CSG Midwest
Under a seven-bill legislative package recently signed into law, Michigan is changing its laws on civil asset forfeiture, a move that proponents say will better protect citizens’ civil liberties and private property rights. According to the Detroit Free Press, lawmakers have raised the standard for when property can be seized through civil forfeiture. The standard had been a “preponderance of the evidence”; it is now “clear and convincing.”

In its second opinion of the term the Supreme Court ruled that a police officer should have been granted qualified immunity when he shot at a car whose driver had led police on a high speed chase to stop it instead of waiting to see if spike strips worked.

If someone has spent or hidden their ill-gotten gain but has additional assets untainted by their crime, should the government be able to freeze the untainted assets? The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) amicus brief in Luis v. United States argues yes. State and local governments—police departments in particular—receive criminal asset forfeitures. Any many states statutes also allow freezing of substitute assets.

Since 1996, 18 states lifted their bans on food stamp eligibility for felony drug convictions, 26 states have issued partial bans for certain types of felony convictions, and only 6 states have full bans for those with any record of a felony drug conviction. The six states with full bans are Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Spurred in part by recent mass shootings on school grounds, state policymakers and university officials have revisited the issue of concealed carry gun permits on college campuses in an attempt to make those campuses safer. For some of the states that have passed concealed campus carry legislation, schools have faced costs in upgrading campus security facilities.

CSG Midwest

Hoping to better protect victims of stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes, legislators in Iowa and Minnesota adopted new “Safe at Home” laws this year. ...

In City of Los Angeles v. Patel the Supreme Court held 5-4 that a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotel and motel operators to make their guest registries available to police without at least a subpoena violates the Fourth Amendment. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia cites to the State and Local Legal Center’s (SLLC) amicus brief, which notes that local governments in at least 41 states have adopted similar ordinances. Eight states also have hotel registry statutes:  Indiana, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

Just days before the end of the 84th legislative session, Texas lawmakers approved a measure along party lines requiring public universities to allow certain individuals 21 years and older to carry concealed handguns on campus. Although the bill had not been signed into law as of June 9, Gov. Greg Abbot repeatedly has expressed his approval of the measure. One noticeable absence from the bill, however, is the lack of provisions detailing how the likely costs of upgrading campus security facilities will be funded, an issue that has plagued other states allowing concealed campus carry.

In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court declined to decide one of the most important questions this term for state and local government: whether Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires police officers to accommodate suspects who are armed, violent, and mentally ill when bringing them into custody. But the Court held that the officers in City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan were entitled to qualified immunity.

When police officers entered Teresa Sheehan’s room in a group home for persons with mental illness to take her to a hospital for psychiatric care, she threatened to kill them with a knife she held, so they retreated. Before backup arrived, the officers decided to reenter her room to prevent her from gathering more weapons or escaping. Upon reentry, Sheehan still had the knife in her hand and yelled for them to leave. One officer pepper sprayed Sheehan but she refused to drop the knife. The officers then shot her multiple times but she survived.

Hardly a day goes by without news of a cyberattack on an American business or government agency. The threats all Americans face in the cyber world today have become far more aggressive, the attacks more frequent and the techniques employed far more sophisticated than just five years ago. This advancing threat underscores the need to respond with the tools and authorities necessary to protect the nation’s security and financial resources. President Obama in February signed an executive order, advisory in nature, which urges companies to share cybersecurity threat information with one another and the federal government. The executive order is part of a broader White House effort to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure, which the administration has been pushing on Capitol Hill.