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Alliance for Securing Democracy;
This report outlines additional steps that Congress and state legislatures can take to mitigate existing electoral vulnerabilities and prevent threats from undermining future elections. Federal laws to protect election workers, for example, are urgently needed and are clearly the role of Congress. At the same time, states should lead by passing needed protections and playing their historic role as laboratories of innovative democracy. The laws recently passed at the state level that improve protections, expand funding, and increase penalties for those who threaten election workers serve as demonstrations of these programs' effectiveness that will hopefully build support for federal action.
National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP);
The United States is experiencing a historic refugee crisis in the Western Hemisphere that has been cast as a border crisis, according to a National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis. Criticism of the increase in Border Patrol encounters has implied that individuals would not come to the United States if U.S. immigration policy were sufficiently harsh. However, the countries from which people are seeking refuge or employment in America have experienced economic and political upheavals. These upheavals or continuing violence and repression have created a large number of refugees.The best way to address illegal entry is to treat the current situation at the border as a historic refugee crisis and provide legal pathways for work and human rights protection.
The stories told within a society about migration and migrants paint a rich picture of how its members view the opportunities and challenges associated with the movement of people, and through what lenses. These migration narratives both inform policymaking and shape the public's reaction to government policy, affecting the policies' chances of achieving their goals.While El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are primarily known for emigration to the United States and Mexico, these northern Central American countries have seen notable changes in migration trends in recent years. The number of migrants from South America and the Caribbean who transit through these countries on their way north has increased, as has the number of Central Americans returning to their countries of origin.
National Immigration Law Center;
The United States' health care system consistently fails people whose primary language is not English, frequently known as individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). These breakdowns result in increases in both unnecessary care due to misdiagnoses and poor health outcomes. Luckily, there are clear and actionable policy interventions that Congress and federal agencies can take to address these health disparities. By increasing the quality of languages services, making them more available, and strengthening both provider and patient understanding of existing rights and tools, we can improve the health of millions of families in the U.S.
Political parties are the central institutions of modern representative democracy. They must also be at the center of efforts to reform American democracy. To redirect and realign the downward trajectory of our politics, we must focus on political parties. We need them to do better. And in order to create better parties, we need more parties.This paper makes the case for pro-parties reform both generally, and then for two specific reforms that would center parties: fusion voting and proportional representation. Fusion voting allows for multiple parties to endorse the same candidate, encouraging new party formation. Proportional representation ends the single-member district, making it possible for multiple parties to win seats in larger, multi-member districts, in proportion to their popular support. The goal of these reforms—fusion in the short and medium term and proportional representation in the long term—is to move us toward a more representative, effective, and resilient democracy for the twenty-first century.
Nearly 35 years after the World Wide Web's inception, the relationship between the internet, emerging technology, and democracy has never looked more uneven or uncertain. On the one hand, digital connectivity has been a boon for democratic speech and participation, allowing people all around the world to organize, scrutinize governments, and make their views heard. On the other hand, the digital domain appears to be an increasingly fractious and wild frontier where threats to human security and anti-democratic practices are on the rise.Digital governance is now an urgent global priority but there is no one size fits all solution or set of solutions. We need to keep in mind that neither governments nor tech corporations are monoliths; conflict between states and technology firms over regulations is as much a reflection of internal tensions as it is external pressures. Pragmatism and a sense of perspective can go a long way toward improved digital governance. Tensions are inevitable, we just need to remember that democracy is a generational process not an idyll destination.
Unite America Institute;
In this report, we conduct an in-depth analysis of California's top-two nonpartisan primary election system to better understand if and how eliminating partisan primaries reshapes politics and governance.We evaluate the effects of the top-two system in California based on the criteria established by supporters and opponents of such primary reforms, as well as by political scientists. Specifically, we assess the impact of Top Two on polarization, turnout and meaningful electoral participation, election competitiveness, Californians' assessment of state governance, and party strength. We exhaustively review existing peer-reviewed research and conduct original analysis to understand whether the claims and hopes of reform advocates came true.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences;
October 2022 saw record low water levels on the Mississippi River and the Lake Mead Reservoir of the Colorado River. In the previous month, Hurricane Ian became the third costliest natural disaster in our nation's history. As we face the reality of climate change, we will have to contend with the increasing and cascading impacts on the nation's food, water, energy, and infrastructure, creating security implications within the country and beyond its borders.The Human and National Security Working Group of the Commission on Accelerating Climate Action considered how climate action is impeded by ineffective communication, unmanaged risks, and lack of integration with frontline communities. Using the Colorado River Basin and the Gulf Coast as case studies, the two publications of this working group feature analysis of key problems preventing effective action and suggest paths forward for managing the security risks caused by a changing climate.
