Nuclear Waste: What It Is and How the United States Handles It

Nuclear waste related to nuclear energy can be divided into two categories: low-level waste and high-level waste. Currently, four low-level waste storage facilities exist across the country. Southern states can ship low-level waste out of state (with the exceptions of South Carolina and Texas, both of which house facilities, though South Carolina currently does not accept waste from other Southern states). For high-level waste, there is no long-term high-level waste storage facility in the United States. Therefore, high level nuclear waste is stored onsite or near active and deactivated reactors. This is seen as a temporary solution until a long-term high-level nuclear waste facility is built, which has been delayed for decades.

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Statement by David Adkins, Executive Director/CEO of The Council of State Governments on the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

June 6, 1944

“Let’s go.”

With those words, General Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of Expeditionary Forces, gave the order to commence Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious assault in the history of the world.

The Council of State Governments pauses to remember the tens of thousands of allied troops who came ashore on D-Day and the thousands who perished. Their bravery on this day eight decades ago began the successful liberation of Europe from Hitler’s absolute tyranny. Their heroism preserved the freedoms we enjoy today.

As dawn broke over the English Channel beaches of France today, the sun is setting on the Greatest Generation. The boys who stormed those beaches, many still in their teens, are now centenarians. Soon, the living memory of that day will be extinct. We must keep alive the memory of the soldiers buried in the sacred ground near where they fell. We must remember all those whose preparations, sacrifice and leadership made such an audacious operation a success. This includes the women of America who helped build the weapons essential to winning the war and the marginalized Americans whose patriotism never wavered.

Last June, I walked with my daughter among the graves of the fallen heroes in the American cemetery in Normandy, on the cliff above the beaches. My daughter was then just a few years older than the men whose grave markers were carved with June 6, 1944, as their last day.

We couldn’t imagine how scared they must have been as they entered the battle. We thought of all those they loved back home who would receive a telegram sharing the news of their death. We paused to reflect on the horrors of the concentration camps and the pure evil and brutality of the Nazi authoritarian regime. We hoped that somewhere on another dawn, those who gave the last full measure of devotion were comforted knowing that their sacrifice would help defeat Hitler within just 11 months of D-Day.

We remembered my dad, her grandfather, who left high school early to join the Navy and served in the Pacific. We paused in front of one of the many white marble crosses whose inscription read, “Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God.”

It was impossible not to think about all the futures that ended on that day. It was impossible not to be profoundly grateful for what that unnamed young American, and so many others, were willing to do for me, my daughter and the generations of Americans that followed.

The Council of State Governments works to support those who serve our country in uniform abroad and to help the families of service members pursue the American dream.

Through our partnership with the United States Department of Defense, we help service members exercise their right to vote, no matter where they are stationed in the world. Through our National Center for Interstate Compacts, we help state leaders draft and enact multistate agreements to reduce barriers for spouses of service members to practice their profession as they move from state to state.

Additionally, through our affiliated organization, the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), we help states ensure that children of military families are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other children. We are committed to assisting state officials carry out their priority to serve the men and women who serve us in uniform.

While the American, British and Canadian forces that braved the seas and the chaos of war 80 years ago must never be forgotten, we, today, must dedicate ourselves to carrying on in their spirit. Every generation must shoulder the responsibility of citizenship and fight to ensure our freedoms in their own way. I am honored to witness the work of the elected and appointed leaders of state government who boldly do just that every day.

The lessons of D-Day remind us that, as Americans, that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us, that alliances with other nations make us stronger, that freedom is worth fighting to protect. America remains the leader of the free world today because of the everyday men and women whose service makes America great.

In times of crisis, leadership matters.

Today, Europe faces another threat from a dictator. Again, the United States and its allies stand with the people of an embattled European ally, Ukraine, to keep Europe free, preserve democracy and enforce international norms. It is tragic that the lessons of loss war teaches us are lost on Vladimir Putin. It is beyond comprehension that hundreds of thousands of lives have been extinguished because of Putin’s misguided attempt at conquest

D-Day was a turning point in the war. In honor of those brave souls who did their duty on June 6, 1944, we must continue the work of building a safer world and a more perfect union.

Let’s Go.

States Loosen Manufactured Housing Restrictions

Multiple states updated regulations on manufactured housing during the 2024 legislative session to expand the areas of land available for siting these new homes.

Maine and Maryland legalized manufactured housing wherever single-family dwellings are allowed. Rhode Island passed a similar bill through the House and awaits consideration by the Senate. In New Hampshire, the new law prohibits municipalities from entirely restricting manufactured housing.

