Pages tagged "crime"


Abortion Rights, Financial Protection, Drug Offenders and More

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The Public Leadership Institute is a nonprofit educational group organized to raise public awareness on key issues and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans. To join, click here.

Rape Survivor Information Act: Emergency contraception (EC) is exceptionally effective in preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex. Any woman who reports to law enforcement or college authorities that she has been sexually assaulted ought to be informed about ECs. State and local lawmakers can require it with the Rape Survivor Information Act.

California cracked down on fraudulent Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), shouldn’t you? CPCs are offices that purport to offer women comprehensive and unbiased reproductive health care information and services, but their mission is to say anything—whether truthful or not—to prevent women from obtaining abortions. There are three ways that lawmakers can address CPC fraud. Read about them on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Top Ten Model Bills for Abortion Rights: Wednesday, January 13 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. The best way to defend against anti-abortion attacks is by going on the offensive, reframing the debate with proactive legislation, and putting the right wingers in a difficult political position. Join this webinar for ten good ideas how to do it.

States are lifting restriction on SNAP and TANF for drug offenders: A 1996 federal law lets states decide whether to include ex-drug offenders in food stamp and welfare programs. A story from Pew notes that states are realizing, if the goal is to help ex-offenders go straight, it makes no sense to impoverish and starve them.

Protections from abuses in the credit and collections industries: The National Consumer Law Center has a great new model bill, the Family Financial Protection Act. It levels the playing field between consumers and debt collectors, among other important consumer reforms.

A Playbook for Abortion Rights: With 27 model bills and 2 model resolutions, our new Playbook for Abortion Rights is a one-of-a-kind resource for state and local policymakers. Click here to read a summary of the bills and download the whole book.


Gun Violence Messaging

 

Any time you talk about gun legislation you need to lay out the problem and your solution in very simple terms. While pro-gun advocates know (or more accurately think they know) a lot about gun laws, persuadable Americans have no idea how easy our system makes it for dangerous people to buy handguns, assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Be aware that if you get into a debate about gun policy you will spend most of your time trying to steer the conversation back to the legislation at hand. The main strategy of pro-gun advocates is to sidetrack the debate so that you’re talking about something other than the need for background checks or the advisability of limiting access to the most dangerous types of guns. 

Don’t say . . .

Say . . .

Gun control

Stricter gun laws

You oppose the 2nd Amendment

Preventing gun violence

Stronger gun laws

Support for the 2nd Amendment goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people 

Why . . .

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has done a good job of making people think that gun control or even stricter laws means banning the possession of handguns or the confiscation of guns. Of course, no one is proposing that. You need to make it clear that you are taking what voters perceive as a moderateposition. Like them, you support the 2nd Amendment. Like them, you don’t have a problem with NRA members in your community. (If the situation requires you to attack the NRA, then condemn “NRA lobbyists” or the “NRA’s out-of-touch leaders.” Never attack average NRA members or local NRA leaders; that doesn’t work.)

To introduce your argument, start with the fundamentals: 

Say . . .

We need to do everything we can to keep our community safe and secure from violence. But every day, far too many of us are victims of gun violence. Dozens of Americans will be murdered, hundreds of others will be shot, and nearly one thousand will be robbed or assaulted with a gun—today. (If you can, tell a personal story here.) 

Why . . .

Don’t skip the universally shared values we are fighting for—safety and security. And then, don’t ignore the fundamental facts that motivate us to fight: there are about 10,000 gun murders, about 100,000 people shot, and about 350,000 Americans robbed or assaulted with firearms—every single year. Let people recognize that every day, wherever we go in America, we are all at risk of gun violence. And then: 

Say . . .

It is obvious why so many people are killed or victimized with guns, day after day—we have some of the weakest gun laws in the world. To make us, our families and our communities safer, we need to change a few of those laws—now. 

Why . . .

Don’t assume people understand why we need new laws. Link the problem to the solution.

To require background checks for all gun sales—this is your basic argument: 

Say . . .

