Session Materials


Please visit the TVW website here to view recordings of select sessions from the Annual Meeting.

Civility Workshop: Building Trust Through Civil Discourse

Hosted by the Washington State Legislature

Former Ohio state legislator, Ted Celeste delivers an interactive workshop where legislators will have an opportunity to explore, through a nonpartisan constructive dialogue, strategies that help improve public discourse, build trust in the legislative arena, and lead to productive legislative debate and policy solutions.

Facilitated by: Rep. Sharon Wylie (WA) & Sen. Chuck Winder (ID)


Women in Politics

Open to all attendees, the Women in Politics forum aims to explore the unique role of women in public office.  Leading this year’s discussion, Justice Mary Yu of the Washington Supreme Court will share insights from her personal journey along with her thoughts on the importance of women participating in the many roles of public service.


International Program Session

Robert Daly, Director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, will share his perspective on Sino-American relations and what we might expect from these two countries going forward.  The Mission of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute is to ensure that informed engagement remains the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations. The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tacking global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.


Public Safety Forum

CSG’s Justice Center will highlight recent developments in western states related to justice reform, reinvestment, and reducing recidivism. A brief analysis will explore how state and county governments are achieving better behavioral health and public safety outcomes, including programs like The Stepping Up Initiative, a 50-state effort to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. The Forum will address some of the challenges and strategies to address crime trends, along with approaches to provide people in the criminal justice system with marketable skills to lower barriers to long-term employment that result in their hiring.


Keynote Speaker - Dr. Margaret O'Mara is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington, where she writes and teaches about the economic and political history of the modern United States. Prior to her academic career, she worked in the Clinton White House and served as a contributing researcher at the Brookings Institution. Her book, Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley, shows how politics and culture shaped the metropolitan geography of high technology. Her most recent book, Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century, explores the personalities, events, and issues of the presidential elections of 1912, 1932, 1968, and 1992.


North America Summit VIII

The clock has started on renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). From the Office of the United States Trade Representative, at the direction of the President, on May 18, 2017, Ambassador Lighthizer sent a letter notifying Congress of the Administration’s intent to initiate NAFTA renegotiations. On July 17, U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer released a list of objectives for the renegotiation. What can be expected and what could it mean for the three partners: United States, Canada, and Mexico? Join us at the discussion!

Annual Legislative Training Assembly (ALTA)

ALTA is a professional development opportunity offered to all meeting attendees. During this year’s session, participants will engage in a review and discussion of current media and communication trends, reporting styles, and best practices for crafting and controlling your message. Allowing attendees to put practice into action, the session will wrap up with a mock press conference offering audience volunteers an opportunity to sharpen their interview skills.


Breakfast Forum: END THE BACKLOG

END THE BACKLOG with Rape Kit Testing Reform: Across the United States there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sitting in law enforcement facilities. Join the Joyful Heart Foundation and state legislative leaders for a discussion about the reform needed to end the rape kit backlog. The session will include a sneak peek of Joyful Heart Founder Mariska Hargitay's new HBO feature documentary, I AM EVIDENCE, which highlights this issue and the need for comprehensive change.

Facilitated by: Rep. Tina Orwall (WA) & Rep. Gina McCabe (WA)


Health & Human Services Committee

This year the Health and Human Services Committee will receive the most current update on the status of the Affordable Care Act and how it could affect states.  The Committee will also hear about how both urban and rural communities can reduce health care costs through a sustainable community paramedicine program.  A presentation from the Best Practices Center of the National Governors Association examining state opiod prevention programs and what’s happening in the west will round out the meeting.


Canada Relations Committee

Based on the latest annual data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Energy Information Administration asserts Canada is the United States’ largest partner for energy trade. With that in mind, the committee will look at current energy markets while Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan and innovative components will be shared with the group. Additionally, Economic Development Strategies in First Nation/Indigenous Communities in Canada and the United States will be discussed during this binational session.


Finance & Economic Development Committee

The Finance & Economic Development Committee meeting will address issues at the forefront of several western legislative sessions this year. There will be three presentations, each followed by a period for questions and discussion. Speakers will discuss regulating virtual currency, innovative models for fostering economic development, and Medicaid expansion and healthcare cost containment.

Westrends Board

The Intersection Between Technology and Transportation: Across the country states and local governments are grappling with technological advances that are reshaping the way we think about and support transportation systems. This includes the need for adequate regulatory frameworks to meet the growth of autonomous and electric vehicles; promoting innovative public-private partnerships; identifying ways to finance dilapidating infrastructure needs; and the short and long term implications for economic development and jobs.

State Budget Trends in the West: The Board will learn about and discuss current budget trends and what they mean for state legislatures in the Western region. This will include a macro assessment of the impacts of increased health care and education costs, as well as potential federal actions with significant budgetary implications for states such as tax reform and modifications to the Affordable Care Act, among others.


State & Federal Relations Committee

The State & Federal Relations Committee will take an in depth look at how states and the federal government work together in the area of cybersecurity and approaches states in the West are using to address cybersecurity issues.  Committee members will hear from representatives of the Western Governors Association, US House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs, and the CSG DC office on improving “state consultation”.  Members will be asked to offer suggestions on how to improve the process with future federal initiatives and rule changes.


Overseas Voting Initiative

The Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, is a four-year program formed through a cooperative agreement between The Council of State Governments and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program. The OVI is charged with developing targeted and actionable improvements to the voting process for our nation’s military and overseas voters. The OVI’s Technology Working Group, comprised of state and local election officials, developed
recommendations for best practices in using technology to improve the military and overseas voting process, which will be shared during this session.


Agriculture & Water Committee

This year, members of the Agriculture & Water Committee will discuss differences in water rights adjudication in the western states, with highlights from Idaho and Washington. Members will also hear from two experts on the prospects for international trade in the ag sector under the Trump administration, followed by a conversation about the hemp industry with the director of an industry trade group, and how some states are supporting this growing industry. The session will conclude with state reports, giving committee members an opportunity to share their legislative work on these and other agriculture and water issues.


Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

The Transportation & Infrastructure Committee provides legislators with an opportunity to exchange information about issues affecting the vast and critical transportation networks essential to the Western and U.S. economies. The session will address innovative strategies for financing infrastructure, how the Tucson Streetcar project generated economic development, lessons from the Sound Transit expansion in Washington State, and how transportation funding options being discussed at the federal level could impact states.


Technology Forum

Building on the Annual Meeting’s theme of Innovation is our Nature, the Technology Forum will provide an opportunity for policy makers to learn about some of the technological advances shaping industries, government, and the quality of life in the West. The forum will also highlight opportunities and challenges for state governments to respond to growing cybersecurity concerns in an ever changing marketplace.


Energy & Environment Committee

The Energy and Environment Committee will tackle a comprehensive look at an energy issue that affects nearly the entire western US, the regionalization of the western grid.  Four panels of experts will address what regionalization means and what its advantages could be over the current delivery of electricity in the west, what state and federal laws need to be enacted to allow regionalization, what new technologies will enhance the 21st century grid, and how will governance work among the states with regionalization.


Education & Workforce Development Committee

This year’s Education and Workforce Development Committee meeting offers something for everyone. We will begin with a discussion about what it takes to provide students with a “world-class education.” Next, the committee will examine where and why teacher shortages exist, and we’ll look at some creative solutions. Third, we’ll hear from a national expert and one of our own members about regional approaches to workforce development, including work-based learning, apprenticeships and “stackable credentials.” We will conclude, as always, with state reports.