Renewed attention to manufactured housing, which is built off-site in a factory and transported to a fixed location, comes as states grapple with a shortage of affordable housing, spurred in part by elevated construction costs. “Manufactured homes cost 45% less per square foot than site-built homes,” according to Freddie Mac.

Source: The Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (HUD)

A much higher proportion of the nation’s housing stock consisted of manufactured housing between 1975 to 2000, averaging around 20 percent of new single-family units and reaching a peak of about 30 percent. Today, that figure remains closer to 10 percent, despite ongoing improvements to quality and durability standards.

Maine
Title: L.D. 337 – An Act to Amend the Regulations of Manufactured Housing to Increase Affordable Housing
Primary Sponsor: Rep. Cheryl Golek
Synopsis: “The amendment provides that a municipality must allow manufactured housing wherever single-family dwellings are allowed, subject to the same design criteria as the municipality may establish for single-family dwellings.”
Status: March 19, 2024 – Signed by Governor

Maryland

Title: H.B. 0538 – Housing Expansion and Affordability Act of 2024
Primary Sponsor: Speaker Adrienne Jones by request of Governor Moore’s administration
Synopsis: Part of this legislation includes “…prohibiting a local legislative body from prohibiting the placement of certain manufactured homes or modular dwellings in a zoning district that allows single-family residential uses under certain circumstances…”
Status: April 25, 2024 – Signed by Governor

New Hampshire

Title: H.B. 1361 – An Act Relative to Municipal Land Use Regulation For Manufactured Housing And Subdivisions
Primary Sponsor: Rep. Joe Alexander
Synopsis: “This bill requires municipalities that adopt land use control measures to provide reasonable and realistic opportunities for the siting of manufactured housing on individual lots and in manufactured housing parks and subdivisions within residential districts. The bill also directs municipalities to provide reasonable and realistic opportunities for expansion of existing manufactured housing parks.”
Status: May 20, 2024 – Signed by Governor

Rhode Island

Title: H.B. 7980 – An Act Relating To Motor And Other Vehicles – Mobile And Manufactured
Primary Sponsors: Speaker Shekarchi and Representatives Blazejewski, Cruz, Morales, Speakman, Spears, Craven, Azzinaro, Casimiro, and Solomon
Synopsis: “This act would make several amendments relative to manufactured homes, including adding a definition for manufactured home and a provision allowing for certain manufactured homes to be considered a single-family home if on a lot designated for such use.”
Status: April 16, 2024 – Passed by House and referred to Senate committee

States Loosen Manufactured Housing Restrictions

Multiple states updated regulations on manufactured housing during the 2024 legislative session to expand the areas of land available for siting these new homes.

Maine and Maryland legalized manufactured housing wherever single-family dwellings are allowed. Rhode Island passed a similar bill through the House and awaits consideration by the Senate. In New Hampshire, the new law prohibits municipalities from entirely restricting manufactured housing.

Renewed attention to manufactured housing, which is built off-site in a factory and transported to a fixed location, comes as states grapple with a shortage of affordable housing, spurred in part by elevated construction costs. “Manufactured homes cost 45% less per square foot than site-built homes,” according to Freddie Mac.

Source: The Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (HUD)

A much higher proportion of the nation’s housing stock consisted of manufactured housing between 1975 to 2000, averaging around 20 percent of new single-family units and reaching a peak of about 30 percent. Today, that figure remains closer to 10 percent, despite ongoing improvements to quality and durability standards.

Maine
Title: L.D. 337 – An Act to Amend the Regulations of Manufactured Housing to Increase Affordable Housing
Primary Sponsor: Rep. Cheryl Golek
Synopsis: “The amendment provides that a municipality must allow manufactured housing wherever single-family dwellings are allowed, subject to the same design criteria as the municipality may establish for single-family dwellings.”
Status: March 19, 2024 – Signed by Governor

Maryland

Title: H.B. 0538 – Housing Expansion and Affordability Act of 2024
Primary Sponsor: Speaker Adrienne Jones by request of Governor Moore’s administration
Synopsis: Part of this legislation includes “…prohibiting a local legislative body from prohibiting the placement of certain manufactured homes or modular dwellings in a zoning district that allows single-family residential uses under certain circumstances…”
Status: April 25, 2024 – Signed by Governor

New Hampshire

Title: H.B. 1361 – An Act Relative to Municipal Land Use Regulation For Manufactured Housing And Subdivisions
Primary Sponsor: Rep. Joe Alexander
Synopsis: “This bill requires municipalities that adopt land use control measures to provide reasonable and realistic opportunities for the siting of manufactured housing on individual lots and in manufactured housing parks and subdivisions within residential districts. The bill also directs municipalities to provide reasonable and realistic opportunities for expansion of existing manufactured housing parks.”
Status: May 20, 2024 – Signed by Governor

