Science and scientists have played an important role in the field of policymaking, informing and guiding decisions on a wide range of issues, including health care, land management, pollution, transportation and even social issues. While it is rare that scientific evidence is the only consideration in a policy decision—beliefs, experience, trial and error, and personal or political values are also used in making policy decisions—science is on balance a more dependable and defensible guide than informed hunches, analogies or personal experience.

The Supreme Court’s decision in May to overturn the prohibition on sports betting in the states has unleashed a torrent of activity at the state level leading up to the opening of 2019 legislative sessions. Some states have already moved to allow sports betting – Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia – while the majority have taken a wait-and-see approach.
CSG will convene a day-long series of panels designed to help policymakers navigate the policy implications of legalized sports betting during the States Place Their Bets Policy Academy at the CSG 2018 National Conference.

The midterm elections moved more states into the legalized marijuana category. Voters in Michigan approved a ballot measure to make marijuana legal and to regulate businesses involved in selling it. That vote brought to ten the number of states with legalized recreational marijuana.
Medical marijuana laws exist in 33 states now, with Missouri and Utah added after voter referenda were approved in the November elections.

During the 2018 CSG National Conference in Northern Kentucky - Greater Cincinnati, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a day-long policy academy, "Using Science to Inform State Policymaking," on Thursday, Dec. 6, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. 

The one-day policy academy is aimed to equip state leaders with a foundation for understanding science-based evaluation and using science in the development of policy. State leaders increasingly face key policy decisions that rely on the understanding and use of scientific data....

On December 6 during the CSG 2018 National Conference in Northern Kentucky-Greater Cincinnati, CSG convened a policy academy on The Intersection of Innovation and Infrastructure. This page includes meeting resources including the policy academy agenda, speaker bios, information about program sponsors and PowerPoint presentations from several of the day's speakers.

Innovations in technology are changing the way we travel, but are also presenting state leaders with an ever-expanding list of policy challenges. Autonomous vehicle and truck platoon testing, increasing sales of electric and alternative fuel vehicles, and the exponential growth of ride-hailing companies have significant policy implications in areas such as workforce development, data management, privacy, insurance, traffic safety, urban planning, transportation funding and environmental protection. State officials are also working with partners to build fiber and broadband networks to enable innovations like connected automation, all-electronic tolling, and smart city and intelligent transportation system technologies. This day-long policy academy highlighted many of these transportation and infrastructure innovations and what they mean for policymakers.

During the 2018 CSG National Conference in Northern Kentucky - Greater Cincinnati, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a day-long policy academy on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. to consider state options to implement gaming in their states following the recent Murphy decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

In a decision difficult to understand without context the Supreme Court held that “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) must also be habitat. In Weyerhaeuser Co. v. United State Fish and Wildlife Service the Court also held a federal court may review an agency decision not to exclude an area from critical habitat because of the economic impact. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief on the latter issue arguing in favor of the result the Court reached.

The United State Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) listed the dusky gopher frog as an endangered species. It designated as its “critical habitat” a site called Unit 1 in Louisiana owned or leased by Weyerhaeuser Company, a timber company. The frog hasn’t been seen at this location since 1965. As of today Unit 1 has all of the features the frog needs to survive except “open-canopy forests,” which the Services claims can be restored with “reasonable effort.”

Weyerhaeuser argued Unit 1 could not be a “critical habitat” for the frog because it could not survive without an open-canopy forests. The Fifth Circuit disagreed holding that the definition of critical habitat contains no “habitability requirement.”

The Supreme Court held unanimously that “critical habitat” must be habitat. The ESA states that when the Secretary lists a species as endangered he or she must also “designate any habitat of such species which is then considered to be critical habitat.”

Climate Adaptation

There are 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) on U.S. roads today and more are expected to come. Every major automaker has made big commitments to EVs, with plans to bring at least one EV model to the market in the next few years. According to the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation, more than 7 million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are expected to hit U....

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) amicus brief in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Byrd argues that Tennessee’s law requiring alcohol retailers to live in the state for two years to receive a license is constitutional.

According to Tennessee Wine & Spirits “[a]t least twenty-one States impose some form of durational-residency requirement for liquor retailers or wholesalers. And many States impose other residency-based requirements on those entities.”

States and local governments have long been skeptical of the requirement that courts defer to agency interpretations of statutes because such deference gives unelected agencies a lot of power. In PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic Inc. the lower court required something worse: blind adherence to an agency order.

The Hobbs Act vests the federal courts of appeals with “exclusive jurisdiction” to “enjoin, set aside, suspend (in whole or in part), or to determine the validity of” certain orders made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and orders of the Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Transportation, Federal Maritime Commission, Atomic Energy Commission, and others.

According to one lower court the Hobbs Act “promotes judicial efficiency, vests an appellate panel rather than a single district judge with the power of agency review, and allows uniform, nationwide interpretation of the federal statute by the centralized expert agency.”

Pages