2023 Issues to Watch

AS THE 2023 LEGISLATIVE CYCLE APPROACHES, LEGISLATORS ACROSS THE SOUTH ARE PREPARING AND PRE-FILING LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS EMERGING AND RELEVANT POLICY ISSUES IN THEIR STATES. With its regional focus, The Council of State Governments Southern Office (CSG South) is uniquely positioned to identify and analyze current and emerging policy issues. This report was prepared by CSG South’s Policy Team and previews issues, and trends anticipated to emerge during the 2023
legislative term. State actions referenced in this report may represent appropriate policy options for Southern lawmakers to consider and, as such, may include bills or policies originating outside the CSG South region.

Current and emerging trends identified under the purview of CSG South’s six standing committees, which are relevant to policymakers across the South, have been identified. The Agriculture and Rural Development preview discusses foreign ownership of agricultural land and the forthcoming federal Farm Bill, while the Economic Development, Transportation, and Cultural Affairs preview examines issues related to logistics infrastructure and innovations in mass transit. In Education policy, the unforeseen impact of the White House’s student debt relief plan, state actions to expand or clarify parental rights, and the efforts to reduce or eliminate high-stakes testing are trends to watch for the 2023 legislative term, while small modular reactors and federal funding to expand the use of renewable energy are important issues in the Energy and Environment arena. The Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations preview discusses government responses to ransomware attacks and acceptance of cryptocurrencies for government taxes and fees, while the Human Services and Public Safety preview examines challenges posed by an aging inmate population and the looming Medicaid cliff that will be triggered by the end of the federally declared public health emergency.

Additional information about these or other issues that may emerge in 2023 is available by contacting CSG South. Staff are available throughout the year to provide expert assistance on various policy issues important to state legislatures and can leverage the organization’s resources to provide additional support to legislators and staff.

2023 Issues To Watch