What's New

The Colorado Office of Employment First is hosting Youth Disability Employment Listening Sessions! The sessions will take place on September 10, September 17, and September 24, 2020 at 3-4 PM MT. The Office of Employment First is looking for youth with disabilities ages 14-26 to participate in the dialogue. Participants will have the opportunity to share their voice and get involved with leading Colorado’s Employment First efforts!

Employment First is the belief that individuals with disabilities have the right to...

President Trump’s memoranda on anarchist cities, while generating significant criticism, does not take federal money away—yet. If the federal government actually tries to do so, affected jurisdictions will...

Since April 2020 the Supreme Court has handled numerous emergency requests related to COVID-19. Requests involving stay-at-home orders and judge-made changes to elections laws are of most interest to states and local governments. The trends in both categories of cases is clear but the reasons are murky. Oftentimes none of the Justices announce, much less explain, their vote.

In these emergency requests the challenger isn’t asking the Supreme Court to decide the case on the merits. Instead, it is either asking the Supreme...

The City of Philadelphia refused to contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) to place foster care children because CSS wouldn’t work with same-sex couples. Philadelphia requires all foster care agencies to follow its “fair practices” ordinance, which prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations.

The main question in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia is whether Philadelphia has violated the...

CSG Midwest
The statistics about drug addiction and its consequences — the number of overdose deaths, and the rates of people arrested and imprisoned — are everywhere for policymakers to see.
But Ohio Sen. John Eklund says those numbers can’t tell the full story, and often fall short of moving legislators to reconsider their states’ policies on drug crimes and punishment.
CSG Midwest
While not technically an occupational license, the certification of police officers is required in most states. The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training defines certification as “the process by which law enforcement officers are licensed in their respective jurisdictions, establishing the satisfaction of selection, training and continuing performance standards.”
In most states, police officer standards and training (POST) commissions establish these standards and carry out certification. They also are responsible for decertification.
Nearly all U.S. states, including all 11 in the Midwest, have existing statutory authority to certify or decertify, according to Roger Goldman, a law professor at Saint Louis University and leading researcher on this issue. (The states without such authority are California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.)
CSG Midwest
Reduced federal and state investments in public health over the past decade.
Fewer workers in state and local health departments.
Growing numbers of people with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other underlying conditions.
Inequities in the types of services and health infrastructure needed to keep individuals and whole communities well.
They all added up to a country vulnerable to being hit hard by a transmissible disease such as COVID-19, two public health experts said to legislators during a July webinar of The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Legislative Conference.
Their message: Learn the hard lessons taught by the COVID-19 pandemic, and embed them in future policy decisions about public health. “We’re willing to spend a lot of money without question when people get sick, but we don’t spend very much money to stop people from becoming sick,” John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, said to legislators participating in the webinar.
CSG Midwest
States are accustomed to working together and helping one another through times of crisis or natural disasters. Between 2016 and 2019 alone, via the congressionally authorized Emergency Management Assistance Compact, more than half of the U.S. states requested assistance from others. Every state but one provided help to another state during this time. In all, more than 29,000 personnel were deployed to states in need of help.
But the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has brought challenges to states that they have not previously faced. That includes how to facilitate interstate cooperation and support.
CSG Midwest
This spring, as schools across the nation shut down in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, North Dakota and broadband service providers in the state stepped up.
The result was a quick reduction in what has been dubbed the “homework gap.”
“What’s really impressive is that in a matter of weeks, North Dakota was able to get 90 percent of unconnected student homes hooked up to broadband,” Jack Lynch, state engagement director for the nonprofit group EducationSuperHighway, said during a July 30 webinar held by three committees of The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Legislative Conference.
The gap in student access to internet connectivity is nothing new. What’s changed, though, is the urgency among state policymakers to address the problem, as schools rely more on remote learning to replace some or all in-person instruction and to ensure the continuity of learning if buildings have to be closed due to health- or weather-related events.

CSG Midwest
In a session year shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa Legislature still managed to pass significant bipartisan legislation impacting livestock and food production. Most notably, SF 2413 (signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in June) addresses what Sen. Ken Rozenboom says are “the most critical issues facing the livestock industry in Iowa today: foreign animal diseases and protection of food production facilities.”
Under this measure, he says, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship now has a more clearly defined process for how to respond to a foreign animal disease. The state agency had participated in a U.S. Department of Agriculture mock drill earlier and found some weaknesses in its ability to respond to outbreaks of such diseases as African swine fever or avian influenzas.
Iowa’s statutory language has now been broadened by replacing the word “livestock” with the word “animals,” thus allowing the department to segregate, treat or dispose of diseased animals, including those that may be abandoned by their owners.

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