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Nation’s Governors Convene Meeting in Nashville

Press release from the National Governors Association; July 9, 2014:

WASHINGTON—Governors from across the country will gather in Nashville, Tennessee, July 10-13, for the National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting to discuss innovative work in states in several areas, including education, workforce, health care, veterans and jobs. Through NGA, governors share best practices, speak with a collective voice on national policy and develop innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.

“I am honored to host the nation’s governors in Nashville, Tennessee,” said Host Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. “NGA meetings bring us together to consider the important issues facing our states, hear new ideas and share best practices. I look forward to a great weekend of substantive conversation as well as the chance to showcase Tennessee and all we have to offer to my colleagues.”

The Summer Meeting business sessions officially begin Friday, July 11, with a news conference at which the NGA chair, vice chair and host governor will highlight the weekend’s events and governors’ collective priorities. Governors will then be joined at the opening session by the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden.

Following the opening session, the Economic Development and Commerce Committee will go over actions states can take to help small and medium-sized businesses create jobs and grow state economies. Concurrently, the Education and Workforce Committee will convene to talk about the role of education in economic development. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is the featured guest of that committee.

Saturday morning begins with a meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee, where governors will explore the changing health care landscape with a panel of experts and industry leaders. Saturday’s special session will highlight Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s Chair’s Initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs.

The initiative is about making significant improvements to education systems and workforce training programs to better align them with the needs of business and labor markets. It focuses on ensuring that a new generation of workers can secure good jobs with living wages and access to a middle-class lifestyle. Governors will be joined at this session by Stephen J. Rohleder, Accenture group chief executive, North America.

“This work is essential to ensuring a bright future for our children and strengthening our state economies,” said Gov. Fallin. “Part of that is establishing a ‘new minimum’ for economic success: either a two-year or four-year college degree or relevant workforce certification. Without some kind of postsecondary education, a majority of our children and working adults will find it hard to achieve the American Dream and access a fulfilling middle-class life or beyond.”

Saturday afternoon, the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee will discuss employing the nation’s veterans. This session will provide governors an opportunity to share strategies for easing servicemember transition to civilian employment and strengthening the state partnership with key federal agencies and private-sector employers to put veterans on a path toward meaningful employment and long-term success.

Concurrently, the Natural Resources Committee will evaluate critical questions about the nation’s electric grid and integrate state solutions into the national conversation about electric grid modernization.

Official business will conclude on Sunday with a closing session on the future of Main Street. Governors will be joined by Best Buy President and Chief Executive Officer Hubert Joly.

“The Summer Meeting brings governors together in a unique forum to engage in a dialogue about important issues affecting our states,” said NGA Vice Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “As governors, we face many similar challenges and can learn a great deal from each other’s experiences. I look forward to continuing these valuable conversations with my colleagues.”

Throughout the meeting, governors will attend “governors-only” sessions, which provide an opportunity to exchange ideas about challenges facing states in a private, off-the-record setting. Governors also will recognize their outgoing colleagues and NGA Corporate Fellows who are marking 20 and 25 years of membership. The Summer Meeting will conclude with a welcome to incoming NGA Chair, Gov. Hickenlooper, and the incoming vice chair, who will be announced at the meeting. In addition, Gov. Hickenlooper will unveil his 2014-2015 Chair’s Initiative.

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TN House Dems Hopeful About Haslam Appointment to NGA Health Cmte

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; October 23, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 23, 2013) – In what must be ironic news to the 330,000 Tennesseans waiting for a decision on Medicaid expansion, Governor Bill Haslam was chosen to Chair the National Governors Association’s Health and Human Services Committee along with vice-Chair Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

“This could be terrific news for Tennessee,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “Six of the ten governors on the task force Governor Haslam was appointed to in May have made the important decision to accept the federally funded Medicaid expansion. Hopefully Governor Haslam will learn from someone like New Mexico’s Republican Governor Susana Martinez who bucked tea party extremists in order to do the right thing for her state’s working poor.”

Governor Haslam is one of five governors in the United States who still claim to be “weighing options” on Medicaid expansion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Governor Susana Martinez decided earlier this year to expand Medicaid, saying, “[t]he election is over and the Supreme Court has ruled. My job is not to play party politics, but to implement this law in a way that best serves New Mexico.”

“The Governor seems to have struggled with this decision,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner. “Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands Tennesseans who are struggling to pay medical bills – having to make the impossible choice between food and the medicine they need. They simply can’t wait any longer for the Governor to finish his internal debate and do what is right for working families in our state.”

Governor Haslam has claimed to be working on a “third way” or “Tennessee Plan” with the federal government that would utilize Medicaid expansion funds for private insurance plans. However, unlike Arkansas which has already begun implementing such a plan, the Governor has not indicated he is closer to making a decision by the January 1st deadline for initial Medicaid expansion funds.

Details on the National Governor’s Association Health and Human Services Committee can be found here: http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2013/10/haslam-tapped-to-head-national.html

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Haslam Named Chairman of Nat’l Governors Assn Health Committee

Press release from the National Governors Association; October 23, 2013:

WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced the new leadership of NGA’s five standing committees for the 2013-2014 year. NGA Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and NGA Vice Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper made the following appointments:

Economic Development and Commerce Committee

  • Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, chair
  • West Virgina Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, vice chair

Education and Workforce Committee

  • Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear, chair
  • Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, vice chair

Health and Human Services Committee

  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, chair
  • Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, vice chair

Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, chair
  • Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, vice chair

Natural Resources Committee

  • North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chair
  • Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, vice chair

For a list of the executive committee, click here.

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Haslam Named Co-chair of Nat’l Governor’s Assoc. Health Care Task Force

Press release from the National Governor’s Association; May 21, 2013:

WASHINGTON—As lawmakers at both state and federal levels of government look for ways to improve the quality of health care and reduce the costs of public programs, governors are developing innovative Medicaid programs and must retain flexibility to implement these measures.

To assist in these efforts, the National Governors Association (NGA) today announced the members of a new Health Care Sustainability Task Force (Task Force). Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will serve as co-chairs of the Task Force.

Other governors serving include Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, California Gov. Jerry Brown, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. NGA Health and Homeland Security Chair Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vice Chair Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will serve as ex-officio members.

“Right now states are looking to change how they do business in order to more effectively serve their constituents,” said Gov. Kitzhaber. “This Task Force will help states sit down together to figure out what’s working and what isn’t and identify how the federal government can best support these efforts.”

“Governors are working in their states to find ways to cut costs when it comes to health care,” said Gov. Haslam. “It is our responsibility to examine every possible option in an effort to make sure promising new initiatives can be fully utilized.”

The Task Force will focus on state innovations that require the redesign of health care delivery and payment systems with the objectives of improving quality and controlling costs. Through the sharing of state experiences and best practices, the Task Force will work to identify areas where federal legislative or regulatory action is necessary to reduce barriers and further support state initiatives.