Policymaking

The big picture

The members of Congress departing in 2020

More Republicans than Democrats are exiting Congress in the lead up to the 2020 elections.

Updated Feb 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy
House Democrats' climate bill aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

It's not going to be popular with the party's progressives.

Jan 9, 2020 - Energy & Environment
Congress' partisan divide on paid family leave

Both parties like the idea but disagree on who should pay for it.

Nov 25, 2019 - Politics & Policy
How many steps it takes to get an abortion in each state

State legislatures have tried to restrict abortion procedures since Roe v. Wade.

Updated Sep 19, 2019 - Politics & Policy

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Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

NTSB warns about lax oversight of new car tech

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's mounting evidence that people put too much trust in driver-assistance features like Tesla Autopilot, but federal regulators aren't doing enough to ensure the systems are deployed safely, experts say.

Why it matters: Nearly 37,000 Americans die each year in highway accidents. As automated features become more common, the roads could get more dangerous — not safer — if drivers use the technology in unintended ways.

Rep. Matt Gaetz makes no-PAC pledge

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said he will no longer accept campaign donations from political action committees in a speech Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Why it matters: Pushback against super PACs has largely been concentrated on the left — with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders serving as vocal critics of special interests on the 2020 campaign trail. But on Thursday, Gaetz painted himself as "a different kind of Republican" while linking his decision to President Trump's "America First movement."

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh sentenced to 3 years in prison

Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh received a 3-year prison sentence for fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy on Thursday, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: Pugh, 69, resigned in May 2019 as she faced state and federal investigations in a years-long scheme in which she sold her self-published "Healthy Holly" children’s books to nonprofits and foundations to promote her political career and fund her mayoral campaign. She apologized in a video submitted on Wednesday to U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow, per the Baltimore Sun.

House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Former California Rep. Katie Hill to publish memoir

Katie Hill. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Former California Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned amid a House investigation into allegations that she engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a congressional staffer, plans to release a memoir this summer, according to Grand Central Publishing.

Details: The book, titled “She Will Rise,” will expand on Hill's message from her final floor speech in the House, in which she decried revenge porn and the "double standard" that men and women face surrounding sexual behavior.

There's hope that Congress may pass energy legislation in 2020

Photo: DEA/M. BORCHI/Getty Images

Some climate and energy legislation could actually reach the finish line this year in a divided Congress, according to a new analysis from the think tank Third Way.

Driving the news: Third Way says that's not crazy, pointing to a series of modest measures where "priorities are aligned" on both sides of Capitol Hill.

Exclusive: Global trust in the tech industry is slipping

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The backlash against Big Tech has long flourished among pundits and policymakers, but a new survey suggests it's beginning to show up in popular opinion as well.

Driving the news: New data from Edelman out Tuesday finds that trust in tech companies is declining and that people trust cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence less than they do the industry overall.

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