Federalism

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.

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.

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.

All eyes and ears were focused on Justice Kennedy during the Supreme Court’s oral argument in Gill v. Whitford. In this case the Court is asked to decide whether and when it is possible to bring a claim that partisan gerrymandering (redistricting to advantage one political party) is unconstitutional.

In the 2012 election, Republican candidates in Wisconsin received less than 49% of the statewide vote and won seats in more than 60% of the state’s assembly districts; and, in 2014, 52% of the vote yielded 63 seats for Republicans.

Defense policy insiders are warning that a new round of base closures and realignments may be inevitable.  For five consecutive years, Congress has rejected requests from the Department of Defense (DoD) for authority to shutter excess military installations.

Congress established the base realignment and closure, or BRAC, process to better confront the demands of a post-Cold War world, as well as reduce the costs of maintaining the nation’s military infrastructure.  The last BRAC round occurred in 2005. According to the most...

The start of a new presidency offers state and local government officials an opportunity to connect with representatives of the new administration, share their priorities and concerns, and calibrate their intergovernmental affairs strategies. For state and local governments in the Western United States, establishing effective partnerships with key federal agencies is crucial due to the federal government’s regulatory footprint on a number of regionally-important policy areas such as energy and water resources management, public land ownership, and national defense installations.

On Wednesday, September 6, The Council of State Governments co-hosted a briefing entitled “The Future of the National Flood Insurance Program: Helping Communities Prepare and Respond” on Capitol Hill, along with the National Association of Counties, the National Governor’s Association, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), initially created in 1968, provides homeowners and small...

Chapter 2 of The Book of the States 2017 contains the following articles and tables:

The very simple question in Artis v. District of Columbia is what does it mean for a statute of limitations to “toll” under 28 U.S.C 1367(d)? The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed a Supreme Court amicus brief agreeing with the District of Columbia’s interpretation of “toll.”

A year after the fact, Stephanie Artis sued the District of Columbia in federal court bringing a number of federal and state law claims related to her termination as a code inspector. It took the federal district court over two and a half years to rule on her claims. It dismissed her sole federal claim as “facially deficient” and no longer had jurisdiction to decide the state law claims.

After postponing a decision about whether to hear the notorious “cake case” 14 times, the Supreme Court has granted the petition in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The issue in this case is 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 owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack C. Phillips, declined to design and make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs.

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