Our community can’t be safe if we allow guns to be sold to felons or the dangerously mentally ill. That’s why current law requires that no gun can be sold by a licensed gun dealer without a criminal background check. But millions of guns are sold by unlicensed sellers at gun shows and through Internet sites with no background check. We need a simple change in the law in order to cover all gun sales. The few minutes it takes to complete a computerized check will save lives. It’s just common sense. 

Why . . .

Since 1968, federal law has banned the possession of firearms by convicted felons, domestic abusers and people who are dangerously mentally ill. The Brady law, enacted in 1993, requires a criminal background check before any licensed dealer can sell any firearm. (Some states require more.) A National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for gun purchases, operated by the FBI, began in 1998. Poll after poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun sales.

The only direct argument against background checks by the pro-gun lobby is that “criminals will get guns anyway.” 

Say . . .

The federal background check law has blocked more than 1.5 million illegal gun sales over the past 15 years. It works. The problem is that the law doesn’t apply to private sales, so felons can currently avoid a background check and get any kind of gun, no questions asked. Both the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the national Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed mandatory, universal background checks because they know it will save lives. It’s time to close the private sales loophole. 

Why . . .

Nobody suggests this law will stop all criminals. To be successful, it doesn’t have to. No law stops allcrime. It’s simply common sense to block as many illegal sales as possible.

All the other arguments raised in this debate are designed to change the subject: background checks will create a gun registration list that will lead to confiscation; they will keep women from defending themselves in the home; they would put us on a “slippery slope” leading to extreme laws in the future; they’re the first step toward fascism; they would violate the 2nd Amendment. We deal with such arguments below. But the most important thing is for you to quickly bring the conversation back to the question of whether we should sell firearms at gun shows and in parking lots with no documentation and no questions asked. Don’t be diverted from the simple matter of background checks when nearly every persuadable voter is already on your side.

To ban military-style assault weapons—this is your basic argument: 

Say . . .

Our community can’t be safe if any unstable person can walk into a gun store and walk out with military weapons. That’s why, for nearly 80 years, federal law has banned machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, very high-caliber firearms, grenades and bombs. Military-style assault weapons—like the one used to murder defenseless children in Newtown—are semiautomatic versions of military weapons that are designed for rapid fire. They are weapons of war and our communities will be safer if we stop their manufacture and sale. 

Why . . .

It’s important to point out that we have been banning particularly dangerous guns for years.

Keep in mind it is okay to be emotional about assault weapons. Just consider the three most prominent school massacres: Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—20 children and six faculty murdered with a semiautomatic copy of the U.S. military’s M-16 rifle; Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado—13 killed and 23 wounded with four guns, including 55 rounds fired from a TEC-9 semiautomatic assault pistol; Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California—five small children killed and 30 wounded with a semiautomatic copy of the Soviet military’s AK-47 rifle.

What makes these guns different is they were originally designed for military, not sporting, use. So they have features—like large-capacity magazines, pistol grips and barrel shrouds—that enable the shooter to fire a lot of bullets very rapidly and still keep control of the gun. In the hands of someone with practice, an assault weapon can fire almost as fast as a machine gun. Search YouTube for “bump-fire AR-15” and see for yourself.

There’s really only one direct argument made by pro-gun debaters against an assault weapon ban: “There is no proof the 1994-2004 federal ban on assault weapons prevented crimes.” 

Say . . .

In the ten years that the federal ban on assault weapons was in effect, the percentage of assault weapons traced to crime fell by 66 percent. The ban worked and countless lives were saved. 

Why . . .

Gun tracing statistics provide the best measure because they cover all types of crime and accurately distinguish assault weapons from other guns.

The rest of the arguments against an assault weapon ban are designed, once again, to change the subject: women won’t be able to defend themselves in the home; these guns aren’t really called assault weapons; the Swiss and Israelis have military weapons in their homes; British gun control doesn’t work; military rifles are useful for shooting coyotes and varmints; veterans like them because they’re used to them; this is what Hitler would do. 

To ban high-capacity ammunition magazines—your basic argument: 

Say . . .

