Powering the West Through a Reliable Energy Grid

Westrends Board Recap:

Co-Chairs, New Mexico Senator Liz Stefanics and Wyoming Representative Landon Brown would like to thank Hawaii Senator Lynn DeCoite and Montana Senator Mike Cuffe, who both agreed to introduce the speakers and facilitate the discussion on this very important topic, and to recognize and thank the speakers below who brought their expertise to share and especially Alaska Representative Sara Hannan, one of the committee’s members, who kindly agreed to co-facilitate the session with MLA Hunter.  

Hawaii Senator Lynn DeCoite and Montana Senator Mike Cuffe

A growing number of utilities join Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) for better planning

Rikki Seguin, Executive Director of Interwest Energy Alliance, explained that a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) is an electric power transmission operator that coordinates, controls, and monitors a regional electric grid and is a critical tool for planning transmission. Seven RTOs and Independent System Operators (ISOs) nationwide cover two-thirds of the electricity consumed. Though states must maintain grid reliability and keep costs low, there is a need for more renewables and transmission lines, given that 80% of energy use in the West aligns with state-driven decarbonization policies.

Regulatory proceedings and state mandates in Western states are advancing progress toward RTOs. Colorado and Nevada have passed legislation signed by their Governors requiring utilities to join an RTO by 2030.

Suitable RTO structures are needed to enable grid reliability  

Vijay Satyal, Deputy Director of Regional Markets at Western Resource Advocates, worked in both Virginia and Oregon, first as Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality’s first policy economist and later as a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy, where he advised the Governor’s Office on renewable energy and emerging grid technologies. Independence is one of the critical components Vijay highlighted; an independent and transparent board is pivotal for utilities to join. A model that is not profit-minded so costs can remain low and that creates consistent rules of the game for market operations. Investments in transmission and future needs are also necessary.

“A board that is independent and transparent is pivotal for utilities to join.”

Vijay Satyal, Deputy Director of Regional Markets, Western Resource Advocates

The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) provides resource-neutral grid reliability across the western region

Kris Raper is Vice President of Strategic Engagement & External Affairs; she coordinates and oversees engagement with the resource-neutral Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC’s) strategic partners and stakeholders. Her background as commissioner for the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and as one of two Western representatives on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gives her a unique perspective.

Kris recalled the 2003 Northeast blackout that extended to the Midwestern United States and most parts of the Canadian province of Ontario in August. While this should have been a manageable situation, it was not due to an inability to redistribute energy loads. The Energy Policy Act in 2005 directly resulted from this event as the need to ensure reliability and transmission became priorities. WECC is a non-profit corporation that FERC has approved as the Regional Entity for the Western Interconnection, which includes 14 Western States, 2 Canadian Provinces, and Northern Baja California. She, too, agrees that governance is central to how RTOs operate.

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Enhancing Reforms in Public Safety: Juvenile Justice

Public Safety Committee Recap:

Alaska Senator Matt Claman, co-chair of the CSG West Public Safety Committee, was graciously joined by Washington Senator Jesse Salomon. CSG West thanks Senator Salomon for stepping in to present legislative efforts and co-facilitate the session.

Addressing gaps in juvenile justice to identify a path forward 

Ben Eikey, Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy, and Senator Jesse Salomon (WA) presented data and legislative perspectives on juvenile justice reform, including:

  • Reducing juvenile incarceration rates
  • Increasing diversion from the juvenile justice system
  • Reducing recidivism
  • Addressing mental and behavioral health issues
  • Increasing data sharing
Left to right: Speaker Ben Eikey and Alaska Senator Jesse Salomon.

Eikey provided a historical perspective going back to the 1990s when there was a growing nationwide sentiment to be tough on crime. Following this period, there was a rampant increase in trying 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. Texas even created a maximum-security prison for juveniles. Approximately 4,000 youths were in detention centers for low-level offenses such as delinquency, skipping school, and petty theft. In 2006, state legislatures began hearing testimony, including the impact on the mental health and suicide rates of juveniles incarcerated in adult prisons.

A trajectory of progress: Connecticut case study

In Connecticut, a joint bipartisan committee was dedicated solely to evaluating policies related to the juvenile justice system, including recommendations on how to reduce juvenile incarceration rates, increase diversion from the juvenile justice system, reduce recidivism, and address mental and behavioral health issues. 

