Capitol Comments

The CSG 2017 Toll Fellows class, comprises 42 of the nation’s top officials representing all three branches of state government, was honored for its dedication to leadership and service during the CSG National Conference on Saturday, Dec. 16.

In Nevada, 1 in 5 people struggles with hunger. Members of The Council of State Governments gathered at the CSG 2017 National Conference Dec. 16 in Las Vegas to help address this need as part of the CSG Campaign Against Hunger initiative.
“The Campaign Against Hunger service project allows state leaders to come together as colleagues to work toward a common goal and give back to the communities in which we hold our meetings,” said David Adkins, CSG CEO/executive director.

The Council of State Governments’ 2018 national leaders were announced Saturday, Dec. 16, during the CSG 2017 National Conference in Las Vegas after confirmation by the CSG Executive Committee.

State-action immunity provides states and, in some instances, local governments immunity from federal antitrust liability. In Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District v. SolarCity the Supreme Court will decide whether a lower court’s refusal to rule state-action immunity applies to a particular entity may be appealed immediately or only after the case is fully litigated.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recently released research introducing the “UOCAVA Gap,” a new and more effective metric that examines the effect of voting obstacles faced by Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) active duty military (ADM) members. Trends in the UOCAVA Gap suggest that, despite fluctuations in the ADM participation rate, overall UOCAVA obstacles to voting have been relatively stable from 2010 to 2016.

As a busy year for autonomous vehicle (AV) policy winds down, federal legislation appears to have hit a snag in the U.S. Senate. I also have a look at state AV policy activities in 2017, links to a variety of recent reports and a preview of an AV policy discussion at next week’s CSG National Conference in Las Vegas.

The Supreme Court has allowed the third travel ban to go into effect at least temporarily while two federal circuit courts of appeals review decisions from lower courts temporarily blocking enforcement of the travel ban. Even if the government loses before the appeals courts the travel ban will remain in effect until the Supreme Court rules on it or refuses to rule on it (unless the government doesn’t appeal to the Supreme Court).

The president’s 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.

On November 30, 2017, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced H.R. 4492, the “Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Reauthorization Act of 2017.” The bill reauthorizes and doubles the funding levels for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, a credit assistance program designed to accelerate investment in our nation’s water infrastructure....

The House of Representatives is set to vote today on H.R. 3017, the “Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017.” The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), reauthorizes the EPA’s brownfields program which expired in 2006.

A brownfield is “a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant,...

The Council of State Governments will release a new report, "Diabetes in the United States: Examining Growth Trends, State Funding Sources and Economic Impact", on state spending for diabetes at the 2017 CSG National Conference in Las Vegas on Dec. 15. 

CSG, with assistance from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, surveyed all 50 states to discover how many states appropriate funds for diabetes prevention and management. Half of the states reported state funds used in fiscal...

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