To protect our families and communities, we need to keep the most dangerous gun accessories out of the hands of felons and the dangerously mentally ill. This is not unusual. Silencers have been banned for nearly 80 years. The fact is, high-capacity ammunition magazines are designed to shoot a lot of people, fast. There is no hunting or sporting purpose for them. Just like silencers, high-capacity magazines should be banned to make our communities more secure. 

Why . . .

Like assault weapons, it’s important to show that we have banned particularly dangerous gun accessories for years. And high-capacity magazines are very common in mass shootings. The killer in the Newtown, Connecticut massacre used at least three 30-round magazines. The shooter in the Tucson, Arizona massacre—in about 15 seconds—fired 31 shots from one magazine, hitting 19 people, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, and killing six, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge. The shooter in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater had a 100-round magazine.

Again, there is only one direct argument against the proposal: “A magazine ban wouldn’t save any lives.” 

Say . . .

The Tucson massacre, where Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot, is a good example. The shooter had an ammunition magazine with 31 bullets. He was tackled after he shot out his clip and was trying to reload. If the magazine had only 10 rounds, a lot of people would have been saved. 

Why . . .

Our past six Presidents—Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush—all endorsed a ban on high-capacity magazines. It’s just common sense.

As we’ve explained above, the standard pro-gun tactic when arguing against gun laws is to change the subject. Whatever else you say, bring the debate back to the specific legislation on the table. Here are some examples:

Right wing argument: The Second Amendment forbids the proposed gun law. 

Say . . .

I support the Second Amendment. Hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage. But the Supreme Court ruled, just a few years ago, that reasonable gun laws, like this one, are constitutional. The Court explicitly upheld the current ban on possession of guns by felons. There is no constitutional difference between having that ban and enforcing it with a background check. The Court affirmed the current ban on sawed-off shotguns. There is no constitutional difference between that ban and one on semiautomatic assault weapons or large-capacity magazines. Over the last few years, federal and state courts have consistently ruled that modest gun laws like these do not violate the Second Amendment. 

Why . . .

The 2008 Supreme Court opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller guarantees Americans the right to have a handgun in the home for self-protection. The Court also said: “[N]othing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” And that ruling explicitly reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s 1939 U.S. v. Miller opinion that upheld a law banning sawed-off shotguns (the same law bans machine guns, silencers and grenades) and also agreed that lawmakers have the power to prohibit “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

Right wing argument: The assault weapon law wouldn’t have stopped Newtown or other claims that one particular gun law wouldn’t have prevented one particular crime. 

Say . . .

We don’t make any laws that way. The law against murder doesn’t stop all murders; we don’t expect it to. The law that lowered the blood alcohol level for driving didn’t stop all drunk driving; we didn’t expect it to. The question is not whether this law would have certainly stopped any particular crime, it is whether our communities would be safer with this law. They would be safer; it’s common sense. 

Right wing argument: This proposed law puts us on a slippery slope that will lead to worse laws down the road. 

Say . . .

You can make that argument against any law. Why not claim we shouldn’t have driver’s licenses because it might lead to bicycling licenses, walking licenses, and the confiscation of cars? Let’s return to the real issue: isn’t it simple common sense that we should stop selling these guns to just any adult, no questions asked? 

Right wing argument: This law will give the federal government the data to create a gun registration list, and that’ll lead to us getting our guns taken away. 

Say . . .

There is nothing in the background check proposal that creates a registry. In fact, existing law forbids the federal government from establishing a gun registration list. 

Right wing argument: That gun law will inhibit the right to self-defense. 

Say . . .

I support the right to self-defense and nothing in this legislation would prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves with a gun. Americans will still have access to thousands of different kinds of guns. 

Right wing argument: We should provide armed guards/do something about mental health/make parents take responsibility/ban violent video games instead. 

Say . . .

We should make our communities safer. If you’ve got a good proposal, that’s fine. But this is not an either-or debate; one policy does not exclude another. Can we get back to the legislation on the table—why should we sell these guns to just any adult, no questions asked? 

Right wing argument: The answer to gun violence is to have more guns. An armed society is a polite society. 

Say . . .

