Capitol Comments

The Ninth Circuit opinion temporarily striking down President Trump’s third travel ban was met with little fanfare likely for two reasons. The decision came down right before Christmas (December 22). And in early December the Supreme Court allowed the third travel ban to go into effect until the Supreme Court rules on it, even if the Ninth Circuit (or Fourth Circuit) were to strike it down in the meantime.   

Imagine this scenario:  husband buys life insurance and designates his wife as the beneficiary. A few years later the state adopts a revocation-upon-divorce statute applicable to life insurance beneficiaries which states that upon divorce the designation of a spouse as a life insurance beneficiary is revoked. A few years after that the couple divorces but the husband never changes his life insurance beneficiary. A few years after that the husband dies.

Is the ex-wife still the beneficiary?

In ...

What if a state legislature engages in intentional partisan gerrymandering but it doesn’t work or might not work in the future? Has it violated the First Amendment?

In Benisek v. Lamone in 2011 the Maryland legislature needed to move about 10,000 voters out of the Sixth Congressional District to comply with “one-person one-vote.” It moved about 360,000 Marylanders out of the district and about 350,000 Marylanders in the district. As a result only 34 percent of voters were registered Republican versus 47 percent before redistricting.

Following the redistricting Democrat John Delaney defeated the incumbent Republican by almost 21 percent. But two years later in 2014 Delaney almost lost his seat even though his challenger didn’t live in the district and raised less money. Two years after that Republican Larry Hogan won the Sixth District beating his rival by 14 percent.

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.

The Council of State Governments convened its final meeting of the organization’s CSG Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, in Las Vegas last week culminating with a presentation to CSG’s national membership and the release of two major reports that detail best practices and associated case study materials resulting from the past three years of research by CSG, and its Technology Working Group, on ways technology can potentially advance military and overseas voting.

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.

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