Campus Law Enforcement, 2011-12

Source: Brian Reaves, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 248028, January 20, 2015

From the abstract:
Presents findings from a BJS survey of campus law enforcement agencies covering the 2011-12 academic year. The report focuses primarily on 4-year colleges and universities enrolling 2,500 or more students. Agencies serving public and private campuses are compared by number and type of employees, agency functions, arrest jurisdiction, patrol coverage, agreements with local law enforcement, requirements for new officers, use of nonlethal weapons, types of computers and information systems, community policing initiatives, use of special units and programs, and emergency preparedness activities.

– About 75% of the campuses were using armed officers, compared to 68% during the 2004-05 school year.
– About 9 in 10 public campuses used sworn police officers (92%), compared to about 4 in 10 private campuses (38%).
– Most sworn campus police officers were authorized to use a sidearm (94%), chemical or pepper spray (94%), and a baton (93%).
– Most sworn campus police officers had arrest (86%) and patrol (81%) jurisdictions that extended beyond campus boundaries.
– About 7 in 10 campus law enforcement agencies had a memorandum of understanding or other formal written agreement with outside law enforcement agencies.
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Dependent care reimbursement accounts and workplace-funded childcare access

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, TED: The Economics Daily, January 26, 2015

In 2014, 54 percent of state and local government workers and 36 percent of private industry workers had access to dependent care reimbursement accounts. Only 13 percent of state and local government workers and 10 percent of private industry workers had access to workplace-funded childcare.

Reimagining Collective Rights in the Workplace

Source: Catherine Fisk, University of California – Irvine School of Law, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-06, January 5, 2015

From the abstract:
This symposium, jointly sponsored by UC Irvine Law School and the Labor Law Group, consists of 12 papers proposing alternatives to the Wagner Act model of majority unions and workplace collective bargaining as ways to ensure decent working conditions. Taken together articles demonstrate three propositions. First, collective activism will be essential to any revitalization of labor. Each of the articles proposes different ways that law can facilitate organizing. Second, institutional design matters to whether work activism will occur and, if it occurs, whether it will be effective in improving working conditions; each article proposes different features of organizational design to facilitate organizing. Third, legal rules can make worker collectives sustainable and scalable institutions by giving them crucial roles in existing legal and political forums, by leveraging power at the local, state, and national level, by thwarting efforts to use legal doctrines like preemption or legal bureaucracies like criminal justice to eviscerate organizing gains, by improving access to information to enhance worker power, and by protecting the ability of worker collectives to raise money.

Saving Labor’s Sinking Ship

Source: David Moberg, In These Times, Working in These Times blog, January 21, 2015

….The big question for everyone is how to increase the power that organized workers can muster to combat both increasingly hostile corporate and political opponents as well as corrosive trends in work and the economy—from globalization to the “fissured workplace,” where the ultimate managerial power escapes responsibility for what happens on the job.

An answer might be found, said David Rolf, a successful Service Employees (SEIU) organizer and founder of Workers Lab, a new venture to support innovative organizing, when we realize that “policy is merely frozen power, … and power only really comes from disruption,” which leads to “new seats being found at the table of power to bargain. … The question for the 21st century is: what is disruptive power?”

Across many political or strategic differences, many panelists seemed to agree that disruption and, therefore, power relied in large part on mobilizing as organizers many of the millions of already organized workers. Ultimately labor’s greatest resource, the talents of these members, are all too often untapped….

City Wifi: Fast, Cheap, and No You Can’t Have It

Source: Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, January 22, 2015

…At least 19 states have passed laws limiting municipal and community broadband projects, typically at the behest of big internet service providers and their trade groups. The legislation ranges from outright bans to laws that limit public broadband to small towns or places where there’s no other high-speed service available. The Federal Communications Commission may soon invalidate these laws, but not if Republicans in Congress can stop it. In July, GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee inserted into an appropriations bill an amendment that would strip the FCC of its authority over state municipal broadband regulations. Some Republicans have branded municipal broadband as a form of socialism, because it uses public funds to compete with the private sector. They also say that local governments aren’t tech-savvy enough to build and maintain their own networks. …

….Although Blackburn doesn’t talk much about it, the Tennessee town of Chattanooga just so happens to host the nation’s largest and most successful municipal broadband network. Chattanooga’s power utility (and now internet provider) offers internet service to 160,000 households at speeds up to 1 gigabit per second—10 to 100 times faster than what’s available in most of the country—at a mere $70 a month…..

States’ Proposed & Enacted Budgets

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, 2015

Governors have begun releasing budget proposals for fiscal 2016, which begins on July 1 for 46 states. NASBO staff will continue to update this page as more proposed budgets are released. Additionally, read NASBO’s summaries of fiscal 2015 proposed and enacted budgets, including links to supporting documents.

A Wage Floor Forces Employers To Pay Better

Source: Oren M. Levin-Waldman, January 22, 2015

…If wages are supposed to rise with productivity, then why haven’t they? By all accounts the economy is improving. In December 2014, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 252,000, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent, which is the lowest it has been since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. At the same time, since the end of the Great Recession, productivity has been increasing, but those productivity gains have not been shared with the workers….

Opening the municipal checkbooks

Source: Alisha Green, Sunlight Foundation blog, January 23, 2015

One of government’s most basic functions is collecting and spending money. There’s a reason budgets and spending are often the source of passionate town hall debates and a key aspect of political platforms — people care about how government is putting their money to work. Making budgets and spending transparent by putting the information online would seem like a logical starting point for any government working to be more open, but this data can still be difficult to find in some municipalities around the country. Here, we take a look at the current landscape of how this information is shared, highlight some of the impacts of making the information available, and share recommendations for how local governments could improve financial disclosure….