The states with the highest gun ownership rates have more gun violence—by far. But more important, this legislation will not prevent law-abiding Americans from buying or owning guns. The point is irrelevant; let’s return to the real debate. 

Right wing argument: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Say . . .

It just doesn’t work that way. Columbine High School had an armed deputy sheriff. Virginia Tech had an entire police force, including a SWAT team. At the Tucson shooting, not only was there an armed civilian who failed to stop the shooter, but he almost shot one of the brave unarmed people who tackled and disarmed the shooter. The Fort Hood massacre happened at a military base filled with soldiers. President Reagan and his press secretary Jim Brady were surrounded by armed police and Secret Service, and yet both were shot. Let’s get back to the real debate. 




Criminal Justice Messaging

 

When you’re talking about crime, you must tell voters how your policies will make them safer, not how they benefit the criminal.

Don’t say . . .

Say . . .

Rights (of criminals)

 

Security, safety, protection

Responsibility

Justice 

Do not begin a discussion of crime with the ideas of fairness or equal opportunity. Persuadable voters want to know how your criminal justice policies protect them. Explain how your solutions make citizens safer. That’s what all good progressive criminal justice policies accomplish—they prevent crime, reduce recidivism and improve the quality of life for everyone.

Conversely, right wing policies—like giving long prison sentences to nonviolent drug offenders—take hundreds of millions of dollars away from strategies that more effectively fight drug abuse and prevent crime.

Say . . .

Among the most fundamental jobs of government is to protect residents from crime. I want to make law-abiding people safer. For serious felons, we should lock ’em up for a long time. For nonviolent and young offenders we need to do everything we can to divert them from crime and make sure they don’t become hardened criminals. For example, nonviolent drug offenders sentenced to treatment facilities instead of regular prisons are far less likely to commit future crimes. My opponent’s policies would throw those people in jail with violent felons and make them more likely to victimize us when they get out. That’s the wrong approach. I favor a justice system designed to reduce crime and make all of us safer and more secure.

Why . . .

Everyone wants safer communities. But what if the progressive policy is specifically about the rights of the accused? For example, policies to require electronic recording of interrogations, reform police procedures for lineups, and create commissions to research whether imprisoned people are actually innocent.

Emphasize that for every wrongly convicted person there is an actual perpetrator who has escaped justice and remains a threat to our public safety. Don’t blame the police, but suggest that there are more modern practices that have been proven to work better than current police procedures. Say that we owe it to the victim, as well as the whole community, to find and punish the real criminal. For example:

Say . . .

An important part of my job is [or will be] to help protect you from crime. The question is, which policies make you safer? A lot of other jurisdictions get better evidence from suspects and witnesses by requiring that all police questioning be recorded electronically. It eliminates disputes about what was said, it protects the innocent and makes it easier to convict the guilty. I’m not saying our police have done anything wrong in the past, it’s just that technology has changed rapidly and we should take advantage of it. If we can do something that simple to help get some felons off our streets, it’s my responsibility to make it happen—so we can all be safer and more secure. 




Can we talk about Assault Weapons?

We all know that some guns should be banned or severely restricted. Machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, grenades, and many other types of extremely dangerous weapons were essentially banned by the commonsense National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934, a law that was, obviously, upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

Recently, mass murderers in San Bernardino killed 14 and wounded 21 with AR-15 assault rifles, which are versions of the U.S. military’s M-16 infantry weapon. It is the same gun that was used to slaughter 20 children and 6 faculty members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The question today is whether these modern assault weapons should be banned or severely restricted, just as other firearms have been restricted for the past 80 years. Let us compare how dangerous the AR-15 is compared to the guns banned by the National Firearms Act.

Read more

What Can We Do About Guns?

In response to the massacre at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, President Obama said:

This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.  We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.

I assume the President was talking to the majority in the U.S. Congress because average citizens do not agree with the longstanding political choice of doing nothing. Americans favor—and have always favored—strong legislation to oversee and restrict gun ownership: 93 percent favor a background check for every gun sale; 76 percent favor registration of all guns; 77 percent favor licensing of all gun owners.

