The State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) firmly believes that real government reform, innovative policy changes, and the big ideas that will solve America's problems are going to be found in state capitols and not Washington, D.C. As has been the case for several years, there is grid-lock in Washington, and Federal government spending and regulation are out of control, while our country's problems continue to be unaddressed by Washington.

Contrast this with the states, who are getting things done -- some better than others. America is at its most prosperous and productive when there is limited government, less spending, less taxes, less dictation from Washington, and less encroachment into the states.

SGLF will promote innovative reforms advocated by our conservative elected leaders and defend them when the special interest proponents of the status quo attack these elected leaders. SGLF is dedicated to educating policymakers and the public about the benefits of smaller government, lower taxes, balanced budgets, and efficiency in governing.

SGLF is a 501 (c)(4) social welfare organization and is a strategic partner to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) - home to the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, Republican Attorneys General Association, Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, and the Republican Secretaries of State Committee.

Wisconsin Supreme Court to consider two voter ID cases

Written by Patrick Marley for The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on November 20, 2013Education Reform
Madison — The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to take up two separate cases over the state's voter ID law, which has been blocked since shortly after it took effect in 2012. The move by the high court cancels oral arguments that were to be held next month before the District 2 Court of Appeals in Waukesha in one case. In the second case, the Supreme Court is agreeing to review a decision by the Madison-based District 4 Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court's action comes six days after the Republican-run state Assembly voted to soften the voter ID law in hopes of overcoming four legal challenges. The state Senate is also controlled by Republicans, but leaders in that house have said they want to see how courts react to the cases before deciding whether to tweak the voter ID requirement.

The short orders issued Wednesday by the Supreme Court put the two state cases before it and clear a path for decisions to be rendered by June. No one dissented in the decisions to take the cases. Meanwhile, two other challenges are being considered in federal court in Milwaukee. A two-week trial in those cases wrapped up last week, and U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman is expected to issue a written ruling early next year on whether the law is constitutional and in keeping with the federal Voting Rights Act. The law would have to overcome all legal challenges for the voter ID requirement to be put back in place. "I am very pleased the court has agreed to take these cases and I look forward to defending the law," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.
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In Nashua, a new era for teacher evaluation

Written by Barbara Taormina for The New Hampshire Union Leader on November 20, 2013Education Reform
NASHUA — School officials have spent a lot of time looking at more effective ways to evaluate students, and they are also looking at a new way to evaluate teachers. Superintendent Mark Conrad and Nashua High School South art teacher Robin Peringer met with the Board of Education’s Human Resources Committee on Wednesday to report on an ongoing teacher evaluation pilot program involving 50 teachers. While more detailed evaluations that include student test scores and other assessments are required for schools districts that received federal school funding, Conrad said the new evaluations are more about helping teachers become better educators.

Under the current system, administrators and teachers agree on a date and time when principals will visit a classroom for about 40 minutes. Principals then provide each teacher with a narrative evaluation and possibly some suggestions on how to improve. Under that type of system, which Conrad called a dog and pony show, most teachers, nationwide, have been rated highly effective. But with the new system now being developed, principals and other evaluators will make six short unannounced visits to classrooms to observe teachers. And rather than recording their ideas and impressions, evaluators will use a rubric that defines standards and performance levels. Teachers will receive a numerical score — 1, 2, 3 or 4 — for every three-year evaluation period.
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Pa. Senate approves $2.3B for roads, bridges, transit

Written by Amy Worden for The Philadelphia Inquirer on November 20, 2013Economic Prosperity
HARRISBURG - In a single afternoon, the state Senate on Wednesday did what the House had agonized over for months: approved a $2.3 billion transportation funding bill to repair aging highways and bridges, and bolster mass transit across the state. The vote cements a major victory for Gov. Corbett by delivering the biggest transportation spending plan in 15 years, one to address critical infrastructure needs while creating tens of thousands of jobs. "This legislation is key to the success of Pennsylvania and health and welfare of the region," said Sen. John Rafferty (R., Montgomery), chairman of the Transportation Committee. The bill now goes back to the House for a pro forma vote Thursday afternoon. It could be signed by Corbett the same day.
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Wisconsin crowdfunding bill opens early stage investing to average citizens

Written by MIKE IVEY for The Capital Times on November 20, 2013Economic Prosperity
Crowdfunding — the idea of getting lots of people to donate small amounts of cash for a particular project or organization — has been around since long before the Internet. The concept has been used for everything from public radio pledge drives to helping families with medical bills. With advances in technology, however, crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise money for just about any purpose, from an art project to a video game startup. To date, there have been two distinct ways of using electronic crowdfunding. One is using websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, where people funding an idea get something in return for their money. For example, the developers of Pebble Smartwatch raised more than $10 million by offering investors the first batches of watches once they were manufactured, and at a discount.

