Capitol Comments

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average married middle income ($59,200-$107,400) couple can expect to spend $233,610 on each child for food, shelter and other necessities through age 17. Child care and education will take up 16 percent of those expenditures. However, child care costs vary dramatically across the country.

Charters

The Trump administration is making school choice expansion a cornerstone of their education policy. In a recent speech, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos promised “the most ambitious expansion of school choice in our nation’s history.” Charters and other school choice options are...

In 2011, the American Association of University Women, or AAUW, published The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, a comprehensive report on the state of the gender pay gap in the U.S. which is updated as new data is made available through the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Released this spring, the most recent edition reports that in 2015 women working full time in the United States were paid 80 percent of what men were paid.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included an opening panel on June 12 featuring Jonathan Weinberger of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing 12 of the largest U.S. automakers, and Steve Gehring of the Association of Global Automakers, which represents 12 international auto companies with operations in the United States. Later, Doug Longhitano of Honda, Hilary Cain of Toyota and Harry Lightsey of General Motors joined the discussion.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a concluding panel on how policymakers and others may be able to envision and help bring about what some see as a better vision of the autonomous and connected vehicle future: one that involves a shared-use model of transportation and electric cars. Panelists included Tim Frisbie of the Shared-Use Mobility Center, Prashanthi Raman of Lyft, Carla Bailo of The Ohio State University and Kelley Coyner of George Mason University.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a special briefing by Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina in the schools of law and engineering. He spoke about the legal and regulatory landscape for autonomous vehicles.

The latest version of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, or BCRA, was released July 20, 2017. According to the CBO analysis, the new version of the BCRA would reduce federal deficits by $420 billion over the 2017-2026 period, the net result of a direct spending decrease of $903 billion partially offset by a $483 billion decrease in revenues. Of special interest to states, the reduction in Medicaid spending is $772 billion, or 85 percent of the reduced spending, directly impacting states’ budgets. The effects of the bill on the number of uninsured is little changed from the earlier version. In 2018, 15 million more people would be uninsured than under current law and would reach 22 million in 2026.

By Eunice Sohn and Jeffrey Stockdale

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the public continues to grow more wary of cybersecurity concerns. Recent hearings on election security further highlight the need for up-to-date cybersecurity programs across the nation. Texas has recognized this problem and has taken actions to address the matter.

This week kicks off National Disability Voter Registration Week with events and roundtable discussions throughout the country to call attention and collate efforts on local, state, and national levels to make the disability vote more influential.

After postponing a decision about whether to hear the notorious “cake case” 14 times, the Supreme Court has granted the petition in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The issue in this case is whether Colorado's public accommodations law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, violates a cake artist’s First Amendment free speech and free exercise rights.

The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack C. Phillips, declined to design and make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs.

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