Among these policy solutions, recent evidence demonstrates that handgun licensing can dramatically reduce crime and save thousands of lives. The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that after Connecticut enacted a licensing law in 1995, gun-related homicides dropped 40 percent over the following decade. In contrast, five years after Missouri repealed its licensing law in 2007, there was a 25 percent increase in firearm homicides.

Gun licensing (especially if it includes a fingerprint background check) clearly saves lives and is overwhelmingly popular. It should be a top priority for gun policy advocates. And yet, we’re not even talking about it on the national level. Why?

Read more

Juvenile Justice Reform, Pope Francis, Federal Budget, and More


The Public Leadership Institute is a nonprofit educational group organized to raise public awareness on key issues and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans. To join, click here.

Juvenile Justice Reform Act: This model combines three urgent reforms. The Juvenile Justice Reform Act restricts pretrial confinement to youths who pose a danger or may flee from justice; it limits the circumstances when judges can transfer defendants from juvenile to adult courts; and it protects accused children by ensuring that they do not waive their constitutional right to counsel.

Pope Francis Suggests a Progressive Freedom of Religion! Last Saturday the Pope gave an address on religious freedom in Philadelphia. Instead of hard-line opposition to abortion, contraception and LGBT rights, Pope Francis said not a single sentence that could not be embraced by progressives. What is this progressive view of religious freedom? Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

How the federal budget (and any future shutdown) affects you: TODAY! Thursday, October 1 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. Right wingers have been trying to shut down the federal government supposedly to defund Planned Parenthood. Campaign for America’s Future co-director Bob Borosage will explain what’s going on and how it will affect state and local governments, as well as individuals everywhere. Register for the webinar here.

Most voting machines are obsolete or nearly so: Voting machines operate well for only 10-15 years and most jurisdictions use machines at least that old. The Brennan Center issued a recent report surveying the problem—see if your jurisdiction needs to go shopping soon.

Toolkit for enacting Ban the Box: The National Employment Law Project recently published a tool kit for Ban the Box—legislation that removes questions about criminal history from job application forms. Nineteen states and more than 100 cities and counties have banned the box; you can too.

See us at upcoming conferences: The Public Leadership Institute will participate in the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) conference October 1-3, WiLL/WAND conference October 4-6, Local Progress conference October 26-27, and National League of Cities November 4-6. If you’ll be at any of these, please alert mweiss@publicleadershipinstitute.org and we’ll look out for you. 


Prescription Drug Transparency, Violent Crime, the Shutdown, and More


The Public Leadership Institute is a nonprofit educational group organized to raise public awareness on key issues and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans. To join, click here.

Prescription Drug Price Transparency: There is a movement in states toward requiring drug companies to disclose costs and profits in order to help drive down prices. In Massachusetts, SB 1048 would require such disclosure for a fairly small number of drugs on a “critical prescription drug list.” Other disclosure bills have been introduced in California, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

What, if anything, is causing violent crime to increase? The media have saying that violent crime is on the rise, and it seems to be true—but only in some jurisdictions and not others. Is there a logical reason why homicide has increased significantly in cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. while other places like Philadelphia and New York have seen little change? Yes. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

How the federal budget (and the shutdown) affects you: Thursday, October 1 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. Once again, the federal government may shut down on October 1, this time because of an absurd plan to defund Planned Parenthood. Campaign for America’s Future co-director Bob Borosage will explain what’s going on and how it will affect state and local governments, as well as individuals everywhere. Register for the webinar here.

California passes strong climate change bill: The legislature passed SB 350 which requires the state to increase from 33 to 50 percent the proportion of electricity the state derives from renewable sources. The Environmental Defense Fund considers the bill a historic victory but some compromises were made.

California passes automatic voter registration: The legislature passed AB 1461, the New Motor Voter Act, which automatically registers to vote any adult citizen who gets or renews a driver’s license, gets a state ID card, or fills out a change of address form with the Department of Motor Vehicles—unless he or she declines to be registered.

Latest update on legislation at the state and local levels: Read our newly-updated Compendium. And we welcome input! If you have additions, please contact mweiss@publicleadershipinstitute.org.


