Category: Advocacy

Why Timbs v. Indiana Won’t Have Much Impact

Timbs v. Indiana has received a lot of attention because it deals with a controversial subject—civil asset forfeitures. But as a practical matter this case is unlikely to have much of an impact. What this case now requires under the federal constitution has long since been required under state constitutions. In Timbs the Supreme Court

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Will the Supreme Court’s New Members Change the Court’s Stance on Gerrymandering?

The Supreme Court heard oral argument—yet again—in two cases arguing it should adopt a standard for when partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Before argument court watchers were focused on Chief Justice Roberts, but during argument Justice Kavanaugh stole the show. In 1986 in Davis v. Bandemer six Supreme Court Justices agreed that some amount of partisan

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Permits and Pollution: Next Steps for the Clean Water Act

If a state or local government discharges a pollutant from a point source to a navigable water it must obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA). But what if that pollutant is conveyed in something—say groundwater—between the point source and the navigable water? Must the state or local government still obtain a permit?

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State Municipal Leagues Build Relationships with New Congress

This week, more than 40 executive directors and local leaders from 19 state municipal leagues across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., for NLC’s third annual state municipal league fly-in. At meetings and a briefing on Capitol Hill, state municipal league partners and NLC staff advocated for NLC’s top legislative priorities, including infrastructure investment, preventing

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What Cities Want to Hear in the State of the Union Address

This coming Tuesday, the president will deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Though it was delayed by a political impasse and a resulting shutdown of many parts of the federal government, this State of the Union speech comes at a particularly pivotal time in Washington. The address could

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What’s Next for the Census Citizenship Question?

A federal district court has held that a question about citizenship may not be included in the 2020 census. The Trump administration is likely to appeal this ruling to the Second Circuit, and it is likely the Supreme Court will ultimately resolve the dispute. Additional challenges to including this question have been brought but not

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What the Shutdown Means for the Census

Unlike many other federal agencies, the U.S. Census Bureau has an unusual budget that waxes and wanes in 10-year intervals as it prepares for America’s largest domestic mobilization effort — the decennial census. While the Bureau typically survives government shutdowns with minimal long-term impacts, this particular shutdown comes right as the Bureau begins its final

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Shutdown Impacts: Water Infrastructure, Environment and Public Lands

This week, the House is set to vote on a standalone bill to fund the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – a bill that passed both chambers of Congress last Summer. This bill, which largely mirrors the Senate-passed bill, will reopen our national parks and provide important funding for

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What Does the Shutdown Mean for Food Stamps?

Just last month, Congress passed an $867 reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which supports programs that have a significant impact on American communities through investment in rural development, promoting conservation efforts and supporting local food and nutrition programs. Chief among these food and nutrition programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program most

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What a Lapse in Appropriations Could Mean for Cities

As a partial government shutdown continues into its third week, the impacts of a funding lapse for affected agencies are beginning to become more visible. Among the seven federal spending bills that lapsed in December is the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. While the name indicates that it provides funding for the Department

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