Research Roundup 5/31: Sharia Law Bans, Federal Funding to States and Sequestration, The Success of the National Voter Registration Act, and More

Foreign Law Bans: Legal Uncertainties and Practical Problems [Brennan Center for Justice and Center for American Progress]
"A troubling trend is quickly developing in state legislatures across the country: In a thinly concealed attempt to inflame anti-Muslim attitudes, lawmakers in 32 states have moved to ban foreign or international law. The bans are based on model legislation designed by anti-Muslim activist David Yerushalmi and promoted by activists who have stirred up fears that Islamic laws and customs -- commonly referred to as “Sharia” -- are taking over American courts.... Although attacking a problem that does not exist, foreign law bans threaten to create genuine problems of their own."

National and State-by-State Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform [Center for American Progress]
"In this follow-up to the 'Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,' we begin by recapping the national gains. We then provide estimates of the economic benefits for 24 states if their undocumented populations were legalized. Specifically, we estimate the increases over 10 years in gross state product, or GSP, as well as earnings, taxes, and jobs for these states if the Senate Gang of 8’s bill is enacted in 2013. We also explain why immigration reform is responsible for these specific economic benefits."

What Do Current Federal Funding Levels in the Wake of Sequestration Mean for State Budgets? [Economic Policy Institute]
"With many states’ fiscal situations still grim in the wake of the Great Recession, recent federal policy decisions have put even greater pressure on state budgets. This brief documents how recent federal fiscal policies have impacted state budgets through affecting funding levels for federal grants provided to states. Principal findings include [that] the sequestration cuts that went into place March 1 decreased federal funding for state grants in fiscal 2013 by $5.1 billion."

Registering Millions: The Success and Potential of the National Voter Registration Act at 20 [Demos]
"Since its adoption twenty years ago, the NVRA has successfully registered millions of eligible voters and led to important increases in voter registration among lower-income Americans. This brief highlights the key provisions in the act that were designed to expand voter registration opportunities, describes its impact on voter registration rates, and provides recommendations to ensure the act continues to expand voter registration opportunities for millions of Americans."

Online Voter Registration [Project Vote]
This policy paper "provides a comprehensive overview of this issue, identifying both the tremendous benefits and potential concerns of online registration. The paper summarizes the various systems currently in place around the country, and offers reasonable recommendations for how legislators and election officials can best design online systems to reach the greatest number of eligible citizens."

A Woman’s Agenda for the 21st Century: A Dozen Policies to Promote Economic Security for Women and Their Families [Center for American Progress]
"Today’s families are increasingly reliant upon working mothers as breadwinners or co-breadwinners. The past four decades have brought about dramatic changes in how women -- and men -- navigate their workplace responsibilities, caregiving needs, and personal lives.... By addressing longstanding and ongoing gender disparities in pay and access to benefits; beefing up family supports such as universal child care, paid sick days, and paid family and medical leave; combating unemployment; and empowering employees to fight discrimination, policymakers could substantially and rapidly improve women’s lives and build family economic security."

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(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Read the full Dispatch here or Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)