Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Emerging Funding Strategies and Tools

Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Emerging Funding Strategies and Tools. Urban Institute. Matthew Eldridge, Kimberly Burrowes, Patrick Spauster. July 16, 2019

Urban parks and green space provide significant tangible and intangible benefits for cities and their residents. However, for residents and communities to take full advantage of these benefits, parks must be accessible and high quality. Historically, low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have had faced barriers in accessing quality parks. To bridge these gaps and achieve “park equity” (all residents having reasonably equal access to quality parks), park leaders and their partners are increasingly focused on directing park investments to communities in greatest need. Drawing from interviews with park and recreation leaders and a scan of innovative practices and approaches from across the country, this report highlights funding strategies and models communities are implementing to place equity and communities at the center of park investments and funding decisions. In addition to elevating interesting, replicable examples, this report offers 11 takeaways for park leaders and their government and community partners. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 74 pages].

Terrorist Definitions and Designations Lists: What Technology Companies Need to Know

Terrorist Definitions and Designations Lists: What Technology Companies Need to Know.  Brookings Institution. Chris Meserole and Daniel L. Byman.  July 19, 2019

This publication is part of a series of papers released by the Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology, of which the Brookings Institution is a member. The research conducted by this network seeks to better understand radicalisation, recruitment and the myriad of ways terrorist entities use the digital space.  [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 15 pages].

Resolving Legislative Differences in Congress: Conference Committees and Amendments Between the Houses

Resolving Legislative Differences in Congress: Conference Committees and Amendments Between the Houses.  Congressional Research Service. Elizabeth Rybicki. Updated May 22, 2019

The Constitution requires that the House and Senate approve the same bill or joint resolution in precisely the same form before it is presented to the President for his signature or veto. To this end, both houses must pass the same measure and then attempt to reach agreement about its provisions. The House and Senate may be able to reach agreement by an exchange of amendments between the houses. Each house has one opportunity to amend the amendments from the other house, so there can be Senate amendments to House amendments to Senate amendments to a House bill. House amendments to Senate bills or amendments are privileged for consideration on the Senate floor; Senate amendments to House bills or amendments generally are not privileged for consideration on the House floor. In practice, the House often disposes of amendments between the houses under the terms of a special rule reported by the Rules Committee. The Senate sometimes disposes of House amendments by unanimous consent, but the procedures associated with the exchange of amendments can become complicated.

[PDF format, 35 pages].

Supporting Students with High-Incidence Disabilities in U.S. Schools: National Findings from the American Educator Panels

Supporting Students with High-Incidence Disabilities in U.S. Schools: National Findings from the American Educator Panels.  RAND Corporation. Laura Stelitano, Rachel Perera, William R. Johnston. June 27, 2019.

The extent to which students with high-incidence disabilities (SWDs) are afforded effective and specialized instruction depends, in large part, upon the support their teachers receive. Certain teacher supports are essential for effectively serving SWDs, including a supportive school culture, collaboration and planning time, resources and training, and access to data and tools for using data. In this report, we explore the extent to which these supports are available to general and special educators, based on the results of the Measurement, Learning, and Improvement Survey to the RAND American Teacher Panel, a survey administered to a nationally representative sample of teachers. While research has established the importance of these supports, little is known about teachers’ access to them on the nationwide level and about how school-level factors (such as grade levels served, percentage of minority students, and poverty level) influence the prevalence of teacher supports. Overall, teachers’ access to support for serving SWDs varied by type of support, teacher role, and school level. General educators and teachers at the high school level were significantly less likely to report having sufficient access to support. Planning and release time were among the supports least often deemed sufficient by both general and special educators. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages].

5G in Five (not so) Easy Pieces

5G in Five (not so) Easy Pieces. Brookings Institution. Tom Wheeler. July 9, 2019

Throughout the world, ink is being spilled and electrons exercised in a frenetic focus on fifth generation wireless technology, or 5G. The 5G discussion, with all its permutations and combinations, has grown to resemble an elementary school soccer game where everyone chases the ball, first in one direction, then another.

In classic network engineering terms, the “noise” surrounding 5G is interfering with the “signal” about just what 5G is and what is necessary for its introduction. Consideration of 5G is far more serious than the so-called 5G “race” concocted by those seeking to advantage themselves in the business or political market—especially the political market. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Sharpening Our Efforts: The Role of International Development in Countering Violent Extremism

Sharpening Our Efforts: The Role of International Development in Countering Violent Extremism. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Enrique Betancourt et al. June 28, 2019 

Thanks to the generous support and cooperation from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development releases this new essay anthology, Sharpening Our Efforts: The Role of International Development in Countering Violent Extremism. As policymakers confront the ongoing challenge of radicalization and violent extremism, it is important that stakeholders and counterterrorism strategists recognize the critical role for development and other non-kinetic approaches to counter violent extremism (CVE). To that end, this new anthology takes a multidimensional role mapping out the role of soft power institutions in enabling lasting peace, prosperity, and global security. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 49 pages].

