Government

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, the House passed H.R. 4174, the “Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2017,” under suspension of the rules, which is a fast-track procedure that bars amendments and requires a two-thirds vote for approval. 

The bill, introduced in the House by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and in the Senate by Patty Murray (D-WA), draws on recommendations from a...

Jim Ogsbury, executive director of the Western Governors' Association, brought webinar participants up to speed on the creation of the Western Policy Network. The network is an effort by a number of western organizations to improve the state consultation process with the federal government. Pete Obermueller, executive director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, will focused how his organization has attempted to improve the state consultation process as it applies directly to the local government level.

By Sara Dube and Darcy White
Policymakers want to improve outcomes for children and youth but often struggle with how best to allocate limited resources. In recent years, many have turned to evidence-based policymaking—the systematic use of high-quality research in decision-making—to help address this challenge. Extensive analysis, for example, has demonstrated that some interventions achieve outcomes that benefit children and youth—such as reducing child abuse and juvenile recidivism rates. But policymakers need access to these findings to identify, fund and sustain these proven programs.

On November 2, House Republican lawmakers released their plan to retool the U.S. tax code, the biggest adjustment in over 30 years. This far-reaching bill, titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, seeks to streamline the existing code and lower the corporate rate to a level closer to that of other nations. The legislation also eliminates or changes some popular deductions and makes adjustments to the use of so-called pass through entities.

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In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission the Supreme Court will decide 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 State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief supporting Colorado arguing that the Court should not create an exception to Colorado’s public accommodations law for wedding businesses. 

According to the National Council of State Legislatures, 21 other states have public accommodations laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Numerous local governments have adopted similar ordinances.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is the 62nd governor of the commonwealth of Kentucky. He believes too many of America’s children are slipping through the cracks, and foster care reform is imperative to creating a thriving state and nation. Bevin married his wife Glenna in 1996 and they are now the parents of nine children ages 7–18.

By Maria Cristina Castro and Leslie Haymon

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs met on October 12 to discuss draft legislation that would reassess and potentially close Veterans Health Administration facilities. The Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Act of 2017 requires the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, to review its assets and infrastructure, like hospitals and clinics, and establish a...

By Ana Beatriz Goncalves and Leslie Haymon

Severe wildfires in northern California have leveled homes and killed residents, while other fires continue to rage across several other Western states. As the recovery and rebuilding begin, Congress continues to examine the best way to prevent and mitigate wildfires in the West. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works met on September 27 to consider three wildfire related pieces of legislation...

CSG Midwest
A disagreement in Minnesota over tax and budget issues this spring led to a surprising action — a line-item veto by Gov. Mark Dayton of the $130 million appropriation for the House and Senate.

The Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs, a bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers met on October 12, to examine the historical development of federalism. Witnesses were Heather Gerken, Dean at Yale Law School, Timothy Conlan, Professor of Government at George Mason University, and Matthew Spalding, Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs for Hillsdale College.

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