Legislative Updates


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POPAI 2020 Election: Call for Letter of Intent

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We are now accepting Intent to Run Forms from POPAI Members ready to serve on the Board.

Up for election in 2020:

  • President
  • Secretary
  • District 2
  • District 4
  • District 6
  • District 8

Intent to Run Form (docx)

The Intent to Run form must be sent to Michael by Friday July 11, 2020 (postmarked, emailed, or faxed). We will post the election slate on the Election Page in August.

The election will be held during the POPAI Annual Meeting Thursday September 10, 2020.

Questions? Phone: Contact Michael (812) 948-5448 Ext. 409 or MCoriell@floydcounty.in.gov

POPAI Chief, Assistant Chief, and Probation Supervisor Mentor Program

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POPAI Vision: To champion probation as a vital part of the criminal justice system.

POPAI Mission: To promote, support, and grow the profession of probation in Indiana by collaborating with criminal justice partners, advancing and protecting the interests of our membership, and providing education and professional development opportunities in the use of evidence-based community supervision practices.

In service of our above Vision and Mission statements POPAI is excited to announce our Mentor Program.

Each year new leaders are appointed or hired to serve their respective jurisdictions. POPAI recognizes our very vital role in welcoming these new leaders and acclimating them to the demanding roles they have accepted.

As our membership is made up of our most respected professionals, we are soliciting current Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, and Probation Supervisors to act as mentors to incoming leadership.

If you are selected as a volunteer mentor you are committing to the following guidelines:

  • Mentor must make initial contact with their assigned protégé within 15 days of assignment
  • Regular, monthly contact with their protégé for a minimum of one (1) year (i.e. email, telephone, etc.)
  • Hosting your protégé on-site within the first (6) months to observe you in the course of regular business
  • Conducting a site visit to the protégé’s county within the first six (6) months to help them assess their highest priority needs
  • Connecting them with other leaders as deemed appropriate
  • Participating in program surveys as requested

We believe that new leaders will best be acclimated by entering into meaningful professional relationships with their peers and that a mentor is the perfect place to start growing their professional network.

If you are interested in serving as a mentor, download a Mentor Application.

The application will only serve as a resource in matching mentors with protégés. It will take into account your location, your areas of expertise and/or special interest, and your POPAI membership status.

How to Build a Great Relationship with a Mentor

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Harvard Business Review on 1/21/2020 by Mark Horoszowski

(Editor’s Note: See POPAI’s Mentorship Program for Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, and Probation Supervisors.)

The research on the power of mentorship is pretty clear: People with mentors perform better, advance in their careers faster, and even experience more work-life satisfaction. And mentors benefit, too. After all, “to teach is to learn twice.” Despite all these benefits, and even though 76% of working professionals believe that a mentor is important to growth, more than 54% do not have such a relationship.

The problem is often that people don’t know how to find a mentor or establish a relationship. The following eight steps can help.

1. Define your goals and specific needs.
Get out a pen and paper, and write out your career goals. Make sure they are SMART. Then, list out some of the biggest obstacles to achieving them. This specificity will help you decide what type of mentor you should be looking for. Maybe you need to develop new skills, expand your network in a specific sector, or build confidence to have some tough conversations. By first understanding where you want to be, as well as the biggest opportunities and gaps to getting there, you’ll identify how a mentor can truly be helpful to you.

2. Write the “job description” of your ideal mentor.
Equipped with your goals and what you need to help achieve them, think through how a mentor can help. Write out the type of mentor that can help you seize your biggest opportunities and/or navigate your challenges. Be specific here. Perhaps you need someone that can help you accomplish a project, make introductions to people at a certain level within a specific industry, or coach you through a tough negotiation. In your job description, make sure to also include the “why” – just like companies want potential hires to understand the bigger purpose of their firm, explain why mentoring you will tap into something bigger. Make sure you include this job description when you reach out to potential mentors, so they know why you’re asking for a mentor and are more willing to help (covered in the 4th and 5th steps). Continue reading →

Judges prefer Zoom for remote court hearings, survey says

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The Indiana Lawyer on 5/20/2020

Judges side with Zoom as their top choice of platforms for remote court hearings during the COVID-19 crisis, a National Judicial College survey found.

