Policy Area

CSG Midwest
In their federal lawsuit against the state of Michigan, seven students of Detroit’s public schools told of buildings that were unsafe and of classrooms that were unfit for learning.
The smell of “dead vermin and black mold in hallways.”
Teachers absent as many as 50 days a year.
Classes run by substitute teachers, paraprofessionals or even the students themselves.
Out-of-date textbooks having to be shared by multiple students.
Classroom temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, or freezing cold other times of the year.
“The basic thesis of the case was that these were schools in name only, and they were not capable of delivering even basic literacy instruction,” says Mark Rosenbaum, director of Public Counsel, the largest pro bono law firm in the nation and an attorney for the student-plaintiffs. “As a result, the students were not being put in a position where they could better their circumstances or where they could be meaningful participants in a democracy.”

CSG Midwest
In a series of roundtables that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem held with agriculture and energy groups, one issue that came up repeatedly was the need for consistency in the state’s widely variable county special and conditional permitting processes.
Before SB 157 became law in March, county zoning rules in South Dakota varied from none to very restrictive.
Noem told a Senate State Affairs Committee hearing in February that it revises county planning and zoning laws in ways that will keep permitting “fair, open and honest” by creating “a more predictable process for businesses and families that want to create or expand agriculture or energy infrastructure.”
CSG Midwest
Eight minutes and 46 seconds. That’s how long Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck while three other officers stood by and watched as Floyd died.
Twenty rounds. That’s how many shots were fired by three Louisville, Ky., police officers into the home of Breonna Taylor as they executed a no-knock search warrant, killing her as she slept.
Twelve years old. That’s how old Tamir Rice was when he was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer while holding a pellet gun in a public park.
This list can go on and on.
According to The Washington Post, 5,424 people have been shot and killed by police since Jan. 1, 2015. (See sidebar for state-by-state data for the Midwest.) African Americans make up 24 percent of those shot and killed by police; in 353 of these 1,298 incidents, the individual possessed neither a gun nor a knife. (African Americans make up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population.) 

The question the Supreme Court will decided in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski is whether the government changing a policy after a lawsuit has been filed renders the case moot if the plaintiff has only asked for nominal damages.

Georgia Gwinnett College students Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford sued the college over its Freedom of Expression policy, which only allowed students to engage in expressive activities in two designated areas after getting a...

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court held in McGirt v. Oklahoma that for purposes of the Major Crimes Act (MCA) three million acres, including most of the City of Tulsa, is a Creek reservation.

Per the federal MCA only the federal government may prosecute Native Americans who commit specific crimes within “Indian country.” Oklahoma state court convicted Jimcy McGirt, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, for three serious sexual...

The President’s tax returns are unlikely to be available to the public soon as a result of two Supreme Court cases. Nevertheless, Trump v. Vance is a victory for state and local government authority. In this case the Supreme Court held 7-2 that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t “categorically preclude, or require a heightened standard for, the issuance of a state criminal subpoena to a sitting President.”  

Regardless of this decision, the...

In a 7-2 decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania the Supreme Court held that religious employers and employers with moral objections may be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate.

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus ...

Without explanation, without referring the matter to the entire Court, and without calling for a response, Justice Kavanaugh denied a request for an emergency injunction to strike down Illinois Governor Pritzker’s executive order limiting gatherings to 50 people while exempting religious gathering.

Likely Justice Kavanaugh refused to grant the injunction because the standard is high. The Supreme Court only grants...

In Chiafalo v. Washington, the Supreme Court upheld Washington state’s law fining “faithless” electors that do not vote for the candidate that won the state’s popular vote. Likewise, the Court reversed the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Baca v. Colorado Dept. of State, which held that removing a “faithless” elector was unconstitutional. Justice Kagan wrote the opinion...

In a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court stayed a federal district court order requiring absentee election managers (AEMs) to not enforce a number of absentee ballot requirements in three counties in Alabama and lifting a prohibition against curbside voting in the state.

In response to COVID-19, Alabama Governor Ivey moved the runoff primary election from March 31 to July 14. Alabama’s Secretary of State Merrill promulgated an emergency regulation...

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