States brief ~ Kansas Governor signs school funding legislation

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's states brief, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed legislation [Governor's bill passage press release] today that increases school funding by $148.4 million for the upcoming school year and prohibits any state court handling a lawsuit over school funding from enforcing any order that would close schools [JURIST report] or prevent the distribution of funds for public education [JURIST report]. The legislation is the result of a Kansas Supreme Court decision which ordered the Legislature to increase school funding by $143 million by July 1st, 2005. After the court-imposed deadline passed without action from the Legislature, the Supreme Court said it was prepared to close schools if the Legislature failed to act. View the Supreme Court's school finance proceedings here. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • A Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld [PDF text] the state's 1965 Prevailing Wage Act [text] which requires nonunion contractors working on public projects to pay wages equal to prevailing union wages in the area where the work is done. The court threw out the lawsuit which was filed by a builders association. The association argued that the law was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority because it relies on privately negotiated wage and fringe benefit rates. The secretary-treasurer of the Michigan State Building and Construction Trades Council [trade association website] said the law provides good protection for employees. An appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court is likely. AP has more.

  • The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled [PDF text] Wednesday that part of a state law barring delinquent students from regular Philadelphia public classrooms violates the students' due process rights as no hearing is required before placement into alternative educational settings. The law [Pennsylvania School Code of 1949] requires school districts to place students returning from juvenile delinquency placement or criminal convictions into a transitional center and then to place some of those students into alternative educational settings. Judge Doris A. Smith-Ribner wrote for the majority, "The absolute denial of any opportunity for the students to challenge their transfer to an alternative educational setting violates due process." The 2002 amendment was passed in response to school-safety concerns. AP has more.

  • Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced [press release] that Dey Inc. [corporate website] has agreed to pay the state $1.7 million and to donate $800,000 worth of free pharmaceuticals to be used at clinics to settle charges that the pharmaceutical company artificially inflated the average wholesale prices of pharmaceuticals. Artificially inflated average wholesale prices allowed the company to increase their market share as it allowed healthcare providers to increase their profits. State lawsuits against six other defendants are still pending, and Blumenthal said the state "will be relentless in fighting inflated and manipulated drug prices." PharmaLive has more.

 

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