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.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to give in-state tuition to undocumented students

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

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 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 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:
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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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Haslam Drops Raises for Teachers, State Workers

Written by Chas Sisk for The Tennessean on April 01, 2014Education Reform
Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to boost pay for teachers will be put on hold for at least a year, the governor announced Monday, as he works to close a $160 million gap in the state budget. Haslam said Monday that he will put off a proposal to give raises to teachers and other state workers, blaming poor sales and business tax collections. A one-year delay will save the state about $72 million in next year’s budget. The Republican governor said last fall that he wanted to give Tennessee teachers the biggest raises in the country over the next five years, and his initial $30 billion budget proposal released in February included a 2 percent across-the-board increase. The governor said he had not abandoned that goal. “My priorities haven’t changed at all.” He said. “If the funds were there, that was our full intent.” 
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Louisiana Lawmakers Give Preliminary Approval to $40M Higher Ed Fund

Written by The Associated Press for The Times-Picayune on March 31, 2014Education Reform
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to create a $40 million incentive fund to direct dollars to high-demand programs that will fill the petrochemical, engineering and manufacturing jobs his administration has drawn to Louisiana crossed its first legislative hurdle Monday. The bill (House Bill 1033) by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, would set up the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, called the WISE Fund. It would steer money to high-demand areas, like science, technology and research programs, at Louisiana’s four-year universities and community and technical colleges. Dollars for the fund would be allocated through the budget process, and Jindal proposes $40 million for the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal year.
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Kentucky House and Senate Leaders Agree on State Budget

Written by Tom Loftus for The Courier-Journal on March 30, 2014Economic Prosperity
State Universities and teachers made some small gains, but Lexington lost the state funding it sought for the remake of Rupp Arena in a final budget agreement reached by legislative leaders Sunday morning. The budget accord came after 18 hours of negotiations that began at midday Saturday with a political shouting match and ended at 5:30 am Sunday with Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Republican Senate President Robert Stivers arm-in-arm. “We have reached a fiscally responsible budget, one that has a significant investment in education.” Stivers said. “It was feisty at times.” Said Stumbo, who started the shouting on Saturday. “But that’s just part of the political process.” The two leaders said they expected the agreement would be approved Monday by the House and Senate. 
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How Common Core Disintegrated in Indiana

Written by Eric Weddle for IndyStar on March 30, 2014Education Reform
Four years ago, the phrase “Common Core Standards” did not conjure fear of federal overreach, too much data collection about young students or limits on teacher autonomy. Back in August 2010, the-Gov. Mitch Daniels and Tony Bennett, superintendent of public instruction, persuaded lawmakers, educators and others that Indiana should become an early adopter of these new national standards as a means to improve student performance, take advantage of federal incentives and ultimately raise the competitiveness of Indiana’s workforce.

Few, if any, anticipated the issue would descend into a political war. Yet that’s just what happened after Daniels left office and Bennett fell from power two years later. A tide of grass-roots opponents – many fueled by President Barack Obama’s endorsement of Common Core – turned key lawmakers from supporters into foes intent on dumping the guidelines.
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Fewer Physicians Accepting Medicaid Patients

Written by Jerry Mitchell for Clarion Ledger on March 29, 2014Health Care
In the land of the poorest poor, less than half of Mississippi’s primary care physicians are willing to see new Medicaid patients. This contrasts with the nation as a whole, where more than two-thirds of doctors open their doors to new Medicaid patients. “Everything else is moot if you can’t get to a primary care physician,” said Mississippi State University social science professor Ronald Cossman, who along with others conducted the study of health care access in the Magnolia State. Fewer physicians accepting Medicaid patients is a tragedy that should disturb all in public office, said Dr. Tim Alford, a family physician in Kosciusko. “More and more Mississippians are working Mississippians, and we depend on them. A lot of these people are being thrown under the bus.” There are more than 5,000 doctors in Mississippi. Of those, 1,475 are primary care physicians, according to the Robert Grantham Center. There are even fewer offices, 678, according to the MSU study. 
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State Budget Deal Reached; $300 Million for New York City Pre-K

Written by Thomas Kaplan and Javier Hernandez for The New York Times on March 29, 2014Education Reform
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders announced on Saturday and agreement on a state budget that would provide $300 million for prekindergarten in New York City, but also undercuts other educational polices of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has championed prekindergarten while trying to slow the spread of charter schools. At the same time, lawmakers rejected most of the governor’s proposals to strengthen New York’s campaign fund-raising laws. But surprisingly, Mr. Cuomo said that if concessions that he had received passed with the budget, he would disband a powerful commission he had assembled to investigate corruption in the state’s scandal-plagued government. The agreement also includes several tax changes, including a new property tax rebate for homeowners outside of New York City and a higher threshold for when estate taxes are owed. Lawmakers also moved to reduce the burden on students from tests aligned with the more rigorous set of curricular standards known as the Common Core.
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South Dakota Sand Not Suitable for Oil Field Fracking in North Dakota

Written by Associated Press for The BIsmarck Tribune on March 28, 2014Energy & Environment
A state study that took more than a year to complete has concluded that sand from western South Dakota is not suitable for use in the oil and gas industry. South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources studied whether sand found mainly in the Black Hills was suitable for hydraulic fracturing. The method known as fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to break up shale rock and allow oil to flow. Fracking is used extensively in the booming western North Dakota oil fields, and officials wanted to know whether western South Dakota might benefit. The 16-month study found that the sand did not meet specifications recommended by the American Petroleum Institute.
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Louisiana $50 Billion coastal Restoration Plan Would Inject Billions More Into Economy Every Year, Study Finds

Written by Katherine Sayre for The Times-Picayune on March 27, 2014Economic Prosperity
Under Louisiana’s $50 billion, 50-year coastal restoration plan, the economy would see a boost from construction, cost savings from lower insurance and less hurricane damage, and the creation of a coastal science industry with the potential for being a global leader, according to a report released Thursday. Investing in implementing the plan – which calls for projects ranging from rebuilding barrier islands to raising buildings – would translate into billions of dollars more in economic benefits: $12.35 billion in annual spending, $757 million in annual state and local tax revenues and creation of 109,360 permanent jobs with $3.61 billion in annual earnings, according to the report by economist and former University of New Orleans chancellor Tim Ryan
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Arkansas GOP asks to Intervene in Voter-ID Suit

Written by The Associated Press for Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on March 27, 2014Election Law
The Arkansas Republican Party is asking to intervene in a lawsuit over how absentee ballots are handled under the state’s new voter ID law, arguing that the Democratic attorney general can’t properly represent GOP voters in the case. The GOP on Wednesday asked to help defend a state panel that is being sued by the Pulaski County Election Commission for voting to allow absentee voters additional time to present photo identification if they don’t include proof with their absentee ballots. The lawsuit claims the state Board of Election Commissioners overstepped its bounds by approving the rule.
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Michigan petitions Congress for federal balanced budget amendment, constitutional convention

Written by Jonathan Oosting for Michigan Live on March 26, 2014Legal Reform
LANSING, MI -- Michigan has joined more than 20 other states with active applications urging Congress to call a convention for the purposes of drafting a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Michigan Senate on Wednesday signed off on the final draft of Joint Resolution V, approving House modifications in a 25-12 party-line vote roughly two months after Gov. Rick Snyder backed the push during his State of the State Address. Article V of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to convene a convention of the states if 34 Legislatures petition it to do so. Any proposed amendment would have to be ratified by 38 states. The process has never been completed, and it's not clear what a convention would look like or who would set the rules. Still, supporters say states must act and force the federal government to stop spending more than it is taking in each year.
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