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Washington Report – July 2, 2018

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: July 10, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Janus case (Janus v. AFSCME). In a 5-4 decision, authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, the Court overruled its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit, holding that: “The State’s extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment. Abood erred in concluding otherwise, and stare decisis cannot support it. Abood is therefore overruled.” Because this is a First Amendment case, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, this decision is binding in every State;  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement must get a search warrant, with exceptions for emergencies, to have access to an individual’s “cell site location information”. The 5-4 majority decision in Carpenter v. United States, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, stated that cellphone location information is a “near perfect” tool for government surveillance and individuals have the right to expect privacy regarding their day-to-day, minute-to-minute movements – data which cellphone providers routinely collect to improve service. Chief Justice Roberts stated that law enforcement can still collect that data without a warrant in emergencies; Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) is once again calling for public pension reform and is urging his colleagues to support the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (PEPTA), which he is planning on reintroducing. This bill would set a dangerous precedent regarding unfunded federal mandates, taxation of municipal bonds, and intrusion into the operations of state and local governments. NAPO joined other members of the Public Pension Network in sending a letter to House leadership, copying every member of Congress, urging Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to oppose the bill and any efforts to add it to other legislation under consideration; NAPO met with House Ways and Means Committee staff for both Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) to discuss the new proposal to reform the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). In the 114th Congress, Chairman Brady introduced legislation, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, that would repeal the WEP, replacing it with a new Social Security benefit formula designed to more accurately account for years a public employee paid into Social Security versus the years paid into a public pension system in a non-Social Security covered position; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he is retiring from the Supreme Court on July 31, 2018. Justice Kennedy served on the Court for 30 years and was the swing vote on the nine-member court, often siding with the liberal justices on social issues. For more information on these and other legislative issues, click on the July 2, 2018 Washington Report and related links below.

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