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2013 NGA Summer Meeting

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin (August 1-4)
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Plenary Session Transcripts

Governors Attending

Gov. Jan Brewer, AZ
Gov. John Hickenlooper, CO
Gov. Dan Malloy, CT
Gov. Jack Markell, DE
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, HI
Gov. Pat Quinn, IL
Gov. Terry Branstad, IA
Gov. Martin O'Malley, MD
Gov. Mark Dayton, MN
Gov. Phil Bryant, MS
Gov. Jay Nixon, MO
Gov. Dave Heineman, NE
Gov. Chris Christie, NJ

Gov. Pat McCrory, NC
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, ND
Gov. Mary Fallin, OK
Gov. Alejandro Javier García Padilla, PR
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, RI
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, SD
Gov. Bill Haslam, TN
Gov. Gary Herbert, UT
Gov. Peter Shumlin, VT
Gov. John deJongh, Jr., VI
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, WV
Gov. Scott Walker, WI


Opening Session Guest

  • Jeffrey Brenner, MD, founder and executive director, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

Special Session Guests

  • Steve Aos, director, Washington State Institute for Public Policy
  • Ashbel T. Wall II, director, Rhode Island Department of Corrections

Closing Session Guest

  • Matt Devost, president and CEO, Terrorism Research Center, Inc. and Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University

Committee Guests

Economic Development and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees

  • Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • The Honorable Bill Shuster, chairman, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Education and Workforce Committee

  • Joseph Carbone, president and chief executive officer, The WorkPlace
  • Theresa Wahlert, agency director, Iowa Workforce Development

Health and Homeland Security Committee

  • Caleb Cage, executive director, Nevada Office of Veterans Services
  • The Honorable Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Leonard Howie, secretary, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation

Discussion Subjects

Session Topics
Opening Session – State Tools for Health Care Cost Containment

Special Session – Advancing Corrections Reform

Closing Session – States’ Role in Cybersecurity

Economic Development and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees – Under Construction: Building a National Consensus on Infrastructure

Education and Workforce Committee – Spurring Workforce Innovation to Close the Skills Gap, Create Jobs and Grow Family Incomes

Health and Homeland Security Committee – Providing for our Veterans

2012-13 Delaware Gov. Jack Markell’s Chair’s Initiative: A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities

Points of Interest

The 2013 Summer Meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, began with a welcome by NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who outlined the weekend’s agenda, introduced special guests from the international community and thanked the meeting’s hosts, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his wife, Tonette. Gov. Walker took an opportunity to welcome fellow governors and highlight Wisconsin.

Gov. Markell explained why he chose his chair’s initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, noting the roles both state government and businesses can play in advancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Through the initiative, he sought to provide governors and state policymakers with practical ideas about how they can put people with disabilities to work in states. He added that an estimated 54 million Americans have a disability, making them the largest minority population in the country.

NGA and Gov. Markell hosted state institutes on employing people with disabilities and identified five key areas where governors can move the needle, including employing people with disabilities as part of a broader workforce strategy; finding and supporting businesses who hire people with disabilities; being a model employer; preparing young people for a lifetime of work rather than a lifetime of public benefits; and making the most use out of the scarce resources to advance opportunities for people with disabilities.  

Gov. Markell then introduced Dr. Jeffery Brenner, founder and executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, who spoke about the rising costs of Medicaid and the importance of delivering better care at a lower cost. Dr. Brenner talked about his work in Camden, New Jersey, and the opportunities he has taken to deliver innovative health care. Examples include his treatment of superutilizer patients (patients who frequent the emergency room) and what can be done to minimize their number of visits. Dr. Brenner suggested states and governors take leadership and push accountability down to the community level.   

Once Dr. Brenner took questions from governors, NGA Executive Director Dan Crippen reported on NGA’s efforts to assist states in controlling health costs while maintaining quality. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, host of the 2014 Summer Meeting in Nashville, gave a preview of meeting events. NGA Vice Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin then joined Gov. Markell to recognize AT&T, the founding member of NGA’s Corporate Fellows Program. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the program. Merck, Ford Motor Company and FMC also were recognized for 20 years of service.

Saturday’s session focused on the rising cost of corrections spending, which has increased more than 200 percent over the last 25 years. Governors focused on advancing corrections reform. Steve Aos, director of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, spoke about the importance of assembling information that provides governors with evidenced-based programs that work to reduce crime as well as those that do not work to reduce crime. Aos described how this approach has been applied in Washington by examining adult offender programs, juvenile offender programs, prison and policing and prevention programs. He talked about the cognitive behavioral treatment program in prisons today and how that program produced a reduction in recidivism. He also discussed the importance of using the data to evaluate risk assessments and calculate a return on investment.

Following Aos’ presentation, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee welcomed his state’s director of corrections, A.T. Wall. Wall focused on one of the core costs of corrections, the cost of health care for the inmate population. He recommended assembling corrections directors, Medicaid directors, health directors and directors responsible for substance abuse and mental health to consider possible action to contain health care costs. Wall noted that such costs are inextricably intertwined with the size of the institutional population and the overall costs of running and staffing facilities.  

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie then gave overviews of how their states are advancing corrections reform. In South Dakota, a comprehensive criminal justice reform package recently passed. The policies included new or improved probation accountability programs, restructuring of sentence framework for nonviolent offenders and investments in behavioral health for offenders with addictions and mental health needs. Gov. Abercrombie discussed how his predecessors solved the problem of the criminal justice system by shipping prisoners out of state. Because this practice was expensive, he described the steps he took to bring prisoners back to Hawaii, including investing in a system that was going to pay dividends to the public. The session ended after governors were given the opportunity to ask questions.  

The closing session of the 2013 Summer Meeting focused on cybersecurity and states’ and governors’ roles. Matt Devost gave a presentation on managing cybersecurity, including the importance of targeting threats, their effects and the vulnerabilities that come along with those threats. He noted that cybersecurity is about making critical decisions and identifying points that are going to be the highest threat to an organization. He also spoke about the importance of establishing metrics.

Following Devost’s presentation, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, co-chairs of NGA’s Resource Center for State Cybersecurity, talked about how their states have strengthened cybersecurity. Gov. Snyder discussed reorganizing state agencies to improve governance and hosting cyber summits. Gov. O’Malley talked about how Maryland is investing in programs in schools so that students who are pursuing careers in this field have the experience necessary to excel.

After governors had an opportunity to ask questions, Gov. Walker thanked everyone for attending the meeting. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, chair of the Nominating Committee, announced NGA’s 2013-2014 Executive Committee: NGA Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, NGA Vice  Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Gov. Markell handed the gavel to Gov. Fallin, who discussed her 2013-2014 Chair’s Initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs, which spotlights improving education and workforce training systems and aligning those systems with the needs of individual state economies.

America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs will specifically focus on:

  • Engaging education, business and government leaders in a dialogue about what governors can do to more closely align K-12, universities, community and technical colleges and workforce training providers with future labor demands; and
  • Supporting governors and their staff in using data and information to identify states’ future labor demands, prioritize changes in state education and workforce training systems to meet those demands and take action to achieve desired results.

After Gov. Fallin’s presentation, the 2013 Summer Meeting was adjourned.