An unscientific poll received more than 700 responses from jurists nationwide, 48% of whom said Zoom is their go-to platform for remote video court proceedings. The WebEx platform was a distant second with 25%, followed by Skype (9.69%), Microsoft Teams (9.12%), GoToMeeting (6.13%), Google Hangouts (3.85%), BlueJeans (3.56%), CourtCall (3.13%), Adobe Connect (0.14%) and other (10.54%).

Several judges reported that Zoom streamlined operations and that they plan to continue using the service even after social distancing requirements have been lifted.

Judges said they liked these Zoom features:

  • The “waiting room” that limits admission to meetings;
  • Recordability, which can create copies of hearings for court files;
  • Breakout rooms for confidential counsel, and;
  • Greater access to the justice system overall.

A summary of the results, including judges’ comments, can be found here. 

The State of the Child

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Indiana Court Times on 5/4/2020 by Julie L. Whitman, MSW, Executive Director | Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana


Chief Justice Loretta Rush, previous chair of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana, addresses the crowd during State of the Child at the State House. Photo by Josh Hicks

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana hosted the Indiana Youth Institute’s “State of the Child” presentation at the State House on February 25. The State of the Child has become an annual event to launch the most recent version of the Indiana KIDS COUNT Data Book. Every year IYI publishes this compilation of the most up-to-date statistics and trends in child well-being across four domains: families and communities, economic well-being, education, and health.

Because the information is particularly useful to policymakers concerned with children and families, the event is held during the legislative session. IYI is a nonprofit partner that authors the book and presents the data. The State House event is the first of what will be more than twenty-five similar presentations across the state, bringing child well-being data to local communities.

“It’s in all our best interest to make sure each and every Indiana child is healthy, engaged and supported, and to do so we must first understand their current reality,” said IYI President and CEO Tami Silverman.

A few sobering facts about that current reality include:

  • Compared to neighboring states, Indiana has the highest number of children involved in the foster care system
  • Large racial disparities persist in the use of suspension from school
  • An increasing number of children are being raised by grandparents
  • 14% of Indiana’s households reported having at least one severe housing problem
  • Indiana’s high school graduation rate has been decreasing
  • Hoosier children and youth are diagnosed with depression and anxiety at rates higher than the national average
  • 1 in 3 children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese, and 1 in 6 children are food insecure
  • Indiana has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the Midwest

The State of the Child event emphasized that all Hoosiers have a role to play in solving these challenges, whether that is to volunteer as a CASA, help revise school discipline policies, or spread the word about safe sleep practices for infants. The first step in solving problems is understanding them, and the Indiana KIDS COUNT Data Book is a good place to start.


The Small-Business Die-Off Is Here

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Route Fifty on 5/4/2020 by Annie Lowrey,The Atlantic

COMMENTARY | Many small businesses won’t survive, and that will change the landscape of American commerce for years to come.

Outside of Boston, a marketing company is struggling to figure out how to cover its bills. In Indiana, a dance studio is waiting on three emergency-loan applications. In Baltimore, a deli is closed and desperate for help.

The government is engaged in an unprecedented effort to save such companies as pandemic-related shutdowns stretch into the spring. But Washington’s policies are too complicated, too small, and too slow for many firms: Across the United States, millions of small businesses are struggling, and millions are failing. The great small-business die-off is here, and it will change the landscape of American commerce, auguring slower growth and less innovation in the future.

Small businesses went into this recession more fragile than their larger cousins: Before the crisis hit, half of them had less than two weeks’ worth of cash on hand, making it impossible to cover rent, insurance, utilities, and payroll through any kind of sustained downturn. And the coronavirus downturn has indeed been shocking and sustained: Data from credit-card processors suggest that roughly 30 percent of small businesses have shut down during the pandemic. Transaction volumes, a decent-enough proxy for sales, show even bigger dips: Travel agencies are down 98 percent, photography studios 88 percent, day-care centers 75 percent, and advertising agencies 60 percent.
Continue reading →

3-2 Supreme Court reverses, finds covered bridge arsonist insane

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The Indiana Lawyer on 5/19/2020 by Katie Stancombe

A man who confessed to burning down two Indiana covered bridges has had his guilty but mentally ill verdict reversed by a divided Indiana Supreme Court. The 3-2 majority cited unanimous expert opinion that the defendant is legally insane in overturning a jury’s conclusion.

