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].