Category Archives: Websites/Databases/Blogs

Copy, Paste, Legislate (beta)

Source: Center for Public Integrity, 2019

Do you know if a bill introduced in your statehouse — it might govern who can fix your shattered iPhone screen or whether you can still sue a pedophile priest years later — was actually written by your elected lawmakers? Use this new tool to find out.

Spoiler alert: The answer may well be no.

Thousands of pieces of “model legislation” are drafted each year by business organizations and special interest groups and distributed to state lawmakers for introduction. These copycat bills influence policymaking across the nation, state by state, often with little scrutiny. This news application was developed by the Center for Public Integrity, part of a year-long collaboration with USA TODAY and the Arizona Republic to bring the practice into the light.

Related:
Puppies, phones and porn: How ‘model legislation’ affects consumers’ lives
Source: Kristian Hernández, Pratheek Rebala, Center for Public Integrity, November 20, 2019

…..Earlier this year, the Center for Public Integrity, USA TODAY and the Arizona Republic analyzed model statehouse bills to take the first nationwide accounting of how prolific copycat legislation has become.

Today, the news organizations publicly released a new model legislation tracker that goes deeper, identifying copycat legislation by comparing statehouse bills to each other — and making that information accessible to the public.

The tool developed by Public Integrity reveals model bills — some previously unidentified — that impact nearly every aspect of American life, from who can grow hemp or breed puppies, to what can be called “milk” or “meat” for purchase at your local grocery stores.

Using the new model legislation tracker, Public Integrity retrieved nearly 1.2 million bills across all 50 states and compared their text to identify when two bills in different states have common language…..

ProGov21 – a digital library of progressive local government policies and practices

Source: ProGov21, 2019

ProGov21 is a shared resource for local progressive policy makers and advocates. This is a fully searchable on-line library of innovative progressive laws and practices used throughout the country, along with toolkits for their effective communication and advocacy.

To search for anything, simply type in the search bar above. You can put in a particular name, a policy area of interest, and much more. You can target your search by applying any of the filters that will then appear on the left of the screen, including level of government, state, year, kind of document, or policy area.

ProGov21 is a fully searchable digital library of progressive local government policies and practices as well as assists in their effective communication and advocacy. ProGov21 is maintained and administered by COWS but its contents and library are user generated from a broad array of progressive organizations.

Nonprofit Explorer: Research Tax-Exempt Organizations

Source: Mike Tigas, Sisi Wei, Ken Schwencke and Alec Glassford, ProPublica, Updated June 6, 2019

Use this database to view summaries of 3 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations and see financial details such as their executive compensation and revenue and expenses. You can browse IRS data released since 2013 and access over 9.6 million tax filing documents going back as far as 2001.

Nonprofit Explorer includes summary data for nonprofit tax returns and PDFs of full Form 990 documents. The summary data contains information processed by the IRS during the 2012-2017 calendar years; this generally consists of filings for the 2011-2016 fiscal years, but may include older records. This data release includes only a subset of what can be found in the full Form 990s.

In addition to the raw summary data, we link to PDFs of full Form 990 documents wherever possible. This consists of a separate release by the IRS of Form 990 documents processed by the agency through June 2016; these documents may contain filings as recent as the 2015 fiscal year.

Features include:
Advance Search
Search for officers or high-paid employees, search for any word or phrase in an electronic filing, search by state, type of organization,

Person Search
Search for Officers or Employees

Women’s Rights: Primary Sources and Teaching Activities

Source: National Archives, DocsTeach, 2019

Women’s Rights and Roles in American History

When our Constitution was written, it was silent on women. Excluded from most of the rights and privileges of citizenship, women operated in limited and rigid roles while enslaved women were excluded from all. Yet women have actively participated as citizens—organizing, marching, petitioning—since the founding of our country. Sometimes quietly, and sometimes with a roar, women’s roles have been redefined. Use this page to find primary sources and document-based teaching activities related to women’s rights and changing roles in American history. Many of the documents, photographs, and other sources are also featured in the exhibits Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, and One Half of the People: Advancing Equality for Women, traveling the country.

Related:
Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote
Source: Library of Congress, 2019

This exhibition will tell the story of the long campaign for women’s suffrage – considered the largest reform movement in American history – which lasted more than seven decades. The struggle was not for the fainthearted. For years, determined women organized, lobbied, paraded, petitioned, lectured, picketed, and faced imprisonment.

