Government

Twenty-one states are suing the Department of Labor over new overtime rules which make it more likely states will have to pay more employees overtime. They are seeking an injunction which will prevent the new rules from going into effect on December 1, 2016.

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), “white collar” employees do not have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. Per Department of Labor regulations, adopted shortly after the FLSA was adopted in 1938, employees must perform specific duties and earn a certain salary to be exempt from overtime as white collar employees.

On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final rules nearly doubling the previous salary level test for white collar employees from $455 per week, or $23,660 per year to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year.

There are not many questions of public policy that economists widely agree upon. The benefits of free trade, negative impacts of rent controls, and the infeasibility of returning to a gold standard, are a few.  Add to that list the use of tax-exempt municipal bonds to subsidize the construction of professional sports complexes, a practice that 85% of surveyed economists disagree with.

While the Supreme Court is still down a Justice, its docket is about half full, which is typical for this time of the year. Five cases in particular on the Court’s docket, described below, will directly impact at least some states. Interestingly, the Court agreed to decide the religion and the takings case before Justice Scalia died last winter.   

In Ivy v. Morath the Supreme Court will decide when state and local governments are responsible for ensuring that a private actor complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) argues they should be responsible when the private actor may fairly be said to be implementing a service, program, or activity of the public entity itself.

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 would 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 ADA.  

Ninety-six years ago this month, the 19th amendment was ratified, guaranteeing the right to vote to women. Women have continued to have a significant impact on political direction in the United States since that momentous day in August, as data has shown that the number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters in presidential elections since 1964, and that women have had a higher voter turnout rate than men in every election since 1980.

CSG Midwest
States in the region are split on whether to allow individuals to carry weapons, and this policy question has led to proposals in a handful of legislatures in recent years.

Last week, the Department of Justice announced it would be seeking to reduce and eventually end the practice of using privately operated prisons.  In a memo to the Bureau of Federal Prisons, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explains that about a decade ago, the Bureau began contracting with privately operated correctional institutions to handle a fast increasing federal prison population. Now, however, the prison population has started to decline.

By Crit Luallen
It would be no surprise if a young person whose perception of public service has been formed through the lens of cable news and its 30-second sound bites was forever dissuaded from choosing a career in the public arena. So much of what we see today involves the negative attacks and divisive rhetoric that have fueled increased polarization in this nation. But an innovative program in Lexington, Kentucky, offers an opportunity for a select group of future leaders to see public leadership in a far different and much more positive way. The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship is a nonprofit dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders in the essential skills of diplomacy, negotiation and conflict resolution. Thanks to a collaborative partnership that includes The Council of State Governments, the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky, and Transylvania University, the Henry Clay Center expanded in 2016 to hold both a high school and college-level Student Congress in the same year for the first time.

In the first week of competition at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 554 athletes representing the United States are bringing home the gold, and lots of it. Here's a state-by-state look at the number of men and women of Team USA who are coming home with a medal.

CSG salutes Team USA!

As the 2016 Olympic Games kick off in Rio de Janeiro, CSG salutes the 554 athletes representing the United States of America. Here’s a state-by-state look at the men and women of Team USA who are going for gold in Rio!

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