Capitol Comments

In Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado the Supreme Court agreed with a Special Master in a dispute about water rights involving an interstate compact, that Kansas would receive partial disgorgement (a fine) but not an injunction against Nebraska and accounting procedures would be changed so that Nebraska’s use of imported water would not be count against its compact allocation. Through an interstate compact ratified in 1943, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas share the virgin water supply originating in the Republican River Basin. The Court adopted the Master’s recommendation of $1.8 million in disgorgement because Nebraska knowingly failed to comply with the compact by knowingly exposing Kansas to a substantial risk that it would breach the contract and because water is more valuable to farmland in Nebraska than Kansas.

March 4 is an important date for anyone who cares about health policy. The Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments in the case King v. Burwell, challenging tax subsidies for health insurance purchase in states that are not running their own health insurance exchanges.

The potential impact of the case is clear. Approximately 7.5 million Americans in 34 states receive subsidies to offset the cost of health insurance purchased through the federally-run exchange.

Family vacation time in Disneyland has started a nationwide conversation about vaccinations against measles and other preventable diseases.

According to new CDC data on immunization rates of kindergartners in the 2013-2014 school year, 94.7 percent of children had received the MMR vaccine. This national level is below the recommended rate of 95 percent, which provides "herd immunity" extending protection to those who might not be able to receive the immunization due to medical conditions. 

Over 90,000 children were...

A recent report from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth compares the economic growth by increasing the academic achievement of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged families.  If the educational outcomes of these students more closely match the success of children living in the top quartile of families, long-term economic growth would dramatically increase.

A gas tax increase appears on the fast track to final passage in Iowa. Transportation funding measures in Georgia and Washington also moved forward this week. And governors, state DOT officials and legislators in a variety of other states introduced or defended major transportation packages as the funding conversation heated up in those states. Here’s a roundup of the latest developments.

On Friday, Feb. 6, the Wyoming Senate voted 19 to 11 to reject a bill to expand Medicaid, WyoFile.com reported.

Majority Floor Leader Sen. Eli Bebout said, according to Wyo.File reporting, “Now is not the time. I think being cautious, and doing it the Wyoming way is the way we do things.”

Last week the President unveiled his $4 trillion budget for Fiscal Year 2016.  The budget highlights the President’s continued support on several energy and environmental topics with emphasis on clean energy.  He reiterated his support for the Climate Action Plan he released in 2013 and called for an increase in funding support for the plan. 

Several agencies made the request for larger...

The question the Supreme Court will decide in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores is simple:  who must ask about the need for a religious accommodation—the employer or the...

This week, an update on more than 20 states looking at transportation funding this year. Per-gallon gas tax increases, indexing, sales taxes, tax swaps, motor vehicle excise taxes, vehicle registration fees, transportation fund lockboxes and bonding are among the issues factoring into the discussions around the country. I also have information about how you can join us for our latest eCademy webinar this week on the states to watch on transportation funding.

We got a look this week at the Obama administration’s vision for transportation with the release of the President’s budget and authorization proposal and a new report looking at trends impacting the nation’s transportation system and the implications of those trends over the next 30 years. Meanwhile, Congress has begun looking at options for how to fund a longer term transportation bill with the debate appearing to coalesce around three possibilities. Nevertheless, state officials around the country remain concerned about the impact ongoing federal uncertainty is having on their ability to plan for the all-important transportation project construction season.

Pages