The State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) firmly believes that real government reform, innovative policy changes, and the big ideas that will solve America's problems are going to be found in state capitols and not Washington, D.C. As has been the case for several years, there is grid-lock in Washington, and Federal government spending and regulation are out of control, while our country's problems continue to be unaddressed by Washington.

Contrast this with the states, who are getting things done -- some better than others. America is at its most prosperous and productive when there is limited government, less spending, less taxes, less dictation from Washington, and less encroachment into the states.

SGLF will promote innovative reforms advocated by our conservative elected leaders and defend them when the special interest proponents of the status quo attack these elected leaders. SGLF is dedicated to educating policymakers and the public about the benefits of smaller government, lower taxes, balanced budgets, and efficiency in governing.

SGLF is a 501 (c)(4) social welfare organization and is a strategic partner to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) - home to the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, Republican Attorneys General Association, Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, and the Republican Secretaries of State Committee.

S&P puts negative outlook on Illinois credit rating

Written by Reuters for Chicago Tribune on July 23, 2014Economic Prosperity
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Wednesday revised the outlook on Illinois' A-minus credit rating to negative, citing risks over the implementation of a recent pension reform law. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Wednesday warned that Illinois' already low credit rating could sink further if the state is unable to implement reforms to curb its big unfunded pension liability and balance its budget. The credit rating agency revised the outlook on Illinois' A-minus credit rating to negative from developing, citing a recent state supreme court ruling that could derail a new pension reform law and the state's structurally imbalanced state budget. “If the pension reform is declared unconstitutional or invalid, or implementation is delayed and there is a continued lack of consensus and action among policymakers on the structural budget gaps and payables outstanding, we believe there could be a profound and negative effect on Illinois' budgetary performance and liquidity over the next two years and that this could lead to a downgrade,” S&P said in a statement.
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Ohio collecting more in online sales taxes

Written by Associated Press for Dayton Daily News on July 21, 2014Economic Prosperity
DAYTON — Online sales-tax collections hit a record $45 million in Ohio in the budget year that just ended, a 68 percent increase from five years ago. The money is pouring in after Ohio officially joined a multistate effort to streamline sales tax for online purchases in January. The Ohio Department of Taxation estimates that the state stands to eventually tap into $308 million worth of tax revenue from online sales. Still, Ohio doesn’t have legal authority to collect from online retailers that don’t have a physical location in the state. Amazon.com’s closest warehouse is in Hebron, Ky. The result: Many consumers don’t get charged sales tax on millions of dollars’ worth of purchases. While consumers save money, local businesses say the practice hurts them because bargain hunters will turn to online retailers that don’t charge taxes, especially for big-ticket items. Local governments say that even though the state is collecting more online sales taxes, they still are missing out on taxes that could help pay for paving roads and prosecuting criminals.
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Officials mull using drones to watch over Ohio prisons

Written by Jeremy Pelzer for Northeast Ohio Media Group on July 17, 2014Immigration & Homeland Security
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio is considering becoming the first state in the nation to use aerial drones to patrol state prisons, according to corrections officials. The idea is still in its very early stages, but Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials say unmanned aircraft would be a big help in monitoring inmates and catching outsiders throwing guns and other contraband over prison fences. The DRC is seeking public input on whether to move ahead with testing drones at two southwest Ohio prisons, Lebanon Correctional Institution and Warren Correctional Institution. If public response is positive, the DRC would begin testing in late August or early September for about six months, said Ed Voorhies, the agency's managing director of operations.
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Common Core faces test in North Carolina

Written by Sarah Ferris for The Washington Post on July 17, 2014Education Reform
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory will allow the State Board of Education to rewrite its Common Core standards, backing away from his previous support of the controversial curriculum. The state Senate approved a bill last week that charges a statewide commission to review the two-year-old math and reading standards — but falls short of a full repeal. McCrory said Wednesday that he would sign the bill. “It does not change any of North Carolina’s education standards,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “It does initiate a much-needed, comprehensive and thorough review of standards.” The Republican-controlled House and Senate had put forward dueling bills to repeal the standards before the start of the next school year. A compromise bill reached last week puts the decision in the hands of a 17-member review commission, made up mostly of education and business leaders, rather than immediately abandoning the standards.
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S.D. GDP gets boost from agriculture, health care

