Capitol Comments

Thursday, October 19 marked the deadline for cities to apply to become the home of Amazon’s second corporate headquarters, a $5 billion project that is expected to eventually employ 50,000 people with average salaries of more than $100,000. The competition, which the company announced last month, sparked a bidding war that demonstrated the growing importance of ecommerce and logistics to the nation’s economy and that allowed many parts of the country to tout their infrastructure assets and, in some cases, to recognize the infrastructure challenges they may need to face in the future.

If Attorney General Jeff Sessions has his way the answer will be yes he told the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after two federal district courts temporarily prevented the third travel ban from going into effect.

The president’s March 6 executive order (the second travel ban) prevented people from six predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. In June the Supreme Court temporarily prevented it from going into effect against those with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United State” until the Court could hear the case on the merits in early October.

The Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs, a bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers met on October 12, to examine the historical development of federalism. Witnesses were Heather Gerken, Dean at Yale Law School, Timothy Conlan, Professor of Government at George Mason University, and Matthew Spalding, Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs for Hillsdale College.

The recent hack of the consumer reporting agency Equifax compromised the security of 143 million Americans’ personal information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the perils of identity theft and its impact on consumer credit reports. As a response to these concerns, certain credit monitoring and control provisions have been granted to consumers through federal and state. 

Right-to-Work legislation has garnered renewed activity in states across the country. Since 2012, six states—Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, West Virginia and Wisconsin—have adopted right-to-work legislation. Conversely, New Hampshire and New Mexico voted against such a measure during their 2017 legislative sessions. Though legislation varies by state, right-to-work laws allow an employee to work for a business without being obligated to join a labor union. Union groups strongly oppose such legislation as they argue it would jeopardize worker wages and benefits and allow workers who do not pay dues to benefit from union wage and benefit negotiations. Advocates of the law maintain that it encourages economic development and provides options for employees.

President Trump signed an executive order today that will allow businesses and individuals to buy association health plans that will not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act. See the official White House release about the provisions of the executive order here

The Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms has released a...

President Trump signed an executive order today that will allow businesses and individuals to buy association health plans that will not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act. See a video of the signing ceremony at the White House here. Read Washington Post coverage...

Secure and successful elections have always relied on the cooperation and coordination of election officials, poll workers and voters.  The 2016 election elevated the role that State and local government’s information technology department staff play in supporting secure voting experiences.  The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, or the EAC, recently kicked off Cybersecurity Awareness Month by livestreaming a roundtable discussion in their Washington, D.C. office.

Today, NBC news published a report that President Trump has said he is about to sign an executive order to allow Americans to purchase health insurance policies across state lines. The ACA already has a provision for selling insurance across state lines so long as the plans meet certain minimum standards of coverage and five states have such laws on the books already. However, no insurer currently sells such policies.

Climate Adaptation

Twenty-Three regulators and legislators from around the country attended the CSG “Building Relationships Between Regulators and Legislators” Policy Academy on September 13-15 in Washington DC. The policy academy provided a forum for state regulators and legislators to engage and collaborate with each other on energy resource planning. In addition to participating in breakout discussions, attendees heard from representatives of the electric utility industry, industry associations, academics, think tank researchers, and others about...

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