In 2005, Jesse Payne was charged with two counts of arson after he was accused of burning down two historic Parke County covered bridges, as well as attempted arson of a third bridge. Those charges were supplemented with a habitual-offender enhancement, and a trial court later found Payne incompetent to stand trial until 2016.

At his jury trial two years later, Payne asserted the insanity defense and three court-appointed mental-health experts unanimously concluded that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and delusional disorder that left him unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Despite the expert unanimity, a jury rejected the insanity defense and found Payne guilty but mentally ill on all counts, sentencing him to an aggregate 90 years in the Department of Correction. A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the demeanor evidence of Payne’s deliberate, premeditated conduct was sufficient to support the jury’s conclusion that he was legally sane at the time of the crimes. Continue reading →

The Midwest Gang Investigators Association, Indiana Chapter 2020 State Training Event

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MGIA Indiana Chapter
2020 State Training
August 18 & 19, 2020
Hosted by Indiana Chapter of MGIA

Embassy Suites by Hilton South Bend at Notre Dame

1140 E. Angela Blvd., South Bend, Indiana 46617
16 hours of ILEA Certified Training
Lunch is on your own. Refreshments will be on-site.

Training Schedule
Registration: Starts at 7:00am on 8/18/2020
Class starts on both days at 8:00am & ends at 5:00pm
Lunch is from 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Kurt Bensheimer (Deputy Chief – Indiana Dept. of Corrections)
Topics: Folk Nation Gangs

Jason Wilke (Captain – Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections – Retired)
Topics: People Nation Gangs

Download information and registration form from the MGIA Website

In Some States that Are Reopening, Workers Face an Ultimatum: Go Back to Work or Lose Unemployment

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Route Fifty on 5/4/2020 by Emma Coleman

Leaders in at least a handful of states have made clear there will be limits on who can claim unemployment and general worker concerns about safety likely won’t pass muster.

As some states begin to reopen their economies beyond just essential businesses, many workers remain leery about the prospect of returning to work due to warnings from public health officials that reopening efforts are moving too fast. In a confusing new world, with a patchwork of laws potentially offering some protection, previously laid off workers now have questions as to whether they can be legally forced back to work. In a handful of states, however, state leaders have made clear they face an ultimatum: get back to work or lose unemployment payments.

In the effort to reopen parts of the Iowa economy, Gov. Kim Reynolds last week laid out the rules to the staff of restaurants, malls, gyms, and retail stores that reopened last Friday.

“If you’re an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to, that’s a voluntary quit,” said Reynolds, a Republican. “Therefore, they would not be eligible for the unemployment money.”

Similar situations are playing out across the country.

State leaders in Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas all said that workers should not count on receiving an unemployment check if their employer decides to reopen and they are offered their old jobs back. In Ohio and Iowa, the state is asking businesses to get in on the enforcement efforts and report workers who decline an offer to return. The Georgia Department of Labor said that “feeling unsafe in the workplace” will not qualify someone for unemployment.

But some workers in reopening industries say their decision to go back to work or not is anything but “voluntary.”

Tyler Stone, a barista in Des Moines, Iowa, told ABC News that he was scared to go back to work last week. Stone has asthma, but fears losing his job or unemployment benefits if he doesn’t show up to work. “I don’t really have a choice,” he said. “If I do the thing that I’m being advised to by my doctor, which is stay home, I lose all my income. I can’t not pay my bills … The governor’s going to get thousands more people sick and killed in the name of ‘getting Iowans back work,’ meanwhile, those who are most vulnerable have had the rug pulled out from under them and been given an ultimatum of risking their health at work or staying home without income.”

