Friday, July 29, 2016

July 29, 2016 - Last Day to Apply for Houston-Area Flooding Assistance for April 2016 Floods

The City of Houston Disaster Recovery homepage lists Friday, July 29, 2016  as the final day for residents of 16 Texas counties to register with FEMA for assistance for damage/losses due to the April 17-30 floods. See for more information.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Understanding Political Party Conventions

With the Republican Party Convention convening next week, some may have questions about how the convention process works. A new guide entitled USAGov's Guide to the Party Conventions is now available to explain the basic structure of political conventions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Understanding Brexit

UK Data Service Research Associate Dr. Kathryn Simpson, an expert in comparative European politics, political behavior and public opinion, has a new blog post, Making Sense of Brexit - the data you need to analyse. In the post she discusses four key issues: immigration, sovereignty, security, and economy. She then provides links to data that fall under the following broad categories: data to analyse Europe; data to analyse Britain/UK; and data to analyse Northern Ireland.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Most common age in U.S., by race and ethnicity

Using Census data, the Pew Research Center has created a histogram showing the most common age for white (55 years), black (24 years), Hispanic (8 years), and Asian (33 years) people in the United States. The full report explaining the histogram is also available.

Public Trust and Law Enforcement

In the wake of still more shootings of or by police officers, what actions could Congress take to improve public trust in law enforcement?  In March before the latest round of shootings in Baton Rouge and Dallas, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) wrote a report entitled Public Trust and Law Enforcement - A Brief Discussion for Policymakers. The report mentions Gallop poll data showing Americans are generally confident in the police, but that varies by race, place of residence and other factors. The report makes the following suggestions to Congress:

  •  Congress could consider placing conditions on federal funding to encourage law enforcement to adopt policy changes to promote better community relations.  
  • Policymakers could consider expanding efforts to collect more comprehensive data on the use of force by law enforcement officers.  
  • Congress could consider providing grants to law enforcement agencies so they could purchase body - worn cameras for their officers. 
  •  Policymakers could take steps to facilitate investigations and prosecutions of excessive force by amending 18 U.S.C. §242 to reduce the mens rea  (intention of wrongdoing) standard in federal prosecutions, or place conditions on federal funds to promote the use of special prosecutors at the state level . 
  •  Congress could fund Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants so law enforcement agencies could hire more officers to engage in community policing activities. 
  •  Policymakers might consider using the influence of congressional authority to affect the direction of national criminal justice policy.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Refugee Law and Policy In Selected Countries

In March 2016 the Global Legal Research Center of the Law Library of Congress released a report entitled Refugee Law and Policy in Selected Countries.  The report looks at refugee and asylum-seeker law and policy in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The report begins with a comparative summary describing the topics covered: "participation  in  relevant  international  conventions; laws and regulations governing the admission of refugees and handling refugee claims; processes for  handling  refugees  arriving  at  the  border;  procedures for  evaluating  whether  an  applicant  is  entitled  to  refugee  status;  the  accommodations  and  assistance  provided  to  refugees  in  the  jurisdiction; requirements  for  naturalization;  and  whether  asylum  policy  has  been  affected  by  international  emergencies,  such  as  the  current refugee  crisis  in  Europe." The report ends with an extensive bibliography of selected recent English-language materials.