Crime

As the world becomes more interconnected, state leaders continue to play a larger role in international affairs – both by identifying opportunities to grow their economy through international trade and monitoring the geopolitics to ensure the health and safety of their citizens. In Washington, DC, states will be watching Congress to see if they act on President Obama’s top priority on his trade agenda – the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or the TPP. The TPP agreement between 11 nations would be one of the largest agreements on history, covering over 800 million consumers and 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. It is important that state leaders review and understand the proposed agreement and voice their thoughts with Congress and federal agencies.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments will work with States and with their federal counterparts—at the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of State—to combat human trafficking; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch work with state and local governments to facilitate a better understanding of the roles and capabilities of governmental entities in protecting networks against possible cyber-attacks and explore how sharing information between states and the federal government – both before and after a breach – can help prevent future attacks or assist in the response to a previous attack.

In October, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, or CISA, 74-21. The bill is essentially an information-sharing bill, designed to allow companies that are hit by a hacker to share information—called “cyber threat indicators”—with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS. DHS can then put out an alert, share suspicious code and warn other firms about the threat.

The House passed its own version of the bill—Protecting Cyber Networks Act—back in April.

It’s not a matter of whether or not a cybersecurity breach—affecting either a private or public institution—will happen, but when. Experts warn that both the frequency of cybersecurity threats and their level of sophistication will continue to increase, and state leaders need to know what they are facing. This session explored what state leaders need to know about cybersecurity threats to make informed decisions, anticipate challenges, share information, and define roles and responsibilities.

The Act amends the Government Code to codify the structure and duties of the currently existing Texas border prosecution unit and update policies and procedures relating to the unit. The Act requires the governor to establish the border prosecution unit within the criminal justice division of the governor's office to provide the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house of representatives, and members of the legislature with information regarding border crime.

This Act modifies the Code of Criminal Procedure to include a registry for persons who commit specified white collar crimes.

CSG Midwest
Under a seven-bill legislative package recently signed into law, Michigan is changing its laws on civil asset forfeiture, a move that proponents say will better protect citizens’ civil liberties and private property rights. According to the Detroit Free Press, lawmakers have raised the standard for when property can be seized through civil forfeiture. The standard had been a “preponderance of the evidence”; it is now “clear and convincing.”

In its second opinion of the term the Supreme Court ruled that a police officer should have been granted qualified immunity when he shot at a car whose driver had led police on a high speed chase to stop it instead of waiting to see if spike strips worked.

If someone has spent or hidden their ill-gotten gain but has additional assets untainted by their crime, should the government be able to freeze the untainted assets? The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) amicus brief in Luis v. United States argues yes. State and local governments—police departments in particular—receive criminal asset forfeitures. Any many states statutes also allow freezing of substitute assets.

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