The exhibition draws from the Library’s extensive collection of personal papers of such figures as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Nannie Helen Burroughs, and Carrie Chapman Catt, as well as the organizational records of the National Woman’s Party and the National American Woman Suffrage Association, among others. Documents, images, video and audio recordings trace the movement leading to the women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, through the contributions of suffragists who worked to persuade women that they deserved the same rights as men, the divergent political strategies and internal divisions they overcame, the push for a federal women’s suffrage amendment and the legacy of this movement.

Related Links

  • Votes for Women: Selected Images from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
  • Web Guide: Nineteenth Amendment, Researcher and Reference Services
  • Digital Collections

  • Susan B. Anthony Papers
  • Carrie Chapman Catt Papers
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers
  • Mary Church Terrell Papers
  • National American Woman Suffrage Association Papers
  • Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party
  • Suffrage Sheet Music
  • For Teachers

  • Primary Source Set: Women’s Suffrage
  • Suffrage Strategies: Voices for Votes
  • Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection 1848-1921
  • Votes for Women: Suffrage Pictures
  • Women Have Had The Right To Vote For 100 Years. Here’s How To Celebrate
    Source: Mikaela Lefrak, WAMU, May 16, 2019

    The history of women’s suffrage and the landscape of Washington, D.C. are inextricably tied. It took decades of women organizing near the Capitol, picketing outside the White House, lobbying Congress and marching on the National Mall to win the right to vote. This June 4 marks the 100-year anniversary of Congress’ passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex. Museums and institutions around the District are marking the centennial with exhibitions on the movement’s history and leaders. Here are five of our top picks for places to learn about key women suffragists, the movement’s strategic wins and moral failings and how the fight for voting rights continues today.

    1. Untold Stories: The National Portrait Gallery …..
    2. Primary Sources: The National Archives …..
    3. The Room Where It Happened: Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument …..
    4. Personal Papers Galore: The Library of Congress …..
    5: Tables And Wagons: The National Museum of American History …..
    …..

    Legal Research Data Base Evaluation Drawing the Silken Thread 2d. ed.

    Source: Jonathan Stock, Independent Law Librarian, May 6, 2019

    From the abstract:
    This study constitutes an update of its predecessor released last year. The silken thread, being drawn a second time, this new document should be reviewed in relation to its 2018 first edition. Releasing any successor version recommends dual explanation: what has not changed and what has changed. The former far outnumbers the latter. First among matters not changed is study objective. Institutions still must make data base acquisition decisions – and need to know what they are buying. Vendors build these systems – and need feedback enabling improvements. These considerations recommend a method for objective evaluation. The present effort aims at offering one such method.

    Study method has not changed, except in one detail. This time, six legal databases are addressed: CASEMAKER, FASTCASE, LEXIS, WESTLAW, GOOGLE SCHOLAR, and BLOOMBERG LAW. The approach remains a combination of inductive and deductive logic. Induction operates from the “back forty” wherein six topics embedding similar questions are run through these systems. Deduction operates from the “front forty” wherein data, empirically derived, draws back into general overview.

    Learn for Free: Law Courses & Lectures Online

    Source: Inner Temple Library, Updated April 2019

    From interactive courses spanning several weeks to quick introductory tasters, there is a huge amount of free learning materials available online. Covering a range of topics and jurisdictions, there’s something for everyone (so long as you’re into law)!
    MOOCs, Tasters and Courseware
    Lecture Collections and Podcasts
    Open Access Books and Journals

    Courses include:
    Labor Law and Employment Discrimination
    Missouri State University on YouTube

    ‘Legal, regulatory, and ethical issues related to employer-employee relationship, including employment-at-will doctrine, discrimination and union contracts.’

    Law, Social Movements, and Public Policy: Comparative and International Experience
    MIT Open Courseware

    ‘This course studies the interaction between law, courts, and social movements in shaping domestic and global public policy. Examines how groups mobilize to use law to affect change and why they succeed and fail. The class uses case studies to explore the interplay between law, social movements, and public policy in current areas such as gender, race, labor, trade, environment, and human rights. Finally, it introduces the theories of public policy, social movements, law and society, and transnational studies.’

