Kathryn Tormey

Author Articles

The December 2010 Question of the Month takes a look at how Midwestern states handle election recounts.

A new Illinois law makes it easier for students to carry asthma inhalers with them in school.

Wisconsin's recent sex-education law is spurring controversy in local school districts.

An Indiana proposal would require medical professionals to pass a criminal background check in order to practice in the state.

Illinois recently became the first state to require preschools to offer services to English language learners. Rules approved this year by the state school board clarify what districts must do in order to help put these young students on the path to success.

Due in part to higher-than-expected growth in Medicaid expenditures in fiscal year 2010, states have taken a number of actions to control program spending during the current fiscal year and beyond.

From dramatically expanding the reach of Medicaid to creating new state-based health insurance exchanges, the federal health care legislation recently signed into law will have a far-reaching impact on states. This cover story of Stateline Midwest examines six ways that state-level health care and insurance policy will be affected.

Legal challenges put caps on certain types of damages in doubt.

In response to the tragic death of a child in foster care in Wisconsin, the state has moved aggressively to improve it's child-welfare system.   The state has also targeted fraud in its state-financed childcare system.

CSG Midwest
From time to time, a legislator makes headlines by invoking “immunity” when he or she is stopped by law enforcement. The news stories almost always bring up this question: Do lawmakers really have a “get out of jail free” card? The answer is, almost always, “no.” Most states have in their constitutions privilege for legislators, but the actual protections can be misunderstood by law enforcement, the public and lawmakers alike.
 
Legislative privilege has historical roots that date back to 17th-century Britain, says Steven Huefner, a professor at The Ohio State University. That tradition eventually took hold in the United States, but today, the immunity language in state and federal constitutions has very little relevance.
“It’s a bit of a historical anachronism from when there existed a ‘civil arrest’ to detain people. We no longer even have that in any meaningful sense; if you’re being arrested by the police, they have probable cause [for criminal arrest],” he says.
But the provision still grabs headlines today.

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