Capitol Comments

According to a study produced by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the majority of states are creating barriers for people with criminal records to access occupational licensure opportunities. NELP estimates between 70 and 100 million American (nearly 1 in 3) have a criminal record. Additionally, people with records are on average only half as likely to get a callback after submitting an...

Looking at the President’s 2018 Budget, we are able to see the Administration’s priorities in education. Note the newly proposed funding for school choice and charter schools and the elimination or reduction of funding for several other education programs and initiatives.

The President’s 2018 Budget provides $59 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education, a $9 billion or 13 percent reduction below the 2017 annualized continuing resolution (CR) level.

In its Supreme Court amicus brief in Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) argues that interveners to lawsuits must have standing even if there is a genuine case or controversy between the existing parties.

Steven Sherman sued the Town of Chester alleging an unconstitutional taking as the town refused to approve a subdivision on plots of land Sherman intended to sell to Laroe Estates. Laroe Estates advanced Sherman money for the land in exchange for a mortgage on the property. Sherman defaulted on a loan to a senior mortgage holder who foreclosed on the property.

President Trump released a fiscal 2018 budget plan today, which includes a $54 billion increase to defense spending and a corresponding decrease to domestic spending by the same amount. The fiscal plan, called a “skinny budget,” only contains the top-line spending numbers for each federal agency.  The plan also highlights the major cuts and increases to federal programs that the administration is seeking.

The full budget...

On March 16, 2017, President Trump’s second travel ban executive order was scheduled to go into effect. Within hours of each other federal judges from Hawaii and Maryland issued decisions temporarily preventing portions of it from going into effect nationwide. Both decisions conclude that the executive order likely violates the Establishment Clause because it was intended to prevent people from for entering the United States on the basis of religion.

The State of Hawaii (and an American citizen of Egyptian descent with a Syrian mother-in-law lacking a visa) brought the case decided by the court in Hawaii.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a letter to chief state school officers on Monday announcing the Department of Education’s new state plan template for ESSA implementation. The consolidated state plan designed to replace the original template requests materials deemed “absolutely necessary” by the new administration.

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office – or CBO – released its cost estimate for the House Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. All told, the report says, the federal deficit would be reduced by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 decade. Reducing the federal deficit is welcome news to most federal policymakers.

Last December, I compiled my annual list of the states to watch on transportation funding. Last month we followed that up with a CSG eCademy webinar featuring Alison Premo Black of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and reporters from three key states. With legislative sessions well underway in many places, it’s time to see where things stand in the debates about transportation funding going on around the country.

A brand new research study from Columbia University finds that parents who receive text message alerts regarding their child’s missed assignments, grades, and class absences saw significant reductions in course failures and increased class attendance.

When it comes to comparing state legislative salaries, there are lots of caveats. In 2016, seven states paid legislators a per diem salary rather than an annual salary. Thirty-eight states paid their legislators an annual salary, with a huge range. In Texas, legislators were paid $7,200 per year while in California lawmakers earned $100,113. The average annual salary for these 38 states was $37,447.

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