Open Environmental Data Project (OEDP);
The collection and use of environmental data is proliferating, supporting communities, researchers, and governments to solve environmental and climate crises on local and global scales. With data coming from disparate sources and actors, collaborative tools are increasingly necessary - especially if we're to responsibly account for and integrate the complex and intersectional nature of environmental issues. Environmental data users, collectors, and owners can practice responsible data stewardship in collaboration with others in new and profound ways in order to leverage the power of expanding data resources.Open Environmental Data Project convened stakeholders from government, academia, environmental nonprofits, community organizations, and the legal sector to discuss the challenges and promising solutions they've faced in collaboratively managing and stewarding environmental data. Different needs and opportunities emerged based on the actor's role in the collaboratively managed data space; we categorize the opportunities as either ecosystem-building opportunities, based on their application towards building the larger environmental data space, or as project application opportunities, opportunities for environmental data stewardship in practice or applied to specific collaborative environmental data projects. This brief focuses on the following thirteen opportunities on both the ecosystem-building and projection application levels.
California Partnership for Safe Communities;
Violence reduction in the US is benefitting from excellent research (and ongoing research agendas) into specific interventions that can be evaluated and replicated. However, more is needed. The fact that so many cities continue to struggle with serious violence despite record investments in new programs indicates that the field needs a broader approach.There is a crucial gap holding back the field of violence reduction: an understanding of not just what programs or strategies to adopt, but how to manage and govern on the city level to reduce serious violence. This was the primary conclusion of a 2022 expert convening. Running a rigorous violence intervention program in a particular community is very challenging. Assembling, implementing, and sustaining an effective city-level strategy is an even more complex and difficult task. The challenge of developing successful citywide strategies is enormously important, often ignored, and a large part of why cities are failing to sustainably reduce violence. This document describes the group's conclusions and exploration of the current gap in research, implementation, governance, and ongoing management that challenges the violence reduction field, including suggestions of three areas where investment and effort could make a near-term impact.
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law;
With more guns and more political polarization and violence, states need strong laws to limit risk. In Bruen, the Supreme Court recognized that prohibitions on guns in "sensitive places" — and specifically in "polling places" — were "presumptively lawful." Yet today only 12 states and Washington, DC, prohibit both open and concealed carry of firearms at poll sites. Ironically, the states with the strongest gun regulations — which had restricted the ability to carry guns in public generally, rather than prohibiting guns in particular locations — were made most vulnerable in the wake of Bruen. In fact, only one of the six states that had their laws struck down by the decision specifically prohibited guns in polling places at the time of the decision.Now these states that once had strong general gun laws must scramble to enact new protections for elections. Although some states have banned guns at polling placessince Bruen, there is far more work to do.This report evaluates the new risks that gun violence poses for U.S. elections and proposes policy solutions to limit those risks. Solutions include prohibitions on firearms wherever voting or election administration occurs — at or near polling places, ballot drop boxes, election offices, and ballot counting facilities. In addition, states need stronger laws preventing intimidation of voters, election officials, election workers, and anyone else facilitating voting, with express recognition of the role that guns play in intimidation.Brennan Center for Justice: http://brennancenter.org/Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: https://giffords.org/lawcenter/gun-laws/
Everytown For Gun Safety Support Fund;
Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws create an opportunity to intervene and prevent firearm violence when there are warning signs that an individual poses a risk of harm to self or others. While ERPO laws are relatively new, a growing body of research demonstrates the potential for these laws to prevent firearm violence, particularly firearm suicide, and multiple victim/mass shootings. Interest in ERPO laws has increased in recent years, with 16 states having enacted these laws between 2018 and 2023. Implementation varies widely across and within states. As a result of strong ERPO implementation efforts in some jurisdictions, more information is now available for state and local leaders about how to implement and adapt ERPO laws for their own communities. In addition, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 included $750 million in new federal grant funding for states, some of which is designated to support ERPO implementation.To meet this moment, the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions have partnered to compile this guide of the best available practices and promising approaches to effective implementation of extreme risk laws. These recommendations are informed by conversations with individuals who are pioneering ERPO implementation, in addition to the best practices shared at a December 2022 convening of ERPO leaders from around the country.