April 2021 | Issue 3
Officer Update: A Fond Farewell
"There is nothing permanent except change." - Heraclitus
Congratulations to Colorado Representative Jeni Arndt on her recent election to serve as Mayor of the City of Fort Collins. We wish her much success as she steps into her new role but also bid her farewell. Her contributions to the leadership of CSG West will be missed and we sincerely thank her for her service to her community, the state of Colorado and the Western region.
 
It is with great appreciation that we also announce Representative Clark Kauffman as our new CSG West Chair. As the CSG West Chair-Elect, he was poised to step into the role of Chair in 2022. Pursuant to our rules, he will transition into this new role effective immediately. As we continue plans for our 2021 member programs, we look forward to Representative Kauffman's leadership.
Regional Policy
Agriculture & Water Leadership
At the start of each biennium CSG West officers identify policy areas important to the region and establish committees tasked with facilitating information exchange, disseminating research, and providing opportunities for members to develop shared solutions. Each committee is lead by co-chairs who provide bipartisan perspective to issues facing the region. As these leaders begin their efforts, we invite you to learn a little more about them and the perspective they bring to their work. 
Promoting Effective State-Federal Relations
During the 2021 Functional Federalism Academy, CSG West Director, Edgar Ruiz, joined a panel of speakers to discuss Roles and Resources for Effective Intergovernmental Relations. Joined by representative from other organizations, as well as former Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the panel addressed recent efforts to strengthen the state-federal relationship and areas requiring ongoing attention to support state and local governments. To learn more, click below.
U.S. Supreme Court
Defining Censure versus First Amendment
In Houston Community College System v. Wilson the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the First Amendment restricts the authority of an elected body to issue a censure resolution in response to a member’s speech. David Wilson was an elected trustee of the Houston Community College System (HCC). In response to a board decision that he disagreed with, he arranged robocalls and was interviewed by a local radio station. After filing several lawsuits against HCC, the board publicly censured him for acting in a manner “not consistent with the best interests of the College or the Board, and in violation of the Board Bylaws Code of Conduct.” Unsurprisingly, Wilson sued HCC and the trustees asserting that the censure violated his First Amendment right to free speech. To read more about the case, click below.
Can Proper Cause Restrict Concealed Carry Permits?

In New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether states may prevent persons from obtaining a concealed-carry license for self-defense if they lack “proper cause.” Per New York state law, to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense purposes a person must show “proper cause” and requires an applicant to “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community” to satisfy the proper cause standard. The challengers in this case want to carry a concealed handgun but lack proper cause. To read more about this case, click below.
Member Resources
New Initiative to Get Americans Back to Work
The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG JC) recently launched a legislative initiative to assist states with economic recovery by removing barriers to licensed professions for justice-impacted people.

CSG JC can provide state lawmakers with assistance on "Fair Chance Licensing" legislation, including the national landscape of best practices, bill drafting, communications assistance and education/outreach. This follows publication of reports analyzing each state's barriers to employment, which can be accessed by clicking below.

Interested in learning more? Contact Michelle Feldman, at MFeldman@csg.org
State Legislative Oversight & the Pandemic
Emergencies require a rapid government response, often with little time to screen vendors or review contracts. But emergency responses sometimes lead to overpriced or mismanaged state contracts. How can state legislatures fulfill their oversight duties to scrutinize state contracts and protect taxpayers in an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic? On May 4 at 10am (PDT), the Levin Center, which recently worked with CSG West's Legislative Oversight Working Group, will host a panel discussion with state legislators addressing legislative oversight of contracts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To register, click below. 
COVID-19 State Resources
Be sure to check out the CSG COVID-19 resource site for updated information on initiatives and resources related to state responses to the pandemic.
CSG West is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving western state legislatures. All active legislators are considered members of our organization and included in organizational correspondence regarding news and events. While we hope you find this information of use, we also understand the need for a tidy inbox. If you do not wish to receive email updates from us, please unsubscribe below to be removed from our email list.