CSG Launches Project Focused on Reducing Crime on Public Transit

By Kaitlyn Bison 

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is launching a new project on Crime Prevention and Safety Awareness on Public Transit, with a focus on human trafficking. The project is funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and will be centered around organizing a virtual learning seminar for transportation industry stakeholders to discuss policy solutions and best practices in reducing crime and human trafficking in public transit.  

When the pandemic began, many cities, such as New York, saw a drop in crimes committed on public transport since fewer and fewer people were people utilizing these systems. However, as the vaccine became more widely available and people began using public transit again, fears of rising crime on subway systems has increased, and there is some evidence of a rise in the crime rate and number of felonies. This will continue to be an issue as the number of subway riders has yet to return to the level it was pre-pandemic, due to a mix of the continuation of remote work and fears about crime. Additionally, crime prevention on public transportation has become a talking point among some local elected officials. CSG’s new project will present opportunities for policymakers to learn about the challenges and opportunities in transit safety and share innovative solutions to this growing issue. 

The project also will focus on human trafficking in public transit. While the U.S. does not specify that transportation must occur for human trafficking to take place – it is more defined by the presence of exploitation – victims of trafficking can be better isolated from family and support systems when victims are physically moved long distances. Traffickers use multiple methods of transportation to capture and move their victims, but public transportation is most often used due to the anonymity it offers. Of 104 survivors that participated in a Polaris study, a plurality were trafficked by either public bus, subway, and long-distance bus, and many victims generally are initially recruited at transportation hubs.  

To gather policymakers and stakeholders in the field of transportation safety, CSG will invite participants to engage in a 2-day virtual learning seminar to engage with one another and share strategies for crime prevention on public transportation. These policy solutions can include safety planning, trauma-informed programming, spatial data, variable message signs (VMS), and more. After the virtual convening, a report will be written, summarizing the topics discussed at the seminar. Throughout the grant period, there also will be a series of blogs and articles to bring awareness and share policy solutions about safety on public transportation.  

By increasing awareness of the use of public transportation in human trafficking and collaborating to find and implement strategic solutions, policymakers and key stakeholders can do their part in the fight to reduce crime on public transit. While a multifaceted issue, the role and responsibility for crime and trafficking prevention of those in the transportation industry should be a focal point of the solution. 

If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Sydney Geiger at sgeiger@csg.org

The State of State Capitol Security

by Patrick Edwards

The U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and subsequent threats have inspired a debate over capitol security in statehouses around the country. The events of January 6 are only one example of an already tumultuous year of political violence directed at public buildings and officials. The global pandemic also led to a need for additional security measures to protect against COVID-19. To better understand how these factors have impacted states, analysts with The Council of State Governments (CSG) performed a comprehensive scan of state capitol security across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

CSG analysts found that significant policy differences exist between states on firearms permissions, security screenings and other security measures. Most capitols restrict the open and concealed carry of firearms and use both metal detectors and X-ray machines. However, seven statehouses permit both open and concealed carry and 13 use neither metal detectors nor X-ray machines.

Findings and Analysis

As of April 27, 2021, 28 state capitols and the Wilson Building (the Washington, D.C. capitol) are closed to the public. Of these 28 state capitols, 24 explicitly state that they are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the time of this analysis, information was not publicly available for the remaining four closed capitols. However, our analysis indicates that these four capitols are also likely closed due to COVID-19. Finally, the District of Columbia Wilson Building is closed because the city council is not in session. Notably, no state capitols are closed due to threats of violence. This stands in stark contrast to the weeks following Jan. 6 when at least 19 states deployed National Guard troops to their capitols and several shut down statehouse grounds in response to the U.S. Capitol riot.

States also implemented temporary increases in security measures following the U.S. Capitol riot but later removed these as threats of violence failed to materialize. Out of the 10 states that explicitly reported that areas around their capitols were inaccessible in early January, only two — Arizona and Washington — continue to do so. This may be an undercount, as information is not publicly available for 40 states.

Similarly, 10 state capitols explicitly reported that they employed security fencing. Three of these, Minnesota, Oregon and South Carolina, left their fencing installed. As above, this may be an undercount: these 10 states are those that reported setting up and removing their fences.

 This indicates that the emphasis of capitol officials has shifted away from threats of political violence and back to the pandemic and traditional security.

