Capitol Comments

CSG Midwest
Many states offer citizens a direct opportunity to create laws or constitutional amendments via the ballot box. Those that do also allow legislators to amend or even overturn those initiatives, a process generally known as “legislative intervention.”
CSG Midwest
Six states in the Midwest have “direct democracy”-type provisions that allow voters to veto bills passed by their legislatures or to adopt statutory or constitutional changes via the ballot.
CSG Midwest
Mammograms are perhaps the best-known tool to detect breast cancer, but their effectiveness can be diminished if the breast tissue itself is dense enough to hide the tumors.
CSG Midwest
Indiana Sen. Jean Leising knows it’s going to be another tough year for beef and hog producers, and 2016’s record national yields for corn and soybeans indicate that farm profitability will decline for the third straight year.  But she says a statutory revision made by the state legislature last year might at least help ease the pain for agricultural producers when it comes to paying their property taxes. 
CSG Midwest
Tax policy quickly emerged as a high-priority issue this year in many of the Midwest’s states, with a mix of proposed tax hikes and cuts making their way into governors’ State of the State addresses and proposed budgets, as well as some of the first bills introduced in legislatures.
CSG Midwest
When it came to helping craft a complex, landmark package of bills to revamp the state’s energy policy and map out the future of electric power in Michigan, Sen. Mike Nofs tried to at least keep one part of the legislative work simple and unchanging — the measure’s overarching goals.
“We wanted to control our destiny, regardless of the policies being set at the federal level,” he says. “And that meant focusing on affordability, reliability and clean energy.”
And that, in turn, led him and other lawmakers to make efficiency — or “waste reduction,” as it is now referred to in Michigan statute —  a big part of the state’s new energy law, which was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in late 2016 (SB 437 and SB 438). Only weeks before, another Midwestern state, Illinois, also took sweeping actions on energy policy, with a law that includes new incentives and standards for its utilities to achieve greater efficiency.

In the first month of the new single party control of the federal executive and legislative branches, a little known 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act has become one of the most discussed issues. 

In response to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s request for a statewide recount of the 2016 election, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson ordered the Michigan Bureau of Elections to audit all Michigan election results. A total of 4, 800 precincts were open across the state on Election Day, but 322 polling precincts could not be recounted due to the order of a federal judge to stop the completion of the recount because Jill Stein was not an aggrieved candidate. Of the 136 precincts in Detroit that were a part of...

In Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools the Supreme Court held unanimously that if a student’s complaint against a school seeks relief for a denial of a free appropriate public education it must first be brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), instead of under other statutes that might also be violated.

Napoleon Community Schools prohibited a kindergartener with cerebral palsy from bringing a service dog to school. The district noted the student had a one-on-one human aid who was able to provide the same assistance as the dog.

This week the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), John Kelly, issued two immigration enforcement memorandums. While one of the memos addresses President Trump’s executive order involving sanctuary cities (Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States), neither memo discusses sanctuary cities.

The most direct effect of these memos on states and local governments is the expansion of a program allowing state and local law enforcement officers to be designated as “immigration officers” for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law. But considering this program is voluntary the most significant effect for states and local governments may be the increased deportations of residents, and the effects of them on family members and the community as a whole, expected to occur as a result of the memos.

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