The Legislative Lawyer is published periodically by the Legal Services Staff Section (LSSS), the only national legal professional organization
dedicated to the needs of legislative attorneys and other paralegal legislative staff. Articles cover topics of interest to legislative attorneys
including drafting and language; administrative law; uniform law; and topical issues. Visit the Legal Services Staff Section Homepage.
To submit an article for publication, please contact the editor, Jery Payne
State Capitol, Room 091 Denver, CO 80203
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
NCSL LIAISON TO LSSS:
In a way, you have to admire someone who has spent almost two decades campaigning against plain language—unsuccessfully—and who still carries on. As Jack Stark acknowledged in his most recent foray,“many statutory drafters have accepted the school and use its precepts.” Maybe that’s because the school and its precepts have something important to offer — even to respected veteran drafters like Mr. Stark.
The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) has been busy during the U.S. Supreme Court’s October 2011 and 2012 terms filing briefs, holding moot courts, offering webinars, giving presentations, and writing articles.
SLLC Supreme Court Amicus Briefs Filed in the Court’s 2011 Term
The SLLC filed amicus curiae briefs in four cases during the Court’s October 2011 term. The Court cited the SLLC’s brief in its opinion in Armour v. Indianapolis.
Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California
In a 5-4 decision the Court left it to the Ninth Circuit to decide whether a Supremacy Clause claim can be brought against a state to enforce Medicaid.
Filarsky v. Delia
In a unanimous decision the Court held that contract attorneys and other individuals working for the government on a part-time basis are eligible for qualified immunity.
Armour v. Indianapolis
The Court held 6-3 that the City of Indianapolis didn't violate the Equal Protection Clause when it forgave the assessments of homeowners who paid for sewer improvements in multi-year installments but issued no refunds to homeowners who paid for the same improvements in a lump sum. The Court cited the SLLC's brief in its opinion.
Reichle v. Howards
In a unanimous decision the Court granted qualified immunity to two Secret Service agents, who allegedly arrested a suspect for his political speech, but had probable cause to arrest the suspect for committing a federal crime.
SLLC Supreme Court Amicus Briefs Filed in the Court’s 2012 Term
The SLLC has filed four amicus briefs so far in cases to be decided during the Court’s October 2012 term.
Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council
Whether the transfer of water within a single water body through a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) constitutes a “discharge” under the Clean Water Act?
Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center & Georgia-Pacific West, Inc. v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center
Whether National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits have to be obtained for channeled stormwater runoff from logging roads?
Delia v. E.M.A
Whether Medicaid preempts a state statute allowing the state to recover one-third of a Medicaid recipient’s tort settlement?
City of Arlington & Cable, Telecommunications, and Technology Committee v. FCC
Whether a court should apply Chevron deference to review an agency’s determination of its own jurisdiction?
SLLC Moot Courts
Armour v. Indianapolis—Paul Clement, Bancroft, attorney mooted (February 24, 2012)
Reichle v. Howards —Sean Gallagher, Polsinelli Shughart, attorney mooted (February 28, 2012)
SLLC Supreme Court Preview Webinar
Lisa Soronen, Executive Director, SLLC, discussed the most significant cases of interest to state and local governments that the Court had accepted as of Oct. 17 during its October Term 2012 and likely future grants. Almost 500 sites registered. Listen and view a recording of the webinar.
SLLC Supreme Court Review Webinar
Paul Clement, Bancroft, and Patricia Millett, Akin Gump, discussed the significant Supreme Court cases from the Court's October 2011 term affecting state and local governments in a webinar held on July 19, 2012. Over 1,200 sites registered for the webinar. Listen and view a recording of the webinar.
SLLC Communications to NCSL
Lisa Soronen, SLLC, and Geoffrey Eaton, Winston Strawn, presented Supreme Court Update to NCSL’s Law and Criminal Justice Committee at NCSL’s Fall Forum on Dec. 7, 2012.
Lisa Soronen discussed the Supreme Court’s October 2012 Term in an NCSL StateSide Podcast in early October.
Lisa Soronen discussed recent and upcoming Supreme Court cases affecting state legislatures with the Legal Services Staff Section at the SuperPDS 2012 meeting on Oct. 10, 2012.
Lisa Soronen and Rebecca Ross, Troutman Sanders, presented Supreme Court Round Up and Federal Update to NCSL’s Law and Criminal Justice Committee at NCSL’s Legislative Summit on Aug. 7, 2012.
Lisa Soronen wrote an article entitled A Federalist’s Dilemma for State Legislature’s April 2012 issue.
Read posts about SLLC Supreme Court briefs filed, oral argument analysis, and cases decided on NCSL’s blog The Thicket.
Summary of Significant Supreme Court Cases Affecting State and Local Government
The SLLC has put together three documents available on the SLLC’s website summarizing the significant cases affecting state and local governments from the Supreme Court’s October 2011 term. One document only includes cases affecting local governments, another document only includes cases affecting state governments, and a third document includes cases affecting both state and local governments.
SLLC Welcomes New Executive Director
Lisa Soronen is the new Executive Director of the SLLC. Prior to joining the SLLC, Lisa worked for the National School Boards Association, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, and clerked for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. She earned her J.D. at the University of Wisconsin Law School and is a graduate of Central Michigan University. Contact Lisa at email@example.com or (202) 434-4845.
About the SLLC
Since 1983 the SLLC has filed over 300 amicus briefs in the Supreme Court on behalf of the “Big Seven” national organizations representing the interests of state and local government (the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council for State Governments, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, and the International City/County Management Association).
