Category Archives: Websites/Databases/Blogs

Attention, State Government Watchdogs: You Might Need This

Source: Linda Poon, CityLab, February 9, 2017

A new search engine called Digital Democracy can comb through videos, transcripts, and records of what goes on in America’s statehouses. … Some of this kind of information is recorded, but little is released in a timely manner or can be easily accessed by the public. Blakeslee aims to change that with Digital Democracy, an online tool that archives every state hearing in California—and now, New York—since 2015 through videos, transcripts, and records of who said what. The tool also keeps track of elected officials and their financial ties to lobbyists and big corporations—all searchable by name, issue, bill number, etc. Think of it as Google for state government. … First launched in 2015 in California with cofounder and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the tool is now being taken across the country to New York via a partnership with NAACP. Digital Democracy now has information on some 15,000 individuals involved in policymaking in those two states. Eventually, Florida and Texas will get their own platforms, expanding Digital Democracy’s reach to roughly a third of all U.S. citizens….

FedWeb.com

Source: Federal Budget Group LLC, 2017

….This website is dedicated to providing policymakers, the media, and the general public timely and reliable information that is strictly nonpartisan, rigorously factual, and explained in plain English. On the pages of this website, you will find: a chronology of key developments in fiscal, spending, tax and economic policy; up-to-the-minute real-time numbers on the the economy and monetary policy; links to the Budget of the United States and other budget docs; an overview of Federal spending and nonpartisan explanations of federal programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and other Mandatory spending programs; Defense Discretionary Spending, and Non-Defense Discretionary programs; Deficits and Debt projections; explanation of the Federal Debt Ceiling; and CBO Deficit Reduction Options; details on taxes, tax reform and tax expenditures; fact-checking on current spending and tax issues; a plain English explanation of the congressional budget process and links to State budgets; and FedWeb blogs (sign-up above) that drill-down on key issues…..

What everyone should know about their state’s budget

Source: Urban Institute, 2017
[tool was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation]

State and local governments educate schoolchildren, train the future workforce, care for the sick and elderly, build roads, patrol neighborhoods, extinguish fires, and maintain parks. In short, they’re pretty important. But few Americans understand where their state and local tax dollars go and to what effect. It’s not just the amount of money spent that matters, it’s why that money is spent the way it is.

Through this web tool, we aim to fill that knowledge gap. The tool allows users to get under the hood of their government and understand not only how much a state spends but also what drives that spending.

To do this, we apply a basic framework to all major areas of government spending. The framework says that state spending per capita is both a function of how many people receive a service and how much that service costs the state for each recipient. ….

…In this tool, you’ll see the spending per capita breakdown for all states and the District of Columbia across all major functional categories. It allows you to see how each state ranks, and you can sort by any factor you choose. (One frequent outlier is DC; though included in the rankings, it often functions more like a city than a state) We’ve included some annotations to guide you along the way. By exploring the tool, you’ll gain a sense of how much each state spends on any given area and why states spend what they do. ….

5 Calls debuts what may be the easiest way to call your reps yet

Source: Sarah Perez, TechCrunch, January 25, 2017

A growing number of political activist websites have popped up in recent days to help those opposed to the Trump administration’s policies and agenda to take action. But a new one, 5 Calls, has just launched its simple online tool that makes the more cumbersome process of getting in touch with your representatives a lot easier than before.

The site, created by a team of volunteers, isn’t very fancy, but it’s certainly efficient.
The idea is that if you have 5 minutes to spare, you can place 5 calls – something that’s far more effective in terms of influencing your representatives and getting your voice heard than emailing is said to be.

And, yes, this site has an anti-Trump, left-leaning agenda, but it’s worth noting its creators have open sourced the code. While this was done largely because of the way the team operated – during their free time, from different locations – it places the code in the public domain. And that means others – including those on the opposing side of the political spectrum – could build their own version of 5 Calls, if they were motivated to keep such a site updated. ….

Resistance Manual

Source: Stay Woke, 2017

This Wiki is a collective resource, a hub of knowledge and resources to help you resist Trump’s agenda. Add new issues or make additions to any page on this site. Quality submissions will be reviewed and published here.

Topics include:
Trump / GOP Policy Agenda
Obamacare / ACA
Policing
Immigration
Voting Rights
Mass Incarceration
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
Housing and Infrastructure
Women’s Rights / Reproductive Justice
LGBTQ Equality
Educational Justice
Muslim Ban / Registry
Consumer / Financial Protections
Climate / Environment

Essential Readings
find articles, curricula, and other readings in resistance

State and Local Pages
find info on issues, elections, and resources in your state and city

Political Issues
Political Appointments
Executive Actions
Elections
Trump Endorsers and Influencers
Corruption
Russia/Hacking
Mass Surveillance
Media Normalization
Societal Consequences of Trumpism
Institutional Racism

Resources
Crisis Resources
Tools of Resistance
People and Organizations
Upcoming Events/Opportunities

Police Body-Worn Camera Legislation Tracker

Source: Urban Institute, 2017

Laws governing how and when police body-worn cameras can be used and whether the footage is released vary considerably across the country. Use our legislation tracker, which we will update periodically, to find out more about passed and pending legislation in your state. ….
Related:
Police body camera policies: What’s in and what’s out
Source: Nancy G. La Vigne, Margaret Ulle, Urban Institute, January 12, 2017

State policies governing police body camera use are changing as rapidly as cameras are being deployed. About a year ago, we launched an interactive feature that tracks relevant body camera legislation. Since then, legislatures in 18 states passed new body camera laws. ….

Right-to-work laws

Source: Ballotpedia, 2017

Right-to-work laws are pieces of legislation that guarantee that no employee can be forced to join, or not join, a union, or be forced to pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment. Right-to-work laws also prohibit labor unions and employers from entering into contracts that only employ unionized workers for the jobs under the contract. ….

Page contains:
+ Introduction
+ Arguments
+ State laws
+ Federal laws
+ Historical trends
See also
External links
Footnotes

Voting on Labor and Unions
+ Ballot Measures
+ By state
+ By year
+ Not on ballot
+ Local

Repeal & Replace Watch

Source: Kaiser Health News, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, but has offered few details about what comes next. That’s why Kaiser Health News is launching Repeal & Replace Watch to track the new administration’s plans to revamp America’s health care system.

With a steady stream of analysis, explanation, investigation and data, Repeal & Replace Watch will follow how the new politics of health care are playing out here in D.C. We’ll also report on how the changes in Washington affect patients, hospitals, doctors and insurers across the country.

Trump Archive

Source: Internet Archive, 2017

The Trump Archive collects TV news shows containing debates, speeches, rallies, and other broadcasts related to President-elect Donald Trump. This evolving non-commercial, searchable collection is designed to preserve the historical record for posterity.

The project is a work in progress, with improvements planned for expanding collection and making searching more efficient.