The Current State

Michigan enacted domestic violence legislation May 3 that adds companion animals to personal protection orders, making it the latest state to acknowledge the role pets play in domestic violence situations. Currently, 29 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws with provisions that allow pets to be included in personal protection orders.

During a recent CSG eCademy webcast, “The Every Student Succeeds Act: What Does it Mean for State Accountability and Data?” experts discussed the increased flexibility that the new law gives states and policymakers as well as opportunities to share better data with schools and communities. The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, is the new name of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind Act and goes into effect at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

It was a different crowd at the Supreme Court on April 18. The number of children on the courthouse steps may have exceeded the number of adults, and the voices on the microphones were speaking English and Spanish. Inside the courtroom, many members of Congress, cabinet members and foreign dignitaries filled the seats. Among those present were U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and chief justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin. United States v. Texas is about different things to different people. For some it is about keeping families together, for some others it is about executive overreach and for many it is about “standing” to sue the federal government.

President Barack Obama recently announced new actions his administration will take to address the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic in the nation. In visits across the nation, the president heard from people dealing head on with how difficult it is to get treatment for addiction. “It comes down to the fact that lawmakers have traditionally blamed those with substance use disorders for their disorders. . . (Lawmakers) want to fix it but do not want to pay for the treatment. That is the bottom line,” said Debbie Plotnick, vice president of mental health and systems advocacy at Mental Health America. But policy efforts to address the epidemic aren’t limited to the federal level. States are looking to expand treatment access and attract more mental health professionals into treatment facilities.

International trade directors from more than 35 states participated in meetings and discussions with federal officials, foreign dignitaries and other partners at the State International Development Organizations’, or SIDO’s, Washington Forum in Washington, D.C., the first week of April. SIDO members met with federal officials to discuss implementation of two recent legislative actions, namely the passage of the Small Business Trade Enhancement Act of 2015, or the State Trade Coordination Act, and the reauthorization of the State Trade and Export Promotions, or STEP, program.

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