The Iowa Policy Project, a liberal-leaning state policy research center, disputed the legality of giving workers that ultimatum. In a statement released April 30, IPP executive director Mike Owen said that Reynolds is “misrepresenting workers’ legal protections during the health emergency” because the Iowa Administrative Code allows employees to collect unemployment benefits if they leave due to unsafe working conditions or “any change that would jeopardize the worker’s safety, health or morals.”

“The rules clearly protect workers who want to go back to work, but will find themselves in a new, dangerous situation in the workplace—our new world with the deadly spread of Covid-19,” Owen said. “The Governor’s comments have the effect of bullying workers into work arrangements that they could never have expected. [Workers should] not cast aside the rights they have under Iowa law just because the Governor goes to a microphone and says otherwise.”

The state’s director of workforce development, Beth Townsend, said there will be exceptions to give some workers flexibility. People who have  been infected with coronavirus or live with someone in their household who has been, along with those in high-risk medical categories, can still qualify for unemployment if they choose not to return to work. Still, Townsend said that “it may be difficult to establish a good faith basis to quit due to safety concerns” if employers are following guidelines for a safe work environment. Townsend added that it will take “more than a mere assertion by the employee” to prove that a workplace is unsafe.

Similar measures are taking hold in other states, as well. Texas, for example, is exempting workers older than 65 or those who live with people who are elderly and at-risk, those in a two-week quarantine for direct exposure to Covid-19, and those whose child care options are closed. Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that the state must ensure people who cannot get back to work safely stay home. “This flexibility in the unemployment benefit process will help ensure that Texans with certain health and safety concerns will not be penalized for choosing not to return to work,” he said.

Another concern of some officials is that employees will employ a simple calculus when deciding whether or not to return to their workplaces: will they make more in wages, or on unemployment? Typically, those receiving unemployment make less than what they would if they were working, but the recently passed federal stimulus package changed that equation, with unemployed people now eligible to receive an additional $600 per week until the end of July. Roughly half of all workers on unemployment are making more than they did before the pandemic. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott spoke about the issue last week, tweeting that some workers, “if given the chance to make more on a government program than in a job … will make the rational and reasonable decision to delay going back to work, hampering our economic recovery.”

In Oklahoma, where the minimum wage is $7.25 and many workers are making more on unemployment, Teresa Thomas Keller, the deputy director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, said that the state may stop sending residents the additional $600 per week from the CARES Act. “If it was a huge problem, and we felt like people were taking advantage, we could cut it off,” she said.

As states reopen, decisions by state leaders on what to allow with unemployment will affect millions of workers. More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic, but there may be a significantly higher number of recently unemployed people due to an enormous backlog of unprocessed claims at state offices, long wait times at overwhelmed call centers, and crashed online claim forms.

Progressive leaders have argued one way for businesses to lure back employees currently making more on unemployment is to simply pay people more. But while that could be an option for large retailers that have retained profits during the pandemic, it won’t be an easy lift for small businesses, especially those like restaurants that operate on razor-thin margins and are now required to operate at reduced capacity. Some states are offering essential employees hazard pay for working a certain number of hours each week, but such efforts are varied, and may not cover employees of unessential businesses, like gyms and barbershops, that have begun to reopen in certain places. Other states are scrambling to ensure that businesses take protective measures to create a safe work environment.

A group of 29 Senate Democrats last week called for the U.S. Department of Labor to create guidelines and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that reopening businesses are safe for workers to return to. “Employers need clear guidance on what they should do to ensure safe workplaces,” the lawmakers wrote. “Such protections are a matter of life-and-death for the workers themselves but are also vital to ensuring workplaces are not hotbeds of infection endangering workers, customers, and their families and communities.”

Guidelines for resuming operations of the trial courts and Order extending time for expanding trial court operations: 2 new documents from the Indiana Supreme Court

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The Indiana Supreme Court, in concert with other state officials, is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and has responded with guidance for state and local courts. This page is updated daily with information about how courts are continuing operations while maintaining safe practices and complying with the Governor’s executive orders issued March 23.

