Capitol Comments

James Kahler shot his wife, her grandmother, and his two daughters after his wife filed for divorce and moved out with their children. He argued that Kansas “unconstitutionally abolished the insanity defense” by allowing the conviction of a mentally ill person “who cannot tell the difference between right and wrong.” The Supreme Court disagreed.

In Kahler v. Kansas the Supreme Court held 6-3 that the Constitution’s Due Process Clause does not...

In Allen v. Cooper the Supreme Court held unanimously that a state cannot be sued for copyright infringement. In short, the Court found that Congress lacked the authority to strip states of their sovereign immunity in the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) of 1990.

After the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge was discovered in 1996 off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina, the current owner of the ship, North...

In Comcast v. National Association of African-American Owned Media the Supreme Court held unanimously that a plaintiff who sues under 42 U.S.C. §1981 must plead and prove that race was the but-for cause of his or her injury. This case is particularly relevant to states and local governments as employers. The but-for causation is a standard favorable to employers.

...

CSG Midwest
After nine months of extensive, unprecedented analysis of Michigan's county jail populations, a specially formed task force has delivered 18 recommendations to the Legislature designed to improve state policies and curb rising jail incarceration rates.
The bipartisan task force's work reflects concerns in Michigan about the impact of a growing jail population, which has occurred even amid big drops in the state's total crime rate (see line graph). 

Across the country, state and local governments are moving quickly to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks through making emergency declarations. Washington state was the first to do so on February 29th.  Emergency declarations can allow officials to quickly secure and utilize targeted funding, in addition to potential allocations from the federal government.  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the primary form of assistance to states, territories, tribes and localities may come in the form of federal...

In Jones v. Mississippi the Supreme Court will decide whether the Eighth Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is “permanently incorrigible” before imposing a sentence of life without parole.

In Miller v. Alabama (2012) the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment bars life-without-parole sentences “for all but the rarest of...

CSG Midwest
Legislation in nearly every state in the region provides a purchasing preference to products manufactured or produced using recycled content. However, the extent of the preference varies, including whether the state has statutory language that spells out a price preference for bidders who offer recycled products.
Indiana, Kansas, Michigan and Minnesota are examples of states that specify a particular price preference. Indiana offers a price preference of between 10 and 15 percent for products containing recycled content, while Kansas provides a 5 percent price preference.
CSG Midwest
Illinois schools must now grant a two-hour excused absence for students seeking to cast a ballot. Signed into law in January, SB 1970 is for “any student entitled to vote” in a primary or general election (either on Election Day or during the state’s early-voting period). The school can specify the hours that it will allow a student to be absent.
CSG Midwest
In Wisconsin, the path to getting any kind of dyslexia-related bill through the Legislature has never been easy, with bills in various sessions getting caught up in what has been called the state’s “reading wars” over issues such as phonics, whole language and how best to instruct students.
But proponents of getting the state, and its school districts, to do more to help young people with dyslexia and related conditions finally found some legislative success in early 2020. “It’s going to be a very good first step,” Wisconsin Rep. Bob Kulp says of AB 110, which became law in February. “[It] puts dyslexia on the radar screen in our state.”
CSG Midwest
As of early March, Wisconsin was set to become one of the first states in the nation to expand incentives for private investments in federally designated Opportunity Zones. Under AB 532, which passed with bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate, Wisconsin would double the tax credits for investors supporting projects in financially strapped, low-income communities across the state. (The bill had not yet been signed by the governor as of early March.)

Pages