Category Archives: Laws/Legislation

A Curated List of Environmental Laws That Both Protect The Environment and Support Economic and Job Growth

Source: USC Schwarzenegger Institute, Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook, 2017

Laws that protect the environment and the health of citizens, while simultaneously supporting economic and job growth, are being passed in state legislatures across the United States. These laws are more important than ever before and, increasingly, the work being done at the subnational level is having an impact on national and global decision making. The USC Schwarzenegger Institute and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators have partnered with one another to create this online resource that will help state legislators throughout America learn from their colleagues in other states. We hope to assist legislators who are interested in advancing smart environmental policies by sharing best practices and actual legislation that is working successfully in a number of states already.

Governor Schwarzenegger has long insisted that voters aren’t interested in Republican air or Democrat air but instead simply want clean air. That belief has guided our thought process when choosing the legislation to include in this database. We believe that lawmakers from both political parties and all 50 states will be able to use this resource to find creative legislative solutions to many of the environmental and public health issues facing the people and communities they represent.

This list, although extensive, is by no means complete. We look forward to expanding the list of legislation shared on this website and encourage you to recommend bills from your respective states that you believe can be helpful to legislators elsewhere in America.

BROWSE BILLS BY CATEGORY:
Air Quality
Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
Human Health
Climate Change

How killing the ACA could lead to more opioid deaths in West Virginia and other Trump states

Source: Simon Haeder, The Conversation, July 24, 2017

…. While the exact nature of Republican repeal-and-replace efforts remains unclear at this moment, all proposals made public so far would pose enormous challenges for states like West Virginia to turn the tide on the devastating opioid epidemic.

One of the most essential tools in fighting the epidemic, the expansion of Medicaid, would be rolled back either immediately or over several years. Furthermore, the entire Medicaid program, the backbone of states’ efforts to provide treatment and services for opioid addiction treatment, would be further curtailed by per capita caps.

Moreover, all proposals would either outright eliminate or allow states to waive the crucial Essential Health Benefit provisions. These provisions require insurers to provide coverage for certain specified conditions, such as pregnancy, addiction treatment and emergency room care, that they might otherwise refuse to cover because of their costs.

Under certain proposals, lifetime and annual limits could also affect those covered by employer-provided insurance to lose access to crucial treatment options. ….

Flurry of Laws Enacted on Women’s Access to Health Care

Source: Christine Vestal, Stateline, July 24, 2017

As Washington moved to reduce federal funding for women’s health this year, adversaries in the war over affordable birth control and other women’s health services shifted the battleground to state capitals — resulting in a spate of new laws that both expand and contract women’s access to care.

It happened quickly in Iowa. In May, then-Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. Medicaid dollars stopped flowing to the group July 1, and four of the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics closed within a week.

That left nearly 15,000 women in small communities without access to reproductive health services, including cancer screenings, birth control, testing for and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and annual checkups. ….

….In December, President Barack Obama signed a Health and Human Services rule clarifying that states could not block funding to health care providers for purely political reasons. But that policy was quickly reversed when Trump took office…..

…..At the same time, Republicans in Congress repeatedly have called for elimination of the roughly $300 million federal grant program known as Title X that funds Planned Parenthood and other local family planning clinics.

And in May, a leaked Health and Human Services proposal revealed that the Trump administration intends to undo a provision in the federal health law that requires nearly all employers to include coverage of all forms of contraception in their employee health plans. If the proposal takes effect, it would make it easy for employers to opt out of coverage of contraception for religious or moral reasons…..