Rhode Island

Title: H.B. 7980 – An Act Relating To Motor And Other Vehicles – Mobile And Manufactured
Primary Sponsors: Speaker Shekarchi and Representatives Blazejewski, Cruz, Morales, Speakman, Spears, Craven, Azzinaro, Casimiro, and Solomon
Synopsis: “This act would make several amendments relative to manufactured homes, including adding a definition for manufactured home and a provision allowing for certain manufactured homes to be considered a single-family home if on a lot designated for such use.”
Status: April 16, 2024 – Passed by House and referred to Senate committee

New Hampshire Senator Lou D’Allesandro announces retirement

Lou D’Allesandro has announced his retirement from the New Hampshire State Senate, capping a 50-plus-year career in public service that began in 1973.

Speaking to a crowd gathered in the lobby of the legislative office building in Concord, New Hampshire last week, D’Allesandro recapped his time in office, saying “You can’t stay beyond the time when you can make a difference, and I believe that my service in the Senate has made a difference in the lives of people.”

Senator D’Allesandro served in multiple roles throughout his career, including two terms in the House, three terms on the New Hampshire Executive Council, two campaigns for governor, and an unbroken series of 13 terms in the Senate stretching from 1998 to 2024.

 

Military 101: The U.S. Navy

By Joel Paul, Policy Analyst

The United States Navy is one of the country’s seven uniformed services. It is most often the first service to contact adversaries and is the United States’ principal power projection force. Through the use of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, the U.S. Navy keeps ships near strategic interests and acts as a deterrent to aggression against the U.S. and its allies, as well as maintains maritime law.

The Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces whose primary mission is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and ensuring freedom of the seas. The Navy operates globally, providing maritime and economic security and power projection in support of national interests.

Mission

Per the U.S. Navy official website, “the United States is a maritime nation, and the U.S. Navy protects America at sea. Alongside our allies and partners, we defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity, and keep the seas open and free…” The Navy does this through force projection of forward deployed assets such as carriers strike forces and overseas bases.

History

Officially, the Navy was established in 1798. However, naval historians credit the start of the Navy to the Continental Navy of 1775, which was disbanded after the American Revolution.

The history of the Navy is divided into two ages: the “Old Navy” from the age of sail and including the ironclads of the US Civil War and the “New Navy” that emerged afterward based on constant modernization. The Navy still maintains the USS Constitution, which is the oldest ship in the fleet and was launched in 1797. Currently, the USS Constitution is maintained by Naval officers and crew.

The “Old Navy” began when U.S. merchant traffic came under the fire of Barbary pirates from Northern African states. President George Washington’s administration requested Congress pass the Naval Act of 1794 creating a standing U.S. naval force and authorization to build six frigates. Frigates are smaller ships built for speed and maneuverability and used for patrol or escorts for larger ships. The U.S. Naval Academy was established in 1845 on the grounds of Old Fort Severn in Annapolis, Maryland, where future officers, called “midshipmen,” train today.

By 1882, the U.S. Navy was outdated and ready for modernization in both size and style of ships. The U.S. was ready for a “New Navy.” Over the following years, the Navy built modern steel armored cruisers and some of the first battleships. By 1898, the investment showed, with the U.S. winning two major naval engagements in the Spanish-American War. This success led to the Navy’s wider reach and over the next century the Navy maintained forces in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. By the end of WWI, the Navy had more officers and sailors in uniform than the British Royal Navy. 

The modern U.S. Navy is the direct result of lessons learned in WWII and the War on Terror. Namely, the U.S. needs to have force projection, or the ability to deploy and maintain forces, and a fleet that is capable of multiple roles. Along with maintaining ships, boats and other marine crafts, the Navy also has the second largest fleet of aircraft, behind the U.S. Air Force.

The Fleet 

The Navy deploys many types of ships and other craft. In general, ships are classified as carriers, cruisers and destroyers, submarines, amphibious crafts, littoral combat ships, and hospital ships.

Carriers

The largest ships in the fleet are, by far, the aircraft carriers. Whether designed to accommodate jet fighters or helicopters, these ships focus on force projection, securing maritime law and deterring aggression against the United States or its allies. There are four classes of carriers: the Gerald R. Ford, the Nimitz, the America and the Wasp. The current Gerald R. Ford-class of carriers has a complement of over 500 officers and almost 3,800 enlisted in its crew. When battle-ready, a Nimitz-class carrier has over 5,600 crew of which about 2,300 belong to the Air Wing. The Air Wing is the planes, officers and crew that make the aircraft carrier such a potent offensive force; it is semi-autonomous from the carrier itself which is run by the ship’s officers and crew.

