South Dakota has filed a petition in South Dakota v. Wayfair asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to its law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax.

In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992), the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax.

In March 2015 Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion stating that the “legal system should find an appropriate case for this Court to reexamine Quill.” Justice Kennedy criticized Quill in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl for many of the same reasons the State and Local Legal Center stated in its amicus brief. Specifically, internet sales have risen astronomically since 1992 and states and local governments are unable to collect most taxes due on sales from out-of-state vendors.

The Fifth Amendment says no person shall be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” The question the Supreme Court will decide in Hays, Kansas v. Vogt is whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when a public employee’s compelled, self-incriminating statements are used against him or her at a probable cause hearing rather than at a trial. 

In Garrity v. New Jersey (1967) the Supreme Court held that public employers violate the Fifth Amendment when they give employees a choice between “self-incrimination or job forfeiture,” which is what Matthew Vogt claimed happened to him.

All eyes and ears were focused on Justice Kennedy during the Supreme Court’s oral argument in Gill v. Whitford. In this case the Court is asked to decide whether and when it is possible to bring a claim that partisan gerrymandering (redistricting to advantage one political party) is unconstitutional.

In the 2012 election, Republican candidates in Wisconsin received less than 49% of the statewide vote and won seats in more than 60% of the state’s assembly districts; and, in 2014, 52% of the vote yielded 63 seats for Republicans.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there were 886,814 total approved cumulative initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) cases as of March 31, 2017. Texas (124,300) and California (222,795) have the largest percentage of cases with more than 44 percent of approved DACA recipients in total. Illinois (42,376) and New York (41,970) came in third and fourth. Four states – Maine, Montana, North Dakota, and Vermont – have fewer than 100 recipients each. An additional six states have fewer than 1,000 recipients each. The median number of recipients across all states and the District of Columbia is 6,255. 

In 2016 the Supreme Court was expected to overrule a nearly 40-year old precedent requiring public sector employees who don’t join the union to pay their “fair share” of collective bargaining costs. Justice Scalia died shortly after the Court heard oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The Court ultimately issued a 4-4 decision which, practically speaking, kept Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) on the books.

With a ninth Justice now on the bench the Supreme Court has agreed to try again to decide whether to overturn Abood in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. More than 20 states authorize fair share for public sector employees.

Following its predictable loss before the South Dakota Supreme Court, South Dakota is expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that its law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax is constitutional. Doing so will require the U.S. Supreme Court to take the unusual step of overruling precedent.  

In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, decided in 1992, the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax.

In recent years, the rate at which women enter into state-level offices has slowed following several decades of gains in the late 20th century. Efforts to recruit women for elective and appointive positions will be critical in determining what the future holds for women in state government.

U.S. population trends are showing something of a dual personality when viewed from the perspective of the nation as a whole or that of its regions. Nationally, population growth has yet again hit a new low, foreshadowing a likely future of only modest gains. Yet, on a more positive note, there is a notable rise in migration flows within the U.S. relocating more residents to fast-growing Sun Belt states as the post-recession economy revives.

Chapter 8 of The Book of the States 2017 contains the following articles and tables:

Defense policy insiders are warning that a new round of base closures and realignments may be inevitable.  For five consecutive years, Congress has rejected requests from the Department of Defense (DoD) for authority to shutter excess military installations.

Congress established the base realignment and closure, or BRAC, process to better confront the demands of a post-Cold War world, as well as reduce the costs of maintaining the nation’s military infrastructure.  The last BRAC round occurred in 2005. According to the most...