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Category Archives: Fiscal Freedom

Remember These Headlines? – Highlands Current

Posted: July 5, 2020 at 9:43 am

Or maybe you were there

A Creative Dry Spell Led to Her Tamales Cold Spring Village Board Passes Law Allowing Composting Toilets at Parks Understanding Donald Lusk Michael Bakker Wins Cold Spring Triathalon The Sad Demise of the Once Proud Word Awesome Cold Spring Board Meetings to be Televised Three World War II Veterans Receive French Medal and Gratitude at Waterfront Ceremony Impeach Obama Effort by LaRouche Group Draws Support, Debate, Near Foodtown Plaza Leo the Cat Has Been Found Cold Springs Radio Station Serradas, Hustis Attack Mayor and Special Board Funding Guy Fawkes Element Dropped from Boscobels Bonfire Night John Adams Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom Cold Spring Foresees Ending Fiscal Year with About $40,000 Extra Village Board Approves Dark Skies Lighting for Waterfront Vincent Leibell Will Not Take Office as Putnam County Executive

Another Great Listening Room Lineup at Rescue on Breakneck Ridge Rezoning Brings Praise, Even from Former Critics, and Scattered Complaints Draft Law to Ban Weapons from Town Property Draws Immediate Salvo from NRA Lawyer PhilipsTalk with Richard Shea Nelsonville to Hold Rare Event: A Contested Election Will Route 9 Traffic Light Finally Become a Reality? Dancing Boys Likely to Tear the House Down at Grease New Sand for Tots Park Sandbox NRC Declares Indian Point Safe Dr. Peter Gergely and Stacy Labriola Join Phil Donahue as Desmond-Fish Honorees Worlds End Theater Debuts with The Seagull Hockey Coming to Haldane? Village Board Skeptically Weighs Idea of New Firehouse at Butterfield Site Chapel Restoration First to Invite Local Same-Sex Weddings Split Village Board Scuttles Bid to Allow Higher Fences to Host First Candidate Forum at Haldane Fracking with Our Future Philipstown Man and Companion Accused of Selling Heroin Continental Village Residents Seek Help with Lakeland School Taxes Haldane Girls Varsity Volleyball Team Brings Home Gold Residents Tell EPA, Village Board of Ongoing Worries over Marathon Site

Issue 1

Pop Warner Football Wants to Install Lights at Mayors Park Online Petition Urges Repeal of Mayors Salary Hike Mayor Faces Marion Avenue Wrath Mining Returns to Philipstown? Cold Spring Board Introduces Global Warming Pledge Villanti Proposes Improvements to Haldane Football Field Dunkin Donuts Study Predicts No Traffic Problems Butterfield Committee Walks Site and Ponders Cold Spring Says No to Fast Food Cleanup Follows Hurricane Sandy Through Philipstown Scuccimarra Defeats Rosario Gallagher Says Hes Done with Mayors Job

Putnam Clerk Says No to Gun-Info Request Residents Ponder Local Solutions to Address Climate Change Rector Sounds Alarm on Church Finances Post Office at Butterfield or No Place, Warns Mayor Town and Village Ban Firearms Route 9 Biker Assault at Former Hardware Store Charge Against Mazzuca Draws Surprise and Support DEC Coal Tar Cleanup Question Looms Over Cold Spring Boat Club Little Enthusiasm Locally for School Consolidation Concept of Linking Cold Spring and Beacon with Fjord Trail Advances Mystery Point Sold to Billionaire Philanthropist Our Lady of Loretto Says Goodbye to Fr. McSweeney DA Sues Sheriff for $5 Million Constitution Island Education Center Proposed for Main Street Ailes and Shea Discuss New Senior Center at American Legion Post Manhunt for Suspected Murderer Unnerves Cold Spring Towne Crier Cafe Re-opens in Beacon Handels Messiah Comes to Cold Spring Plumbush School Approved by Town Planning Board Public Officials React to Train Tragedy

Issue 100

Maloney and Florke Announce Wedding Plans Weekend Residential Village Proposed for Philipstown Diagonal Parking Proposed for Main Street Bowman and Fadde Running as Team Trustee Hawkins Receives Legal Threats Library Turns a Page with New Director Jen McCreery Shea Seeks Public Input into Cell Tower Decision Emotional Haldane Budget Forum Outlines Program Cuts Butterfield Zoning Approved President Delivers West Point Commencement Address Philipstown.Info Becomes Charitable Organization Lost Hikers Pose a Challenge Maloney Retains Seat in a Republican Year Haldanes Girls Soccer Wins First State Championship Gordon Stewart, Our Founder, Dies

