Membership Monthly – March 2024

Updates from the NGA Membership Team for March 2024. For more about the programs below and a list of upcoming events please email us at:

GOVERNORS PICTURED ABOVE: New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (top left); Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (top right); Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (bottom left); and Hawai’i Governor Josh Green, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr., Northern Mariana Islands Governor Arnold Palacios, Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, and Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi (bottom right)(bottom right)

2024 NGA Winter Meeting

116th NGA Winter Meeting Addressed Governors’ Key Priorities 

In a forward-leaning program that comprised the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., Governors from states, commonwealths and territories across the country joined in compelling conversations about best practices and bipartisan collaboration across an array of top-line issues.

During the meeting, Governors approved federal priorities to advocate to Congress and the Administration, and NGA’s three task forces met to consider the Farm Bill, reimagining models of disaster preparedness and recovery, and investments to build a strong workforce in emerging sectors.

Governors met at the White House with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Cabinet members and senior White House advisers to discuss bipartisan priorities.

Priorities addressed in the meeting’s plenary sessions included NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s Chair’s Initiative: Disagree Better, as well as housing and artificial intelligence.

NGA was joined by many special guests who shared their time and expertise, including U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett, tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen and pollster Frank Luntz. 

NGA announced its annual Summer Meeting will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 11-12.

Watch Winter Meeting Highlights

Governor Cox on Disagree Better
Governor Cox on Disagree Better

Supreme Court Justices Speak
Supreme Court Justices Speak

Marc Andreessen on AI
Marc Andreessen on AI

Governors Hold Housing Discussion
Governors Hold Housing Discussion

Frank Luntz on Disagree Better
Frank Luntz on Disagree Better

First Spouses Met During NGA Winter Meeting

First Spouses convened at the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting with an agenda that included policy sessions focused on overdose prevention and the power of convening.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden hosted First Spouses to a luncheon at the White House. Dr. Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff later joined First Spouses during a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

First Spouses visited the Library of Congress. They also met with Special Olympics chairman of the board Dr. Tim Shriver who joined Mrs. Cox in a presentation about the ways the Special Olympics Unified Sports project pairs people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same sports teams to help foster a fast and meaningful path to friendship and understanding.

ABOVE: First Spouses visited the Library of Congress during the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting.

Communications Spotlight

NGA Releases New Disagree Better Video

NGA continues to release and promote videos Governors have recorded to highlight NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s Chair’s Initiative: Disagree Better.

The videos aim to highlight ways Republicans and Democrats work together, including on issues where policy differences exist. 

The latest video features Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox discussing the importance of putting in the effort to understand different perspectives.

ABOVE: Watch Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s new Disagree Better video.

Research shows videos of this nature measurably reduce partisanship. Governor Cox has highlighted this research at Disagree Better events, and more details about this research can be found on NGA’s website.

NGA’s YouTube account features a channel where all of the Governors’ Disagree Better videos that have been released so far can be found.

NGA also created the Disagree Better Video Toolkit to help Governors’ offices and other stakeholders share the videos Governors have recorded to help promote the Disagree Better initiative.

Government Relations

NGA Signs Letter Outlining WRDA Priorities 

NGA sent a joint letter to the leaders of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to provide input as the authorization process for the 2024 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) continues.

The letter notes “that perpetuating a strong water infrastructure system and ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water is essential to supporting the nation’s economic growth and global competitiveness” and provides feedback on several portions of the legislation.

In addition to NGA, the letter was signed by the following organizations: the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National League of Cities (NLC) and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM).

Read the letter here.

NGA Leadership Urges Congress to Fund Government, Avoid Shutdown

This week, NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis released a statement calling on Congress to find a bipartisan compromise to fund the government in full. 

Governors Cox and Polis said, “A partial government shutdown would jeopardize the country’s national security and readiness of our military service members, economic growth and financial services, public health and nutrition programs, and education systems. We urge Congress to find bipartisan compromise and swiftly pass government funding to provide certainty and reliability to states and territories.” Read the full statement here.

Last month, Governors Cox and Polis issued an earlier statement calling on Congress to find bipartisan compromise and pass measures to fund the government. The earlier statement can be read here

Center for Best Practices – Vice Chair’s Corner

NGA’s Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis leads the Center for Best Practices.
ABOVE: NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis pictured at the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting.

NGA Launches Skills in the States Community of Practice 

The NGA Center for Best Practices has launched a new Community of Practice (CoP), Skills in the States, focused on skills-based hiring in the public sector.

The Skills in the States CoP includes 21 states and one territory and will convene throughout 2024 and early 2025 to identify and share emerging best practices, challenges, successes and lessons learned. 

Participating state teams will develop customized action plans that align with state goas to accelerate or begin implementation of skills-based hiring initiatives at the state level.

This effort builds upon the prior Walmart-supported work of NGA’s Skills-Driven States initiative.

Governors Continue to Use Emergency Powers to Address the Drug Overdose Epidemic

NGA released a new publication detailing examples of ways Governors are using emergency powers to address the drug overdose epidemic.

Read the publication here.

Visit NGA’s webpage on Substance Use Disorder and Addiction to learn more about work states and territories are leading to address the drug overdose epidemic and substance use disorders. 

NGA Welcomes Six States Into Youth Mental Health Policy Academy  

Alabama, Hawai‘i, Kentucky, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Virginia will participate in the NGA Center for Best Practices Policy Academy to Drive Thriving Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The Policy Academy offers participating states a yearlong opportunity designed to support them in advancing holistic efforts to protect and support strong youth mental health and emotional wellbeing across state agencies, including strategies across prevention, awareness, treatment, and community and youth engagement.

Learn more here.

NGA Releases Webinar on Strategies to Address School Safety 

NGA’s Center for Best Practices K-12 Education team released a new webinar, Comprehensive Strategies To Address School Safety, as part of the webinar series, State Strategies For Address K-12 Student Needs.  

The new episode focuses on comprehensive approaches for addressing school safety across the areas of education, mental and behavioral health and public safety. 

ABOVE: Watch webinar on strategies to address school safety.

NGA Holds Winter Workforce Development Policy Institute   

Last month, NGA convened Governor-appointed workforce development policymakers in Washington, D.C., for the 2024 Winter Workforce Development Policy Institute. Representatives from 34 states discussed the top issues they face as they carry out their Governors’ workforce development policy agenda.

More details about the recent meeting can be found here.

NGA Releases Publication on Healthcare Workforce Planning and Development  

Since 2022, the NGA Center has been supporting 22 states and territories on their Governors’ healthcare workforce priorities through the Next Generation of the Healthcare Workforce Knowledge Exchange Network.

NGA’s new publication Sustaining Healthcare Workforce Planning and Development Through State and Territory Engagement provides an overview of the work the network has been conducting.

March in Focus

NGA routinely shares photos of Governors at work. In honor of the annual March observance of Women’s History Month, this month’s photos feature the nation’s female Governors.

Top Row (L to R):
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds welcomed Iowa insurers to the Capitol for Insurance Day on the Hill.
Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, seated near NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox, discussed housing solutions during the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer met with Michigan alumni during an investment mission to Taiwan.

Middle Row (L to R):
Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, seated next to Vermont Governor Phil Scott, spoke at the Council of Governors meeting held during the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly teamed up with the Community Blood Center to donate blood during their drive at the Statehouse.
Maine Governor Janet Mills met with Ambassador of Australia to the United States Kevin Rudd at the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting.
Bottom Row (L to R):
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem met with South Dakota Advocates for Change during their visit to the Capitol.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul spoke with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt during the 2024 NGA Winter Meeting.
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs met with the newest members of the Arizona Commission on African American Affairs.