Capitol Comments

How much states spend on children’s health, education, income supports and social services differs greatly according to a just-released Urban Institute report, titled Unequal Playing Field.

The top spending state – Vermont – charted per child expenditures of $13,430, three times as much as Utah’s per child spending of $4,594. The national average was $7,923. Spending in each state was  adjusted for the state cost of living.

According to a recent U.S. Census report, a majority of young adults (aged 18 to 34) lived independently in their own household in 2005. That is, they didn’t live with their parents or with roommates. This was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. Just a decade later those figures have shifted dramatically.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to review the establishment of national monuments made under the Antiquities Act. The review will focus on sites designated since 1996 that comprise at least 100,000 acres.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President to proclaim national monuments on federal land to protect areas...

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the Trump Administration’s request to hold the Clean Power Plan (CPP) case in abeyance—for 60 days. The court also asked the parties to brief whether the case should be sent back to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which would, practically speaking, invalidate the rule. At 30-day intervals EPA must file status reports with the court.

The court didn’t explain its reasons but likely it is concerned President Trump’s March 28 executive order (EO) Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth means the demise of the version of the CPP the court has been considering. The EO calls for the “suspending, revising, or rescinding,” of the CPP, if appropriate after EPA review.

CSG Midwest
South Dakota legislators agreed this year to provide new tax incentives for private landowners who help protect the state’s water resources from agricultural runoff. The goal of SB 66 is to encourage the use of buffer strips that filter out nutrients and keep these pollutants from reaching a water body. 
CSG Midwest
A new law in Kansas will bar “do not resuscitate” or similar physician’s orders for unemancipated minors unless at least one parent or guardian has been told of the intent to issue such an order. SB 85 requires that parental notice be given orally and in writing, and prohibits a DNR or similar orders if there is a refusal of consent. Also under this measure, the minor’s medical record must include information about the DNR order and the nature of efforts to contact both parents. 
CSG Midwest
It’s an axiom, especially to those of us reared on “Schoolhouse Rock”: Bills originate in the legislative branch. That’s certainly the case throughout the Midwest — anyone can suggest a bill, but only legislators can introduce them for consideration.
CSG Midwest
State legislators in the Midwest are exploring a range of policy options this year that would give students greater access to computer-related courses while also providing instructors more tools for teaching in these subject areas.
These proposals mostly steer away from state mandates and focus instead on incentives for schools and more choices for students. Iowa’s SF 274, for example (passed by the Senate in March), would create a new state-level incentive fund to help schools build instructional expertise among their teachers.
CSG Midwest
At least 20 states, including five in the Midwest (see map), have enacted taxes on the “streaming” of media, such as music, movies or TV shows.
CSG Midwest
Only a few months after celebrating key congressional victories at the end of 2016, Great Lakes advocates are now fighting to prevent a complete elimination of funding for a federal program that has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into projects that protect habitat, stop the spread of invasive species and clean up “Areas of Concern.”
President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint calls for an end to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It says “specific regional efforts,” such as those related to the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, should instead be the responsibility of state and local entities.

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