Written by David Montgomery for Argus Leader on June 13, 2014Economic Prosperity
South Dakota's economy continued to grow last year, a broad boom led by agriculture, health care and finance. The 6.8 percent growth in South Dakota's GDP was fourth highest in the nation and almost twice the national rate. Adjusted for inflation, South Dakota's gross domestic product grew by 3.1 percent last year. That's still among the best rates in the country. Adjusting for inflation accounts for rising prices and provides a better comparison of the economy's strength. Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product is called "real GDP." The biggest contributor to South Dakota's economy boom was the farm sector. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting combined grew to $6.3 billion last year from $4.7 billion in 2012 — a 14.4 percent increase, adjusted for inflation.
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After hours of strife, lawmakers pass budget without Medicaid expansion

Written by LAURA VOZZELLA for The Washington Post on June 13, 2014Health Care
RICHMOND — The Virginia General Assembly adopted a long-delayed state budget late Thursday, acting after an hours-long debate among newly ascendant Senate Republicans who fought among themselves over whether the plan threw up sufficient barriers to Medicaid expansion. The Republicans, who gained control of the Senate Monday when a Democrat resigned from what had been an evenly split chamber, approved a spending deal hashed out by a bipartisan group of House and Senate negotiators. But they first amended it in a way intended to make it harder to expand the federal-state healthcare program for the poor under the federal Affordable Care Act — Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s top legislative priority. As midnight approached, the plan moved over for consideration by the House of Delegates, where it quickly passed. It was expected to then head to McAuliffe’s desk, but with no certainty that he would approve it and avert a government shutdown before July 1.
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Fallout from fracking bans: Family farms, elderly devastated in Mountain West

Written by Valerie Richardson for The Washington Times on June 12, 2014Energy & Environment
LOVELAND, Colo. — When foes of fracking complain about moneybags billionaires profiteering from “Big Oil,” they’re probably not thinking of people like Bob and Cristy Koeneke. The Koenekes are wheat farmers who lease the mineral rights on their property to oil and gas producers. The royalties they receive from the leases enabled the retirees to put two sons through Colorado State University and keep up the family farming operation. “It’s not that we’re wealthy fat cats,” said Mr. Koeneke, a retired truck driver who farms land on Colorado’s eastern plains that his family has owned for generations. “This [income] allows us to continue to farm.” Overlooked in Colorado’s fierce political battle over the booming practice of hydraulic fracturing are the state’s 600,000 mineral owners, many of whom depend on the royalties from oil and gas leases for their livelihoods. Those owners are growing increasingly alarmed as anti-fracking groups demand moratoriums or outright bans on oil and gas production in jurisdictions across the state.
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Boom offers economic growth, opportunities in La.

Written by TED GRIGGS AND TIMOTHY BOONE for The New Orleans Advocate on June 12, 2014Economic Prosperity
Methanex’s decision to relocate two methanol plants from Chile to Geismar demonstrates the advantages driving the industrial boom in south Louisiana: easy access to the Mississippi River, natural gas and large plots of land, as well as a major limitation, transportation, said Jessica Kemp, vice president of policy and advocacy at the Center for Planning Excellence. “If you drive down River Road, you’ll see a dozen similar sites and you’ll notice they all have these great big parking lots for these thousands of workers,” Kemp told attendees at the Connect Boom Without Bust Policy Forum. “You’ll also notice there’s only one way in and one way out." About 100 people were on hand for the opening session. The challenge for the state and southeast Louisiana in particular will be figuring out the best way to accommodate the coming industrial, business and residential growth and the resulting traffic, Kemp said. The goal is to create sustainable growth and avoid the bust that often follows a boom. The most conservative estimates show $60 billion in major project investment in the state, with $21 billion in the Baton Rouge-to-New Orleans corridor. “We don’t see a lot of what’s coming yet, but right now, it’s like a big cannonball moving through a python,” said Dan Borne, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association.
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Bentley, state leaders announce prison overhaul effort