    Technology, Law, and the Working Environment
    MIT Open Courseware

    ‘This course addresses the relationship between technology-related problems and the law applicable to work environment. The National Labor Relations Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, state worker’s compensation, and suits by workers in the courts are discussed in the course. Problems related to occupational health and safety, collective bargaining as a mechanism for altering technology in the workplace, job alienation, productivity, and the organization of work are also addressed. Prior courses or experience in environmental, public health, or law-related areas will be useful.’

    Law
    Cornell University on iTunesU

    ‘Andrew D. White, Cornell’s first president, established a law school to produce “not swarms of hastily prepared pettifoggers, but a fair number of well-trained, large-minded, morally-based lawyers in the best sense.” Cornell Law graduates are found in major law firms and corporate law departments; and as public defenders or winning discrimination cases. Undergraduates can take courses in labor, business, and international law, and study the impact of a legal system on societies and individuals.’

    Gender and the Law in U.S. History
    MIT Open Courseware

    ‘This subject explores the legal history of the United States as a gendered system. It examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service, how those political struggles have varied for across race, religion, and class, as well as how the legal system has shaped gender relations for both women and men through regulation of such issues as marriage, divorce, work, reproduction, and the family. The course readings will draw from primary and secondary materials in American history, as well as some court cases. However, the focus of the class is on the broader relationship between law and society, and no technical legal knowledge is required or assumed.’

    Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution
    Alison

    ‘The free online course Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution describes the benefits of using ADR as a conflict resolution method, how to prepare for an ADR process, and how confidentiality is maintained during the ADR process. The course also outlines both the common and uncommon methods of ADR and the situations in which each method can be used.’

    Introduction to Copyright Law in America
    MIT on Alison

    ‘With the wide-spread use of the Internet copyright has become a very important issue for publishers of books, music, software, films, television programmes and many other industries. This free online course is an introduction to copyright law as practised in the United States, however, the principles and concepts will be of interest to legal professionals in other jurisdictions. The course reviews the structure of copyright under federal law, the basics of legal research and legal citations. It examines copyright and its applications in the music and broadcasting industries, and looks at legal cases involving examples such as Napster, Grokster and peer-to-peer file sharing services. It also reviews software licensing, and the General Public License and free software. This course will be of great interest to legal and business professionals who would like to learn more about copyright law and how it is practised in the United States, and to students who are pursuing a career in the legal professions and would like to learn more about this very important legal topic.’

    Launches Dispute Financing Library

    Source: Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law, 2019

    From the press release:
    The Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law has launched a comprehensive digital library of documents relating the third-party litigation funding industry.

    The third-party litigation funding industry is young and growing quickly in size and importance. Its supporters maintain the industry, when run properly, provides needed resources to improve the delivery of civil and commercial justice. The industry has also attracted significant detractors. There is a need for careful, comprehensive, independent analysis of and reporting about the industry.

    A threshold need is to establish a neutral, quality repository for the collection of information and data about the industry. The Library includes information supplied by both supporters and critics, and it is freely available to the public. From statutes and case law to journal articles and bar reports, from best practices to news stories, the Library contains the documents needed for industry insiders to conduct their business and for industry outsiders to learn as much as possible.

    State-level data for understanding child welfare in the United States

    Source: Child Trends, February 26, 2019

    High-quality data can provide public officials and advocates with crucial details about the populations they serve. State-level data for understanding child welfare in the United States is a comprehensive resource, including easy-to-use interactive features, that provides state and national data on child maltreatment, foster care, kinship caregiving, and adoption. This resource compiles critical data from a variety of sources on children, youth, and families who came in contact with the child welfare system in federal fiscal year (FY) 2017.

    These data are important because they help policymakers understand how many children and youth came in contact with the child welfare system, and why. States can also use this information to ensure their child welfare systems support the safety, stability, and well-being of all families in their state.

    How Colleges Spend Money

    Source: American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 2019

    Two out of three college students now graduate with an average of over $28,000 in student debt, and the price of tuition continues to rise at an unsustainable rate, faster even than health care. So how do colleges spend that money?

    Built specifically for college trustees, policymakers, and other higher education decision-makers, this site is designed to equip the people who oversee colleges and universities with the tools to perform their own analysis of higher education spending trends, and create benchmarks in comparison with other institutions.