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The Mississippi House has passed H.B. 608 providing for the establishment of a longitudinal data system to track education and student outcomes in the workforce which will require a multi-agency database. According to the PPJ Gazette for Feb. 21, this means tracking Mississippians from cradle to grave — almost.  

Last week, the Arizona State Senate passed a bill, in a 21-8 vote, that could make Arizona the first state to challenge federal overreach into the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also penalizes federal agents attempting to violate the law. S.B. 1178 states that all goods grown or made in the State, and all services performed within it “are not subject to the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the several states."

The U.S. Supreme Court next week will hear arguments in a case that may determine how far the government may go in detaining people as material witnesses. The court will hear a government appeal of a lower court decision upholding the right of Abdullah al-Kidd to sue former Attorney General John Ashcroft over Kidd's arrest and detention in early 2003 as a material witness in the prosecution of a terrorism suspect.  Kidd was detained for about two weeks as a witness against Sami Omar al-Hussayen, who was accused of using his computer skills to aid terrorists. A jury in Idaho acquitted Hussayen on that charge in 2004, but deadlocked on other minor counts. Hussayen agreed to be deported to avoid retrial on those lesser charges.

Capitol buildingPresident Obama is expected to sign a three-month extension of three provisions of the USA Patriot Act after Congress easily passed the measure, despite spirited opposition from congressional Democrats and a significant portion of the constitutionalist wing of the Tea Party movement.

Jose PadillaOn February 17, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, seated in Charleston, South Carolina, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Jose Padilla against Defense Secretary Robert Gates, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and other Bush administration officials for their participation in violating his constitutional rights.

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