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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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].
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
[PDF format, 19 pages].
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].