Between 2015 and 2018, enacted legislation eliminated mandatory minimums for low-level drug offenses, strengthened visitation policies for all prisoners with children under age 18, raised the age of juvenile justice jurisdiction to 21, prohibited discrimination in employment, housing, public education, insurance, and government program and services based on criminal history. View their dashboard here to track progress and legislation.

Senator Salomon shared Washington House Bill 1324 concerning scoring prior juvenile offenses in sentencing range calculations. The bill intended to enact the juvenile justice system’s goals of rehabilitation and reintegration. Some of those goals included bringing Washington in line with most states that do not consider prior juvenile offenses in sentencing range calculations for adults. The reason for not doing so is the expansive body of scientific research on brain development. Specifically, an adolescent’s perception, judgment, and decision-making differ significantly from that of adults. Another reason is facilitating due process within the juvenile court system. Members expressed great interest in this legislation and shared their states’ efforts and experiences addressing it.

Improving Outcomes for Youth (IOYouth) – CSG Justice Center

The CSG Justice Center provides valuable juvenile justice resources. The Improving Outcomes for Youth (IOYouth) works with state and local jurisdictions to align their policies, practices, and resource allocation with what research shows works to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for youth while enhancing public safety. You can access many resources here: CSG Improving Youth Outcomes Program Juvenile Justice Equity Dashboard.

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Decoding School Funding Formulas

Education Committee Recap

In today’s educational landscape, it is crucial to comprehend the mechanisms that underpin school funding. Presenters Michael Griffith and Justin Silverstein guided audience members through a comprehensive examination of school funding formula structures, including attributes of a high-quality formula, variations in funding across states, and emerging issues in school finance.

Speaker Justin Silverstein discussing emerging issues in school funding.
Education funding ranges considerably

The composition of K-12 funding reflects a national average distribution—42.5% local, 44.3% state, and 13.2% federal for the fiscal year 2021-22. Notably, disparities emerge when examining state-level variations, with local funding ranging from 2.0% to 61.7%, state funding from 29.5% to 85.4%, and federal funding from 6.5% to 24.0%.

“Notably, disparities emerge when examining state-level variations, with local funding ranging from 2.0% to 61.7%, state funding from 29.5% to 85.4%, and federal funding from 6.5% to 24.0%.”

-Michael Griffith, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst at Learning Policy Institute

Predictability ensures administrators can anticipate funding changes 

The core of school funding lies in the formulation of a funding formula where primary and categorical funding sources intersect. High-quality funding formulas aspire to be adequate and equitable but also flexible, adaptable, and predictable. The emphasis on predictability ensures that administrators can anticipate funding changes based on shifts in student populations.


Adaptability in funding formulas comes with a cautionary note–as policy choices increase, the flexibility available to districts diminishes 

Foundation formulas, a prevalent approach, multiply a foundation amount by a weighted student count to determine total funding. This foundation amount varies across states, ranging from $4,015 to $11,525, and can be determined based on research, past expenditures, educational inputs, or the state’s financial capacity. Funding weights are additional resources allocated to high-need student groups like at-risk or special education students. The formula’s final step involves dividing total foundation funding by a district’s ability to pay, yielding state foundation funding.

The widespread adoption of foundation formulas stems from their practicality, offering states and districts an easily adjustable mechanism that balances educational objectives with economic realities. Yet, this adaptability comes with a cautionary note – as policy choices increase, the flexibility available to districts diminishes, emphasizing the delicate balance between standardization and local autonomy in the pursuit of effective school funding.

“Costing Out Studies” can determine resources for students to meet standards 

Emerging issues in school funding include Costing Out Studies, which determine resources needed for students to meet state standards, and debates on prescriptive targeted funds for special needs populations. Approaches like “professional judgment,” “evidence-based,” “education-cost function,” and “successful school districts” offer varying perspectives and methodologies in implementing these studies.

Professional Judgment Approach

The Professional Judgment Approach relies on educators’ insights, adapting to state standards but lacking a specific tie to current performance outcomes, causing skepticism among stakeholders.

Evidence-Based Approach

The Evidence-Based Approach delves into academic research, creating prototypes reviewed by state-level educators. While research-based, it may lack state-specific context.