Written by The Associated Press for The Montgomery Advertiser on June 11, 2014Legal Reform
Gov. Robert Bentley and state leaders on Tuesday announced an attempt to overhaul the state's severely overcrowded prison system, considered at risk of a federal takeover. Bentley said state prisons are at 192 percent of capacity. "It's an issue that is not going to wait. We need help," Bentley said. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a partnership between the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Department of Justice, will examine the state system and suggest ways to contain costs without risking public safety. The nonpartisan Council of State Governments will help Alabama through the review. Bentley requested the assistance after a series of blistering findings about state prisons. The Department of Justice in January sent a letter accusing the state of keeping female inmates in unconstitutional conditions because of widespread sexual abuse at Alabama's only prison for women.
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California laws on teacher tenure, layoffs and dismissal are struck down

Written by Sharon Noguchi for San Jose Mercury News on June 10, 2014Education Reform
In a landmark decision with national ramifications, a Los Angeles judge ruled Tuesday that California laws governing teacher tenure, firing and layoffs violate students' constitutional right to education equality -- a stunning victory for the Silicon Valley nonprofit that brought the lawsuit on behalf of nine students, including three from the Bay Area. The long-awaited ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu found that the evidence of how poor teachers affect students "shocks the conscience" and that "there is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms." He noted that the current laws protect bad teachers, harm students and disproportionately affect poor and minority pupils.

Treu ordered the state to stop enforcing tenure, dismissal and layoff laws but stayed his orders pending possible appeals by the state and California's two major teachers unions. The decision was a huge defeat for the powerful teachers union and sent a clear signal to legislators to begin rewriting those laws to make it easier to fire poorly performing teachers, to delay or change tenure rules and to rework layoff criteria so that newly hired teachers aren't always the first to lose their jobs. The advocates in the case, which had been closely watched across the country, hailed the ruling as historic. "This is a monumental day for California's public education system," said lead co-counsel Theodore J. Boutros Jr., who also successfully argued the case that struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage. "This decision is going to reverberate powerfully across California and across the nation." Unions, however, denounced the decision in the case known as Vergara vs. California.
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to give in-state tuition to undocumented students Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/09/4168390/florida-gov-rick-scott-signs-bill.html#storylink=cpy

Written by TIA MITCHELL for Miami Herald on June 09, 2014Immigration & Homeland Security
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott quietly signed legislation over the weekend that allows students who are undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities. House Bill 851 was a priority of House Republicans, including Speaker Will Weatherford, who overcame opposition from Senate conservatives to achieve passage in the final days of the 2014 session. Yet Scott didn’t provide an opportunity for them to take a victory lap since he chose not to hold a formal bill signing like he has for other priorities. The governor has focused on the tuition-control portions of the legislation to contrast with the policies of his expected opponent for reelection, former Gov. Charlie Crist. Scott will tour the state all week — he started in Fort Myers Monday and has stops planned in Miami, Boca Raton, Orlando and Pensacola — discussing higher education and tuition and campaigning against Crist. “We’re going to talk about legislation I signed this weekend to stop Charlie Crist’s 15 percent annual tuition increases,” Scott said during a morning appearance on WINK-TV in Fort Myers. Only after tweaking Crist did Scott reference immigrant students, widely known as “dreamers.’’ “Students that grew up in our state are going to get the same in-state tuition as their peers, which is what’s fair,” he said.
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Fallin signs bill repealing Oklahoma Common Core standards

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill Thursday that repeals the adoption of the standards and directs the Oklahoma Board of Education to create new, more rigorous standards by August 2016.

Written by Rick Green and Tim Willert for The Oklahoman on June 05, 2014Education Reform
Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill Thursday scrapping academic standards that have become a bright symbol of federal overreach. Her decision to throw out Common Core math and English standards drew immediate criticism from educators and business interests as a disruptive political move that was not in the best interest of young people, while opponents of the benchmarks cheered the end to what they said was a harmful federal intrusion. “It has become very apparent to me that the word Common Core has become a word that is tainted, that is divisive, that has caused widespread concern throughout our state,” Fallin said in an afternoon news conference. The standards for children in kindergarten through 12th grade were developed in a state-led effort launched in 2009 through the National Governors Association, a group Fallin now heads. Meant to be rigorous and advance critical thinking, they were adopted voluntarily by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Oklahoma joins Indiana in repealing them.

