Capitol Comments

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.

On June 8, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, publicly requested that Endo Pharmaceuticals remove their drug, Opana ER, from the market. The agency stated that the benefits of the medication no longer outweighs the risks. According to the FDA, there has been a shift in abuse that has seen an increase in crushing, snorting and injecting the medication. This increase in injection abuse has also seen an increase in HIV and Hepatitis C...

With traditional four-year colleges driving student loan debt up to a record high of $1.3 trillion and a purported “middle skills” gap, the Trump administration’s new executive order promotes paid apprenticeship programs so students can earn while they learn. Middle skills are trades like plumbing and welding that aren’t taught in four-year colleges or high school.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an individual employer, group of employers, or an industry association can sponsor a Registered Apprenticeship program. Program sponsors provide jobs to apprentices, oversee training development, and provide hands-on learning and technical instruction for apprentices. At the successful completion of the on-the-job and instructional learning, apprentices receive an industry-issued, nationally recognized portable certificate of completion.

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 keynote address from Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, who outlined his state’s approach to autonomous and connected vehicle policy.

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 June 13 panel looking at how autonomous and connected vehicles could reshape a variety of industries and the overall economy and the job impacts and other challenges that could lie ahead. Panelists included Maya Rockeymoore of Global Policy Solutions and Lewis Clements of the University of Texas. This summary also includes comments by Steve Boyd of Peloton Technology from an earlier session on June 12.

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 featured a panel discussion highlighting the work of state departments of transportation and research universities to test autonomous and connected vehicles and predict and shape their impacts. Speakers included Nevada Department of Transportation director Rudy Malfabon, James Barna of the Ohio Department of Transportation, Virginia assistant secretary of transportation Ronique Day, and Mollie D’Agostino of the University of California-Davis.

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 panel discussion on the benefits and challenges that may be part of the autonomous and connected vehicle future. Attendees heard from former National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland, AAA director of state relations Jennifer Ryan, Alliance for Transportation Innovation co-founder Ralph Menzano and Paul Lewis, vice president for policy and finance at the Eno Center for Transportation.

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 panel looking at research, technology and testing of autonomous and connected vehicles. Speakers included Hideki Hada, executive engineer for electronics systems at Toyota, Michelle Chaka of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and Steve Boyd of Peloton Technology.

Community involvement is not a new concept for professional sports teams, as many of our favorite athletes volunteer in their teams’ communities by playing with kids, helping rebuild in neighborhoods, etc. The Miami Dolphins, however, have stepped into a new realm of community involvement – civic engagement. The Dolphins have set a team goal to have their entire team roster registered to vote by National Voter Registration Day on September 26. If the Dolphins are successful in registering every player on the team, then they will be the first professional team in American history to do so.

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