Education Cost Function Approach

The Education Cost Function Approach establishes a link between costs and outcomes through state-collected data, requiring high-quality data but offering a strong empirical foundation.

Successful School Districts Approach

The Successful School Districts Approach analyzes resource models of high-performing schools, providing a clear link between costing out results and performance, albeit with limitations on estimating special needs populations.

Multiple Approaches

Using multiple approaches allows triangulation of results and enhanced analysis. Prescriptive Funding Policies involve balancing flexibility and interventions, with some states imposing guardrails and specific requirements, such as Nevada and Maryland. At-Risk/Poverty Counts have evolved, with direct certification and census block data gaining prominence to identify students’ needs accurately. The landscape reflects a complex interplay of methodologies and policies aimed at ensuring equitable and effective school funding.

Colorado Representative Jennifer Bacon facilitating the Education Committee session.

Legislators discuss school funding

A diverse panel of Western legislators related school funding topics to their respective states, sharing challenges, opportunities, and insights. Panelists included:

Alaska Representative Alyse Galvin
Member, House Finance Committee
California Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi
Chair, Assembly Committee on Education
Nevada Senator Marilyn Dondero Loop
Chair, Senate Finance Committee
Washington Representative Kristine Reeves
Co-Sponsor, HB 1436, Funding Special Education
Washington Senator Claire Wilson
Chair, Senate Human Services Committee
Vice-Chair, Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee
Left to right: Alaska Representative Alyse Galvin, California Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, Nevada Senator Marilyn Dondero Loop, and Washington Senator Claire Wilson
Adequately funding institutional education

Among the many topics highlighted, Senator Claire Wilson discussed efforts to fund institutional education within Washington’s juvenile justice system. Acknowledging historic K-12 investments following the state’s 2018 McCleary decision, she conversely described a critical lack of funding for justice-involved youth students.

Notably, Senator Wilson shared that most students in Washington’s institutional facilities qualify for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), therefore necessitating special education services.

As co-chair of Washington’s Joint Select Committee on Governance and Funding for Institutional Education, Wilson detailed current and upcoming committee work to address shortfalls in institutional funding. The committee is tasked with examining and evaluating revisions to statutes, funding formulas, funding sources, and operating and capital budget appropriation to assign delineated basic education responsibilities to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. With a special focus on adequately funding juvenile justice students, the Select Committee will be reporting back to the Governor and the Legislature by December 1, 2024.

Teacher retention and inflationary challenges

Representative Alyse Galvin described Alaska’s teacher retainment challenges, contending that reinstatement of a defined benefit retirement program would support enhanced retention. Following the state’s switch from defined benefits to a defined contribution, Galvin asserts that significant numbers of educators complete their training years in Alaska, then transfer their portable retirement account to a new state for further career building.

Representative Galvin also highlighted the inflationary impact on Alaska’s K-12 funding. She provided data illustrating the Base Student Allocation (BSA) from fiscal years 2012-2023, in which the BSA of $5,930 in FY23 has a FY12 value of $4,776 when adjusted for inflation. With the actual 2012 BSA of $5,680, Galvin emphasized the added strain inflation has placed on current resource allocation, asserting that education budget considerations must reflect rising costs.

At the centerpiece of her comments, Galvin maintained that building greater “trust” among the legislature, executive branch, school districts, and educators is paramount for effectively funding student education.

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In Memoriam: Former Washington Rep. Sherry Appleton (1942-2023)

The CSG West family is mourning the loss of former Washington Representative Sherry Appleton, who represented her state’s 23rd district from 2005-2021. A member of the Western Legislative Academy Class of 2007 and the CSG Toll Fellowship Class of 2008, Representative Appleton was highly engaged with CSG West throughout her legislative tenure. She served as chair of the Public Safety Committee (2019-2020), a member of the Executive Committee (2015-2020), and twice as a member of the Canada Relations Committee. She also attended each of the CSG West Annual Meeting from 2015 – 2020. 

During 16 years in the Washington House of Representatives, Representative Appleton was elected to chair two committees – Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs, and Local Government. Representative Appleton was honored as Legislator of the Year by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and as Humane Legislator of the Year by the Washington State Humane Society. Upon her retirement in 2021, she described some of her legislative highlights as drafting and passing Washington’s patient bill of rights and helping to create the state’s “Silver Alert.”

