Category Archives: Laws/Legislation

Occupational Licensing Database

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of State Governments, 2018

Occupational licensing is a regulatory method that requires individuals to secure a license from government in order to practice a certain trade or profession. Currently, 1-in-4 occupations in the U.S. currently require a license and most licensure requirements vary drastically from state to state.

NCSL, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of State Governments, is working to research occupational licensing to help states identify best practices and solutions to their licensing issues, including to help decrease barriers to labor market entry and to increase the portability of licenses across state lines. This database contains legislation from all 50 states covering 34 distinct occupations that have been identified based on the following criteria:
– Each must be licensed in at least 30 states.
– Each much require less than a bachelor’s degree in most states.
– The projected employment growth rate for the occupation must be at or higher than the national average. – Each occupation must currently have employment levels of 10,000 or more.

The database also contains legislation on occupational licensure laws more generally and includes legislation impacting the following four population groups that have been identified as being disproportiantely impacted by licensure-related barriers to labor market entry:
– Skilled immigrants.
– Individuals with criminal records.
– Active duty military, veterans and their spouses.
– Unemployed and dislocated workers.

Democratic Representation: Americans’ Frustration with Whose Voices are Represented in Congress

Source: Trevor Tompson, Jennifer Benz, David Sterrett, Dan Malato, Emily Swanson, Bo MacInnis, Jon Krosnick, Sarah Anderson, Stanford University and the University of California – Santa Barbara in collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 2018

With Americans’ disapproval of Congress reaching record levels in recent years, the strength of the country’s legislative system and America’s faith in its outcomes have come into question. This study reveals a new explanation for Americans’ dissatisfaction with their elected representatives by showing that people’s approval of Congress is tied to their beliefs about how lawmakers are making decisions.

The study—conducted by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research—shows that negative attitudes toward Congress relate to the gap between who people think members of Congress should pay attention to when voting on a law and who people think they do pay attention to when voting. The phenomenon cuts across partisan lines, and these perceptions of the decision-making process affect both Democrats’ and Republicans’ approval of Congress.

Technical report

Survey: Americans think lawmakers ignore public opinion
Source: Melissa De Witte, Futurity, February 28, 2018

The Potential Impact of Short-Term Limited-Duration Policies on Insurance Coverage, Premiums, and Federal Spending

Source: Linda J. Blumberg, Matthew Buettgens, Robin Wang, Urban Institute, Research Report, February 2018

From the abstract:
On February 20, 2018, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services released a proposed regulation that would increase the maximum length of short-term, limited-duration insurance policies to one year. These plans, sold to individuals and families, are not federally required to comply with the Affordable Care Act regulations that prohibit annual and lifetime benefit limits, require coverage of all essential health benefits, and otherwise prohibit insurers from setting premiums or choosing whether to sell coverage to particular people based on applicants’ health status and health history. As such, these plans do not meet minimum essential coverage standards under the law; thus, the Congressional Budget Office does not consider them private insurance. If implemented, the rule would permit these plans to compete against the ACA-compliant plans.

Importantly, this change would be implemented on top of an array of other significant policy changes made since the beginning of 2017. We analyze the implications of the 2017 policy changes relative to the ACA as originally designed and implemented, in addition to the potential consequences of the proposed expansion to short-term limited-duration policies. In estimating the effects of these changes on insurance coverage, premiums, and federal spending, we take into account the variations in state circumstances and state-specific laws on short-term plans.

This brief was updated February 26, 2018. The title and notes for table 4 were altered to remove references to current law that had been inadvertently copied from tables 1–3.

Sex Discrimination Law and LGBT Equality

Source: Katie R. Eyer, Advance: The Journal of ACS Issue Briefs, Vol. 11 no. 1, Fall 2017
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….This Issue Brief sets out the reasons why both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination necessarily must be considered sex discrimination under well-established anti-discrimination doctrine. It also responds to the most common arguments raised against such a conclusion. Finally, the Issue Brief concludes by briefly discussing the reasons why, despite the move towards coverage of anti-LGBT discrimination under federal sex discrimination law, explicit formal statutory prohibitions on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination remain important….

Expanding Voting Rights Through Local Law

Source: Joshua A. Douglas, Advance: The Journal of ACS Issue Briefs, Vol. 11 no. 1, Fall 2017
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….This Issue Brief—a condensed version of a scholarly article that appeared in the George Washington Law Review—completes the picture of what it means to enjoy the right to vote in America. The right to vote is a constitutional right inherent in the U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions. But it is also a locally conferred right, at least in some cities and towns. This expansion of voting rights at the local level will constitute a significant part of the debate on the right to vote for years to come…..

The Troubling Turn in State Preemption: The Assault on Progressive Cities and How Cities Can Respond

Source: Richard Briffault, Nestor Davidson, Paul A. Diller, Olatunde Johnson, and Richard C. Schragger, Advance: The Journal of ACS Issue Briefs, Vol. 11 no. 1, Fall 2017
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….This Issue Brief canvasses the current wave of preemption and the primary legal theories that these state-local conflicts present, as well as claims that might arise as these battles continue. The Brief also explores other possibilities for strengthening home rule to advance progressive local policymaking at a moment when cities increasingly stand on the front lines of economic justice, civil rights, sustainable development, and so many other critical policy domains…..

Clash of Laws: The Growing Dissonance between State and Federal Marijuana Policies

Source: Heather Trela, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Policy Brief, January 25, 2018

This policy brief examines the growing separation between the federal government and the states when it comes to marijuana policy and the federalism implications of this divide. Since the 2016 election, the states and the federal government have been on a collision course over the implementation of state marijuana policy and the enforcement of federal law. The essays collected in this brief highlight some of the major issues currently at play in United States marijuana policy and potential issues to watch in the coming year.

The Biggest Problem for State Higher-Ed Policy? Federal Higher-Ed Policy

Source: Eric Kelderman, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 16, 2018

The biggest concern for state higher-education policy in 2018 isn’t the continuing economic volatility, the questions about affordability for students, the disputes about free speech on campuses, or the difficulties in preventing and punishing campus sexual assaults.

Instead, the top issue for states is the uncertainty created by the federal government, according to an annual report from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities….

LGBT Policy Spotlight: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws

Source: Movement Advancement Project, 2018

From the abstract:
This report LGBT Policy Spotlight: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws a provides a comprehensive overview of the patchwork of federal, state, and local protections against discrimination in public spaces. As the Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, public places have become the next battleground in the fight for full equality for LGBT people. The core issue is whether public accommodations—places of business, public transit, hotels, restaurants, taxi cabs and more—can refuse service to people just because of who they are or whom they love.