Capitol Comments

Recently in Las Vegas, the 25th Annual DEF CON took place July 27-30. DEF CON, short for “Defense Condition,” is one of the oldest and largest hacking conferences. To many in the election field, one of DEF CON’s Hacking Villages this year drew their attention – the Voting Machine Hacking Village.

transportation icon

As big data becomes more available, cities are plugging in to solve many of their problems—both old and new. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation, or DOT, launched the Smart City Challenge. The winner of the challenge, a city that proposed an innovative use of big data to improve urban life, was to receive a $40 million grant to carry out the proposal.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a June 13 panel on the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy issued in 2016 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and its model state policy. Panelists included Cathie Curtis of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Staff Sgt. Terence McDonnell of the New York State Policy traffic services section and Santa Clara University law professor Robert Peterson.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a special briefing June 13 by Robert Peterson, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California, who explained how insurance and liability will change as autonomous vehicles come online.

Earlier this month, the state of Colorado announced that it will become the first state to implement risk-limiting audits to ensure votes are counted efficiently and accurately in elections. The unexpected election results in a few of the “swing” states in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election prompted the demand of recounts to be sure the results accurately portrayed how the voters casted their ballots. In the wake of the Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania recounts, digital security specialists and computer scientists argued that recounts could be all together eliminated by implementing risk-limiting audits. Currently only New Mexico and Colorado have the capability of doing so, and Colorado has been launched into the spotlight as an example for other states to follow.

Since 2013, odd-number years have seen a significant number of states seek new revenues for transportation.
In 2013, six states approved transportation funding measures that included gas tax increases.
In 2015, 11 states either increased gas taxes or adjusted them to prevent steeper reductions in revenue.
2016 saw one state—New Jersey—increase its gas tax.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average married middle income ($59,200-$107,400) couple can expect to spend $233,610 on each child for food, shelter and other necessities through age 17. Child care and education will take up 16 percent of those expenditures. However, child care costs vary dramatically across the country.

Charters

The Trump administration is making school choice expansion a cornerstone of their education policy. In a recent speech, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos promised “the most ambitious expansion of school choice in our nation’s history.” Charters and other school choice options are...

In 2011, the American Association of University Women, or AAUW, published The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, a comprehensive report on the state of the gender pay gap in the U.S. which is updated as new data is made available through the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Released this spring, the most recent edition reports that in 2015 women working full time in the United States were paid 80 percent of what men were paid.

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included an opening panel on June 12 featuring Jonathan Weinberger of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing 12 of the largest U.S. automakers, and Steve Gehring of the Association of Global Automakers, which represents 12 international auto companies with operations in the United States. Later, Doug Longhitano of Honda, Hilary Cain of Toyota and Harry Lightsey of General Motors joined the discussion.

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