Representative Appleton was also appointed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to serve as an advisor to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Further, she was appointed to the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission and chaired the Commission’s Juvenile Sentencing Committee.

CSG West expresses its sincere condolences to the family and colleagues of former Representative Appleton, along with others who had the opportunity to know and collaborate with her over the years. A true embodiment of public service, she will be deeply missed.

For further reading about the life of Former Representative Appleton, please see this news story.

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Hawaii Governor Signs Emergency Proclamation Addressing Housing Crisis

In a move to combat Hawaii’s escalating housing crisis, Governor Josh Green signed an emergency housing proclamation on July 17, aimed at expediting development processes and alleviating the state’s acute shortage of housing units. The proclamation builds on the Hawaii Legislature’s wide-ranging, recent efforts to address housing affordability, supply, and homelessness.

Hawaii is at the forefront of the nation’s most unaffordable housing markets, with median home prices nearly three times the national average and housing costs a primary contributor to outmigration. An annual income of $252,000 is needed to afford a new median-priced home, leaving essential workers including nurses, firefighters, and teachers caught in a frustrating bind – earning too much to qualify for government-affordable housing, yet falling short of the income threshold. The implications of the housing crisis are especially profound for Native Hawaiians, more of whom now reside in the continental U.S. than in Hawaii, and who comprise 40% of the homeless population within the state itself.

A primary focus of the emergency proclamation includes streamlining regulatory and approval processes for home construction, citing a current deficit of 6,000 new housing units per year to begin addressing the state’s current housing shortfall. Presently, construction permitting in Hawaii currently takes three times longer than the national average, adding an estimated $233,000 to $325,000 to the price of a new home.

While providing pathways towards rapid housing development, the emergency proclamation also underscores its desire for public input and participation. The Build Beyond Barriers Working Group, composed of city, county, and state agencies, will play a pivotal role in evaluating housing plans, permits, and applications. The group will also engage in consultations with stakeholders and the public to assess potential environmental and cultural impacts.

Governor Green’s vision extends over the next five years, including an overarching objective to construct 50,000 homes with a predominant emphasis on affordability. More information about Hawaii’s housing development pipeline can be found below.

Hawaii’s Housing Development Pipeline

Project Spotlights

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A Conversation with Our BLC Chair, Baja California Diputado, Roman Cota Muñoz

The nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border region is home to over 80 million people where over a billion dollars’ worth of goods cross the border each day. It’s dynamic, rich in culture and possesses immense opportunities.

As programming for this year’s Border Legislative Conference (BLC) in Ensenada, Baja California gets underway, we had a chance to talk with current Chair, Baja California Diputado Román Cota Muñoz, about his background, his district, and the issues in his community which led him to run for public office. We hope you enjoy learning about him as much as we did.

One last most important note, on April 26th Diputado Cota Muñoz and his wife, Alejandra, welcomed their first little one into this world. Congratulations on this exciting event, Diputado Cota!

What inspired or motivated you to run for a seat in your legislature?

Throughout my life I have had experiences which drew me to public service. The first is academics, which lured me towards the legal field with the aim to modify the laws of my state to achieve the development and well-being of its residents. That’s a passion of mine. The second is having served as executive secretary for the Mayor of Tecate, which broadened my perspective by working closely with the city’s residents. 

What do you view as the most important binational issues for your community?

Improving infrastructure and wait times for Mexican tourists crossing into  the U.S. It is essential for future binational agendas to optimize and expand modalities such as Ready Lanes* in cities that do not yet have them, which would have a positive impact for both sides of the border.

Increase tourism should also be a primary objective in the binational agenda given the important cultural and economic ties held by the CaliBaja** region. Our state has immense natural wealth that we are willing to share with our neighboring state, as well as with visitors who come from beyond California.

The strengthening of institutions is a pillar that we contemplate for the growth of democracy of our government. This is why agreements must be attended to – whether they are on environmental issues, security, or economic development – they are all critical.

What would you like people to know about your district?