Although Common Core was not developed by the federal government, it has become a rallying cry for states’ rights advocates. They often invoke the name of President Barack Obama in criticizing them. Fallin took up that theme: “President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards.” She explained that the federal government provides financial incentives for states that use Common Core. “Many people have seen that as taking away states’ rights, local control over education, and trying to impede upon our state’s ability to develop standards that we think are best for our children,” Fallin said.
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NC to start test drilling for natural gas to lure energy industry Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/06/04/4955299/nc-to-start-test-drilling-for.html#.U5nBoPldVYJ#storylink=cpy

Written by John Murawski for The Charlotte News-Observer on June 04, 2014Energy & Environment
RALEIGH Gov. Pat McCrory’s signing of major energy legislation into law Wednesday sets the stage for preliminary exploration of North Carolina’s shale gas potential, with the state government taking the lead where private industry has been reluctant to commit. State-sponsored drilling is expected to get underway this fall in Eastern North Carolina as part of a $550,000 state effort approved last year to help the energy industry assess fracking prospects here. Boosters of energy exploration want to expand the state’s drilling activities beyond the six counties designated last year. The Senate’s proposed budget would add more counties throughout the state and includes nearly $1.2 million to aid the energy sector by drilling, analysis and marketing. The governor’s budget includes $500,000 for drilling up to three test wells near Sanford in Lee County. “It’s a great thing for the government to be willing to do that,” said Mark Miller, co-owner of Tar Heel Natural Gas, a Charlotte company interested in energy exploration here. “If the government can help the industry ascertain, that’s a huge hurdle to climb over to get industry to come into the state.”
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Taking Page From Health Care Act, Obama Climate Plan Relies on States

Written by CORAL DAVENPORT and PETER BAKER for The New York Times on June 02, 2014Federal Overreach
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s new plan to fight climate change depends heavily on states’ devising individual approaches to meeting goals set in the nation’s capital, a strategy similar to the one he used to expand health care, often with rocky results. Rather than imposing a uniform standard for reducing power plant carbon emissions, the regulation unveiled on Monday offers the states flexibility to pick from a menu of policy options. But as with health care, the policy could lead to a patchwork of rules that frustrate businesses and invite resistance from states that oppose the policy. Monday’s announcement of the proposed regulation — which is intended to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 — represented Mr. Obama’s boldest step in using his executive authority to halt the warming of the planet, an issue he vowed to address during his first presidential campaign six years ago.
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EPA proposes cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants 30% by 2030

Written by JULIET EILPERIN AND STEVEN MUFSON for Washington Post on June 02, 2014Federal Overreach
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a regulation Monday that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, taking aim at one of the nation’s leading sources of greenhouse gases. Under the draft rule, the EPA would let states and utilities meet the new standard with different approaches mixing four options including energy efficiency, shifting from coal to natural gas, investing in renewable energy and making power plant upgrades. Other compliance methods could include offering discounts to encourage consumers to shift electricity use to off-peak hours.

The rule represents one of the most significant steps the federal government has ever taken to curb the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are linked to climate change, and the draft is sure to spark a major political and legal battle. Conscious of that, President Obama called a group of Senate and House Democrats on Sunday afternoon to thank them for their support in advance of the proposed rule. Speaking to an audience of more than 100 ebullient supporters at EPA headquarters, the agency’s administrator Gina McCarthy framed the move in both pragmatic and moral terms.
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Texas attorney general plans to fight new EPA rule

Written by Betsy Blaney for Associated Press on June 02, 2014Federal Overreach
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — A federal mandate to slash carbon emissions nationwide could result in another lengthy legal battle in Texas after the front-runner to become the state's next governor said Monday he will fight the effort. Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general and Republican nominee for governor, said requirements to cut emissions by 39 percent in Texas would further a federal agenda that has threatened to cut jobs in a booming state energy industry. The comments put into question how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would force Texas to comply with its new standards if Abbott wins the gubernatorial election in November. The EPA is relying heavily on governors to help develop an emission-cutting strategy within three years but can create its own plan for states that refuse.
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Global warming rules will hit Ky., Ind.

