Human Services

Making the transition between military service and civilian life can be a difficult challenge for service members. Many find themselves without a job or the means to support a family without returning to school to further their knowledge and skills. But making the move from a battlefield to a college campus can be a difficult, isolating experience for student veterans.

Although women now serve alongside men on the battlefield in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, there is one place where male and female soldiers may not be getting the same treatment. That place is after they return home and become veterans.

For much of the past week, the Supreme Court has been issuing opinions at a dizzying pace. Four cases in particular impact states directly. Rulings on same-sex marriage and Affordable Care Act cases affect everyday life and have incited much discussion in Congress and among the public. Other rulings on what license plates may say and access to hotel registry information have not garnered as much attention, but have important impacts on states as well.

CSG Midwest
When they were unable to visit their brother due to opposition from his legal guardian, family members in the Iowa town of Cedar Rapids turned to their local state senator for help. And as Iowa Sen. Rob Hogg soon learned, that local family’s story was far from an isolated one; conflicts over visitation and guardianship rights were occurring across the state. His response was to introduce SF 306, a bill that ultimately received unanimous approval in the legislature and was signed into law in April.

Two years ago, UPS committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and to contributing 25,000 volunteer hours to veterans causes by Dec. 31, 2018. UPS, a CSG Associate member, then upped the ante last year by declaring its intent to hire 50,000 veterans and to donating 50,000 volunteer hours to veterans’ causes within the same timeframe. These commitments were made as part of UPS’ participation in the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, which was established in 2011 to give service members, veterans and their families the tools needed to be successful.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP and food stamps, is the nation’s largest anti-hunger program. The program is designed to be anti-cyclical—providing more benefits during economic downturns. About 46.5 million Americans received monthly SNAP benefits in the 2014 fiscal year, dramatically up from 28 million in 2008. In 2013, some states began to see SNAP numbers decline and by 2014, all but eight states posted declines in enrollment from the year before. National SNAP enrollment in 2014 was down by 2.3 percent from 2013.

The right of 12 same-sex couples to marry—and the rights of states to choose whether to recognize those marriages—is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

On April 28, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Obergefeel v. Hodges, centered on whether  same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage and, if not, whether states may refuse to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed out of state.

According to Lisa Soronen, executive director of the State and Local Legal Center, the case has far-...

Wal-Mart, a CSG Senior Associate member, committed in 2013 to hiring 100,000 veterans over a five–year period. At that time, nearly 1 million veterans were unemployed and male veterans age 18-24 had an overall unemployment rate of almost 30 percent. “Wal-Mart is hiring veterans because it is just the right thing to do,” Joe Quinn, Wal-Mart’s senior director of issue management and strategic outreach, said at the time of the announcement. “Men and women who fight for our country should never have to fight for a job.”

Over the past several years, CSG Associate member Comcast—owner of NBCUniversal and Universal Studios—has been working to make its products and services accessible to everyone, including the 8 million people with visual disabilities who live in America. Comcast launched a national campaign during the 2015 Academy Awards featuring a documentary,“Emily’s Oz,” that seeks to educate others on how individuals with disabilities consume entertainment.

CSG Midwest
Michigan has become the third state in the Midwest to require certain recipients of public benefits to undergo drug testing. Signed into law in late December, HB 4118 and SB 275 will operate as a one-year pilot program in three counties. In those counties, some recipients of cash assistance will be drug-tested based on an “empirically validated substance abuse screening tool.”
 

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