Capitol Comments

CSG Midwest

Kansas will cut by three-fifths the number of juvenile offenders sent to out-of-state facilities, under legislation (SB 367) signed into law in April by Gov. Sam Brownback. The law resulted from recommendations issued in November 2015 by a bipartisan working group that included members from the legislative, executive and judicial branches. (The group also got assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice.) 

CSG Midwest

Baby boomers will think of “The Jetsons” while Gen-Xers may remember the creepy “Johnny Cab” from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Total Recall.” Millennials and their children will probably take automated vehicles as a matter of course.

Legislators must think about them with, and without, that dash of Hollywood: Automated vehicles are coming, so how will they merge into states’ traffic flows? What can the technology do today, what changes will it make tomorrow, and how to draft laws taking all that into account?

Perhaps not...

CSG Midwest

The crisis in Flint, Mich., has pushed drinking water quality into the forefront of national conversation, but problems with the Midwest’s aging drinking water infrastructure are not new. Plenty of lead pipes nearing the end of their service lives remain, and nonpoint source pollution from agricultural runoff besets watersheds and municipal water systems before ultimately afflicting the Great Lakes, Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.

States have taken steps to clean up their water systems and sources (several of which were noted in Stateline Midwest’s September 2015 edition), but the overall tab to modernize is tremendous.

At least $1 trillion will be required nationwide through 2035 to replace pipes at or reaching the end of their service lives, according to a 2010 report, “Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge,” from the American Water Works Association.

The Midwest’s aggregate share (including Missouri) was estimated at $172.2 billion.

CSG Midwest
As the realization that a generation of children in Flint, Mich., has been exposed to lead poisoning by their own water sets in, some Michigan lawmakers are pushing to enshrine access to clean, safe water in state law as a basic human right.
If such a law is enacted, Michigan would be the second state to do so, following California, whose 2012 statute declaring “every human being has the right to clean, affordable and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes” requires state agencies to consider this right when formulating policies, regulations and grant programs that impact water for domestic consumption.

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