The other type of crowdfunding is aimed at more serious investors who are looking to take an equity stake in a company. Platforms like CircleUp offer legitimate businesses a way to do an initial public offering, where the public can buy stock in a new venture. But regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission limit equity crowdfunding activity to “accredited investors,” defined as individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more (not counting a primary residence) and income of at least $200,000 annually or $300,000 for a couple.
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DOJ 'Abandons' Suit Against Louisiana School Voucher Program

Written by MICHAEL WARREN for The Weekly Standard on November 19, 2013Federal Overreach
The Obama administration's Justice Department has dropped a lawsuit aiming to stop a school voucher program in the state of Louisiana. A ruling Friday by a United States district court judge revealed that the federal government has "abandoned" its pursuit of an injunction against the Louisiana Scholarship Program, a state-funded voucher program designed to give students in failing public schools the opportunity to attend better performing public or private schools. "We are pleased that the Obama Administration has given up its attempt to end the Louisiana Scholarship Program with this absurd lawsuit," said Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, in a statement. "It is great the Department of Justice has realized, at least for the time being, it has no authority to end equal opportunity of education for Louisiana children."

But the legal battle over school vouchers in Louisiana isn't over. The Justice Department is still requesting the court allow a federal review process of the program. Earlier this year the Justice Department had sought the injunction against the program because, its petition argued, moving children out of certain school districts in Louisiana may have been in violation of a standing federal desegregation court order from 1975. According to that existing injunction, the state could not send public money to private schools in those school districts "in ways that further or support discrimination or segregation."
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Assembly GOP passes new voter ID law

Written by Gilman Halsted for Wisconsin Public Radio on November 18, 2013Election Law
The Republican majority in the state Assembly has passed a voter ID bill they say will withstand any legal challenges. But Democrats call it an attempt to suppress the vote of low income voters who often vote Democratic. The current voter ID bill is tied up in a federal court battle in Milwaukee, with closing arguments expected soon. Republican backers of this new bill, however, says it should insure that photo IDs will be required for most voters in the 2014 fall elections. The author of the bill, Republican state Rep. Mark Born, says it's needed to prevent voter fraud. “We're bringing this forward to make sure that we can have a fair and reasonable and accountable system, to make sure that every eligible voter can vote once in Wisconsin and prevent even one illegal vote.” The bill make exceptions for people who can't afford to buy a photo ID by requiring them to sign an affidavit saying they are indigent. Democratic opponents of the bill call that a demeaning process that will discourage poor voters from coming to the polls.
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EXCLUSIVE: New SC medical database could improve care, reduce costs

Written by ANDREW SHAIN for The State on November 17, 2013Health Care
COLUMBIA, SC — A consortium of S.C. universities and hospital systems has started using a database with medical information on millions of patients statewide that they hope can develop better — and less expensive — treatment plans. The $15 million Clinical Data Warehouse is housed at Clemson University and operated by Health Sciences South Carolina in Columbia. Money for the project came from the Duke Endowment, which has given the group $31 million over the past decade. The warehouse has operated since September, but a group of three research universities and three hospital systems will unveil the project to the public Monday. Doctors and university researchers hope using the data, which belongs to 3.2 million patients who have been through 25.3 million medical diagnoses since 2011, can help change how South Carolinians receive medical treatment before they fall severely ill. “It’s a complete shift,” said Tripp Jennings, systems vice president for Palmetto Health in Columbia, one of the partners in Health Sciences South Carolina. “Our history has been sick care. Now, we’re really trying to get to health care.”
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D.C. insurance commissioner fired a day after questioning Obamacare fix