34 states and Washington, D.C. prohibit the possession of firearms on capitol grounds, while 16 states permit the possession of personal firearms within their statehouses in some capacity. Citizens can use concealed carry in 14 of the 51 capitols (27%) and open carry in nine capitols (18%). Seven of the 14 capitols that permit concealed carry of firearms also allow open carry. Two states—Louisiana and Nebraska—permit open carry in their capitol complexes but prohibit concealed carry. Louisiana has no law restricting the open carry of firearms within its capitol. But while open carry is technically legal, online sources indicate that entering the capitol while brandishing a firearm will lead to arrest.

Most states prohibit the possession of firearms within their capitols, but a substantial minority do the opposite.

Another significant component of capitol security is the screening process — specifically, the use of metal detectors, X-rays, and required identification (ID).[1] Metal detectors are used to scan people (i.e., walk-through or handheld metal detectors. X-ray machines, however, scan personal items, packages, and the contents of each visitor’s pockets.

Thirty-seven capitols (37%, including the Washington D.C. city building) employ metal detectors at screening checkpoints in building entrances, and a further 31 capitols (61%), employ X-ray machines at entrances to scan all packages and personal items. Of the 18 state capitols that post their ID policy online, 10 required identification to enter their state houses.

Notably, a higher percentage of capitols that permit the open or concealed carry of firearms do not use metal detectors or X-rays compared to states that do not allow personal firearms on capitol grounds. 73% of all capitols use metal detectors, but only 50% of capitols that permit firearms use metal detectors. Similarly, 61% of all capitols use X-ray machines, but only 43% of capitols that allow personal firearms use X-ray machines. This suggests that states which permit personal firearms within their state houses may be less inclined to implement stronger security screening processes.

CSG identified several patterns between the law enforcement agencies that states entrust with protecting their capitol buildings. Twenty-one states delegate capitol security to capitol police divisions, and seven states delegate security to a division of the state’s highway patrol. Interestingly, Massachusetts delegates capitol security to park rangers in the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation. All other states delegate security to unique subdivisions of each state’s primary police agency.

Method of Research

To conduct this research, CSG analysts gathered data from a variety of publicly available sources. Information on state capitol building firearm policy was primarily gathered from the Giffords Law Center’s Database of State Gun Laws and Michigan Advance’s Database of Capitol Building Firearm Policies. Most other data — including information on public access and security screening procedures —were gathered from statehouse websites or local news sources. This is not a comprehensive scan of all capitol security policies as some information is unavailable for most states. In particular, security measures like capitol fencing and ID requirements only reflect information that is publicly available online.