Latest Updates

Indiana Dept. of Correction Trains Deployed National Guard as Facility Force Multipliers

New Castle, Ind. – Like so many other employers across Indiana, the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) has been impacted by members of the workforce contracting the COVID-19 virus.  While other businesses may be able to operate with a reduction in their workforce, the unique duties performed by correctional staff must continue with proper staffing levels.  Fortunately for the IDOC, both the Indiana Army National Guard (INARNG) and the Indiana Air National Guard (INANG) were available for deployment to assist with exterior security operations.  This allowed for the reassignment of regular IDOC staff to duties inside correctional facilities.

To prepare the guard members for their assignments, the IDOC Training Division conducted two-day training sessions at Purdue’s Northwest campus, near Westville, IN as well as at the Correctional Training Institute in New Castle, IN.  All aspects of the training were designed to provide operational awareness during temporary assignments at select IDOC correctional facilities.  Some points of training included defensive tactics, search practices, radio etiquette, use of restraints, recognizing criminal manipulation and basic security principles.  Once trained, the soldiers and airmen were able to assist with exterior perimeter safety patrols and other administrative duties.

“This joint agency cooperation helps ensure the safety and security of all of our staff and offenders,” said IDOC’s Jim Basinger, Deputy Commissioner of Operations. “The Indiana Army and Air National Guard have been an incredible ally during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate their service to the Indiana Department of Correction, the state of Indiana, and their country.”

Locations where Guard members have been assisting include the Plainfield Correctional Facility, where they are filling commissary orders, and at the Pendleton and Westville Correctional Facilities in support of exterior facility operations.

For more information on IDOC’s response to COVID-19 and offender and staff statistics visit our website.

High court further expands video, phone proceedings during COVID-19

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The Indiana Lawyer on 5/14/2020 by Katie Stancombe

Indiana Supreme Court justices have permitted the expansion of remote proceedings until further order amid the coronavirus public-health emergency.

“Pursuant to Indiana Administrative Rule 17 and this Court’s inherent authority to supervise the administration of all courts of this state, the Court finds that the trial courts’ efficient and effective operation to hold timely hearings and dispose of cases requires broader authority to conduct court business remotely,” says the order signed by Chief Justice Loretta Rush.

The order broadens Indiana Administrative Rule 14, which governs trial court use of telephone and audiovisual telecommunication. The order provides that courts may use audiovisual communication to conduct proceedings whenever possible to ensure all matters proceed expeditiously and fairly under the circumstances. That includes all proceedings in felony cases, including guilty pleas; sentencings where the defendant waives the right to be present in court; and any other proceeding with witness testimony where the defendant waives the right of confrontation.

Additionally, any party not in agreement to the manner of the remote proceeding must object at the outset of the proceeding, on the record, and the court must make findings of good cause to conduct the remote proceeding.

The court may also use telephonic communication for the proceeding for a party or witness if the court finds audiovisual communication is not possible, practical, or safe for a victim, and no party will be prejudiced, the order states.

Likewise, the order says all proceedings must be consistent with a party’s constitutional rights.

Once jury trials can resume by order of the Supreme Court, parties may agree to use audiovisual communications, consistent with the order, to select a jury. In civil jury trials, the parties may also agree to conduct the entire trial using remote audiovisual communications, the order says.

Courts may allow a witness to testify remotely except in criminal proceedings involving the right of confrontation or the right to be present, absent personal waiver.

Lastly, the court must also create a procedure for creating a recording, at every stage of the proceeding, sufficient to enable a transcript to be produced for the record on appeal.

Join the Fight Against the COVID-19 Pandemic – IDOC Call for Mask Supplies

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Carlisle, Ind. – Several facilities in the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) have joined in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by making fabric masks for both inside the facilities and in the community. However, facilities are starting to run out of the needed supplies to continue the production of masks. That’s where you come in. You can make a difference by donating 100 % cotton material, hair ties and elastic. The hair ties have been found to be a suitable substitute for elastic if needed since elastic is somewhat scarce right now.

The production within the correctional setting is meeting the needs of the community by producing literally 1000’s of masks for first responders, hospitals, local emergency management agencies, law enforcement agencies, medical clinics, grocery store staff, pharmacies, and military personnel. The IDOC has plenty of offenders who want to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but the IDOC needs your help for the production of masks to continue.

