The NCSL Blog

Entries for February 2019

28
Checking in With Washington State’s Complete Count Committee

Recently I wrote about Callifornia's complete count committee (CCC) for the census. Now I’m reporting on what I learned from my visit to Washington’s complete count shop.

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28
SCOTUS Reaffirms Rational Understanding Required for Executions

Madison v. Alabama provides clarity rather than makes new law. In this case the Supreme Court held 5-3 that the Eighth Amendment prohibits a person who lacks a “rational understanding” due to mental illness for why the death penalty has been imposed to be put to death regardless of what mental illness the person is suffering from.  

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28
Mississippi Fresh Start Act Looks to Make It Easier for Ex-Offenders to Get Work

Legislation pending in Mississippi aims to give ex-offenders a better chance at a new beginning.

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27
Data Supports Defined-Benefit Pension For Teachers, New Report Says

A new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security and UC Berkeley Labor Center, Teacher Pensions vs. 401(k)s in Six States: Connecticut, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas, argues that traditional criticisms of defined benefit teacher pensions are misguided.

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27
Advice to New Legislators: What I Wish I Knew

David Long, who rose to become the Senate pro tem in Indiana, remembers an early meeting in his legislative career. He asked to talk with the chair of the finance committee to discuss the state’s income tax law and proceeded to tell him “how dumb aspects of it were.”

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26
New Report Examines Future of Work Across America’s 3,000-Plus Counties

America at Work: A National Mosaic and Roadmap for Tomorrow, a new report from Walmart in partnership with McKinsey & Company, examines the economies and workforces at the county level, and policy interventions that can help communities prepare for the future of work.

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26
SCOTUS: States Can't Discriminate Against Federal Retirees

In a unanimous decision the Supreme Court held in Dawson v. Steager that West Virginia violated a federal statute by taxing all the retirement benefits of former federal law enforcement employees but not certain state law enforcement employees. 

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25
Virginia Lawmakers First to Pass Redistricting Bill in 2019

Virginia’s General Assembly became the first legislature in 2019 to pass a redistricting measure, approving the creation of a 16-member commission to draw its next set of legislative and congressional maps after the 2020 census.

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21
Supreme Court Decides Civil Forfeiture Case Against States and Local Governments

Indiana sought to forfeit Tyson Timbs’ Land Rover which he used to transport heroin. The trial court concluded the forfeiture was unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause because the value of the vehicle well exceeded the maximum statutory fine for the felony Timbs plead guilty to.

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21
SCOTUS Rules Defendant is Intellectually Disabled (and Can't Be Executed)

In an unauthored opinion in Moore v. Texas II the Supreme Court concluded Bobby James Moore has intellectual disability. In Atkins v. Virginia (2002) the Supreme Court held that persons with intellectual disability can’t be executed.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.