We are the best of both worlds. On the one hand we have the warmth of a Pueblo Mágico***, with very marked traditions such as the taste for exquisite bread, which is the very best in the entire state, to a good beer as this is where Tecate beer was born. Also, development is thriving in this growing city, with a strong will get ahead.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you but would find interesting?

I am a faithful fan of sports and physical activity. My diabetes diagnosis has turned me into a very active person who makes every effort to stay in shape despite the level of responsibility required by my work. In my free time I run, do CrossFit, and recently entered the world of “pádel”- a type of tennis played on a small court surrounded by a net or walls. It is usually played by two teams of two people, a sort of cross between tennis and squash, which is having its heyday here in my area. One last thing, like any good Mexican, I faithfully follow and am a fan of the Guadalajara soccer sports club (Club Deportivo Guadalajara), known by their nickname “Chivas.”

*Ready Lane is a dedicated primary vehicle lane for travelers entering the United States at land border ports of entry.

**CaliBaja is a vast region comprised of important border cities in the Baja California-California area that are hubs for cross-border collaboration due to their economic activity, labor force, world-class university education, and unparalleled growth potential. It stands out for its entrepreneurial outlook, unique cultural characteristics, and its 7.1 million inhabitants from San Diego to Imperial Valley in the U.S. and Tijuana to Mexicali in Mexico.

**The program “Pueblos Mágicos,” or magical towns, is a marketing strategy initiative led by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, with support from other federal agencies, to promote a series of towns and villages around the country that are rich with cultural heritage. They offer visitors

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Interstate Housing Collaborative Examines Current Initiatives, Opportunities

This month, CSG West facilitated its second Interstate Housing Collaborative, virtually convening state legislative housing committee leaders from the West. The event featured conversations with two guest contributors: Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui and Martin Muoto, CEO and Founder of SoLa Impact.

Jauregui has spearheaded affordable housing policy initiatives during this year’s legislative session, while Muoto’s SoLa Impact is a “family of social impact, real estate funds” focused on preserving and creating high-quality affordable housing in low-income communities.

The Interstate Housing Collaborative examines existing and innovative approaches to address the current housing crisis. Key issues include incentivizing development, rent stabilization policies, alternative financing sources, and permanent supportive housing. To learn more about the collaborative, or about the CSG West Housing Committee, contact Jonathan Lennartz via email at [email protected].

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U.S. Department of Energy Announces Funding Opportunity Awards (FOA) for State & Local Governments to Advance Clean Energy Technologies and Solutions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a wide range of funding opportunities available to state and local governments aimed at incentivizing smart manufacturing technologies, improve energy efficiency, workforce development and other strategies to support clean energy goals. See below for several funding opportunities which may be of interest to western leaders, including those pertaining to tribal lands, agricultural sector, and remote or rural areas.

State Manufacturing Leadership Program: Provides up to $50 million to work with States to accelerate use of smart manufacturing technologies and practices and access to tools and assistance. Available until expended.

Large Wind Turbine Materials and Manufacturing:  Issued to further develop broad, foundational, manufacturing “platform” technologies and address gaps and barriers that are currently limiting use of composite materials in clean energy and decarbonization-related applications with wind energy applications as the primary focus. Deadline: May 9.

Reducing Agricultural Carbon Intensity and Protecting Algal Crops (RACIPAC): Develops science-based strategies and technologies to cost-effectively transform renewable carbon resources such as agricultural waste and algae into high-quality, environmentally sustainable, conversion-ready feedstocks for biofuels and bioproducts. Deadline: May 16.

Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands: The DOE Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian Tribes, which include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations to: (1) Install clean energy generating system(s) and energy efficiency measure(s) for Tribal Building(s); or, (2) Deploy community-scale clean energy generating system(s) or energy storage on Tribal Lands; or, (3) Install integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple Essential Tribal Buildings during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience; or, (4) Provide electric power to unelectrified tribal buildings. Deadline: May 16.

Carbon Capture Demonstration Projects Program: Provides $2.5 billion to develop six carbon capture facilities to significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, costs, emissions reductions, and environmental performance of coal and natural gas use. Deadline: May 23.

