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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Political Research Wrap-Up: Spring 2016

2016 April 27

Trending Legislation:

Immigration: REAL ID Laws & Sanctuary Cities

  • Kentucky and New Mexico passed legislation this session to comply with federally mandated REAL ID standards. Proponents of the legislation support it, because complying with these measures ensures that states receive federal funding. Opponents argue that these bills would have negative implications for undocumented immigrants.
  • This spring, "sanctuary cities" have been a hot-button issue for several states. These cities have policies wherein they do not provide information concerning immigration status to the federal government.
  • Florida and Virginia legislatures passed bills to ensure their states follow federal immigration policies to prevent sanctuary policies. Other legislation in Virginia would make cities liable for damages caused by an undocumented immigrant. In Wisconsin, cities may face reduced funding every day they do not comply with federal immigration policy. The state government could also prohibit cities from issuing an ID to any resident, reserving the authority to state agencies.   


Minimum Wage

  • Several bills regulating minimum wage passed this legislative session. Both Idaho and Alabama legislators voted to prohibit cities from increasing or setting their own minimum wage.
  • Conversely, California increased the state’s minimum wage to $15 dollars an ...

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More Posts

The Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay

2016 April 21

 For years, the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, located in Cuba, has been used by the United States government to house potential threats to national security. Throughout its existence, it has been met with numerous accusations, scandals, and an ongoing debate over alleged human rights violations. Recently, President Barack Obama proposed a plan to effectively shut down the facility.

Polarization of the Supreme Court Vacancy

2016 April 13

 On February 13, 2016, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. According to the United State Constitution, the president-elect is responsible for nominating the replacement justice, and the Senate is then responsible for confirming or denying that nomination; however, some politicians are calling for President Barack Obama to abstain from the nomination, leaving 8 justices to make judicial decisions for almost a year.

Can Someone Please Tell Me What is Happening?

2016 March 31 - Richard Kimball

 Our political culture is shifting course on a galactic scale right in front of our slackened jaws. Its destination unknown?

Bathroom bills bearing down on states across America

2016 March 11

 Emerging onto the floor of numerous state legislatures across the United States of America is a new and divisive kind of legislation: “bathroom bills.” Bathroom bills are proposed legislation that address whether individuals may use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they identify with or with the gender they were assigned at birth. 

​A Monumental Development, Saving Time Through Automation

2016 February 10 - Jamieson Bates

 We thought automating the entry of key data was vital and we chose to start with the entry of scorecards (ratings) published by special interest groups of all kinds. I'm here to report that we have succeeded in this effort and are continuing this initiative even further. More to come on what is next, but I wanted to describe here what I am talking about.

The Facts Are Lost in the Noise: New Tool Coming

2016 February 08 - Jamieson Bates


It seems that the facts are becoming lost in the noise created by the politicians of today. It is disheartening to know this, and to see it. In 2014, we saw many battles where politicians chose to attack one another, rather than debate and inform. That effect has been amplified greatly thus far in the 2016 Presidential race that has been going on for over six months now. There are many new and old efforts that are attempting to combat this trend and bring politics back to reality. Let me tell you what we are trying to do about it

Everything You May Have Missed: Political Wrap-Up 2015

2015 December 21 - Melisa Oberti

 Check out the key political events from 2015! Our Political Wrap Up is here so that you can reflect on topics ranging from the 2016 Presidential debates to major Senate and House bills.

Common Ground e-Newsletter: December 2015

2015 December 14 - Melisa Oberti

Our Intentions are Clear

2015 December 09 - Melisa Oberti

 Vote Smart's intentions are clear. We don't accept money from special interest groups or lobbyists. We only accept money from our members, foundations, and our API subscribers!

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