StateClosed to publicReason
Closed
Areas BlockedOpen CarryConceal
Carry
Metal
Detectors
X-Ray
Machines
Security
Fencing
ID
Required
SecurityDate
Collected
Alabama0N/A00011??????Capitol Patrol Unit4/13/2021
Alaska1COV-19???001001Security: Legislative Affairs Agency4/13/2021
Arizona1COV-191001100AZ Capitol Police4/15/2021
Arkansas1COV-190001001State Capitol Police4/14/2021
California1COV-19000110???CA Highway Patrol4/15/2021
Colorado0N/A0001100CO State Patrol4/13/2021
Connecticut1COV-1900011???0CT State Capitol Police4/15/2021
Delaware1COV-19???0011???1DE Capitol Police4/15/2021
Washington D.C.1Not Sess.???0011??????Protective Services Division4/15/2021
Florida1COV-19???0011??????Capitol Police4/15/2021
Georgia0N/A???0011???1Capitol Police4/15/2021
Hawaii1COV-19000000???Dept. of Public Safety’s Sheriff Div.4/15/2021
Idaho0N/A00000??????ID Capitol Mall Security4/15/2021
Illinois1COV-19???0011??????Secretary of State Capitol Police4/15/2021
Indiana0N/A???0011??????IN Capitol Police4/15/2021
Iowa0N/A???0111??????IA State Patrol Trooper 1’s4/26/2021
Kansas1COV-19???0111???1Capitol Police4/20/2021
Kentucky1COV-19???1110???1KY State Police Facilities Security4/20/2021
Louisiana0N/A???1011??????Dept. of Public Safety’s
Capitol Detail
4/20/2021
Maine1COV-19???0011??????ME Bureau of Capitol Police4/21/2021
Maryland1COV-19???0011???1MD Capitol Police4/21/2021
Massachusetts1??????0010???0Dept. of Cons. & Rec’s Park Rangers4/20/2021
Michigan0N/A???0000??????MI State Police4/20/2021
Minnesota1??????01001???Capitol Security & Executive Protection4/26/2021
Mississippi0N/A???0011??????Capitol Police4/21/2021
Missouri0N/A???0111???0Capitol Police4/21/2021
Montana0N/A???0100??????MT Highway Patrol4/21.2021
Nebraska0N/A???1000??????NE State Patrol’s
Capitol Security Div.
4/21/2021
Nevada1COV-19???0011??????Nevada Capitol Police4/21/2021
New Hampshire0N/A???1100??????State House Security4/22/2021
New Jersey1COV-19???0011???1NJ State Police4/22/2021
New Mexico1COV-19011000???NM State Police4/22/2021
New York1COV-19???0011???1NY State Police4/22/2021
North Carolina1COV-19???0011??????State Capitol Police4/22/2021
North Dakota0N/A???0011???0Capitol Security4/22/2021
Ohio1N/A???0011???0OH State Highway Patrol4/22/2021
Oklahoma0N/A???0011??????OK Highway Patrol’s
Capitol Patrol Section
4/23/2021
Oregon1COV-19???11001???Oregon State Police4/23/2021
Pennsylvania0N/A???0011??????Capitol Police4/22/2021
Rhode Island1COV-19???0111??????RI Capitol Police4/23/2021
South Carolina0N/A???00101???State House Patrol Div.4/23/2021
South Dakota0??????0111???0Highway Patrol’s Capitol Protective Services Div.4/23/2021
Tennessee0N/A???0011???1Highway Patrol’s Capitol Protection Unit4/23/2021
Texas0N/A???1111??????Dept. of Public Safety’s
Capitol Region HQ
4/23/2021
Utah0N/A???1100??????Highway Patrol’s State Capitol Security4/23/2021
Vermont1COV-19???0000??????Capitol Police Dept.4/23/2021
Virginia1??????0010??????VA Division of Capitol Police4/23/2021
Washington1COV-1911100??????WA State Patrol’s
Capitol Campus Detach.
4/23/2021
West Virginia1COV-19???0011??????Division of Protective Services4/23/2021
Wisconsin1COV-19???0000??????WI State Capitol Police4/26/2021
Wyoming0N/A???0000??????WY State Capitol Police4/27/2021

Associates in Action: Target Announces Target Forward, a Green Sustainability Strategy

by Julianne Stahl 

In June, Target Corporation, a CSG Associate, unveiled Target Forward, a new sustainability strategy that is focused on restoring and regrowing natural systems to positively impact the planet. Target aims to co-create an equitable and regenerative future with its guests, partners and communities.  

The commitments Target is making with Target Forward work towards three critical ambitions: to design and elevate sustainable brands, to innovate to eliminate waste and to accelerate opportunity and equity. Signature goals of this initiative include: 

  • By 2030, Target strives to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences. 
  • By 2040, Target plans for 100% of its owned brand products to be designed for a circular future. Target’s teams will continue designing to eliminate waste, using materials that are regenerative, recycled or sourced sustainably, to create products that are more durable, easily repaired or recyclable. Target accelerated its commitments to sustainable packaging in 2018 when it became a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. 
  • By 2040, Target commits to being a net zero enterprise — zero waste to landfill in its U.S. operations and net zero emissions across both its operations and supply chain. 

Target’s efforts in collaborating to bring equitable, viable solutions for its communities and the environment is being built on a preexisting foundation of sustainability. In 2019, the company set science-based targets for reduction in its emissions from its facilities, emissions from energy purchased to power its facilities and emissions from the entire supply chain. Target also committed to join the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C,” ensuring that its emissions will contribute to no more than 1.5 degree warming. Target also has projects and partnerships in place that when complete, will result in purchasing nearly 50% of its electricity from renewable sources, on its way to 100% by 2030. 

“As a company and a member of the global community, it’s imperative for both the health of our business and of our planet that we embrace new ways to move forward,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive officer of Target. “We know sustainability is tied to business resiliency and growth, and that our size and scale can drive change that is good for all. Target Forward influences every corner of our business, deepens our collaboration with our partners and builds on our past efforts to ensure a better future for generations to come.” 

