Latest News
In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Texas’ redistricting plans which may impact other states.  The case, which is being brought by a conservative advocacy group, will determine if states and localities can continue to use its total population in creating districts or whether it should consider the total number of eligible citizens in redistricting.
An influx of Black immigrants from African and Caribbean countries is reshaping the black population in certain areas according to a recent study by Pew Research Center.   The number of foreign-born Black people has grown from 3.1 percent in 1980 to 8.7 percent in 2013.  The study estimates that by 2060 16.5 percent of the black population will be foreign born.
The officers involved in the death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray have been indicted by a grand jury.  In a case that has drawn national attention, the six officers were indicted on second degree murder, reckless endangerment, manslaughter and other charges in relation to Gray’s death.
For many African immigrants, the chance at a better life does not quite live up to its promise in the United States.  Several leave their home countries with higher education degrees and experience that they are unable to transfer in the states.  This often results in doctors, lawyers, and bankers becoming taxi drivers, janitors, or dishwashers in order to make ends meet.
President Obama made a visit to New Jersey to discuss a new program the Camden police department has been working on to bridge the gap between community members and the police.  Police association have been expressing some concerns over President Obama’s comments about police and have been looking for him to show support and understanding for the actions police officers take in protecting civilians.
For states that offer huge tax credits to movie and television companies, lawmakers are considering scaling back on the incentives.  Offering tax credits to companies provide jobs as well as boost the economy, however, limited regulation on tax credits may be contributing to budget deficits.
Florida has joined 20 other states that offer online voter registration.  The system would be in place by 2017 and would still allow for the option of paper voter registration.
The governor of Maine, Paul LePage has proposed more restrictions for those on public assistance.  The proposal calls for ending food stamps and cash payments to families with a drug conviction.  The proposal is aimed at reducing the chance that public funds are spent on drugs.  Other regulations would require drug testing for those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds.
In Comptroller v. Wynne the U.S. Supreme Court held that Maryland’s tax on out-of-state income was unconstitutional and amounted to a tariff.  As a result, Maryland counties will know owe close to $200 million in tax refunds to taxpayers.
Lawmakers in states such as New York and Texas are looking for ways to lower property tax in counties and cities.  While states do not levy property taxes, they are creating ways to make them more manageable for their residents.