Many Car Tires Cut at Metro-North Parking Lot Beacon Pool to Reopen to General Public Concept of Garrison Fire District Prompts Debate at Town Board Town Board Urges Action to Prevent Bomb Train Accidents on Hudson State Testing a Divisive Issue in Local Schools This Romeo and Juliet Has a Very Happy Ending State Police Say Kayaker a Killer Pataki Declares for Presidency Beacon 3D Sculptures Transform Main Street Beacon Reviews Merging Fire Houses Groundbreaking Day at Butterfield Site Town Board Votes to Pave Part of South Mountain Pass Six Alternatives to Breakneck The Beacon Theatre Sold Made in Philipstown Strikes a Chord Santos Family Ready to Rebuild Merchants Happy to See Seastreak Visitors Beacon Will See More Hotel Rooms

Issue 200

First Parking Meter for Cold Spring Beacon School Leaders Under Fire Questions Raised About Putnam Tourism Office Parking Woes as Beacon Grows Our Town Attracts Plenty of Local Characters New Senior Center Will Be Named for Ailes Beacon and Fishkill Discuss Sharing Police Challengers Prevail in Beacon School Race Pastor Spots Intruder on Doggie-Cam Three Thousand Hikers Storm Breakneck Late-Night Motion Stirs Protest at Beacon School Board Coast Guard Proposes More Barge Parking Areas Ailes Pulls Funds for Senior Citizen Center Hello (Again) Dolly! Modern Art Space to Open in Philipstown in 2017 Feds to Beacon Police: You Are Free to Go Beacon Historical Society Finds New, Larger Home Garrison Fire Company Spending Jumps 27 Percent Antidote Saves Two Heroin Users on Same Day Neighbors to Ask State to Close Indian Brook Falls Butterfield Developer Wants $2.5 Million from Village

Beacon Boys Must Forfeit Wins GE on Hudson River Cleanup: Were Done New Superintendent in Beacon Tourism Board Chair Charged with $10 Theft Major Crime in Beacon Falls to Five-Year Low Rev. Geer to Retire from St. Philips Cold Spring Mayors Race Too Close to Call 300-Plus Unit Development Proposed for Beacon Train Station Area Philipstown Forbids Aiding Immigration Arrests Philipstown, Cold Spring Merge Building Departments Putnam Sheriff Settles Defamation Case Village Raises Concern About Herbicide Craig House Sale Pending Airbnb Bookings Jump 75 Percent in Philipstown Nelsonville Residents Object to Cell Tower Plan Beacon on Board for Skate Park Too Many Visitors, or Not Enough? Beacon Adopts Building Freeze Langley is New Putnam Sheriff

Issue 300

Development in Beacon: What Next? Local Dreamers Fight to Stay Are Schools Safe Enough? Cell-Tower Company, Verizon Sue Philipstown Philipstown Names Anti-Drug Coordinator Students Protest Gun Violence Philipstown Enacts Safe-Storage Gun Law Beacon Police Add Body Cameras Jean Marzollo, Childrens Book Author, Dies at 75 Sign Lands Beacon Man in Court Assemblyman Skartados Dies at 62 Rise in Vaping Causes Alarm Beacon Solar Farm Ready to Shine Little Stony Point Gets a Facelift Goose Problem Continues at Mayors Park Grannies Head to the Border Beacon to Consider Municipal IDs Beacon Schools Taking Steps to Diversify Staff Beacon Launches Free Bus Loop Tires Dumped Into Indian Brook Silver Spoon May Become Hotel For Sale: Beacon Prison Montgomery Take District 1 Seat Beacon Council Reconsiders Pinball Ban

Don Nice, Painter of the Everyday, Dies at 86 Beacon Mayor Has Challenger Anti-Abortion Draft Ignites Debate at Putnam Legislature Challengers Sweep in Nelsonville Could Parking Meters Come to Beacon? Does Cold Spring Need Another Traffic Light? New Nelsonville Mayor Says He Will Resign Judge Reitz Dies at 57 Putnam Passes Secrecy Law Maloney Says He Would Vote for Impeachment, But Prefers Ballots For Some, Vaccination Law Stings Huge Fishkill Development Looms Over Beacon Trolley Struggles to Get on Track Putnam Visitors Bureau Disappears Beacon to Add Three Firefighters Mental-Health Hub Opens in Cold Spring Haldane Coach Arrested Beacon Has New Mayor; Philipstown, New Clerk Three-Story Limit on Main? Former Cold Spring Trustee Arrested by FBI

Issue 400

Putnam Sheriff Releases Three Defendants Under Bail Law ZBA Rules Against Rock-Crushing Firm Whistling Willies Closes Its Doors Nelsonville Approves Cell-Tower Settlement Putnam Settles Hossu Case for $750,000 Route 9 Firm Sues Philipstown for $50 Million Coronavirus on the Move Breakneck Burns Students and Teachers Adjust to New Plan Open Space Institute Buys Breakneck Chalet Beacon Prison Virus Cases Highest in State Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Cancels 2020 Season


Remember These Headlines? - Highlands Current

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Peril of face recognition tech: Facing the end of freedom, one face at a time. Supreme Court must intervene – Times of India

Posted: at 9:43 am

By Mishi Choudhary and Eben Moglen

On June 9, IBM through a letter by its CEO Arvind Krishna announced that its exiting the facial recognition technology business altogether and wouldnt condone use of any technology used for mass surveillance and racial profiling that violate basic human rights and freedoms. This started a positive trend amongst technology companies. Microsoft president Brad Smith confirmed on June 11 that Microsoft wont sell to US police its facial recognition tech either. Amazon also announced a one-year moratorium on selling law enforcement agencies access to Rekognition, its notorious facial recognition technology.

