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CSG Midwest
In 2013, the Washington State Legislature authorized a civil collection process for unpaid traffic fines, which replaced a requirement that the state suspend a person’s driver’s license for failure to pay a traffic violation.
Under similar legislation enacted in California this year (AB 103), county or court collection programs may not initiate a driver’s license suspension due to failure to pay a fine or penalty, except in the case that an individual fails to appear at a hearing. In addition, the law repealed the authority of the court to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of a person’s failure to pay a fine or bail, with respect to various violations relating to vehicles, thus removing the requirement for the department to suspend a person’s driver’s license upon receipt of that notice.
In the Midwest, a Nebraska law (LB 259) enacted this year allows residents to request a hearing if they believe they do not have the financial ability to pay for a traffic ticket.
CSG Midwest
Less than two months after a silver carp (one of four species of Asian carp) was found nine miles from Lake Michigan and beyond the three electric barriers designed to prevent their movement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled a plan that would add a new layer of protection for the Great Lakes.
For a cost of $275 million, the Corps says, a mix of structural barriers and other control measures could be installed at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The federal agency released its “tentatively selected plan” in August and is taking public comments through Oct. 2.
CSG Midwest
In the coming years, the Midwest’s legislators are likely to hear much more about and be asked to act on a range of issues surrounding education accountability.
How well are elementary and middle schools doing on our state’s measures of academic growth among all students, at all learning levels? Are our high schools adequately preparing young people for success in college and/or careers? Do our schools provide for a well-rounded education and a climate conducive to learning? How prevalent is chronic absenteeism among our state’s students, and what policies can reduce it? What type of state interventions have helped turn around the lowest-performing schools? These issues aren’t new, and certainly policymakers have tried to tackle them in the past, but they will get even more attention because of the Every Student Succeeds Act and, in particular, new state plans in this region to implement it.
This 2015 federal law (along with some of the waivers granted to states under its federal predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act) has ushered in a new era in the state-federal relationship on education — more flexibility for states, including new options for evaluating schools and intervening in low-performing ones.
CSG Midwest
Nebraska lawmakers are hoping a new law will reduce the number of individuals being housed in county jails due to the financial inability to pay bail bonds or court-ordered fines and fees.
Sen. Matt Hansen says he initially became concerned about the increasing jail population when he heard that the county jail built in his district in 2013 was already approaching capacity. He learned that many of the individuals being held hadn’t actually been sentenced to jail time — they either couldn’t make their bail and were awaiting trial, or couldn’t pay a fine or fee.
CSG Midwest
Intensive animal production is an $86 billion industry, but growing conflicts between confinement livestock farms and some neighbors has spilled over into legislatures across the Midwest. Indiana Sen. Susan Glick, chair of an interim committee studying whether there is a need for special regulations for concentrated animal-feeding operations, is among those seeking ways to “bridge a divide between modern livestock farmers and some rural communities” over farm siting.
The clustering of cattle, hogs or poultry makes selection of locations for larger farms critical. Geology, ground and surface water, roads, neighbors and wind direction all factor into siting decisions.

The Zika virus garnered global attention when an outbreak began in April of 2015 in Brazil, spreading to 84 countries as of July 2017. But with Zika cases declining overall, the conversation has recently shifted towards a promising discovery made by researchers at Washington University. Researchers have shown in lab and animal experiments that the Zika virus could target and destroy stem cells that drive the growth of glioblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord.

On September 27th, 2017, the Kentucky Work Matters Task Force will convene once again to discuss disability employment policies.  This task force was convened by Governor Matt Bevin in June of 2017.  The mission of the Kentucky Work Matters Task Force is “to address barriers to employment and promote workforce inclusion among people with disabilities, foster children, disabled veterans, individuals with substance abuse issues and individuals with...

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Ohio Representative Bob Cupp is addressing the pervasive issue of achieving better academic results for children in low-income households through a legislative task force. In July, Representative Cupp established the Ohio Education-Poverty Task Force to review policies that could lessen the effect of the achievement gap between low income students and their wealthier counterparts, and help students from all schools succeed. The ten-member task force hopes to generate information that will be useful in the Ohio General Assembly’s discussions on education policy, and to derive some proven strategies that can be practically implemented by state policy.

In July the Department of Justice (DOJ) added two new requirements for states and local governments to receive federal Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG) for law enforcement funding. Chicago sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions arguing that these new requirements and another requirement are unlawful and/or unconstitutional. An Illinois federal district court granted Chicago’s request for a nationwide preliminary injunction temporarily disallowing DOJ from imposing the two new requirements.     

Congress created Byrne JAG in 2005 to provide “flexible” funding for state and local police departments. In April 2017 DOJ required Chicago (and eight other jurisdictions) to provide documentation that it complies with 8 U.S.C. 1373, which prohibits states and local governments from restricting employees from sharing immigration status information with federal immigration officials.

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.

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