CSG Midwest
Legislation in nearly every state in the region provides a purchasing preference to products manufactured or produced using recycled content. However, the extent of the preference varies, including whether the state has statutory language that spells out a price preference for bidders who offer recycled products.
Indiana, Kansas, Michigan and Minnesota are examples of states that specify a particular price preference. Indiana offers a price preference of between 10 and 15 percent for products containing recycled content, while Kansas provides a 5 percent price preference.
Climate Adaptation

Alternative energy has consistently improved over the years. Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectricity technology have gradually made their mark in America’s energy production as producers and consumers look for alternatives to fossil fuels. State governments have been increasingly mandating alternative energy goals and implementation of alternative energy sources where feasible – 30 states have alternative energy mandates and eight states have voluntary requirements. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency’s decreased...

A recent report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows the continued decline in the number of Americans who hunt. Currently, only about 5 percent of people 16 and over hunt, whereas it was nearly double that five decades ago. Less people acquiring a hunting license has created funding problems for state conservation programs,...

It has been a number of years since states and local governments have won a property rights case. But in Murr v. Wisconsin the Supreme Court concluded 5-3 that no taking occurred where state law and local ordinance “merged” nonconforming, adjacent lots under common ownership, meaning the property owners could not sell one of the lots by itself. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC), filed an amicus brief, which the Court cited two times, arguing that these very common provisions are constitutional. 

In Murr v. Wisconsin the Supreme Court will decide whether merger provisions in state law and local ordinances, where nonconforming, adjacent lots under common ownership are combined for zoning purposes, may result in the unconstitutional taking of property. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief arguing that these very common provisions are constitutional. 

The Murrs owned contiguous lots E and F which together are .98 acres. Lot F contained a cabin and lot E was undeveloped. A St. Croix County merger ordinance prohibits the individual development or sale of adjacent lots under common ownership that are less than one acre total. But the ordinance treats commonly owned adjacent lots of less than an acre as a single, buildable lot.

The Murrs sought and were denied a variance to separately use or sell lots E and F. They claim the ordinance resulted in an unconstitutional uncompensated taking.        

In 2014, Vermont became the first state to pass a law requiring the labeling of genetically modified, or GMO, foods, which is set to take effect on July 1. But, until recently it was unknown whether Vermont, or other states considering similar measures, would be able to move forward with implementing such legislation.

As more and more states have legalized marijuana for recreational and/or medical use, there have been increasing complications and uncertainties between federal and state law in the regulation of cannabis. This has included issues such as banking, employment discrimination, federal income taxes, and now organic certification and labeling.

In Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States the Court will decide who owns an abandoned federally granted railroad right-of-way:  the United States or the land owner whose property the right-of-way runs through.  The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case supporting the United States.  State and local governments typically convert abandoned railroad rights-of-way into “Rails-to-Trails.”     

Yesterday's Greenwire featured a story profiling the use of a municipal solid waste (MSW) facility in Alexandria, Virginia that turns roughly 5,000 tons of trash generated by staff, members, and visitors at legislative buildings of the House of Representatives into enough electric power for 250 homes. The decision to switch from an on-site composting facility and use of corn-based utensils, to a MSW facility has some observers guessing that it could rekindle an interest in expanding the growth of the "energy recovery" industry - perhaps even in state renewable programs and rules.

The U.S.Forest Service has ruled that funds generated in 2012 from timber sales and distributed to states will be subject to the Budget Control Act. States stand to lose almost $18 million in funding for projects in rural areas, including schools, public safety and transportation needs.