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.

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-...

In a ruling that may have implications for other states, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the law strongly supported by Florida Gov. Rick Scott that would have required drug testing for applicants of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the federal welfare program known as TANF.

In a unanimous ruling (see the text here) on Dec. 3, 2014, the panel of judges said it was unconstitutional to force applicants to surrender their rights to receive assistance.

This November, North Dakota voters will vote on Initiated Statutory Measure 6, dubbed the Fathers’ Rights Initiative by the Washington Post. This measure aims to create a legal presumption that unless one parent is deemed unfit, both parents are granted equal parental rights and responsibilities, primary residential...

This week I was privileged to join with 40 experts in the field of elder justice gathered in Washington, D.C. to put the finishing touches on a national road map to guide programs and services to address elder justice issues – preventing elder abuse, providing services for victims of elder abuse in all its forms, and building systems for prosecution of abuse, sexual assault and financial exploitation.  CSG was invited to the meeting to bring the perspective of state level policy makers to the...

CSG Midwest logo

Since his state began to allow same-sex marriage earlier this year, Sen. Scott Dibble has been officiating weddings himself, including for Kansas and Wisconsin couples who traveled to Minnesota for the express purpose of getting married. Five years ago, it was Dibble who did the traveling — to California, so that he could marry his partner under that state’s marriage-equality law. But same-sex marriage has since come to the Midwest, first in Iowa due to a state Supreme Court ruling and now this year as the result of legislative actions in Minnesota and Illinois.

Stateline Midwest ~ April 2013

Within a few months, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases involving the volatile issue of same-sex marriage. In the meantime, two Midwestern states are being watched closely for the possibility of legislative action before a decision by the court.

Stateline Midwest ~ July.August 2012

Under a reworking of Indiana’s child support law, parents can stop paying child support once their child turns 19.

This Act enables courts to put requirements into child custody orders allowing divorced parents to visit their children by electronic communication. The Act defines "electronic communication" to mean contact, other than face-to-face contact, facilitated by electronic means, such as by telephone, electronic mail, instant messaging, video teleconferencing, wired or wireless technologies by Internet, or other medium of communication."