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Research Roundup: No Paid Leave for Moms, The State and Local Drag on the Stimulus, Some New Important Reports on Health Care, U

No Paid Leave for New Moms  - This economic snapshot by the Economic Policy Institute highlights the fact the United States remains the only country among comparable wealthy nations that doesn't require employers to provide any paid leave when a child is born.

The State and Local Drag on the Stimulus - Because of state budget cuts subtracting spending from the economy, the economic stimulus effects of the federal recovery plan is being blunted, according to this Center for Economic and Policy Research report.  The full effect of federal stimulus will equal a little more than 1 percent of GDP a year, falling far short of what is needed to re-ignite the economy.

Some important new reports on health care with implications for state and federal reform efforts:

New election reports emphasize gains in diversity, cost savings and youth turnout from improved election procedures and administration:

  • US Electorate Most Diverse in History:  Pew Research Center [report] and Project Vote [report] have broken down the new census data on the 2008 election and it shows that there was a huge surge in voting by minority voters, particularly young people, which resulted in the most diverse electorate in American history.  There was also a regional component, with southern states with large African-American populations leading turnout gains as well.  Black women had the highest turnout, a first, and turnout of African-Americans under thirty increased 9%.  Asian-American youth turnout increased 9.6% and for Latino youth it was 5.2%.  In total, 4.9 million more young people of color turned out in 2008 then in 2004, which amounts to 91% of the 5.4 million new voters added in total.
  • Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy - Cost Savings for Local Elections Officials Through Voter Registration Modernization - U.S. PIRG takes a hard look at the costs of voter registration in 100 counties nationwide and find that errors, extra staff near election time, and provisional ballots drain tens of millions of dollars from local election budgets every year.  They recommend modernizing voter registration systems to make it more streamlined and automatic by linking government databases to the voter rolls.
  • Public Attitudes on State Election Administration, Goals, and Reforms - The University of Missouri has released a survey of voters opinions of a variety of election reform issues - EDR, Mail-in Voting, Early Voting, and Voter ID.  They find majority support for Early Voting and Voter ID and for government action to increase turnout.
  • The Youth Vote in 2008 - CIRCLE has an analysis of the 2008 election census survey that confirms exit polls showing strong turnout of voters under the age of 30.  Young peoples' participation has risen for three election cycles and hit 51% last year, 2 percentage points higher than in 2004 and 11 points higher than 2008.  This increase was mainly driven by young women who have an 8 point higher turnout than young men.

Stimulating Excellence: Unleashing the Power of Innovation in Education - This Center for American Progress report highlights creative solutions and ideas from a collection of leading education entrepreneurs about federal and state policy changes that change the demands and incentives in K-12 systems to better serve students.

Picturing Smart Growth- is a tool using Google Maps by the Natural Resources Defense Council to help people visualize how sprawling, unwalkable places around the US could become more livable and sustainable with just a little bit of work.  The tool allows viewers to explore 70 different locations from coast to coast for how better design could improve them.