Follow the SLLC on Twitter
For up-to-date information on the activities of the SLLC and Supreme Court grants and decisions affecting state and local government follow the SLLC on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sllcscotus.
Each issue includes "State News" describing events,
recent laws passed, and litigation that involves state legislatures
and state government. Current news from many states including:
Colorado's ongoing case challenging the constitutionality of its system of financing public education (K-12), Lobato v. State, continues to work its way through the courts.
In Florida, the ongoing issue of privatization of prison health care is back in the news. On Sept. 12, the Joint Legislative Budget Commission approved a plan to privatize a large portion of health care in prisons.
The 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature produced an ambitious education reform package pushed by the governor.
The Maine Legislature passed enabling legislation authorizing the Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to establish veterans’ treatment courts.
The Texas Legislative Council has nearly completed its code revision and other projects for the interim.
The Legal Services Staff Section (LSSS) held two tracks - one for legislative attorneys and one for legislative editors at the Super PDS in Madison, Wisconsin in October. Handouts are available for all of these presentations:
Elections and Voter ID Laws
U.S. Supreme Court Update: Looking Forward and Looking Back
Lessons Learned from Large Events at Capitols: Safety v. 1st Amendment Rights
Publishing Statutes and Legislative Publications in the Electronic Age
Confidentiality of Drafting and Legislative Records
Case Study—Spotting Loopholes in Bill Drafts
My Biggest Editing Mistake and What I Learned
Legal Writing for the Bill Drafter
Hello, Fellow Legal Services Staff Section Members:
As this year's chair of NCSL's Legal Services Staff Section (LSSS), I'd like to give you a quick idea of the resources LSSS offers its members and to share some of our plans for the 2012-2013 year.
You are a member of LSSS if you are employed by a state legislature and are involved in bill drafting, legal research, statutory and administrative rule compilation and publication, administrative rule review, and other legal services.
Meetings: Each fall LSSS sponsors a professional development seminar that provides continuing legal education especially developed by and for legislative legal and editorial staff. Legislative staff in Wisconsin hosted the Fall 2012, seminar in Madison. Session topics included elections and voter ID laws, a United States Supreme Court update, best practices in writing bill analyses, publishing statutes and legislative publications in the electronic age, editing the editors, confidentiality in drafting and legislative records, electronic bill drafting and tracking systems, legal writing for the bill drafter, identifying loopholes in bill drafts, my biggest editing mistake and what I learned, and advanced thinking skills for legislative staff. If you'd like more information, the LSSS web page has a link to the session handouts. Watch for announcements about next fall's seminar and plan to join us.
Webinars: LSSS continues to deliver educational opportunities to your desk. Topics planned so far for 2013 include federal funding and contingent budgeting, an education topic, a topic of interest to editors, and ethics. LSSS is always looking for good, free speakers who have done presentations in the past and are comfortable speaking into a telephone while delivering a Power Point presentation. Consider volunteering as a speaker or submitting your ideas about possible subjects for a webinar.
Legislative Summit: LSSS sponsors several education sessions during NCSL's annual Legislative Summit, including sessions eligible for continuing legal education credit in many states. The 2013 Legislative Summit will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, August 12-15, 2013. LSSS is starting to plan its sessions for the meeting. Stay tuned for more information in the Spring.
Listservs/Collaborative Site/Social Media: LSSS currently has several online resources. One is a listserv (discussion group) that is available to all section members to obtain assistance quickly from colleagues across the country and around the globe. LSSS also sponsors a collaboration site that has drafting manuals from many state legislatures. Finally, LSSS helps maintain a page with resources related to separation of powers on NCSL's website.
This year LSSS is reevaluating its approach to its online resources. We will try to determine our collaborative needs, and look at how online resources will be administered, maintained and updated. At the same time, LSSS is evaluating whether any of the social media platforms may be useful ways to reach out to and communicate with members. Finally, a task force is being formed to study confidentiality and attorney-client privilege in the legislative context with a goal of establishing a page with resources on these topics on NCSL's website.
Newsletter/Other Publications: LSSS publishes The Legislative Lawyer, which contains articles on topics of interest to members, including policy issues, plain language and drafting, administrative law issues, term limits, state budgets, and uniform laws. In addition, each issue includes recent legislative news from around the country. If you'd like to write an article for The Legislative Lawyer or have an interest in serving as a correspondent for your state, please let us know.
This year LSSS is considering whether a blog might serve as a better vehicle for state legislative news, or whether to try sending members updates that contain cases of interest, information about significant state and federal legislation, and LSSS news more frequently than, and in addition to, the newsletter.
If any of these projects sound interesting to you, or you'd like to become more involved in your staff section, or you have an idea as to how LSSS might improve its programs and services, please contact me or Kae Warnock, NCSL liaison to LSSS, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Wishes for the Holidays and for a Happy New Year!
Senior Staff Attorney
Indiana Legislative Services Agency
Copyright is a complex set of intellectual property laws, designed to protect the rights of authors in their published and unpublished works. Under federal and state copyright laws, authors can sue users who violate their rights without permission or compensation. Legislative staff often have to deal with copyright questions, over what constitutes a fair use exception of materials or the extent to which materials are in the public domain and may be shared with the public.
The recorded webinar and the PowerPoint slides are now available on our web site.
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800 | 7700 East First Place | Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069 | 444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515 | Washington, D.C. 20001
©2013 National Conference of State Legislatures. All Rights Reserved.