Capitol Comments

Yesterday voters in five states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, South Dakota and Washington) weighed in on the minimum wage through ballot initiatives. All of the initiatives were approved except one: voters in South Dakota rejected a measure that would roll back the minimum wage for workers under 18 from $8.50 to $7.50. That means that minimum wage earners in four states will see a raise in coming years.  

Every time a federal agency thinks the scope of a preemption clause in federal law is too narrow may it just write a regulation expanding it? That is the heart of the matter in Coventry Health Care of Missouri v. Nevils.

The question of most interest to state and local governments in this case, more technically, is whether Chevron deference applies to an agency’s regulation construing the scope of a statute’s express-preemption provision.

There are now more Americans age 65 and older than ever before. About 1 in 7 people (15 percent) in the U.S. is now considered to be an “older American” or someone over the age of 65. Compare that to just 4.1 percent of the population in 1900 or 10 percent in 1970—and that figure will continue to increase in the decades to come. 

Concerns related to the Zika virus are growing as the virus spreads to new areas of the globe and as the virus is linked to an increasing number of health problems. Could a genetically engineered mosquito help fight the virus? Some Florida voters will have a chance to weigh in on November 8th.

On November 8, voters in five states will have the opportunity to weigh in on the minimum wage in their state through ballot initiatives. All of the initiatives seek to raise the minimum wage, except one - in South Dakota, the Decreased Youth Minimum Wage Referendum is a veto referendum that could overturn Senate Bill 177, which decreased the minimum wage for workers under age 18 from $8.50 to $7.50 and provide that the youth minimum wage is not pegged to inflation.

The question in Kindred Nursing Centers v. Clark is whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts Kentucky’s rule that an “attorney-in-fact” may bind a principal to an arbitration agreement only if the power-of attorney document expressly refers to arbitration agreements.

A number of parents executed power-of-attorney documents designating one of their children “attorney-in-fact.” While some of these documents gave the children broad rights to act on their parent’s behalf (“to do and perform for me in my name all that I might if present”), none explicitly gave their children the authority to agree to arbitration (rather than a jury trial) to resolve disputes regarding their parent’s legal rights.

In Texas, state law requires most people under age 25 to attend a state-licensed private driver education school to obtain a driver’s license. None of the schools accommodate deaf students. So a number of deaf students sued the Texas Education Agency (TEA) arguing it was required to bring the driver education schools into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).    

In Ivy v. Morath the Supreme Court was supposed to decide when state and local governments are responsible for ensuring that a private actor complies with the ADA. The Court dismissed the case concluding it was moot most likely because Texas claimed that four of the students suing completed the driver education course and one moved out of state.

Join the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) for a webinar on Thursday, November 10 at 3pm ET as they discuss their newest study on cybersecurity in the states. Participants will hear research results and implications for state governments as well as have an opportunity to ask questions. This is a complimentary webinar and no registration is needed.  

Today's Stateline article by Christine Vestal highlights three states--California, Maryland and New York--that are moving to use Medicaid reimbursement policies to facilitate more counseling for substance use addicts who are in medication-assisted treatment. 

The federal mileage reimbursement rate in 2016 is 54 cents per mile, down 3.5 cents per mile over the 2015 rate but up 9.5 cents over the rate 10 years before–44.5 cents per mile on Jan. 1, 2006. Thirty-five states have a reimbursement rate that is the same as the federal rate. For those 15 states whose rates differ from the federal rate, reimbursement rates range from 31 cents to 52 cents per mile. No state reimburses at a rate higher than the federal rate.

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