H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017

Source: Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimate, July 26, 2017

From the summary:
Selected provisions of an amendment in the nature of a substitute (ERN17500), as requested by the Democratic staff of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hr1628selectedprovisions.pdf View Document 107.21 KB Summary Three tables: Table 1. Estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of selected provisions from H.R. 1628 Table 2. Estimate of the net budgetary effects of the insurance coverage provisions of selected provisions from H.R. 1628 Table 3. Effects of selected provisions from H.R. 1628 on health insurance coverage for people under age 65

Related:
H.R. 1628, American Health Care Act of 2017
Source: Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimate, June 26, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, a Senate amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1628. CBO and JCT estimate that enacting this legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit over the 2017-2026 period by $321 billion. That amount is $202 billion more than the estimated net savings for the version of H.R. 1628 that was passed by the House of Representatives. The Senate bill would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under current law, slightly fewer than the increase in the number of uninsured estimated for the House-passed legislation. By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law. Following the overview, this document provides details about the major provisions of this legislation, the estimated costs to the federal government, the basis for the estimate, and other related information, including a comparison with CBO’s estimate for the House passed act.

H.R. 1628: The American Health Care Act (AHCA)
Source: Annie L. Mach, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R44785, May 4, 2017

….This report contains three tables that, together, provide an overview of all the AHCA provisions. Table 1 includes provisions that apply to the private health insurance market, Table 2 includes provisions that affect the Medicaid program, and Table 3 includes provisions related to public health and taxes. Each table contains a column identifying whether the AHCA provision is related to an ACA provision (e.g., whether it repeals an ACA-related provision). In addition to the three tables, the report includes more detailed summaries of each AHCA provision, and two graphics showing the effective dates of AHCA provisions. Figure 1 covers AHCA provisions related to the private health insurance market, public health, and taxes. Figure 2 covers AHCA provisions related to the Medicaid program…..

H.R. 1628, American Health Care Act of 2017
Source: Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimate, May 24, 2017

From the summary:
CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting the legislation—which would repeal or modify many provisions of the Affordable Care Act—would reduce federal deficits by $119 billion over the coming decade.

CBO and JCT estimate that in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. After additional changes to subsidies for insurance purchased in the nongroup market and to the Medicaid program took effect, the increase in the number of uninsured people would rise to 19 million in 2020 and then to 23 million in 2026.

The Real Voter Fraud

Source: Zachary Roth, New Republic, July 18, 2017

As Trump investigates “millions” of illegal votes, states are rushing to limit access to the ballot box. …. As president, Trump has refused to let go of his unhinged claim that “millions” of people voted illegally last November—and has used his unsubstantiated accusation of voter fraud to lay the groundwork at the federal level for a new round of voting restrictions. Republican legislators from New Hampshire to Texas are also moving swiftly to enact a wave of new laws that would make it harder to cast a ballot. Since January, according to a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 99 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in 31 states. ….

Unlocking the Housing-Related Benefits of Telework: A Case for Government Intervention

Source: W.C. Bunting – research economist in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Date Written: June 29, 2017

From the abstract:
The central claim of the present article is that some form of government intervention is necessary to make telework arrangements sufficiently binding in the long-run for employees living in, or near, city centers to feel comfortable incurring the costs of relocating to more remote, lower-priced areas, and to ensure the long-run financial self-sufficiency of private telework centers, which provide important benefits, not just to employers and employees, but to society generally. The public benefit considered here is the capacity for telework, and telework centers specifically, to provide lower-priced housing alternatives for middle- and high-income earners who choose to live in, or near, the city center to reduce the time spent commuting, but who would otherwise choose to live in more remote, lower-priced areas if commuting costs were lower. As explained, a minimal amount of government intervention is necessary, however, to overcome several key economic challenges that preclude employees from relocating to remote, lower-priced exurban or rural communities, as well as the formation of a new and exciting private-sector enterprise—the privately-operated telework center.

Repressing Radicalism

Source: Chip Gibbons, Jacobin, June 15, 2017

The Espionage Act turns 100 today. It helped destroy the Socialist Party of America and quashes free speech to this day. …. A century later, as socialist politics gain favor again in the United States, it’s important to remember the role that brute repression played in the SP’s downfall — and the continued threat the Espionage Act poses to democratic freedoms today. ….