To learn more about Target Forward visit Target.com/targetforward. 

Associates in Action articles highlight CSG Associates’ philanthropic efforts and public-private partnerships throughout the states. 

Initial Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Hits Early Snags

The Biden Administration announced a June 24 agreement on a bipartisan, $1.2 trillion infrastructure package (including $550 in new spending) negotiated by a group of 21 Republican and Democratic senators.  

However, shortly after the meeting and announcement, the deal began to fall apart. President Biden said later that same day that he would not sign the bipartisan package unless it was accompanied to his desk by a multi-trillion-dollar package of investments — in family services, climate change and other initiatives — passed through the budget reconciliation process (that requires 51 votes rather than the 60 normally required to end a filibuster and vote). The outlines of the broader bill reflect many of the support services initiatives in the Biden Administration’s original infrastructure proposal, as well as the American Family Plan. 

This insistence was later echoed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, further challenging continued support of the bipartisan agreement. 

By Friday, June 25, several of the 11 Republicans who supported the deal on Thursday were announcing their withdrawal because they did not favor twinning the bipartisan package with the larger effort maneuvered through reconciliation.  

By the next day, the Biden Administration had reversed course, decoupling the two efforts, which was a walk-back that seems to have worked

During the last week of June, the Biden Administration commenced its advocacy for the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, but the House of Representatives passed a $715 billion counter proposal in the same window, largely along party lines.  

More about the differences in the two proposals from The New York Times

Just how the House Democratic vision of infrastructure will be melded with the deal struck by five Republicans and five Democrats in the Senateis anything but clear. The House bill and the Senate deal are not far apart in spending numbers on traditional infrastructure. Both efforts take up Mr. Biden’s call to replace all of the country’s lead drinking water pipes.  

But while the Senate framework only lays down broad categories of spending, the House bill extends surface transportation policies and user funds that are set to expire Oct. 1. It also established new policies like water bill assistance, buy American requirements and a pilot program for low-income transit access. 

So, what happens now? While a bipartisan deal has been reached, it appears an agreement is still a way down the road.  

A potential timeline: 

  • During the congressional recess, relevant committee chairs and others will take the scaffolding of the bipartisan package and put it into legislation form. The Senate will vote — leadership hopes by the end of July — and after some legislative back and forth, negotiators will attempt to reconcile the Senate agreement with the bill the House has passed. 
  • On the reconciliation track, first there must be a Budget Resolution laying out the broad parameters of the multi-trillion package. The challenge will be crafting something that can secure the support of all 50 Democrats in the Senate and all (or nearly all) Democrats in the House.  
  • Leadership hopes those votes also will occur before the end of July, prior to the extended recess Congress is scheduled to take in August.  
  • Also looming is the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30. 

Statement from The Council of State Governments Executive Director on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package

“By working together, the President and members of Congress have demonstrated that the needs of our nation transcend political party affiliation. Infrastructure investments work for every state and territory and now is the time to build a more prosperous future for all Americans. Let’s get America to work.” 

“The Council of State Governments commends those in Congress working to broker and advance a bipartisan infrastructure package. The states and the federal government must continue to work in partnership to create jobs and restore the economy as we emerge from the pandemic and its disastrous economic fallout. The crumbling and unsafe condition of too much of our nation’s current infrastructure and the long-neglected need for new investment in essential projects should serve as a wakeup call to lawmakers at the local, state and federal level. Reliable, modern and well-maintained infrastructure is essential to the economic vitality of the states and the safety and health of all of us. CSG commends President Biden for his leadership to make infrastructure a top priority, as proposed in his American Jobs Plan. We applaud the federal lawmakers of both parties, who came together to craft a promising package of infrastructure investments, and we are encouraged by the breakthrough progress their work represents. Collectively, they demonstrated that the legislative and executive branches of the federal government can still craft a compromise and agree on how best to address a big challenge. By working together, the President and members of Congress have demonstrated that the needs of our nation transcend political party affiliation. Infrastructure investments work for every state and territory and now is the time to build a more prosperous future for all Americans. Let’s get America to work.” 

David Adkins, executive director/CEO of The Council of State Governments, the nonpartisan association of the governments of the states and territories, on the bipartisan infrastructure package