Senate Bill 5701 (2022), requiring any company contracting with public universities to establish and execute a plan for outreach, recruitment and retention of underserved groups in “apprenticeable occupations.” Plans should have a target of having at least 15 percent of total work hours performed by women, minority individuals and/or veterans. 

Massachusetts enacted House Bill 3770 (2021) regarding construction of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. The bill specifies that as part of the construction project, an agreement must be made with the appropriate labor organization that facilitates the entry of interested veterans into the building and construction trades. The labor organization must designate an entity or organization to serve as a resource for preliminary orientation, apprenticeship programs and other needs to foster veteran employment opportunities. 

Apprenticeships can help veterans in their transition to civilian life by providing opportunities to earn competitive wages, refine and apply existing skill sets and engage in opportunities for professional development. States, along with the federal government, have continued to take steps to increase veteran participation in apprenticeships.  

For more information on state initiatives to further engage veterans in apprenticeship, please reach out to the education and workforce team at The Council of State Governments Center of Innovation. 

Interstate Compacts: Dentists and Dental Hygienists

By Isabel Eliassen

As society becomes more mobile, the need for workers to begin or continue careers in new states is a critical concern. This is especially true for those in state-licensed occupations. When individuals in these fields move across state boundaries, it can take months to receive an occupational license in their new state and resume practicing.

Both dentists and dental hygienists are included in this category of professions that face licensure challenges when moving across state lines. Although states have considerable similarities between education, examination and other licensure requirements for dentists and dental hygienists, acquiring a new license before a dentist or dental hygienist begins practicing in a new state can be time-consuming and costly.

This issue is especially prevalent for military families, who move between states with greater frequency than other population groups. As part of an ongoing effort by The Council of State Governments and the Department of Defense to help alleviate burdens related to interstate occupational licensure, dentists and dental hygienists will soon have an interstate licensure compact.

Interstate compacts are legislatively enacted contractual agreements between states. They allow practitioners to obtain the authority to practice in multiple states without needing to maintain multiple licenses. Interstate compacts also allow for greater public protection, as states share data about licensees and licensing concerns via a compact data system.

In September 2020, DOD and CSG started working together through a collaborative agreement to develop several new interstate licensure compacts. In March 2021, the Department of Defense selected the first round of professions to receive funding and technical assistance for compact development after a competitive application process. The selection of professions included dentists and dental hygienists. In partnership with the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), CSG began developing the compact for dentists and dental hygienists.

The compact development team first conducted a comparison of licensing requirements across states. Using this research, CSG convened a technical assistance group made up of regulators, administrators, legislators, dentists, dental hygienists and dentistry students to outline goals for the compact. A smaller group, the document team, subsequently worked on applying the compact goals to the provisions of the legislative language in the compact, while also defining other technical aspects of the compact. The draft was made available for public comment for two months to inform further revisions of the compact. CSG is currently working to finalize changes to the document with the document team before the compact legislation is available for state adoption.

States who are interested in joining the compact will need to enact the compact through their standard legislative process. At that point, they will become a participating state. Participating states each appoint a commissioner who collectively administers the compact via a compact commission. Through the commission, the compact will continue to reflect the will of the participating states through rulemaking and other administrative policies

The compact is expected to be available for state adoption in 2023. In addition to dentists and dental hygienists, CSG is also working to develop compacts for massage therapists, cosmetologists, teachers and social workers. For more information about the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact visit

States Considering Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Could Enlist Public Information Campaign

By Daniel Clothier

Once an obscure new concept, cryptocurrency and blockchain have quickly risen in popularity over the last few years. While these new technologies have captivated the attention of the tech world and policymakers, the American public still lags in its knowledge of these topics.

A 2021 Pew Research Center poll found that only about 24% of Americans reported hearing “a lot” about cryptocurrency. The poll also revealed that only roughly 16% of Americans had invested in, traded or used cryptocurrency. These statistics illustrate the limited level of use and understanding of digital assets and blockchain technologies by general consumers. As legislatures grapple with questions about regulating these assets and technology, it will be as important that the public is knowledgeable about the benefits and risks of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies.



Cryptocurrency — Digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange through a computer network that is not reliant on any central authority, such as a government or a bank, to uphold or maintain it.

Blockchain — A system in which a record of transactions made in a cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network.


Perhaps even more concerning is the lack of understanding that virtual currency investors have about their own investments. Survey data indicates that over one third of cryptocurrency investors know “little to nothing” about cryptocurrency. While they have myriad beneficial uses, cryptocurrencies come with risks that include volatility, cyber-fraud and cyber-theft. Additionally, there are risks associated with virtual currency that go beyond the blockchain. Cryptocurrency is stored in a virtual wallet which is protected by a private key. The greatest risk of virtual currency assets is losing or having the private key stolen. Different types of wallets provide varying degrees of safety. American investors should understand the risks of these assets and how to better secure them prior to investing in them.

The CSG Healthy States National Task Force Fiscal Health Subcommittee has worked over the past two years to explore policies that support resilient state budgets and the fiscal status and operations of states to ensure state governments are financially prepared for unexpected crises in the future. This group recommends states considering blockchain and cryptocurrency could first create a public communications campaign to elevate the financial literacy of the public. Greater financial literacy will promote smart investing and proper financial decisions by the public and reduce risks. A few states have already implemented programs and curriculum materials to address this concern.

Georgia HB681 implements a financial literacy program to be taught to students in 10th or 11th grade. The program, the first of its kind in the U.S., includes cryptocurrency on the curriculum list of required topics and aims to expand basic understanding among high school students.

Connecticut SB3 requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education to create an educational program to assist small businesses with adapting to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic through courses in various subject areas. This includes an education program on virtual currency and blockchain. States that implement similar programs may be able to boost the financial literacy of their states and better inform investors.