The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact

The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact. Congressional Research Service. Thomas H. Neale, Andrew Nolan. Updated May 9, 2019

The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an agreement among the states, an interstate compact that would effectively achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a constitutional amendment. It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct…. ” Any state that joins the NPV compact pledges that if the compact comes into effect, its legislature will award all the state’s electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state. The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been assured; that is, only if states controlling a majority of electoral votes (270 or more) join the compact. By early May 2019, 14 states and the District of Columbia had joined the compact. After early momentum—eight states and the District of Columbia joined the NPV Compact between 2007 and 2011—the pace of state accessions slowed through 2018. Since then, four additional states joined, bringing the total number of electoral votes controlled by NPV member states to 189. During the same period, legislation to join the compact had been introduced during the current session in at least one chamber of the legislature in 14 additional states that control an additional 150 electors.

[PDF format, 32 pages].

The Rule of Law: A Critical Building Block for Good Governance and Economic Growth

The Rule of Law: A Critical Building Block for Good Governance and Economic Growth. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Conor M. Savoy. June 18, 2019

This report seeks to provide a brief overview of how donors have traditionally approached the rule of law, what the problem is from an investment climate perspective, an overview of U.S. support for rule of law, and, finally, recommendations going forward. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages].

Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019

Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019. Pew Research Center. Monica Anderson. June 13, 2019.

37% of Americans now go online mostly using a smartphone, and these devices are increasingly cited as a reason for not having a high-speed internet connection at home

As the share of Americans who say they own a smartphone has increased dramatically over the past decade – from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019 – a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the way many people choose to go online is markedly different than in previous years. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages].

Medicare Primer

Medicare Primer. Congressional Research Service. Patricia A. Davis et al. Updated May 20, 2019

Medicare is a federal program that pays for covered health care services of qualified beneficiaries. It was established in 1965 under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to individuals 65 and older, and has been expanded over the years to include permanently disabled individuals under the age of 65. Medicare, which consists of four parts (AD), covers hospitalizations, physician services, prescription drugs, skilled nursing facility care, home health visits, and hospice care, among other services. Generally, individuals are eligible for Medicare if they or their spouse worked for at least 40 quarters in Medicare-covered employment, are 65 years old, and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Individuals may also qualify for coverage if they are a younger person who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death, or have end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). The program is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and by private entities that contract with CMS to provide claims processing, auditing, and quality oversight services.

[PDF format, 43 pages].

Community Citizen Science: From Promise to Action

Community Citizen Science: From Promise to Action. RAND Corporation.  Ramya Chari, Marjory S. Blumenthal, Luke J. Matthews. June 18, 2019.

Citizen science is the use of scientific methods by the general public to ask and answer questions and solve problems. In community citizen science, groups of volunteers exert a high degree of control over research, working with professional scientists during the research process and performing research on their own. This important, yet understudied, model often focuses on addressing community concerns. A better characterization of community citizen science could yield insights into important barriers and opportunities for translating its research into action.

In this report, the authors characterize the nature of community citizen science and its potential uses, identify implementation needs and challenges, conceptualize pathways through which community citizen science could achieve policy and community impacts, and elucidate challenges that might impede people from achieving their goals. Part of their research included interviewing representatives of three community citizen science projects carried out for disaster response and recovery: SkyTruth pollution tracking applications; Planetary Response Network activations for disaster response; and the Blue Water Task Force and Hurricane Maria–related activities of the Rincón, Puerto Rico, chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 58 pages].

Democratic Defense Against Disinformation 2.0

Democratic Defense Against Disinformation 2.0. Atlantic Council. Alina Polyakova and Daniel Fried. June 2019

This Atlantic Council paper is the second edition of “Democratic Defense Against Disinformation.” The first edition was published in February 2018.

Foreign interference in democratic elections has put disinformation at the forefront of policy in Europe and the United States. The second edition of Democratic Defense Against Disinformation takes stock of how governments, multinational institutions, civil-society groups, and the private sector have responded to the disinformation challenge. As democracies have responded, our adversaries have adapted and evolved. As the speed and efficiency of influence operations increase, democratic societies need to further invest in resilience and resistance to win the new information war. Democratic Defense Against Disinformation 2.0 is a report card on efforts and a roadmap for policymakers and social media companies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages].

Registered Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering

Registered Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering. Urban Institute. Daniel Kuehn, Ian Hecker, Alphonse Simon. June 12, 2019

Workers with training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are in high demand in the United States and are essential to innovation and economic growth. Apprenticeship is a proven strategy for training workers, but it is underutilized in STEM occupations. This report explores employers’ experiences with STEM apprenticeship. STEM apprentices are concentrated in technician occupations that do not require a bachelor’s degree. They are better paid and have higher training completion rates than non-STEM apprentices. Nevertheless, employers often struggle with adapting the traditional apprenticeship model to information technology and engineering technology jobs that have do not have a history of using apprenticeship. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 47 pages].

Towards More Inclusive Climate Change Adaptation: Journal

Towards More Inclusive Climate Change Adaptation: Journal. International Institute for Environment and Development. April 2019.

Our understanding of climate change impacts and vulnerability in urban centres has grown rapidly in recent years, as has the number of cities developing and implementing plans to respond to the challenges of climate change. The papers in this issue explore such plans and responses in a variety of contexts and scales, from transnational networks for adaptation that incorporate Indonesian cities, to urban adaptation in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Several papers explore the gendered aspects of adaptation (in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Khulna City, Bangladesh). Another zeroes in on the way urban migrants are particularly affected in India.

A common theme is attention to the informal settlements that are particularly exposed to climate-related hazards in cities. Another theme across the papers in this issue is the need for genuinely inclusive adaptation; one paper details the participatory planning processes in three small- to medium-sized Latin American cities.

Also in this issue of Environment and Urbanization are papers on: 50 years of housing policies in Latin America; the Smart Cities craze in India; participatory slum upgrading in Afghanistan; household water consumption in Shanghai; policy pilots for co-production in four Chinese cities; the use of satellilte data to study Indian slums; sanitation bye-law enforcement in Accra; provision of basic services in Syria; and malaria in peri-urban areas of Colombia. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

https://journals.sagepub.com/toc/eaua/31/1

SBA Office of the National Ombudsman: Overview, History, and Current Issues

SBA Office of the National Ombudsman: Overview, History, and Current Issues. Congressional Research Service.  Robert Jay Dilger. Updated April 4, 2019

The Office of the National Ombudsman was created in 1996 as part of P.L. 104-121, the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996 (Title II, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 [SBREFA]). Housed within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the office’s primary purpose is to provide small businesses, small government entities (those serving populations of less than 50,000), and small nonprofit organizations that believe they have experienced unfair or excessive regulatory compliance or enforcement actions (such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, and retaliation by federal agencies) a means to comment about such actions.

[PDF format, 19 pages].

A Universal EITC: Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth, Encouraging Work, and Supporting Families

A Universal EITC: Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth, Encouraging Work, and Supporting Families. Urban Institute. Leonard E. Burman. May 20, 2019

This report analyzes a straightforward mechanism to mitigate middle-class wage stagnation: a wage tax credit of 100 percent of earnings up to a maximum credit of $10,000, called a universal earned income tax credit. The child tax credit would increase from $2,000 to $2,500 and be made fully refundable. A broad-based, value-added tax of 11 percent would finance the new credit. The proposal is highly progressive and would nearly end poverty for families headed by a full-time worker. This report compares the proposal with current law, analyzes its economic effects, compares it to alternative reform options, and considers some complementary policy options. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 48 pages].