Capitol Comments

Without explanation, without referring the matter to the entire Court, and without calling for a response, Justice Kavanaugh denied a request for an emergency injunction to strike down Illinois Governor Pritzker’s executive order limiting gatherings to 50 people while exempting religious gathering.

Likely Justice Kavanaugh refused to grant the injunction because the standard is high. The Supreme Court only grants...

In Chiafalo v. Washington, the Supreme Court upheld Washington state’s law fining “faithless” electors that do not vote for the candidate that won the state’s popular vote. Likewise, the Court reversed the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Baca v. Colorado Dept. of State, which held that removing a “faithless” elector was unconstitutional. Justice Kagan wrote the opinion...

In a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court stayed a federal district court order requiring absentee election managers (AEMs) to not enforce a number of absentee ballot requirements in three counties in Alabama and lifting a prohibition against curbside voting in the state.

In response to COVID-19, Alabama Governor Ivey moved the runoff primary election from March 31 to July 14. Alabama’s Secretary of State Merrill promulgated an emergency regulation...

In fact, Justice Kavanaugh (fairly) describes Justice Breyer as arguing in favor of overruling Reed v. Town of Gilbert (2015).  

In Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants the Supreme Court held 6-3 that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) debt-collection exception was content-based, failed strict scrutiny, and therefore violated the First Amendment.

The State and Local Legal Center filed an ...

The Supreme Court turned down a request by the Texas Democratic Party to reinstate a federal district court preliminary injunction ordering Texas to permit all voters to “apply for, receive, and cast an absentee ballot in upcoming elections during the pendency of pandemic circumstances.”

The Fifth Circuit stayed the injunction and the...

In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Supreme Court held 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause allows families to receive tax-credit funded scholarships to attend religious schools regardless of the Montana Constitution’s no-aid to sectarian schools provision.

The Montana legislature established a program offering tax credits for donations to “student scholarship organization,” which give children scholarships to...

In a 5-4 decision in June Medical Services v. Russo the Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s admitting privileges law. Five Justices agreed that Louisiana’s law created an unconstitutional “substantial obstacle” to women obtaining abortions.

A Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital was nearly identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down 5-4 in...

CSG Midwest
When a county in Indiana Rep. Randy Frye's district proposed a tax increase to build a new jail in order to relieve overcrowding, his constituents balked. After noticing their opposition to the tax increase, he wanted to get to the root of the issue....
CSG Midwest
As part of her study of the nation’s state legislative institutions, on topics such as term limits and oversight of the executive branch, Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson found herself viewing old, archived committee hearings in Michigan from a few decades ago.
The subject was turkey habitats. The place was a cramped committee room in Lansing. Led by two lawmakers — one Democrat, one Republican — the legislative branch was grilling members of the executive branch on implementation of a law to protect the state’s population of wild turkeys.
“They were sharing notes and drilling down with an incredible amount of knowledge, about the law and about turkeys,” she says. “It was a gold standard in legislative oversight.”
That work in Michigan was being done largely outside the public eye, on a subject not likely to win or lose anyone an election. Yet this bipartisan group of lawmakers found it to be an integral part of their responsibility.
“I would hope that legislators see oversight as a big part of their job, at least one-third of it,” says Sarbaugh-Thompson, a professor of political science at Wayne State University. “If we’re spending the money [on a program, agency or regulation], we ought to want to make sure it’s going where it’s supposed to go and that it’s working.”
CSG Midwest
Indiana has received federal approval of a first-of-its-kind program that helps individuals transition from Medicaid to employer-based health coverage or a plan in the individual marketplace. The new “workforce bridge” builds on the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), which is used by the state to expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults.
Each HIP participant has $2,500 placed in an account each year to use for health care expenses. But what happens when someone no longer qualifies for HIP, due to a new job or other factors that cause his or her income to rise above eligibility thresholds?
Previously, participants lost the ability to use any funds in their state-funded account. However, with implementation of the HIP Workforce Bridge, members leaving the Healthy Indiana Plan can continue to use up to $1,000 from their account for up to 12 months in order to pay premiums, deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance during their transition to other types of coverage.

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