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

Recent K-12 Curriculum Legislation

2016 October 20

State legislatures in the previous months have been passing bills to alter and add to their public school systems’ curriculums. Some states are creating new job training programs to boost their economy, while others are changing curriculum to make students increasingly well-rounded on many subjects. Though different pieces of legislation, the goal of these policies is to benefit the public school systems and increase the quality of education.

In New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan recently signed into law SB 369, a bipartisan bill that requires New Hampshire public schools to add drug and alcohol education to health education programs. Hassan said that to “help prevent addiction in the first place” the state must [educate] young people about the dangers of substance abuse.”

New Hampshire is one of the states with the largest heroin and opioid epidemics. Governor Hassan wants to “stem and reverse” the tide of the epidemic to save lives, and is using the public school system to advance this desire by incorporating drug and alcohol education to the curriculum.

In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder signed HB 4493, which adds genocide education to curriculum in the Michigan public school system. The governor said that teaching about genocide is important because “we should remember and learn about these terrible events in our past while continuing to work toward creating a more tolerant society.” The genocides taught will include the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide.

However, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations is opposed to this bill, saying it paints Turkey in a bad light in ...

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Ballot Access Laws

2016 September 20

How did these candidates get on the ballot? Why are they in particular on the ballot, while others who may have been running don’t appear? For that matter, how do the candidates of the two major parties get on the ballot? The answers to these questions depend on your state’s ballot access laws.

State Legislatures’ Reactions to Mass Shootings

2016 September 02

 Gun control will continue to be an emotionally charged topic as mass shootings are a major driver of the conversation.

Legislative Activities: Renewable Energy Sources

2016 August 26

Use of renewable energy sources is definitely a contentious issue in some states, with some passing legislation, and other states’ governors taking things into their own hands and signing agreements having to do with energy.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Labeling

2016 August 10

How can the benefits of GMOs be utilized while respecting the consumer’s right to transparency?

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