—Alan Greenblatt. America’s roads earned a D. The report concludes that “the U.S. has been underfunding its highway system for years, resulting in a $836 billion backlog of highway and bridge capital needs.” And that’s just roads and bridges. Iowa remains the sole state enforcing a lifetime ban on voting rights following any felony conviction. As part of its Medicaid waiver request, South Carolina proposed offering a year or postpartum coverage, but the feds didn’t act on that part of their application. The latest Bomber Task Force (BTF) mission in Europe occurred Thursday over the Barents Sea as a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft conducted integration operations with NATO Allies. In all but 13 states, one party has all the power, holding the governorship as well as legislative majorities. Minnesota has since established its own version of the successful program. They've been given a green light, of sorts, by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found last year that partisan gerrymandering is a question federal courts are unable to address. Funds for affordable housing are not entirely safe at the state level either. In October, California became the first state to require public colleges and universities to provide drugs that induce abortion to students free of charge. The costs of building, owning or renting a home keep rising, but incomes are not keeping pace. The E.U. And although federal lawmakers got into the criminal justice reform game in 2018 with the First Step Act, it remains largely the province of states to implement that law, which largely sends grants out to them, while pursuing other changes that might limit incarceration rates. A love for my wild home-island of Tasmania fuels my commitment to sustainable travel and conservation. Whether or not the political class and the public can stomach the necessary levels of funding remains to be seen. In December, Congress raised the minimum age for buying tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21, following the lead of 19 states and hundreds of localities. Ultimately, the fate of the Affordable Care Act will be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court, although probably not this term. State legislatures, meanwhile, consider more than 1,200 bills annually that touch on immigrants and enact an average of 200 pieces of such legislation each year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The … Ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and the very survival of island nations is being threatened. Reductions in minimum off-street parking requirements are another part of the plan, something other large cities have done or are considering. The last fiscal year was a strong one for state revenues, but when it comes to the health of state and local pension plans, it's a different story. Maine blocked local paid-sick-time requirements, and Arkansas and Florida prohibited sanctuary cities. Not surprisingly, the move to raise the federal wage rate never gained traction, and today it remains at $7.25, where it has been since 2009. With 2020 a presidential election year, immigration could become one of those key issues that could make or break a candidacy. That and feelings by some governments that borders both internal and external opened too soon. In 2019, the United States continued to move backwards on rights. Pre-emption by a state can limit what a city can do or dictate policy. But the effort to persuade the FCC on whether to keep or remove net neutrality was truly epic, thanks to some technological chicanery. It’s worse in California, where the rate is closer to one out of every three households. 28 S/RES/1566 (2004). They’ll deal with issues in wildly differing ways. The city of Miami Beach, Fla., for example, is spending $500 million to raise roads and seawalls. Tobias, the National Right to Life Committee president, describes such actions as a "mixed blessing." Earlier that month, Kentucky Gov. But the states are not waiting for Washington to act. New and sustainable ways are needed to prop up a fund that is already $18 billion short of being solvent. Unless otherwise mentioned “EU” concerns for all indicated years the current European Union of 27 Member States. While it may look like any effort to bring change to our current immigration program seems hopelessly stalemated, it's not for lack of trying. The FCC's ruling against net neutrality didn't stop states from acting on their own. Both visiting or returning from neighbors. Under the Clean Slate law, Pennsylvania recently became the first state to automatically seal criminal records. New Jersey Gov. But red lights are going up all over the place within Europe too, as the situation again worsens. They were responding to a dramatic rise in vaping-related illness and deaths; as of late December, more than 2,500 illnesses and more than 50 deaths had been reported. Policymakers may not like it, but Jamison is confident that consumers will. There are other, more traditional issues that states won’t be able to avoid this year. Vaping by teens is of particular concern. Last year, the state's Senate leaders blocked a vote on expanding Medicaid that was a top priority for Democratic Gov. “There’s definitely caution in the air,” says Kathryn Vesey White, NASBO’s director of budget process studies. Each year, nearly 1 million immigrants enter the country through the green card program, with approximately two-thirds arriving as part of the family-based (or "chain migration") category of immigration, according to the Pew Research Center. "We know the Democratic and Republican [committees] are raising money on this and sending it out.". A software problem resulted in some Northampton County residents who tried to vote straight-ticket Democratic initially registering as straight-ticket Republican. Governors and legislators are worried about the potential for recession. Michigan was the first state to react, with Gov. So too do an increasing number of Europeans. Following Oregon's lead on statewide zoning changes, Maryland and Virginia are now considering bills that would block local governments from having single-family zoning regulations in place, a move motivated by the desire to increase the supply of housing. Once again, technology appears to be racing ahead of policy. In 2016, California and New York passed laws that eventually will push their states' minimum wages to $15, with Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey joining in later. Behavioral health continues to be at the top of legislators’ minds, particularly when it comes to opioids and other substance abuse. With little progress at the federal level, states have succeeded in enacting a number of policies that impact immigrants, according to NCSL. Phil Ting, who chairs the California Assembly Budget Committee, notes that even a relatively small increase in spending could push the state into deficit, if and when a recession occurs. To restore the rule of law and secure our border, President Trump is … —David Kidd. The law is a reaction to the huge growth in businesses that contract out labor. Amendments have to be approved in two consecutive years to be placed before voters. In Texas, the opposite has happened, with Austin declaring itself a "freedom city" in a state that is strongly anti-sanctuary. States have also been active implementing policies for and against providing sanctuary for immigrants. The review of the list was due to be made every fortnight, but seems to have come to a standstill. Pre-emption of the powers of local governments isn't just for red states anymore. Charlie Baker signed a bill prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes. Some states that have highly progressive income tax codes, such as California and New York, are more vulnerable to steep revenue drops during recessions, when top earners aren’t getting bonuses and investors aren’t collecting capital gains. In December, South Carolina received a waiver from the federal government allowing it to become the first state to impose a work requirement on the traditional Medicaid population, not just beneficiaries under the ACA expansion. The United States’ relationship with Russia is today the worst that it has been since 1985. America's new daily infection rate is now pretty much on a par with the EU average: 94 per 100,000 residents in each case. Cities in Utah, working with the Legislature and housing commission, came up with a law tying transportation funding to moderate income housing needs. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Last year, 24 states considered legislation to implement or adjust an electric vehicle fee. Germany too is undergoing a sharp comeback in cases, though way behind Spain and France. In several states, they intend not only to restrict the procedure but to ban it entirely. "This is a new and encouraging trend," says Spencer Wagner, who tracks state pre-emption for the National League of Cities. Today its area of responsibility comprises 51 countries stretching from Portugal’s Azores Islands to Iceland and Israel. "Its very technological design violates net neutrality," he says. The new law does not ban flavored e-cigarettes, however. "The move towards direct benefit cuts has slowed to a trickle," he points out. Unemployment is at historic lows and the economy remains in good shape. —Tod Newcombe. Almost as soon as the states declared their bans, the vaping industry and its allies took them to court, putting all but three of the bans on hold. The UK 99.7, Portugal 93.6, Ireland 81.1. Closure of rural hospitals remains a major concern, while almost 900 bills were introduced in 2019 to address pharmaceuticals and their costs. Booming metro areas, including Seattle, San Francisco and Austin, have lost nearly two-thirds of their low-rent housing stock in the last decade. Abortion opponents enter 2020 having enjoyed considerable legislative success. The U.S. average too is 94 cases per 100,000 residents, in the past 7 days. Even in states that have declared themselves pro-sanctuary, resistance has occured. Organized campaigns to influence a controversial policy proposal are nothing new. On Jan. 9, Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning announced a plan that will allow a vote on Medicaid expansion, with the promise of a potential vote on a plan to reduce private health insurance premiums. The FCC ended up repealing the rule, removing what had been a publicly popular control but one that had been hotly contested by broadband providers. Some EU members had been moving in the direction of the traffic light system, both for European travelers and others. Minnesota is the only state with a legislature under split control. America’s roads and highways are in desperate need of attention. "Because we've seen so many states adopt restrictions over the past decade, there's not much to do, other than to ban abortion.". Deadly wildfires including those affecting Australia, hurricanes, extreme weather events, and climate-influenced migration and hunger in many parts of the world are now regular occurrences. On a statewide scale, Oregon now requires cities to allow denser development, including duplexes in single-family zoned areas. In Massachusetts, for example, any local retirement system that underperforms the state's pension funds by a certain percentage has its assets rolled into the state's plan. Since January 2017, nearly 750 bills relating to immigration have been introduced in Congress, while only a handful have been enacted. The surge in the EU now means many countries now outstrip infection rates in most U.S. states. Nine states have enacted anti-sanctuary laws, requiring local police to assist the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. "It's getting into nuts and bolts," says Lori Riverstone-Newell, an Illinois State University political scientist who studies pre-emption. Sure there are a lot of if’s in there, and a situation changing in a rather volatile way on both sides of the Atlantic. What happened on the West Coast may happen on the East. In November, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that America has the world’s “star economy” and there’s no reason to believe a recession is imminent. If American rates continue to fall, quicker than those in Europe, the yardstick would theoretically mean EU borders opening to Americans. But the price difference is negligible considering the enormous economic consequences of the pandemic. In December, a federal circuit court panel upheld a lower court’s ruling that found unconstitutional the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring individuals buy insurance. Rudensky and other legal scholars warn that legislators will still be sorely tempted to draw maps that give their party maximum advantage. Based on current infection rates, both France and Spain are now way above much of the United States. In California, a new law establishes a test that employers have to use to determine whether a worker is an employee and not an independent contractor. No one is sure exactly how that will play out. With the Census coming up in April, states and cities around the country are spending heavily on outreach programs, hoping to ensure as full and accurate a count as possible. In July, Ohio drivers started paying an additional 10.5 cents per gallon of gas, less than the 18-cent increase requested by Governor Mike DeWine. —David Kidd. My hunch is that as the system becomes more widespread, some if not all EU countries will apply it to foreigners as well as Europeans. Uber is the best known example, but others include cleaning and delivery services that rely on independent contractors who are not subject to the same worker protections as employees. And with technology seeping into every corner of contemporary life, legislators and governors increasingly have to think about issues such as privacy, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence that may not even have been a concern back when they started their careers. Utah now permits electric and alternative fuel vehicle owners to opt into a road usage charge. Future of Security: From disinformation to deep fakes: protecting critical infrastructure and personal data in a rapidly changing threat environment. In Chicago, the situation is even more dire, with both the city's police and municipal pension plans funded at less than 30 percent of what they need to meet retiree obligations. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this term on a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at hospitals, which would have the effect of leaving the state with only one doctor qualified to perform the procedure. The United States issues paper currency and coins to pay for purchases, taxes, and debts. In effect, it's helping us build a backlash against what they're trying to do. Advocates for local control are heartened by the realization among some state legislators that pre-emption may have gotten out of hand. 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