Capitol Comments

One in five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes and prediabetes. Eighty-six million Americans have prediabetes, but most don’t know it. If we can prevent just 30 percent of individuals with pre-diabetes from developing diabetes, we can save $74 billion dollars in medical costs and lost productivity. CSG is engage in surveying states to look at how they are tackling diabetes and how they are allocating resources to the effort.

Presentation slides and audios from the session are posted, as well as speaker biographies. 

The Medicaid Policy Academy provided attendees an opportunity to meet with federal government officials and other Medicaid experts to develop a deeper understanding of program rules and requirements. With the upcoming change of administration in Washington, D.C., speakers and attendees discussed how policy changes might impact states' Medicaid programs. 

Presentation slides and audios from the session are posted, as well as speaker biographies. 

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers’ Fall 2016 Fiscal Survey of the States, most states are seeing weaker revenue conditions from 2016 carrying into fiscal 2017. At the time of data collection, 24 states reported general fund revenues for fiscal 2017 were coming in below forecast, while 16 states were on target and four states were above forecast. 

In 2016, five states enacted legislation designed to mitigate a controversial health insurance procedure known as step therapy, which requires patients to try less expensive, often generic medications before being approved for costlier treatments. With the growing availability of generics step therapy, alongside prior authorization and benefit tiers, has emerged as a popular cost savings tool for private insurers, as well as Medicaid and Medicare programs.

Insurance companies and...

“The economy is sluggish and we don’t know what to expect from the federal government. We’ve got some tough times ahead,” Brian Sigritz, Director of State Fiscal Studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) told Fiscal and Economic Development Committee members last week during CSG’s National Conference in Williamsburg, VA. “There’s really just not enough money to go around.” 

In an election year, voter registration becomes an important agenda item for states throughout the country. This year, many states have employed new techniques in order to encourage voter registration and participation. For example, the State of Oregon has been on the forefront of one particular measure to increase registration. After passing a law in 2015, the state unveiled a program that automatically registers voters when they apply for, renew, or replace their state ID, or driver’s license at the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle...

The Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving the question of whether a Colorado law requiring remote sellers to inform Colorado purchasers annually of their purchases and send the same information to the Colorado Department of Revenue is unconstitutional. As is always the case, the Supreme Court gave no reason for denying the petition.   

In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, decided in 1992, the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax. In 2010 the Colorado legislature passed the law described above to improve sales tax collection. The Direct Marketing Association sued Colorado claiming the law unconstitutionally discriminates against interstate commerce and is unconstitutional under Quill.   

The False Claims Act (FCA) allows third parties to sue on behalf of the United States for fraud committed against the United States. Per the Act a FCA complaint is kept secret “under seal” until the United States can review it and decide whether it wants to participate in the case.

In State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. United States ex rel. Rigsby the Supreme Court held unanimously that if the seal requirement is violated the complaint doesn’t have to be dismissed.

While the Supreme Court has yet to rule whether states and local governments can bring FCA claims, local governments, but not state governments, can be sued for making false claims against the federal government.  

It is undisputed that police officers used reasonable force when they shot Angel Mendez. As officers entered, unannounced, the shack where Mendez was living they saw a silhouette of Mendez pointing what looked like a rifle at them. Yet, the Ninth Circuit awarded him and his wife damages because the officers didn’t have a warrant to search the shack thereby “provoking” Mendez.

After a year in 2015 when eight states raised gas taxes, 2016 saw less activity. New Jersey raised its gas tax by 23 cents and Rhode Island funded a multi-year bridge repair program with a new toll on large commercial trucks and a combination of borrowing and refinancing. But other than those states and a couple of others that approved bond measures for infrastructure projects and the like, most postponed or agreed to extend their transportation revenue discussions into 2017. That means a large number of states could see activity next year on that front. While some have been embroiled in the funding debate for months or years and will continue those conversations, others had a special task force in 2016 to explore revenue ideas and could look to move those ideas forward during the 2017 legislative sessions. Here’s a list of the 14 most likely candidates.

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