Cruisers

Cruisers are large, multi-mission ships that often work with carriers and other craft to complete missions. Given their size and speed, cruisers often serve as the flagships. Additionally, the ships are equipped with long range missiles.

Submarines

U.S. submarines are among the most technical vessels and are used as platforms for guided and ballistic missiles, anti-submarine warfare and reconnaissance. Submarines can also covertly bring Navy SEAL teams into hostile environments.

Established during the President John F. Kennedy, the U.S. Navy SEALS (Sea, Air and Land Team) serve a highly specialized role in U.S. military operations specializing in unconventional warfare. SEAL duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Conduct insertions and extractions by sea, air or land to accomplish covert missions.
  • Capture high-value enemy personnel and terrorists around the world.
  • Collect information and intelligence through special reconnaissance missions.
  • Carry out small, close-fire missions against military targets.
  • Perform underwater reconnaissance and the demolition of man-made or natural obstacle prior to an amphibious landing.

Amphibious Force

The Navy Amphibious Force can move large numbers of U.S. Marine forces quickly through landing crafts and helicopters, all while providing fixed wing aircraft support. Amphibious warfare is an offensive military operation using naval ships to place ground and air assets onto hostile shores in a designated landing zone. Throughout history, these operations were conducted using the ship’s boats as a primary method of delivering U.S. Marines to the shore. Generally, boats can be carried by ships and have a command and crew even in port.

Littoral Combat Ships

The newest additions to the Naval Fleet are the Freedom and Independence-class of littoral combat ships, which are designed for operations close to the shore. These ships are designed to switch operation goals with ease.

Hospital Ships and Other Craft

The rest of the fleet consists of support ships ranging from resupply ships, oilers, hospital ships and numerous smaller craft.

The Navy also operates its own construction battalion, known as the Seabees. The Seabees were established by Congress in response to the need for facilities to support the island-hopping U.S. strategy of the Pacific during WWII and the need to create airfields, barracks, hospitals, mess halls and more around landing zones to serve as forward bases of operations.

Organization and Ranks

Organizationally, the Navy is different from other military branches, where they have specific names for units of personnel performing a similar task. These units generally form departments upon each ship, such as deck, supply, operations and others. Naval fleets are made up of all the ships under a Commander in Chief (CINC) and individual ships can be deployed separately or with other ships depending on the job. Squadrons, task forces, and groups are assembled from the fleet to perform specific missions in support of situational or strategic responses to environmental, enforcement or political objectives.

Ranks of Enlisted and Officers

Ranks in the Navy differ from other branches in that they are called “ratings.” Enlisted ranks range from seaman recruit to master chief petty officer, while officer ranks range from ensign to admiral. Like other branches of the military, Navy personnel are assigned specific roles and responsibilities based on their rank and expertise or “rating.” One example is the crossed anchors insignia of the boatswain’s mate; boatswain’s mates are personnel who keep the equipment on a ship or boat in good working order. Navy officers can also hold rank as a Chief Warrant Officer, which are specialized officers who lead and manage specific areas on a ship that require a commissioned officer.

Seaman Recruit (E-1)

Seaman Apprentice (E-2)

Seaman (E-3)

Petty Officer Third Class (E-4)

Petty Officer Second Class (E-5)

Petty Officer First Class (E-6)

Chief Petty Officer (E-7)

Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8)

Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9)

Command Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9)        

Officer Ranks:

Ensign (O-1) – gold bar

Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) – silver bar               

Lieutenant (O-3) – two silver bars

Lieutenant Commander (O-4) – gold leaf

Commander (O-5) – silver leaf

Captain (O-6) – silver eagle              

Rear Admiral Lower Half (O-7) – silver star

Rear Admiral Upper Half (O-8) – 2 silver stars

Vice Admiral (O-9) – 3 silver stars

Admiral (O-10) – 4 silver stars

The highest-ranking enlisted member of the Navy is the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. The Commander-in-Chief is the top rank for both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and they hold the rank of Admiral. The Chief of Naval Operations is the highest officer in the Navy and holds the rank of Admiral. Five-star Admirals are only awarded during times of declared war.

Jobs within the Navy

Like all branches of the military, the Navy is an all-volunteer force. Personnel are recruited by the U.S. Navy and are screened through one of the 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) throughout the country. After basic training, seaman recruits are either sent to the fleet as seaman where they can apply for an occupation or are sent to a follow-on school directly from recruit training.