Written by Aaron C. Davis for The Washington Post on November 16, 2013Health Care
A day after he questioned President Obama’s decision to unwind a major tenet of the health-care law and said the nation’s capital might not go along, D.C. insurance commissioner William P. White was fired. White was called into a meeting Friday afternoon with one of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s (D) top deputies and told that the mayor “wants to go in a different direction,” White told The Washington Post on Saturday. White said the mayoral deputy never said that he was being asked to leave because of his Thursday statement on health care. But he said the timing was hard to ignore. Roughly 24 hours later, White said, he was “basically being told, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ ”

White was one of the first insurance commissioners in the nation last week to push back against Obama’s attempt to smooth over part of the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act: millions of unexpected cancellations of insurance plans. In persuading Congress to vote for the health-care overhaul, Obama had promised that Americans who liked their insurance plans would be able to keep them. When that turned out to not be the case, Obama apologized last week. And to stem growing bipartisan dissent, he announced Thursday that plans slated to be canceled next year to comply with the legislation could be extended for one year.
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House Republicans pressure EPA to drop coal-plant carbon rules

Published in FoxNews on November 16, 2013Federal Overreach
Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposal to impose carbon dioxide limits on power plants. Committee leaders sent a letter to EPA director Gina McCarthy on Friday, asking her to withdraw the proposed regulations, arguing that the agency is trying to "impose standards beyond the scope of its legal authority." In September, the EPA released a proposal to set emissions caps for new coal-fired power plants that would likely require the industry to use carbon-capture technology, which involves burying the carbon underground. Critics argue the technology, which is still under development, is too expensive, not commercially available and poses serious safety risks. The agency maintains the technology has been “adequately demonstrated” based on three government-funded projects. The lawmakers argue the EPA is prohibited by law from using the projects to justify its proposed regulations.
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Many state businesses have made arrangements for next year's health care coverage

Many of those who might have faced canceled policies to their plans — because the policies didn't meet new standards under the health reform laws — renewed coverage early to take advantage of a grace period.

Written by Paula Burkes for The Oklahoman on November 15, 2013Health Care
Many people and small businesses in Oklahoma won't sweat the details of President Barack Obama's transition relief aimed at helping people and companies from losing health coverage. Thanks to negotiations between the Oklahoma Insurance Department and the state's biggest insurers, many of those who would have faced canceled policies to their plans — because the policies didn't meet new standards under the health reform laws — renewed coverage early to take advantage of a grace period, ending Dec. 1, 2014. Oklahoma City-based Amundsen Food Equipment, which employs 25, already agreed to pay 5 percent more to renew its plan for a 14-month period, President Cary Amundsen said.

“Our people like our plan, and love that we pay for most of the premiums. But we've made known to them that if and when the premiums go dramatically up as predicted, the company will be forced to increase employee participation rates or possibly drop the company-funded plan altogether,” he said. Likewise, employee benefits consultant Cher Bumps said she's moved many group plans to a Dec. 1 renewal versus Jan. 1, so they can defer for 11 months the estimated increased costs of 20 percent to 50 percent. However, employers starting Jan. 1 will have to pay about 3.5 percent more in premiums to fund fees and taxes under the Affordable Care Act, she said.
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States Insist on Third Grade Reading Proficiency

Written by Adrienne Lu for Stateline on November 15, 2013Education Reform
Educators have known for decades that learning how to read by the third grade is a critical milestone for children. Students who fall too far behind by the third grade rarely catch up. One recent study found that students who don’t read well by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Despite progress in some states, only 35 percent of fourth graders across the country are proficient in reading, according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released earlier this month.

“I think it’s an outrage,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive officer of Reading is Fundamental, a children’s literacy nonprofit organization that distributes millions of books to needy children every year. “To me, that’s an emergency. It’s a crisis.” States across the country appear to agree. About 30 states have adopted measures to try to meet the reading milestone, according to Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a collaboration of nonprofits, foundations and communities. Last month, the National Governors Association released a report urging governors to take five policy actions to improve reading by the third grade.
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SC governor receives report on regulatory review

Written by BRUCE SMITH for Associated Press on November 15, 2013Economic Prosperity
A panel reviewing the approximately 3,000 regulations that South Carolina's state agencies use has presented its report to Gov. Nikki Haley. Haley received the report, which includes an executive summary and 2,000 pages of appendices, on Friday. She told reporters on the Isle of Palms she will spend the weekend plowing through the report of the Regulatory Review Task Force. Haley created the 11-member group by executive order this year and told the panel to review state regulations to determine which can be tossed out and which need to be changed. Haley said one thing is clear and that's agency regulations are made much too easily. She would like to see state lawmakers vote on each individual regulation so they have a better idea of what the rules are for.
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Pension rates to ease

