While the Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality and legality of the third travel ban, the Fourth Circuit has joined the Ninth Circuit in striking it down. The Fourth Circuit concluded it likely violates the Establishment Clause because its primary purpose is to discriminate against Muslims.

Per a December 2017 Supreme Court order, the third travel ban is currently in effect regardless of the Ninth and Fourth Circuit rulings.    

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation (the third travel ban) indefinitely banning immigration from six countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen. Lawsuits were brought immediately in the Ninth and Fourth Circuits.

On Monday, President Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2019. The $4.4 trillion budget that adds $7 trillion to deficits contains massive cuts to clean energy, environmental, and climate change programs, and is being met with sharp criticism from clean energy and environmental advocates. While the budget faces a steep uphill climb to enactment, it is significant to the extent that it depicts the administration’s priorities and goals on core issues.

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On Friday, February 9, 2018, President Trump signed a continuing resolution, or CR, and spending deal that ended a brief government shutdown that morning. The two-year deal funds the federal government at current levels until March 23.

CSG Midwest

Wisconsin appears likely to become the first U.S. state to establish a “Green Alert” system to help locate at-risk, missing veterans, The Washington Post reportsSB 473 was passed by the state Senate in January. Under the proposal, law enforcement agencies would use the state’s crime alert network (administered by the Wisconsin Department of Justice) to send along reports of missing veterans to broadcasters and outdoor advertisers. Similar alert systems already are in place in many states (including Wisconsin) for children, seniors and certain at-risk adults.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon announced recently that $7 million will be available to Minnesota counties on a matching basis in the form of technology grants to buy new election equipment.

By Sam Gaston and Leslie Haymon

“The state of the rural economy is fragile,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue while testifying to the House Committee on Agriculture on February 6, 2018.  The Agricultural Act of 2014, which reauthorized agricultural and farm programs expires this year. This hearing is part of the effort to draft the next reauthorization, colloquially knowns as the farm bill.

Falling commodity prices distress farmers...

Just a few days before the Supreme Court may decide whether to review a temporary nationwide injunction issued by a federal court in California requiring the Trump administration to maintain much of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a federal district court in New York issued a similar temporary nationwide injunction.

The courts’ reasoning in both decisions is similar. Both courts were clear the Trump administration may “indisputably . . . end the DACA program.” But it must offer “legally adequate reasons” for doing so.  New York and 15 other states brought the case decided by the New York court.    

Open enrollment for health insurance policies sold under the Affordable Care Act marketplaces ran for 6 weeks the end of 2017. Enrollment was down from 2017 – by 3.7 percent – but nonetheless 11,760,533 Americans selected a health insurance plan for 2018.

In its Supreme Court amicus brief in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) argues that states and local governments should be able to ban political apparel at polling places. County election officials and the Minnesota Secretary of State were sued for violating the First Amendment in this case.

At least eight states (Delaware, Kansas, Montana, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont) other than Minnesota have enacted similar bans.

Climate Adaptation

Last week Congress reached an agreement to fund the government and historically boost the budget. The deal increases investments in domestic programs and the military by roughly $300 billion over the next two years. It also includes several key energy provisions that warrant mention.

The bill contains $2...

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