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With the change in presidential administrations, the EPA's Clean Power Plan is in jeopardy, but a number of states have promoted and will continue to promote clean energy adoption. Federal regulations may change, but it is clear that with the price of solar and wind dropping, clean energy generation is the future of electricity. Carbon pricing is one major set of market mechanisms that states can use to promote the advancement of clean energy adoption. Whether a state or region chooses to implement a cap-and-trade, carbon tax, or some other mechanism, it is critical that issues of equity and justice for the communities most impacted by poverty and pollution are addressed in the policy design and implementation. This legislator toolkit provides guidance on how to support disadvantaged communities and displaced workers should a state choose to use carbon pricing as part of its plan to transition to a clean energy economy.
President Donald Trump's biggest campaign promise was to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. But his border wall proposal has several major flaws.
In the modern economy, a college education or technical degree is more important than ever - higher education greatly increases a person's access to high-paying jobs and future earnings. Implementing free tuition or free college at public institutions at the state level can increase student enrollment and graduation rates and improve academic achievement while preventing hard-working students from being saddled with unreasonable amounts of debt.
The estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. face massive challenges under President Donald Trump's administration. Increased anti-immigrant rhetoric, deportations carried out through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Department of Justice's threats to sanctuary cities have pushed immigrants back into the shadows. The number of immigrants with no criminal record who have been arrested increased by more than 250 percent in one year. Several conservative states have also increased their attacks on undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities - municipalities that prevent a law enforcement agency from participating in federal immigration enforcement.
Providing undocumented immigrants access to driver's licenses has become a focus of many immigrants' rights organizations and of communities that recognize the important role immigrant residents play as part of these communities. Progressive proponents of providing access to driver's licenses to all immigrants believe that doing so could improve public safety and could likely create a positive economic impact, both for families and the state's economy as a whole.
More than 3,000 local jails detain nearly two-thirds of a million Americans on a given day and over 11 million people per year. Seventy percent of individuals in jail are being held pretrial, meaning they have not yet been convicted of a crime and are legally innocent. The average length of stay for pretrial individuals varies greatly across the country, but the numbers are sobering - for example, the average stay is 55 days in New York City and 39 days in Maryland. About 90 percent of those jailed pretrial only remain incarcerated because they cannot afford their money bail, given that the national median bail is around $10,000.
Now, more than ever, the strength of our democracy is not something we can take for granted. Our democracy works only as long as people participate and believe in our election systems. To that end, we need to ensure that our system of registration and voting is modern, secure, and accessible for all eligible voters. Only by doing so can we ensure that our elected officials are accountable to the people and that our representation reflects the will and needs of the people.
Bump stocks and other similar devices are marketed to shooters seeking to convert their weapon to simulate the rapid, continuous fire of an automatic firearm while using a semi-automatic gun. In October 2017, a gunman in Las Vegas used multiple bump stock devices to convert semi-automatic rifles into weapons that fired 9 shots per second. He used those weapons to carry out the deadliest mass shooting attack in modern history. These devices are currently legal in most states and are not regulated by the federal government.
Alarming rates of police brutality and abuse of power persist across U.S. cities and states, with 987 people shot and killed by law enforcement officers in 2017 alone. Victims of police-involved violence are disproportionately people of color, and a quarter of victims struggle with mental illness. Despite the admirable sacrifices and contributions of law enforcement, incidents of police-involved violence destabilize and divide our communities and threaten our collective well-being. Research reveals concerning gaps in the capacity of police officers to interface with diverse communities, overcome implicit biases, and de-escalate tense situations. When officers responsible for violence against civilians are spared punishment or when investigations take place without transparency, injured communities are left without justice and mistrust deepens. Addressing this kind of violence requires a multipronged legislative approach that returns the power of oversight to the people, restores community justice, and equips police officers to safely serve diverse communities.
There are 2.1 million undocumented college-age individuals in the country who have overcome significant obstacles in order to pursue their education and the American dream. Given some encouragement and support, these students, often called Dreamers, could reach their potential and contribute more fully to a high-quality workforce for the nation's economy. These students are prevented from receiving federal financial aid - including federal loans - and in some places are not eligible to pay in-state tuition rates. Providing in-state tuition and access to scholarships or financial aid for students regardless of their immigration status expands educational opportunities for students - on average, in-state tuition for undocumented students expands education opportunities for students by as much as 31 percent. Encouraging all students to pursue higher education reduces high school dropout rates - not only for undocumented students but for their classmates as well.