Issues that are on the groups' meeting agendas in the summer usually appear as introduced legislation in the next legislative session.
Here's an overview of topics that are trending on multiple intergovernmental organizations’ agendas, including artificial intelligence, power generation, electric vehicles, and more.
As state legislative sessions wound down this spring, summer meetings began to heat up. Issues that are on summer meeting agendas usually appear as introduced legislation in state sessions the following year. Below is a list of pertinent issues we’ve seen at this summer’s major groups meetings and what to prepare for as the 2024 state legislative sessions approach.
Issues to Watch
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
When ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI, launched on November 30, 2022, regulators and legislators took notice. Since then, states have introduced over 150 pieces of legislation focused on the use or regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). AI was on every major meeting agenda this summer as legislators grapple with understanding this new technology and how it may impact state citizens. Thus far, 19 states have established interim committees or task forces on artificial intelligence. If you are interested in following these committees or task forces, please get in touch.
Power Generation and Transition
Many countries are targeting net-zero emissions by 2050, and the Biden Administration supports a goal of emission-free electricity by 2035. In turn, state officials are facing mounting pressures as the federal government continues to mandate additional policies on states and private businesses. This is paired with the continued influx of federal funding to states for a variety of projects and priorities. Power generation and transition, grid reliability, sustainability, and less predictable weather were at the forefront of numerous state organization agendas this summer, including all of The Council of State Governments (CSG) regional meetings. Similarly, the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) featured discussions as part of their agendas.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contained $15 billion in new spending for electric vehicles (EVs). The Biden Administration wants EVs to make up half of all vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030. Despite these goals and incentives, EVs only accounted for 6 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales in the third quarter of 2022. This summer, a number of meetings featured the EV debate including CSG South, CSG East, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). CSG West will feature this issue at its annual meeting this fall. The Chair’s Forum will focus on zero-emission vehicles. The session is still being planned; please get in touch if you have any interest.
Child Safety on Social Media
Last year, California passed a first-in-the-nation bill that would require digital platforms to vet whether new products may pose harm to kids and teens before rolling them out and to offer privacy guardrails to younger users by default. In recent months, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Texas have followed suit with their own legislation. This topic was featured at the Attorneys General Alliance (AGA) Annual Meeting in June, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in July, and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit this month. The NCSL Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce (CFI) Committee passed a measure in support of privacy protections for children online.
After Minnesota followed Maine’s lead with a full ban on polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), multiple industries began to ponder how quickly the issue would spread throughout the country. Thus far, 24 states are pursuing litigation against PFAS manufacturers while 33 states have policies with at least a partial ban. At June’s Attorneys General Alliance (AGA) annual meeting, attorneys general convened a member and staff-only session on the topic. In July, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hosted a session on the issue at its annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Emerging Trend: Microplastics
Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than 5 mm in size. At the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) Annual Meeting in Boulder, Colorado, in June, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael O’Ragan spoke about wildfire mitigation, water availability, plastic pollution, and how the federal government can work with the states to allow for more flexibility in environmental regulation and tailor specific solutions for specific states. This month, legislators considered a policy resolution at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit urging the federal government to fund research on microplastics in the environment. The measure passed in Indianapolis at the Summit. In May, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong led a coalition of attorneys general from 16 states in demanding the EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) address the issue of plastic microfiber pollution in the waterways.
Monitor and Engage Stakeholder Organizations
MultiState’s Stakeholder Engagement Practice helps clients develop a strategic plan for engaging with policymaker and policy influencer organizations — groups that can move the needle in policy discussions across the country. Read more about our Stakeholder Engagement practice here, or contact us to learn more how we can engage and activate stakeholders to support your advocacy agenda. To help you plan your year, bookmark our State & Local Groups Calendar for meeting dates, location, and more.