VRS to vote today; rise for two local counties likely less than forecast

Written by MICHAEL MARTZ for Richmond Times-Dispatch on November 14, 2013Economic Prosperity
Local governments will likely get a welcome surprise when they receive their biennial notice of pension rates for their employees next month — a reduction in what they’ll have to contribute to local retirement plans for the next two years. Or, in the case of localities such as Chesterfield and Henrico counties, the rates will be lower than they expected a year ago, while slightly higher than what they’re paying now. The Virginia Retirement System board of trustees is expected to vote today on contribution rates for 583 local pension plans, covering almost 150,000 active and retired employees of counties, cities, towns, and political subdivisions as small as local housing authorities. On average, those rates will go down to 9.91 percent of payroll, compared with 10.63 percent currently paid and 11.11 percent that VRS predicted a year ago.
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Despite union vote, Washington state's tax incentives keep it competitive

Written by BRAD SHANNON for The News Tribune on November 14, 2013Economic Prosperity
State lawmakers’ quick passage last week of what might be the biggest-ever corporate tax incentive was intended to be one-half of a two-part deal to keep Boeing Co.’s 777X jet production in the Northwest. Today that $8.7 billion package stands alone. The deal sealer — an extension of Boeing’s contract with its machinists — died Wednesday in the union’s resounding rejection of a contract that would have fundamentally changed worker pensions. Now what? The only certainty seems to be that Washington is no longer assured of winning the 777X production or a new carbon-fiber wing fabrication plant. On Thursday, Boeing began exploring its options around the country, while saying it will still consider Washington. The setback is prompting questions about last week’ hastily called special session and where the machinists’ vote leaves the state.
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Boehner draws another hard line on immigration reform

Written by Luke Russert and Carrie Dann for NBC News on November 13, 2013Immigration & Homeland Security
House Speaker John Boehner says he will not allow any House-passed immigration legislation to be blended with the Senate’s sweeping reform bill, further quashing the chances of comprehensive immigration reform legislation being signed into law anytime soon. “We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” Boehner told reporters Wednesday. Immigration reform advocates had hoped that a “conference”- or legislative negotiation – between House and Senate lawmakers could incorporate ideas from both chambers into compromise legislation that might be palatable to those who say a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants – or at least legalization – is essential to fixing the country’s broken immigration system.

But some conservatives had been pushing against House passage of any immigration legislation, arguing that Senate Democrats would use the conference to inject more liberal policies and then force Republicans in the House to stomach changes they say are unfair to those who came to the country legally. The GOP speaker has pledged for months not to bring the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill, passed with bipartisan support in the upper chamber this summer, up for a vote. That legislation would allow for a lengthy path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants – something that many Republicans decry as “amnesty" that could hurt job-seeking Americans.
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Fewer than 400 Utahns able to shop Obamacare exchange

Affordable Care Act » Secretary Sebelius pledges to have the Web portal working ‘‘for most users’’ by the end of the month.

Written by Kirsten Stewart And Matt Canham for The Salt Lake Tribune on November 13, 2013Health Care
Roughly 106,000 Americans have been able to find coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s online health exchange — including 357 Utahns, the Obama administration revealed Wednesday. Thousands more — 975,407 in the U.S. and 9,318 in Utah — have completed applications and received a determination about their eligibility for subsidies, but have not yet picked a plan. An additional 396,261, including 4,816 in Utah, have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The figures are numerical proof of the technical problems faced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in launching the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Nearly 75 percent of those able to pick a health plan did so through state-run exchanges. Utah’s exchange for individuals and families is run by federal officials. Even saying that 357 Utahns picked a plan through HealthCare.gov is a stretch, said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who noted the administration is counting both those who paid for the first month of their insurance and those who didn’t.
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Only 346 Oklahomans have selected an 'Obamacare' health insurance plan

Written by Jaclyn Cosgrove for NewsOK on November 13, 2013Health Care
Only 346 Oklahomans have selected a health insurance plan over the past month through the federal health insurance marketplace, according to federal government data released Wednesday. The marketplace, available on HealthCare.gov, was created through the  Affordable Care Act, also referred to as “Obamacare.” On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the first month of data for the Health Insurance Marketplace initial open enrollment.
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Health insurance cancellation notices go out to 8,800 in W.Va.

