Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in the case of Greece, NY v. Galloway, Susan. The case originated in the city of Greece, NY where prayer is common at local legislative meetings. However, a group of citizens from the town sued the city in February 2008 not because of the action of praying, but because the prayers are explicitly Christian.
While Some States Turn to Public-Private Partnerships, Tolls for Big Transportation Projects, Others Face a BacklashBy Sean Slone | Friday, May 24, 2013 at 10:07 am
I have an article in this week’s edition of the Capitol Ideas E-Newsletter profiling Maryland’s new law governing public-private partnerships (P3s) and previewing Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s appearance next month at the InfraAmericas U.S. P3 Infrastructure Forum in New York City. For those interested in some additional reading on the subjects of P3s and tolling, here are some links and items worthy of note.
The US Dept. of Education recently announced a series of public hearings to solicit comments on a host of topics, including, but not limited to:
- State Authorization
- Gainful employment;
- Credit Hour Conversions; and
- Campus Safety.
The first of these hearings occurred May 21 in Washington, DC. In the course of the discussion Department officials received considerable testimony about state authorization, including the difficulties of complying with varying state authorization requirements for institutions wishing to offer degree programs in multiple states. During the testimony there was considerable support for The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and other forms of interstate compacts that would allow states to govern distance learning short of federal regulations.
A blue ribbon panel in West Virginia said this week the state needs an additional $1.13 billion to $1.28 billion a year to build and maintain the state’s road system. They’ll take the month of June to assess the possible revenue options at a series of public hearings. There are also reports this week on a number of states facing disappointment on the transportation revenue front or still hoping to get something done in the waning days of legislative sessions.
Wyoming's legalization of a state lottery in March 2013 made it the 44th state with such a lottery. While Hawaii and Utah continue to ban all forms of gambling, the other states without lotteries (Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, and Nevada) profit from casinos and other forms of gambling, but have yet to cash in on lottery revenues which totaled more than $19 billion last year.
Last week’s “Traffic Volume Trends” report by the Federal Highway Administration showed that Americans drove 3.7 billion miles fewer in the month of March than they did in the same month a year ago. This isn’t an anomaly. Also last week, the US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) and the Frontier Group jointly released a report entitled “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future” that said such declines are part of a trend that is likely to continue. That trend, the report says, throws into question whether transportation planning and public policy accurately reflect America’s changing transportation preferences and priorities.
Governing reporter Dylan Scott wrote today about the start-up operations at the Rhode Island health insurance exchange. The staff’s white board counts down the 138 days to October 1 when uninsured Rhode Islanders will be able to buy health insurance through the exchange.
Scott’s article provides insight into exchanges – how government is moving into selling health insurance and the challenges ahead. It’s a must read for anyone struggling to understand this new government endeavor.
The U.S. Department of Education approved three additional waivers for No Child Left Behind this week, bringing to 37 the number of states that have been granted federal waivers since fall 2011. Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia are the latest states to be granted flexibility from provisions of NCLB, which has been due for reauthorization since 2007.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan took his case for $75 billion to expand pre-kindergarten to the House Education and Workforce Committee on Tuesday. Duncan called the plan to make preschool available to more four-year-old children, "the smartest use of our education dollars.”
Mark your calendars for the next installment in CSG's webinar series entitled, "Storm Recovery—Building Stronger, Smarter Electrical Grids." The program will start at 2 PM/Eastern on June 12th and you can register here for the event.