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Research Roundup

New reports by the Apollo Alliance -- Green Collar Jobs in America's Cities and its companion for states, Greener Pathways -- outline how policymakers can develop programs to train and employ people for the high wage careers in the new clean, green, energy efficient job sectors.  Both reports emphasize that clean energy jobs are a pathway both for environmental and economic rejuvenation of local communities.

The United States Senate held hearings this past week on In Person Voter Fraud: Myth and Trigger for Disenfranchisement?, which highlighted the lack of evidence of voter fraud around the country and the misuse of claims of fraud in disenfranchising legal voters.  The hearings included testimony of Secretaries of State from around the country, legal scholars, and a former U.S. Attorney allegedly fired by the Bush Administration because he did not pursue non-existent voter fraud crimes.

A new web tool created by the National Institute on Money in State Politics and Project Vote Smart details the intersection of campaign money and the law-making that affects everyday life.  Called the Legislative Committee Analysis, the new tool illustrates political giving to members of state legislative committees, breaking down the money by top contributors and industries.

The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center has launched a new project, Fraudbusters, that exposes how rightwing groups lie to and deceive voters into signing petition sheets, and how petition gatherers use an array of tactics, such as forgery, to falsely qualify an initiative onto the ballot.  The site highlights charges against leaders of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) who were indicted in Oklahoma for their illegal activities, and cases of fraud by a range of rightwing ballot consultants.

A new policy brief from CLASP highlights policies that states can adopt to support distance learning for TANF recipients without running afoul of new federal work verification requirements, highlighting models from California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, South Carolina, Oregon, Louisiana, and Florida already approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Illustrating the heavy cost of the machinery of the death penalty, a new Urban Institute study found that where prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, capital-eligible cases cost taxpayers $1.1 million over the lifetime of a case, while cases resulting in a death sentence cost $3 million each -- for a total of $186 million between 1978 and 1999.

Health care costs are delaying retirement for many older Americans, another report by the Urban Institute finds.  Men and women with high expected health care costs are retiring 11 months and 12 months later, respectively, than those with low health care costs.