Written by Zack Harold for The Charleston Daily Mail on November 13, 2013Health Care
CHARLESTON, W.Va.--About 8,800 West Virginia residents stand to lose their health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act's new requirements for insurance plans. The health care reform law, passed in 2010, requires U.S. citizens to enroll in health insurance but also includes a list of requirements for health insurance plans. Insurance providers must cancel or change plans that don't meet those requirements. Policyholders are eligible for new plans through the government's health insurance marketplace, although that website has suffered crippling technical problems since its launch last month.

Policy cancellations largely affect individuals who purchase their own health insurance plans. According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, the state Offices of the Insurance Commissioner have received about 8,800 discontinuation notices for individual insurance plans. Most of those people -- about 8,600 -- are insured through Highmark West Virginia. President Obama, in his attempts to sell the Affordable Care Act to the American public and lawmakers, frequently insisted people who liked their current health care plans could keep them.
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Cuomo to decide on expanding tax credits for film industry

Written by Tom Precious for The Buffalo News on November 12, 2013Economic Prosperity
ALBANY – Upstate is pitted against upstate over expanded tax breaks for the movie industry, a controversy that has put Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the referee’s seat, with a decision due today. At issue is whether to allow another 14 counties – in addition to the 40 counties approved in March – to offer extra state tax breaks to help lure film companies to economically battered upstate regions. Critics say the bill not only changes the intent of the tax credit effort approved just seven months ago, but also undermines the upstate economic development purpose by including counties close to New York City – such as Rockland and Putnam. Film companies based in New York City will be happy to use the tax credit to shoot in those nearby counties rather than pay for lodging and other costs of filming in, say, Buffalo.

“If the other 14 counties get this, a lot of films will slip away. It will be a watered-down program that doesn’t meet its intended purpose,” said Tim Clark, commissioner of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission. The film tax credit program, like other economic development efforts over the years, is engaged in an old New York plot: What’s good enough for one region of the state must be good enough for everyone. As part of this year’s budget, lawmakers approved an extra credit – 10 percent atop the existing 30 percent – that film companies can get from the state for labor costs associated with shooting or doing post-production on a movie in New York State. A $5 million total annual cap was placed on the additional credit program, which was available to counties in Western, Central and Northern New York.
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New Michigan Senate committee to probe whether teacher unions adhere to right-to-work

Written by Kathleen Gray for The Lansing State Journal on November 10, 2013Labor Reform
A new state Senate committee formed this week will look at how teacher unions are complying with Michigan’s new and controversial right-to-work law. Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, was one of the sponsors of the right-to-work law and is distressed that some teachers have had a hard time quitting their unions — as the new law allows. “I heard from a teacher from my district who said that the union was making intimidating moves towards her, including attacking her credit,” when she wouldn’t pay her union dues, Meekhof said.

So he lobbied for the creation of the Senate Compliance and Accountability committee that will look into how teachers are being affected by the law. He is the chairman of the new committee. Othere members are state Sens. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, and Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor. Democrats and officials with the Michigan Education Association call the committee a politically motivated exercise meant to beat up on unions. “It’s a political witch hunt,” said Robert McCann, spokesman for state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “And it’s a pretty questionable use of the Legislature’s time.”
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Legislature approves billions in tax breaks for Boeing

Written by Andrew Garber for The Seattle Times on November 09, 2013Economic Prosperity
OLYMPIA — The state Senate moved first on Saturday, passing aerospace tax incentives and a measure aimed at boosting training for the aerospace industry. “This is a generational opportunity,” said Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill, R-Redmond. “This is about our aerospace economy.” The training measure, SB 5953, passed unanimously and the tax-incentive bill, SB 5952, was approved 42-2. Democratic Sens. Bob Hasegawa, of Renton, and Adam Kline, of Seattle voted no. Hasegawa was the only senator to raise significant objections during the floor debate. “I have a philosophical issue with putting this economic development strategy on the backs of the Machinists,” he said. “We’re asking them to sacrifice the future of the next generation of Boeing workers. That is not a sustainable  economic development strategy for the state.”