There's much anticipation over the potential unveiling on Monday of the nation's first global warming rules.

Written by James Bruggers for The Courier-Journal on May 30, 2014Energy & Environment
The nation's first rules to curb heat-trapping pollution from power plants are expected to have an oversized impact on Kentucky and Indiana, two of the nation's most coal-dependent economies. One Louisville environmental advocate on Friday described the expected new Obama administration rules as "the biggest deal in a long, long time — at least from Kentucky's perspective." That's the perspective of Sarah Lynn Cunningham, director of Louisville's Climate Action Network, which advocates for energy efficiency and policies that fight global warming. "Kentucky will be affected more than any other state, or it at least will be in the top tier," she said. But she said the U.S. Environmental Protection needs to act "because the climate is kicking our butts everywhere," and it's only going to get worse. And she said moving toward cleaner energy won't happen "until we are forced." Coal interests and politicians that support them agreed with Cunningham Friday that the proposed rules are likely to be a big deal in coal country. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Friday he plans to introduce legislation to block the rules.
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U.S. and Arizona Yield on Immigration

Written by Fernanda Santos for The New York Times on May 30, 2014Immigration & Homeland Security
PHOENIX — The Obama administration has moved to drop its legal fight against what is arguably the most controversial provision of Arizona’s sweeping immigration law, the so-called show-me-your-papers provision permitting police officers to pull over people based on the suspicion that they are in the country illegally. In return, Arizona has agreed to stop fighting to restore a section of the law that gives the police the power to arrest those who harbor people living in the United States illegally. The deal reflects the consequences of previous rulings on the law, including a 2012 decision by the United States Supreme Court to sustain the “show me your papers” provision, and the court’s refusal this April to review an appellate court’s decision blocking the harboring provision. In the 2012 ruling, the Supreme Court left the door open to further challenges to the “show me your papers” provision, and that portion of the law remains under challenge in a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups on behalf of Arizonans.
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Common Core School Standards Face a New Wave of Opposition

Written by Motoko Rich for The New York Times on May 29, 2014Education Reform
Opposition to the Common Core, a set of reading and math standards for elementary, middle and high school students that were originally adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia, has gathered momentum among state lawmakers in recent weeks. The governors of Oklahoma and South Carolina are considering signing bills to repeal the standards and replace them with locally written versions. In Missouri, lawmakers passed a bill that would require a committee of state educators to come up with new standards within the next two years.

Although the Common Core, developed by a coalition convened by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, was initially backed by a group of Republican governors, the Obama administration also lent its support. For the past year, conservative Republicans, seizing on the administration’s backing, have argued that the standards amount to a federal takeover of public schools. Jason Nelson, a Republican state representative from northwest Oklahoma who sponsored the bill to withdraw the state from the Common Core, said he and his colleagues wanted to “break any kind of nexus where any private organization or the federal government would exert control over our standards.” The bill passed the Oklahoma House overwhelmingly last week, and this week it passed the Senate, 31 to 10. The pushback from the right has been fueled by an unlikely alliance with critics on the left, who are upset by new standardized tests and the high stakes associated with them, including teacher performance reviews.
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Michigan leads way in demanding balanced budget

Written by Matt Walter for The Detroit News on April 24, 2014Legal Reform
It is spring in Washington. President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats have said no to a budget that gets to balance despite its quick passage in the House. Again. So, where Washington continues to fail the American people, state leaders have taken the mantle of leadership through reform initiatives that will force Washington to act sanely. Congressman Gary Peters, too, voted against the balanced budget. His actions appear to be out of step with his constituents, the families and small businesses who keep their check books balanced. Peters’ former colleagues in the Michigan House have taken significant steps to remedy the problem of federal budgets that never balance.
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Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller: Working To Silence His Critics (For You!)