What, if anything, is causing violent crime to increase?

Recently, the New York Times published a front page story headlined “Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities.” Much of the media have run similar reports, including USA Today, Reuters and Time.

First we must consider whether the storyline is entirely true. Both the Washington Post’s Wonkblog and FiveThirtyEight wrote analyses demonstrating that there is no uniform rise in violent crime across all or even most cities. According to data compiled by FiveThirtyEight, comparing similar periods in 2014 to 2015, homicides decreased or stayed the same in 23 of America’s 60 biggest cities.

Across all 60 of these cities, however, the number of homicides from January through mid-August increased from 2,963 in 2014 to 3,450 in 2015, a rise of 16 percent. And there have been undeniably significant increases in murder in Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Omaha, St. Louis, Tulsa and the District of Columbia.

It seems something awful is happening. Yet, we must cautiously qualify that statement. Since the late 1980s, murder, violent crime, and crime in general have all plummeted. The United States has become tremendously safer over the past 30 years—although no one really seems to know why.

Read more

Synthetic Drugs, Common Core Results, Progressive Economics and More


The Public Leadership Institute is a nonprofit educational group organized to raise public awareness on key issues and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans. To join, click here.

Controlling Synthetic Drugs: One of the most likely causes of the spike in urban violent crime is the steep rise in the use of synthetic drugs. These substances, which are cheap and widely available in high-poverty neighborhoods, are believed to cause some to become unusually violent. The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws has three model bills here to deal with these “Novel Psychoactive Substances.”

Common Core “Results” Aren’t Actually Test Scores: Over the next couple of months we can expect a flood of PR efforts to tout the results of Common Core standardized tests. But these will be largely misleading because they will reflect subjective lines in the sand, not actual test scores. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Three Principles of Progressive Economics: Thursday, September 10 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. Americans generally understand conservative economic principles: free markets are essential, the rich deserve their wealth, the rich are job creators, government should be small and taxes need to be low. How do we push back and talk about progressive economics? Register for the webinar here.

State Earned Income Tax Credits: State EITCs are among the simplest and most effective of anti-poverty measures. Here is a simple explanation of the policy from our friends at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Auto Insurance Discrimination: Companies charge low-income residents more for auto insurance by increasing rates based on credit scores, occupation and level of education. Some states are now limiting what insurers can consider in calculating premiums, explains the Pew Trust’s Stateline.

Looking for policies to introduce in 2016? Our Progressive Agenda for States and Localities contains hundreds of ideas for new laws on many subjects, including hyperlinks to model bills. It’s all right here.


Credit Checks, Death Penalty, Public Education and More


The Public Leadership Institute is a nonprofit educational group organized to raise public awareness on key issues and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans. To join, click here.

Prohibit credit checks for employment: Ten states prohibit or strongly restrict the use of credit checks in hiring, including CA, CO, CT, HI, IL, MD, NV, OR, VT and WA, because the practice irrationally discriminates against many people (like those who had earlier been sick or injured). The Fair Employment Practices Act, based on District of Columbia legislation, bans such use.

Time to kill the death penalty: Opponents of the death penalty can follow their consciences while simultaneously arguing from a strong moral and factual position: that we should instead spend society’s time and money on policies that actually reduce crime and make law-abiding Americans safer. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

How to talk about public education: Wednesday, August 26 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. Public schools are under attack from conservatives who are, essentially, trying to demolish public education. To win this argument, we need to understand public opinion and use points of agreement to push back against vouchers, school closings, narrowing of the curriculum, and ideological attacks on teachers. Register for our webinar here.

New government accounting standards for tax subsidies now apply: For the first time, rules applying to both state and local governments require that Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) include a wide range of tax subsidies. Read about it here.

E-cigarette usage surges, legislators respond: Ten percent of U.S. adults now vape, about four times more than in 2013. Big tobacco companies have largely bought the vaping industry. Many states and localities have responded with new laws, but there is much more to do.

Looking for interesting new policy ideas? Our Progressive Agenda for States and Localities contains hundreds of ideas on many subjects, including hyperlinks to model bills. It’s all right here.

 


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