Understanding the Effects of the US Stress Tests

Understanding the Effects of the US Stress Tests. Brookings Institution. Donald Kohn and Nellie Liang.  July 11, 2019

Concurrent stress tests—testing all major banks with the same macroeconomic and market scenarios at the same time—were a key innovation growing out of the financial crisis of 2007-09. Their original intent in 2009 was to identify the capital needed by banks to continue functioning in a deep recession and require them to raise the capital, from private sources or the government, to support the economy. The stress tests have evolved considerably since 2009, but the underlying rationale remains to assure that major banks can continue to supply credit to households and businesses in circumstances of deep economic and financial distress. The tests allow policymakers to assess the adequacy of capital buffers and to require remediation when necessary through modifications to institutions’ capital plans. They are a strong microprudential tool, with important macroprudential elements.

In this paper, Donald Kohn and Nellie Liang of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings focused on assessing some of the effects of this new prudential tool as implemented in the United States, and contributing to the Federal Reserve Board’s review of its supervisory stress tests. They analyzed the data that are publicly disclosed about the stress tests for their implications for bank capital requirements and risk management, and marshaled the evidence from existing studies on the effects of stress tests on credit rather than undertaking new efforts. In addition, they interviewed a number of people knowledgeable about the stress tests to get their views on their effects. These included current and former supervisors and Federal Reserve economists (some of whom are now at consultancies advising banks on stress tests or at interest groups), current and former bankers involved in the stress tests at the banks, and other interested observers. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 30 pages].

Fostering Innovation to Respond to Top Challenges in Law Enforcement

Fostering Innovation to Respond to Top Challenges in Law Enforcement: Proceedings of the National Institute of Justice’s 2018 Chiefs’ Panel on Priority Law Enforcement Issues and Needs. RAND Corporation. John S. Hollywood et al. July 22, 2019

On August 28 and 29, 2018, the Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative hosted a capstone workshop attended by a group of the nation’s top law enforcement executives. The purpose of the workshop was to identify and characterize top issues facing law enforcement today, including both challenges and opportunities, as well as needs for innovation that, if addressed, might help resolve these issues. The panel discussed how law enforcement is faced with serious challenges that often do not have ready solutions available through short-term science and technology development. That said, panel members reported feeling that the challenges were tractable, but addressing these challenges will take concerted and collective effort across the criminal justice community, including stakeholders from local communities, social service providers, vendors, and researchers. Such efforts should consider substantial and systemic improvements to public safety and criminal justice: The panel suggested a potential national commission to revamp criminal justice in the United States. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 39 pages].

Farm Policy: USDA’s 2018 Trade Aid Package

Farm Policy: USDA’s 2018 Trade Aid Package. Congressional Research Service. Randy Schnepf et al. June 19, 2019

On early 2018, the Trump Administration—citing concerns over national security and unfair trade practices—imposed increased tariffs on certain imported products in general and on U.S. imports from China in particular. Several of the affected foreign trading partners (including China) responded to the U.S. tariffs with their own retaliatory tariffs targeting various U.S. products, especially agricultural commodities. 

On July 24, 2018, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be taking several temporary actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from what the Administration has characterized as “unjustified retaliation.” Specifically, the Secretary said that USDA would authorize up to $12 billion in financial assistance—referred to as a trade aid package—for certain agricultural commodities using Section 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act (15 U.S.C. 714c). USDA intends for the trade aid package to provide short-term assistance in response to the ongoing trade disputes. However, the Secretary stated that there would not be further trade-related financial assistance beyond this $12 billion package. The aid package includes (1) a Market Facilitation Program (MFP) of direct payments (valued at up to $10 billion) to producers of soybeans, corn, cotton, sorghum, wheat, hogs, and dairy who are most affected by the trade retaliation (sweet cherries and almonds were added to this list in September); (2) a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to partially offset lost export sales of affected commodities ($1.2 billion); and (3) an Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program to expand foreign markets ($200 million). 

[PDF format, 21 pages].

State of the News Media: Data and Trends about Key Sectors in the U.S. News Media Industry

State of the News Media: Data and Trends about Key Sectors in the U.S. News Media Industry. Pew Research Center. July 9, 2019.

Since 2004, Pew Research Center has issued an annual report on key audience and economic indicators for a variety of sectors within the U.S. news media industry. These data speak to the shifting ways in which Americans seek out news and information, how news organizations get their revenue, and the resources available to American journalists as they seek to inform the public about important events of the day. The press is sometimes called the fourth branch of government, but in the U.S., it’s also very much a business – one whose ability to serve the public is dependent on its ability to attract eyeballs and dollars.

Over the years, the Center’s approach to these indicators has evolved along with the industry, carefully considering the metrics, sectors and format in which the data appear. Instead of a single summary report, our approach is to roll out a series of fact sheets showcasing the most important current and historical data points for each sector – in an easy-to-digest format – a few at a time. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].