Written by Jonathan Keim for National Review Online on April 15, 2014Election Law
The Left’s feverish national battle to silence its critics is escalating in Nevada. Attorney General candidate Ross Miller recently solemnly vowed to attack a conservative advocacy group, the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF), after it dared to call him out for living the high life...Miller appears to have already started attacking SGLF. A left-wing organization run by Miller’s former deputy, Matt Griffin, filed an election complaint against SGLF about ten days after Miller made his public threats. But Miller is the chief elections official in Nevada. Aside from the clear conflict of interest and the fact that Miller has already pre-judged the issue, Miller’s threats make this situation particularly dangerous to free speech. I’m getting shivers just thinking about the chilling effects.
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Old friend helping in SOS’ war on conservatives

Written by M.D. Kittle for Watchdog.org on April 14, 2014Election Law
MADISON, Wis. — In the national battle by liberal government officials working to silence conservative activists, one Nevada group is fighting back. The State Government Leadership Foundation, a conservative nonprofit under attack by Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat, recently filed an open records request with the agency hoping to track the communications between Miller and his political henchman and former underling, Matt Griffin. Miller, Nevada’s chief elections official, last month threatened SGLF, demanding it cough up its donors list. “I will continue to review every legal option to compel this front group to reveal its special-interest donors,” Miller said in March. Miller is upset about the foundation’s ad and $500,000 web campaign that, in part, exposes the secretary of state for taking $60,000 in gifts from a variety of donors, many of them corporate contributors.
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Sound familiar? Top Nevada Dem official vows to pursue conservative group

Written by M.D. Kittle for Watchdog.org on April 11, 2014Election Law
Nevada’s Democrat secretary of state says he’ll do all in his power to crush a conservative organization that ran ads against him in his campaign to become the state’s attorney general. Sound familiar? It’s part of a “disturbing trend,” said Matthew Walter, executive director of the State Government Leadership Foundation, the conservative nonprofit behind the ads that earned the ire of Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller. “This is all about freedom of speech,” Walter said. “Whether it’s President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service and their unbalanced scrutiny into conservative organizations, or whether it’s Ross Miller with his threats and blustering in Nevada, what we see far too often are liberal groups defending the right to free speech until they don’t personally agree with the content. At that point, they throw up every roadblock they can to hinder the individual’s right to free speech.”
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Alabama Voices » Kay Ivey: It's time to demand a balanced budget

Written by Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey for The Montgomery Advertiser on April 03, 2014Legal Reform
The Alabama Legislature is completing another legislative session, having developed balanced budgets. Difficult decisions had to be made to reach that point, but just like your family’s finances, spending can’t exceed revenue — a common-sense practice seemingly lost on most in Washington, D.C. In Alabama, leaders are bound by the state Constitution to balance the state’s budget every year. It’s time the federal government followed our lead. That is why I recently pledged my support to Demand Balance Now, a national effort to amplify calls for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution through a state-led, limited Article V convention. This historic initiative is being led by statehouses across the nation and is spearheaded nationally by the State Government Leadership Foundation. Now more than ever, states should hold the federal government accountable for out-of-control national spending. I hope you’ll join the call to end runaway federal spending and balance the budget by signing the pledge to Demand Balance Now: www.demandbalancenow.com.
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EDITORIAL: Miller, Democrats overreach to expose donors

Published in LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL on April 02, 2014Election Law
Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller is no fan of anonymous political speech, never mind the country’s long history of such protected expression. But the collective push from Democrats to root out conservative donors reveals the backers of such speech have good reason to keep their names secret. Mr. Miller lauded last week’s agreement on the largest-ever fine imposed for a Nevada campaign finance violation, a $40,000 settlement with the Alliance for America’s Future over 2010 advertisements that indirectly supported the gubernatorial candidacy of Brian Sandoval. The secretary of state insists that, under state law, all third-party groups that engage in protected political expression in Nevada must first register with his office and submit reports detailing their contributions — including donor information — and expenses. However, groups are exempt from such disclosure requirements if they avoid what the U.S. Supreme Court has defined as “express advocacy,” meaning a clear call to vote for or against someone. The Alliance for America’s future very well might have crossed that line in supporting now-Gov. Sandoval, as evidenced by its decision to drop an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, pay the fine and disclose its donor: the Republican Governor’s Public Policy Committee.
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