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The Supreme Court issued a 4-4 ruling in Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The Court’s decision leaves in place the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that in some instances nonmembers of Indian tribes (including state and local governments) can be sued in tribal court (as opposed to state or federal court) for tort (civil wrongdoing) claims.

John Doe, a thirteen-year-old tribe member, alleges that his supervisor sexually molested him while he was working as part of a job training program at a Dollar General located on a reservation. Doe sued Dollar General in tribal court alleging a variety of torts including negligent hiring, training, and supervision.

The suicide rate from 1999 to 2014 increased by 24 percent, from 10.5 per 100,000 to 13 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. That represents an increase of 1 to 2 percent per year, affecting almost every state and demographic.Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The deaths represent on average 113 suicides per day and more than 41,100 lives each year, at a cost to the U.S. economy of more than $51 billion dollars annually in lost work and medical costs.

Telematics—the technology of sending, receiving and storing information relating to vehicles via telecommunication devices—appears likely to have a significant impact on traditional insurance models in the years ahead. Telematics, for example, allows for the measurement of actual driving habits based on a vehicle’s real-time driving data. This non-partisan and non-advocative webinar, presented in collaboration with The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, examines how the technology works, how telematics is impacting insurance models and products, and how public policymakers are considering the myriad questions and challenges this innovation presents.

In Birchfield v. North Dakota the Supreme Court held 5-3 that states may criminalize an arrestee’s refusal to take a warrantless breath test. If states criminalize the refusal to take a blood test police must obtain a warrant. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief arguing that states should be able to criminalize warrantless refusal to consent when a person is arrested upon suspicion of drunken driving.   

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 15 states currently criminalize refusal to consent. Criminal penalties typically include fines and jail time.    

Gov. Matt Bevin, elected in November 2015 and who had pledged during his campaign to eliminate Medicaid expansion which brought health coverage to 400,000 previously uninsured individuals, announced yesterday his plan to transform Kentucky’s Medicaid system through an 1115 waiver. The new waiver will cover almost all the Medicaid enrollees eligible under the pre-expansion rules as well as all the newly eligible under the expansion rules.

Bevin said his plan is an opportunity “to come up with what is going to be truly a transformative and sustainable and fantastic program,” according The Courier-Journal coverage of the press conference. He pledged to both save money—$2.2 billion in combined state and federal funding over the next five years—and reduce the number of Medicaid enrollees—86,000 people by 2021 by moving them to private insurance.  

In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin the Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious admissions program is constitutional, as least of 2008, when this case was first brought. Justice Kagan did not participate in this case.

Even though this case arises in the higher education context, the Supreme Court has decided relatively few affirmative action cases so all are of interest to state and local governments that use race as a factor in decision-making.  

The Supreme Court split 4-4 in United States v. Texas on whether the President’s deferred action immigration program violates federal law. As a result, the Fifth Circuit’s nationwide temporary stay of the program remains in effect. Next, a trial court may rule on whether the program should be permanently stayed.    

The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program allows certain undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for five years and either came here as children or already have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents to lawfully stay and work temporarily in the United States. About 5 million people are affected.

Twenty-six states sued the United States. The Fifth Circuit granted them a nationwide temporary injunction preventing the program from going into effect. The states appealed to the Supreme Court on a variety of grounds.  

Now it is as if this case never went to the Supreme Court.

Puerto Rico, home of 3.5 million American citizens, is struggling to handle over $72 billion in debt. For many years, the U.S. territory borrowed money by issuing municipal bonds to compensate for declining government revenue. But now Puerto Rico cannot afford to pay back their investors. The territory cannot file for Chapter 9...

Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes and texting is one of the most common distractions. State leaders have taken action In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Nine years later, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans.

The President is expected to sign H.R. 2576, the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” today. The bill, amending the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), calls for an overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to test new chemicals and regulate them accordingly.

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