If you would like to donate items for masks to the IDOC to help, please contact Community Service Director Jackie Storm at dstorm@idoc.in.gov or 812-398-5050, Extension 3117. She will assist you with the donation process.

Policy Reforms Can Strengthen Community Supervision

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Pew on 4/23/2020

A framework to improve probation and parole


Since 1980, the nation’s community supervision population has ballooned by almost 240 percent. As of 2016, 1 in 55 U.S. adults (nearly 4.5 million people) are on probation or parole, more than twice the number incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails. Historically, probation and parole were intended to provide a less punitive, more constructive alternative to incarceration, but a growing body of evidence suggests that a frequent emphasis on surveillance and monitoring of people under supervision rather than on promoting their success, along with the resource demands of ever-larger caseloads, has transformed community supervision into a primary driver of incarceration. This shift has produced an array of troubling consequences, not only for individuals on probation and parole but for taxpayers and communities as well.

In recent years, a growing body of evidence on what works in community supervision has revealed a set of key challenges that undermine the system’s effectiveness and merit attention from policymakers:

  • Community supervision is a leading driver of incarceration. Probation and parole are intended to be alternatives to incarceration. However, people who failed on supervision account for a significant percentage of prison and jail admissions. According to the Council of State Governments, nearly 25 percent of all state prison admissions in 2017 were associated with technical violations of supervision, such as breaking rules or failing drug tests, and an additional 20 percent were the result of new crimes committed while on probation or parole.
  • Excessive rules can present barriers to successful completion of supervision. Requirements, such as frequent reporting, ongoing and random drug testing, curfews, electronic monitoring, and the payment of fines and fees, make it difficult for many people on probation and parole to keep a job, maintain stable housing, participate in drug or mental health treatment, or fulfill financial obligations, such as child support.
  • Agencies often inappropriately supervise low-risk individuals. Research indicates that subjecting lowrisk individuals to intensive supervision or treatment leads to worse outcomes than no intervention and that adhering instead to a lighter-touch approach for this population does not result in increased arrests or diminish public safety. Nevertheless, many people who pose a low risk of reoffending or have been convicted of minor crimes continue to undergo inappropriate supervision. This drives up costs and runs counter to what the evidence recommends.
  • Overextended supervision officers have less time to devote to high-risk, high-need individuals. As caseloads grow, many agencies struggle to prioritize supervision and services for individuals at a high risk of reoffending as well as those with significant needs related to substance misuse, housing instability, or financial insecurity. As a result, probation and parole officers often lack sufficient resources to promote success for the people who are most likely to fail on supervision.
  • Many people with substance use or mental health disorders do not receive treatment. Studies show that a large proportion of people on community supervision struggle with alcohol or other drug dependence, a problem compounded by co-occurring mental health conditions. Moreover, many states struggle to provide people on supervision with adequate treatment for these conditions, which contributes to unsuccessful outcomes. And though the availability of treatment has improved in some areas, many people on probation and parole cannot access needed services because of financial, transportation, and other resource limitations.

Continue reading →

Amid Pandemic, A Call to Rebalance State and Local Power

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Route Fifty on 5/4/2020 by Bill Lucia

As flare ups between states and localities over the coronavirus response get attention, one scholar says it may be a good time to reexamine the relationship between the two levels of government.

Whether it’s plastic bag bans, minimum wage hikes, paid sick leave or a host of other issues, localities around the U.S. in recent years have often found themselves blocked under state law from adopting policies that their own local elected leaders and voters support.

More recently, similar clashes involving state and local authority have come up in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, with governors and local leaders at odds in some cases over the best way to respond to the disease outbreak.

In a new research paper, a New York University professor argues that the pandemic could provide an opportunity to reexamine and refashion the relationship between states and localities and the balance of power between them.

“On a daily basis, or an hourly basis, you can sit back and just see the flare ups, and the arguments and the tensions and the battles that are ensuing and will ensue between local government and state government,” Neil Kleiman said in an interview. Continue reading →