Top Emerging Trends

    • 22 Jan 2014

    Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down

    On January 17, 2014, Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley released his opinion in Applewhite v. Commonwealth (330-MD-2012), in which he overturned Pennsylvania’s voter ID requirement. This marked yet another chapter in what has been a controversial and much-debated issue since the law was enacted in 2012. While Pennsylvania law has long required first-time voters at a particular polling place...
    • 11 Dec 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal Spotlight: Hot Issues Won’t Vary Much in 2014

    By Rich Ehisen | For most states, 2013 was a welcome respite from the usual election year political gridlock. That all changes next year, with 38 governorships, 46 legislative chambers, 33 United States Senate seats and all 435 House of Representatives seats up for grabs. But amidst all that politicking, lawmakers have plenty of real issues to tackle. Over the next several weeks, SNCJ editors Rich Ehisen and Korey...
    • 2 Dec 2013

    Jay Shapiro: The Supreme Court Takes Another Look At Consent Searches & Georgia v. Randolph

    By Jay Shapiro This Term, the Court will have the opportunity to state whether its rule in Georgia v. Randolph is restricted to the very specific facts of that case or if there is a broader application of that holding. In Fernandez v. California , the Court examines a situation where the police were first denied consent to search by one person, the suspect, and then later granted consent. In this analysis, Jay Shapiro...
    • 23 Nov 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Momentum Shift On Gay Marriage?

    With Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's (D) signing of SB 10 last week, his state became the 16th to legalize same-sex marriage. But that action may have marked a major turn in the battle over the issue. This year five states with Democrat-controlled legislatures — Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Rhode Island — passed bills legalizing same-sex marriage. The bills were all happily signed by the states'...
    • 20 Nov 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Congress Struggles To Find Balance In Flood Insurance Reform

    By Rich Ehisen | When Lynne Kampel bought her small home on Long Island in 1990, its location across the road from Randall Bay's inlet waters, only blocks from the famed Nautical Mile, was a real selling point. So was its price tag, a steal at just $105,000, which made ponying up the monthly mortgage an affordable proposition. There was also another factor making a home that close to the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean...
    • 19 Oct 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Nevada Upping Ante On Medical Marijuana

    In 1931 the Nevada Legislature passed "The Wide Open Gambling Bill," which helped turn a nascent industry into a cornerstone of the state's economy. This past June the state passed a law that could do the same for another budding industry: medical marijuana. "It exceeds our wildest dreams," said Sen. Tick Segerblom (D), a sponsor of the law legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state...
    • 19 Oct 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Federal Fiscal Crisis Over - For Now

    Last week, 16 days into the federal government shutdown and only hours away from a possible federal default with potentially global economic repercussions, Congress passed and President Obama signed an agreement ending the fiscal crisis. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) announced the deal on the Senate floor last Wednesday after the House failed to come...
    • 17 Oct 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Pot Taxes, Gambling & GMOs Bound For November Ballots

    Compiled by Korey Clark As of this writing, voters in six states will weigh a total of 31 ballot measures on Nov. 5, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of them are relatively minor, but a few are drawing plenty of attention and campaign cash. In Colorado voters will decide whether to impose a double-levy on newly legalized recreational marijuana sales in the state (Proposition AA). The...
    • 8 Oct 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Justice Department Sues To Block N.C. Voter ID Law

    The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit last month to block North Carolina's new voter ID law, which some critics have called the most sweeping of its kind. The law was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) in August, just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act requiring a handful of mostly Southern states to obtain federal preapproval before making any changes...
    • 30 Jul 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: What Supreme Court Decisions Could Mean For the States

    By Lou Cannon The Supreme Court's momentous rulings last month on three issues shook up the country and the states. The court gave conservatives a victory on voting rights while moving the country in a liberal direction on marriage equality. Disappointing both sides, the court also kept affirmative action on life support in a case involving admission to the University of Texas. All of these rulings may have unintended...
    • 24 Jul 2013

    Ignorance Is Risk,: Response Options To NSA Monitoring Of Attorney-Client Communications, Part 2

    By Thomas H. Clarke, Jr., and Lael D. Andara Read Ignorance Is Risk: Impact of NSA Monitoring Technologies On Attorney-Client Communications, Part 1 . Faced with the very real possibility that every keystroke, mouse click, image, and audio/video file is subject to monitoring, we now address safeguarding attorney-client communications. As was noted in Part 1, NSA does not deny the monitoring of metadata related...
    • 24 Jul 2013

    Ignorance Is Risk: Impact of NSA Monitoring Technologies On Attorney-Client Communications, Part 1

    By Thomas H. Clarke, Jr., and Lael D. Andara Knew or should have known, a standard often applied in a myriad of legal context, could soon be the one applied to attorneys who ignore the risks associated with communicating with clients using modern technologies (i.e., text messaging, emails, telephone calls, and voice-mail) without appreciating the risk. “Ignorance is Bliss,” is a dangerous proposition in...
    • 16 Jul 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Former Preclearance States Moving Ahead With Voting Law Changes

    Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last month freeing states with a history of voter discrimination from having to obtain federal approval before making any changes to their voting laws, Texas officials announced they would begin enforcing a strict photo ID requirement for voters, which was blocked by a federal court last year on the ground that it would disproportionately affect minority voters. Officials...
    • 3 Jul 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Governors Brace For Marriage Fight To Return To States

    Governors reacted somewhat predictably to the Supreme Court's historic decisions supporting same-sex marriage last Wednesday, with Democrats hailing the rulings and Republicans bemoaning them. But there is one thing both sides can agree on: the battle over gay marriage is sure to now shift back to the states. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was one of the first GOP governors to react to the court's decision to...
    • 27 Jun 2013

    Supreme Court Finds No Standing To Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Proponents of California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage did not have standing to appeal a ruling finding the ballot initiative unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court held June 26 in a 5-4 ruling ( Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin M. Perry, et al. , No. 12-144, U.S. Sup.). [lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs for this case and read the enhanced...
    • 26 Jun 2013

    High Court: Ban On Benefits For Same-Sex Married Couples Unconstitutional

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) In a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife for purposes of all federal statutes. The decision means that same sex couples married in states that recognize same-sex marriage as legal cannot be denied...
    • 5 Jun 2013

    Illinois House of Representatives Fails to Vote on Marriage Bill

    "This is a stunning failure in the Illinois House. Lambda Legal's lawsuit will move forward..." At the close of the legislative session, the Illinois House of Representatives did not call for a floor vote or advance The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, the bill that would grant same-sex couples in Illinois the freedom to marry. Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Jim Bennett, Director...
    • 20 May 2013

    Sands Anderson PC: A Cloud of Suspicion: Legal Issues Surrounding Cloud Computing

    By Donna Ray Berkelhammer We have seen a rise in the number of start-ups offering cloud-based services and are reviewing an increasing number of SaaS or cloud-based software services contracts for our clients. Cloud computing may be a viable business model for either vendor or business owner, but as with anything, you have to do your homework. Cloud computing (also Software as a Service or SaaS) is using hardware...
    • 16 Apr 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Connecticut Enacts Sweeping Gun Control Law

    In Connecticut, where less than four months ago Adam Lanza fired 154 shots in four minutes from a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, killing 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, lawmakers passed and Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed what some called the most comprehensive gun control measure in the nation. The measure (SB 1160), drafted over the last month by a bipartisan group of legislative leaders...
    • 12 Apr 2013

    Wyoming Man’s ‘Just Compensation’ Case Reinstated by Washington, D.C., Appeals Court

    By William Perry Pendley DENVER - A Wyoming man whose lawsuit-in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., for "just compensation" for use of his private property as a federal trail-was dismissed in November 2011, won a victory March 26 when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reinstated his lawsuit. Marvin M. Brandt of Fox Park, who claims title to a railroad right-of-way and...
    • 25 Mar 2013

    U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Ruinous Forestry Ruling

    By William Perry Pendley DENVER - A western, nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience in environmental and forestry issues on March 20 celebrated a near-unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States reversing a ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that held that all public roads associated with forestry in the Pacific Northwest are...
    • 13 Mar 2013

    State Net Capitol Journal: Gay Marriage Battle Begins in Minnesota

    Emboldened by Minnesota voters' simultaneous rejection of a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex unions and termination of GOP control of both houses of the Legislature in November, a pair of DFL lawmakers have introduced legislation seeking to overturn the state's statutory ban on same-sex marriage. "This is a day that Minnesotans should be very proud of," said Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL), co-sponsor...
    • 9 Mar 2013

    Fulbright Team Files Amici Curiae Briefs on Behalf of Over 60 Public Interest Organizations in DOMA and Proposition 8 Cases

    On February 28, 2013, Fulbright filed amici curiae briefs on behalf of over 60 public interest organizations with the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases. The briefs urge the Court to apply heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection clause to classifications that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The Court will hear oral arguments on March 26 in Hollingsworth...
    • 4 Feb 2013

    California's Rainwater Recapture Act Lets State Residents Capture, Use Harvested Rainwater

    By Scott Slater and Courtney Davis of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, L.L.P. Passage of the Rainwater Recapture Act of 2012 affords residential users and private and public entities with a new source of on-site water supply, which should reduce reliance on potable water for landscaping needs and provide a recharge benefit to underlying groundwater aquifers. Excerpt: Overview Californians may now legally capture...
    • 29 Jan 2013

    Free White Paper Download: Cloud Computing: Data Has a New House

    By Terry Williams of LexisNexis and Richard Perrin of Dickstein Shapiro To get an idea of the "pitch" for cloud computing in the law firm, imagine this fictional conversation between a senior litigation attorney at a large law firm and an executive of a company thatprovides cloud computing services: Attorney: My firm is being squeezed by rising operational costs (particularly related to technology) and...