Energizing Rural Communities Prize: $15 million prize for entrepreneurs, university faculty and student groups, community organizations, tribal and local governments, financial institutions, industry professionals, and others with ideas to help organize or finance a clean energy demonstration project in a rural or remote area. Deadline: May 24 (Phase I applications)

Civil Nuclear Credit Program (CNC) Application Guidance: The second award cycle for the Civil Nuclear Credit program is open to owners or operators of nuclear reactors that are at risk of closure by the end of the four-year award period, including such reactors that ceased operations after November 15, 2021. Deadline: May 31.

Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grants:  This first FOA will provide approximately $350 million in awards to small- and medium-sized manufacturers in energy communities to 1) establish new facilities or 2) re-equip or expand existing facilities for the manufacturing or recycling of advanced energy property. Awards will focus on projects with high supply chain impacts and strong community benefits plans. Deadline: June 8.

EERE BETO FY23 Conversion Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement: Supports developing technologies to enable the conversion of waste and renewable resources to fuels and products with substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions compared to the petroleum incumbent. Deadline: June 16

Carbon Capture Large-Scale Pilots: Designed to establish a carbon capture technology program for the development of transformational technologies that will significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, costs, emissions reductions, and environmental performance of coal and natural gas use, including in manufacturing and industrial facilities. Deadline: June 21.

Energy Improvements in Rural and Remote Areas (ERA): The Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program seeks to improve the resilience, reliability, and affordability of energy systems in communities across the country with 10,000 or fewer people. Deadline: June 28 

Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis, Manufacturing, and Recycling:  Provides up to $750 million in Federal funding to support the broader government-wide approach to accelerate progress in clean hydrogen technologies and maximize the benefits of the clean energy transition. Deadline: July 19.

Industrial Demonstrations Program: Funds projects that focus on the highest emitting and hardest to abate industries where decarbonization technologies can have the greatest impact. Deadline: August 4.

Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship: A unique workforce development program that matches recent graduates and new energy professionals to key energy organizations to support efforts to advance clean energy solutions. Fellows will gain career experience with critical regional, state, utility, and tribal energy organizations.  

EECBG Formula Program Funding Opportunity: The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program Formula Grant Application is now open to apply for $430 million in clean energy and energy efficiency funding. Read more about eligibility lists for states, local governments, and tribes.  

IRA Funded Technical Assistance for Building Energy Codes: DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) has announced its intent to make $1 billion in funding available to states and local governments for improved building codes that reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency through the IRA Funded Technical Assistance for the Adoption of Building Energy Codes. This technical assistance opportunity will make two types of Building Code Technical Assistance available:   

  1. $317 million will be available to adopt the latest building energy code, or other codes and standards that achieve equivalent or greater energy savings.
  2. $633 million will be used to adopt a building energy code that meets or exceeds the zero energy provisions in the 2021 IECC code, or other codes and standards with equivalent or greater energy savings.

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On the Road with CSG West: Hawaii

Last month, CSG West staff Edgar Ruiz and Will Keyse felt the Aloha spirit during the annual state visit to the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu. Many thanks to Senate Majority Leader Dru Kanuha and his wonderful staff for hosting us during the visit. We were able to connect with many members and staff to provide information on CSG West programs and services for the year, as well as learn of pertinent challenges facing the state.

A highlight of the visit included a breakfast gathering for alumni of the Western Legislative Academy (WLA) and members eligible for this year’s WLA. We thank the 45 members that came to join us and celebrate regional professional development. Mahalo to Sen. Chris Lee for the breakfast introduction, and to Senate Majority Leader Kanuha and Representative Troy Hashimoto for the introductions on the Senate and House floors, respectively.

CSG West staff with House Committee on Housing Chair, Representative Troy Hashimoto

In addition to conversations with the leadership teams of Senate President Ronald Kouchi and Speaker Scott Saiki, CSG West staff were grateful to connect with Housing Committee Chairs Rep. Troy Hashimoto and Sen. Stanley Chang and thank them for their initiative in gathering Western housing committee chairs.

CSG West Staff with Senate Committee on Housing Chair, Senator Stanley Chang

We appreciated the insight from each of the Hawaiian members on issues facing the legislature in Oahu and the neighbor islands, and look forward to seeing many of you this summer at the 76th CSG West Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in August.

CSG West staff with Representative Della Au Belatti, who served as CSG West’s House liaison for the 2021-2022 biennium

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