Capitol Comments

A number of Pennsylvania business owners have requested that the U.S. Supreme Court stay enforcement of Governor Wolf’s executive order “compelling the closure of the physical operations of all businesses and entities that he deemed to be nonlife-sustaining.”

Governor Wolf allowed non-lifesustaining businesses to apply for a waiver; 18,746 waiver applications have been denied to date.

The business owners allege the executive...

Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog aptly describes Maine Community Health Options v. United States as “relatively low-profile but super-high dollar!” In this case the Supreme Court held 8-1 that health insurance plans can sue the federal government to recover unpaid Risk Corridors payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Risk Corridors program was designed to...

In Georgia v. Public.Rescource.Org the Supreme Court held 5-4 that non-binding, explanatory legal materials created by state legislatures cannot be copyrighted.

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) contains various non-binding supplementary materials including summaries of judicial decisions and attorney general opinions and a list of law review articles related to current statutory provisions. The OCGA is assembled by the Code...

In a two-page per curiam (unauthored) opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, the Supreme Court held that a challenge to New York City’s rule disallowing residents to transport firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city is moot. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an...

When President Trump tweeted that he intended to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States due to COVID-19 no one quite knew what to expect.

The presidential proclamation prevents foreign nationals who are outside of the United States now and for the next 60 days (possibly longer if the proclamation is extended) from applying for legal...

In County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund the Supreme Court held 6-3 that when there is a “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” from a point source to navigable waters an appropriate permit is required under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act forbids the “addition” of any pollutant “from a point source” to “navigable waters” without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In this case the County...

The Supreme Court is known for its ceaselessness. Government shut downs, snowstorms, anthrax, and vacancies haven’t slowed down the High Court. But it has not been spared by this global pandemic.

This term the Supreme Court is expected to issue about 56 opinions—about...

In a fractured 6-3 opinion in Ramos v. Louisiana the Supreme Court held that for convictions of serious crimes state court jury verdicts must be unanimous.

In 48 states and federal court, a single juror’s vote to acquit prevents a conviction. Louisiana and Oregon allow convictions for serious crimes based on 10-to-2 verdicts.

The Sixth Amendment states that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy...

In a 7-2 decision in Atlantic Richfield v. Christian the Supreme Court held that landowners located on a Superfund site who wanted additional remedies beyond the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to clean up the site could not sue in state court.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as the Superfund statute, seeks “to promote the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and to ensure...

CSG Midwest

In mid-March, the nation’s education community — school administrators, teachers, students and parents — began a crash course in e-learning. For state legislators, too, there have been important lessons to learn about their schools’ rollout of this alternative to face-to-face instruction, as well as many policy issues to consider about the potential fallout.

One likely consequence, for example, is a lag in student achievement, says Georgia Heyward, a research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, which has created a database detailing and comparing the e-learning plans of school districts across the country.

“I think a learning slide should be expected,” she says. “Early on, we have been seeing very few school districts that offer live instruction, where you have a [professionally trained] teacher guiding the students rather than a harried parent. “And you have very few districts doing progress monitoring of students.”

That learning slide also may be unevenly distributed. Early on, anecdotal evidence pointed to disparities in the richness of the e-learning plans being developed and implemented by school districts.

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