As of the end of July, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retired. For many state and local governments he will be forever remembered as the justice who championed allowing online sales tax collection.
In March 2015, Kennedy wrote that the “legal system should find an appropriate case for this Court to reexamine Quill,” which held that businesses without a physical presence in the state did not have to collect sales tax. In his last majority opinion on the bench, South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Supreme Court overturned Quill.

As of the end of July, Justice Anthony Kennedy is retired. For states and local governments he will be forever remembered as the Justice who championed allowing online sales tax collection.

In March 2015, Justice Kennedy wrote that the “legal system should find an appropriate case for this Court to reexamine Quill,” which held that businesses without a physical presence in the state did not have to collect sales tax. In his last majority opinion on the bench, South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Supreme Court overturned Quill.

Justice Kennedy was a pivotal Justice for most of his thirty year tenure on the Supreme Court. He often provided the Court’s crucial fifth vote on hot-button national issues. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justice Kennedy blazed a middle path, writing part of the opinion that moved the Court slightly to the right while declining to overrule Roe v. Wade. In LGBTQ cases Justice Kennedy played a much more progressive role, writing for the majority to strike down a law allowing for same-sex discrimination and eventually striking down gay marriage bans in Obergefell v. Hodges.

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster has offered a discussion draft of an infrastructure bill that speaks to a number of longstanding, difficult issues, including the future of the Highway Trust Fund, the short- and long-term future of the federal gas tax and the speed with which transportation projects are delivered. While most predict the bill has little chance of making it all the way through the process this year—at least prior to the midterm election—Shuster said in a statement the discussion draft is “intended to further the national conversation about the current state of America’s infrastructure and highlight some of the major roadblocks to funding and improving our transportation network.”

Climate Adaptation

There’s a significant shift underway in how Americans consume energy. That is largely due to increasing energy efficiency leading to American households using less electricity than they did five years ago and the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources.

Still, there is big disparity in how much American households spend on electricity based on the region they live in and their income level. In 2015, nearly one-third of U.S. households...

On June 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Services, or VETS, announced a professional license and credential finder portal for military spouses. The webpage comes after President Trump’s Executive Order Enhancing Noncompetitive Civil Service Appointments of Military Spouses. The webpage provides a comprehensive one-stop destination for occupational licensing portability, pulls resources from across the federal government, and highlights states with licensing rights for military spouses.

A wide variety of reports have come out in recent works that provide a glimpse of the state of the nation’s infrastructure. And while state governments are doing what they can—often working within severe fiscal limitations—there is also plenty of evidence of just how daunting the task will be to shore up that infrastructure and get it ready for the future. Here are some recent updates on infrastructure conditions, state and local funding strategies being deployed and other infrastructure-related news.

States have recently been taking a closer look at noncompete agreements and their impacts on the workforce. This year, the Idaho Legislature strengthened its noncompete laws while the South Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion only partially enforcing a noncompete. According to Peter Steinmeyer, a member of the law firm Epstein Becker Green, these actions are part of the national trend of...

By Tom Dowling and Leslie Haymon

On June 28, 2018, the Senate passed the Agricultural Improvement Act, its version of the Farm Bill, in a 86-to-11 vote with strong bipartisan support. Its passage paves the way for a conference committee to reconcile differences with the House’s version of the...

By Jud Adams

The House considered H.R.50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2017, or UMITA, on July 13. Reforming the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, or UMRA, has long been a ...

Recent months have seen numerous examples of transit systems taking advantage of federal, state and local funding opportunities and turning to new partners and new technologies to enhance mobility options for their riders. Here’s a roundup of recent activities, articles and reports.

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