Boeing wants the Machinists union to accept a new eight-year contract with big cuts in future pension and health-care benefits to secure the 777X for Washington state. That union approval could prove troublesome, given the early reviews of the Boeing proposal. In addition, the company wants the Legislature to boost training for aerospace workers and approve tax incentives worth more than $8 billion. The company has also stressed that it wants lawmakers to approve a multi-billion dollar transportation package. Inslee called the special session, which started Thursday, to fulfill the state’s side of the bargain.
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Alaska Medicare beneficiaries targeted in Affordable Care Act scam

Written by Laurel Andrews for Alaska Dispatch on November 07, 2013Health Care
A nationwide scam targeting Medicare beneficiaries has been ramping up in Alaska, state officials report. The Alaska Medicare office has received seven or eight calls reporting a scam that revolves around the Affordable Care Act. Two of those reports were received on Wednesday, state Medicare fraud education coordinator Nila Morgan said. The reports come mainly from Anchorage, and one came from Southeast Alaska. Morgan added that for every person who calls and reports a scam, there are likely many more who are contacted and do not report it. “These scams kind of go in waves,” said Davyn Williams, assistant attorney general in the consumer protection unit, “but it sounds like it really picked up a lot.”

The increase prompted the department of law to issue a consumer alert Wednesday warning the public of the Medicare scam, along with a general overview of Affordable Care Act scams. Scammers call beneficiaries claiming they will need new Medicare cards due to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.  Scammers then ask for personal information, Medicare numbers and bank account information. Reports allege that scammers are bullying beneficiaries, “using harassment, abusive conduct, and false threats to cut off Medicare benefits,” a consumer alert issued Wednesday states. Some people have received multiple calls from scammers. One Alaskan "caught by surprise" by the scammers gave them banking information, Morgan said, and then realized something fishy was going on.
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TN leads nation in math, reading gains

Written by Joey Garrison for The Tennessean on November 07, 2013Education Reform
Tennessee claimed the title Thursday of fastest-improving state in academic growth after boasting the greatest leaps nationally in math and reading assessment scores by middle school students, a feat that drew glowing praise from the top U.S. education official. A celebration among state officials, Republican lawmakers and educators erupted Thursday inside a Mt. Juliet middle school auditorium after Gov. Bill Haslam — who has taken criticism for piloting controversial education reforms — unveiled historic results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress report card.

The report, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, highlighted Tennessee as one of only three public school jurisdictions — and the only state — that made math and reading gains in the fourth and eighth grades from 2011 to 2013. In fact, Tennessee’s overall growth in these areas marks the largest collective test score jump in the federal assessment’s history. “If you look, it really wasn’t even close,” said Haslam, a Republican, who called the announcement perhaps his most significant during his nearly three years in office. “We literally blew away the other states when it came to education results.”
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Wyoming students outperform the national average in Math and Reading

Written by BOB BECK for Wyoming Public Media on November 07, 2013Education Reform
Wyoming’s fourth and eighth grade students outperformed the national average in reading and mathscores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAPE scores. The test is administered every two years. Wyoming did especially well in 4th grade math where it improved by three points from 2011 and five points from 2009.   State Education Director Rich Crandall is pleased. “It means we are getting a good return on our investment.  If you look at that 4th grade math category, we are outpacing the growth in the United States.  So what we as a Department want is to step back and say ok…how can we take that same kind of success we are getting in 4th grade math and apply it to every other category.”

Will Donkersgoed of the Wyoming Department of Education says there were other positive results.  For instance 4th grade girls increased their math scores by 4 points in the last two years. “That essentially eliminated any results between them and boys.  And there are similar types of stories for Hispanic students in grade 8 math and Native American students in grade 4 math increased their scores by nine points on the NAPE scale.”
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Walker signs crowdfunding bill

Written by The Associated Press for The Post Crescent on November 07, 2013Economic Prosperity
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill allowing crowdfunding for the online sale of stocks in fledgling companies. The proposal Walker signed Thursday passed unanimously in the Legislature and has broad support in Wisconsin’s business community. Popular online crowd funding sites like Kickstarter only allow for people to make donations to a certain cause, often in exchange for a token of appreciation like a T-shirt or bumper sticker. The new Wisconsin law will allow investors to purchase equity in a company. Backers say it’s a simple way to help small businesses by opening them up to a wide pool of potential investors. Wisconsin is one of the first states nationwide to allow for such investing through crowdfunding.
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