The “A,” “B” and “C” schools in the Navy refer to different levels of training and education. “A” school is the first school that a sailor attends after completing boot camp. It provides specialized training in a specific occupational field or rating. “B” school is the second level of specialized training that a sailor may attend, focusing on more advanced skills and knowledge within their rating. “C” school is the third level of training, offering even more specialized instruction within a sailor’s rating. These designations are not arbitrary; they reflect the sequential nature of the training and education provided to sailors in the Navy, with each level building upon the previous one to develop expertise in specific roles and responsibilities.

Most officers come into the Navy through one of three methods: the U.S. Naval Academy, Officer Candidate School or through a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program on a college campus. Once commissioned, officers will go to follow-on schools in aviation, surface warfare, submarine warfare, supply or judge advocate general. Most of these schools are in Newport, Rhode Island, while the U.S Naval Aviation Schools Command is in Pensacola, Florida, and trains aviation specialties for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and partner nation’s officers and enlisted personnel.

The employment areas of surface warfare, aviation, submarine, construction, logistics, administration and intelligence offer a variety of opportunities for personnel to explore whatever specialty fits their skill set. There are 12 aviation military occupation specialty codes (MOS); seven construction military occupation specialty codes; 28 general military occupation specialty codes that range from boatswain’s mate, mess specialist and gunner’s mate to quartermasters and yeoman; there are ten engineering military occupation specialty codes.

U.S. Navy personnel fulfill critical job functions as:

  • Operations specialists — Coordinate and direct the movement of ships and aircraft, as well as monitoring and controlling communications and sensors.
  • Aviation — Operate helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and other missions.
  • Engineer and maintenance — Maintain and repair ships, aircraft and other equipment used by the fleet.
  • Personnel — Perform human resource functions such as administrative duties, maintenance of records for officers and crew, and program management.
  • Intelligence — Gather and analyze intelligence to support Navy missions and contribute to national security efforts.

All the positions within the Navy center around the Navy’s need to maintain, train and equip naval forces that are combat-ready and capable of deterring aggression, maintaining maritime freedom and winning wars. This requires ships and ground forces with highly skilled officers and crews to maintain and operate some of the world’s most sophisticated technology.


Introducing the BILLD Class for 2024

A new bipartisan group of legislators from the Midwest has been selected to take part in a one-of-a-kind leadership program offered by The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Legislative Conference.

The Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development, or BILLD, is designed for legislators from this region in their first four years of service. A list of the state and provincial legislators selected to take part in the 2024 institute can be found below. The program will be held Aug. 23-27 in Madison, Wis.

This marks the 29th year in which the MLC has offered leadership training to its members: legislators from 11 member states, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and three Canadian affiliate provinces. CSG Midwest provides staff support to the MLC and its various products and services, including BILLD.

Selections were made in May by the BILLD Steering Committee, a bipartisan group of legislators from 11 Midwestern states. Nearly 1,000 current or former state and provincial legislators have graduated from BILLD; many have gone on to serve as leaders in their legislatures and state executive branches, while others are now members of the U.S. Congress.

BILLD’s highly interactive curriculum includes a series of leadership training courses and professional development workshops in areas such as conflict resolution, negotiation, consensus building, public speaking and time management. The program also includes expert-led policy seminars as well as sessions led by the region’s legislative leaders. Along with advancing leadership and policymaking skills among the region’s newer legislators, BILLD provides the opportunity for networking and relationship building across partisan, state and international lines.

2024 BILLD FELLOWS

Illinois
Rep. Jackie Haas
Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid
Rep. Dennis Tipsword

Indiana
Sen. Scott Alexander
Rep. Joanna King
Rep. Renee Pack
Sen. Rodney Pol

Iowa
Rep. Steven Bradley
Sen. Dave Rowley
Rep. Megan Srinivas

Kansas
Rep. Jason Goetz
Rep. Melissa Oropeza
Rep. Dan Osman

Michigan
Rep. Jennifer Conlin
Rep. Kimberly Edwards
Rep. Mike McFall

Minnesota
Sen. Zaynab Mohamed
Rep. Patricia Mueller
Sen. Bonnie Westlin

Nebraska
Sen. Richard Holdcroft
Sen. Teresa Ibach

North Dakota
Sen. Jeffrey Barta
Rep. Liz Conmy
Rep. Jeremy Olson

Ohio
Rep. Munira Abdullahi
Sen. Brian Chavez
Rep. Michele Grim

South Dakota
Rep. David Kull
Rep. Stephanie Sauder
Rep. Tyler Tordsen

Wisconsin
Rep. Clinton Anderson
Rep. Deb Andraca
Rep. Jenna Jacobson

Alberta
MLA Shane Getson

Manitoba
MLA Mike Moroz

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