Timnit Gebru, a leader of Googles ethical AI team, explained why she thinks facial recognition is too dangerous to be used right now for law enforcement purposes highlighting the disparity in error rates, especially that detection technology does not work for darker skin. Let that sink in for us in India, where not all of us are Fair and Lovely and face colourism everyday because of our dark skin.

For several years, activists have been crying hoarse about the abuse of these technologies. However, on March 11, the Indian government casually announced the full adoption of facial recognition technology enabled surveillance. We were told that using photographic and other information from government databases, 1,100 individual participants in the Delhi riots had been identified. The number was later raised to 1,900. The software, we are told doesnt see clothes, only faces an apparent attempt to deny that the technology used to identify individual rioters today could be used to identify any individual tomorrow.

Whether UIDAIs Aadhaar database was among the government data stores to which this announcement referred has been the subject of conflicting statements. NatGrid hasnt been specifically mentioned. It hardly matters. The government has actually announced its determination to use its data assets to put a face on every action to which the government objects.

As weve previously written, other advanced democracies have been slowing down or stopping altogether uses of facial recognition in the public sphere. Theyre aware of the enormous harm that can be done by governmental abuse of the technology of automated facial recognition. From a moratorium in the EU to outright prohibitions by California municipalities, the current trend demonstrates a sudden, sharp recognition that a government able to identify every face in public everywhere all the time can extinguish freedom at a blow. This has been aided by the demonstration project in technological totalitarianism staged by the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang.

But here in India, we seem to be not only travelling at top speed in the other direction, the actions are indicating that rule of law is no more than a small bump in the road on our way. What such a use of facial recognition technology tells us is that government intends to flout both the provisions of the Aadhaar Act and the Supreme Courts Puttaswamy judgment upholding our fundamental constitutional right of privacy.

Its laudable for government to protect public order, to identify and prosecute criminals. A responsible government would seek present judicial authority for the novel use of privacy invading technologies, and would introduce legislation to formalise the processes of judicial review in future. A government which instead uses the occasion of public disorder to introduce such measures by executive fiat can only be suspected of taking advantage of events to subvert the Constitution it, and its police, are sworn to protect.

But now, the Covid-19 epidemic is being used as another legitimate justification for further tracking of public movements and interactions throughout society, with government taking another advantage of circumstances to extend its unaccountable use of this technology. Everyones justified fear of the spread of disease is being used by a government to travel faster and further down the road to totalitarian process, beneath the veneer of a democracy protecting itself in a time of crisis. The ineffective, botched job with the Aarogya Setu app speaks precisely to this.

Where government reads every face, political dissent is under permanent intimidation. We cannot live our lives outside the range of others cameras anymore. Wherever we go and whatever we do in the public sphere we can expect our image to be recorded without our knowledge or consent. Equally as Aadhaar has escaped its original role in the protection of public subsidies against theft and fraud and become the universal link tying all chains of personal data together we can expect our data shadow to follow us through every fiscal and administrative transaction. If government is allowed to put these two pieces together by searching available images, in its own databases and social media collections and tying them to Aadhaar-linked databases of personal information it has total information awareness.

Unless this awareness is subjected to judicial review when it is used, and there is subsequent judicial oversight to prevent abuse, our lives are no longer our own. The present government predicts let us not say assumes that the SC is too busy or too supine to impose the Constitution on the governments will, rather than the other way around. Immediate intervention by the SC on the basis of petitions brought by advocates for constitutional privacy is necessary.

The disease is not our only fear. Unless we are vigilant now, even as we are put under so much additional strain by the pandemic and its human consequences, we shall live also through the death of freedom.

Mishi Choudhary is legal director of Software Freedom Law Centre, New York. Eben Moglen is Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia Law School

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Peril of face recognition tech: Facing the end of freedom, one face at a time. Supreme Court must intervene - Times of India

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Navy Will Mothball Its First Four Littoral Combat Ships In Nine Months If Congress Lets It – The Drive

Posted: at 9:43 am

The U.S. Navy expects the first four of its perpetually underperforming Littoral Combat Ships, a pair of ships from each of the two subclasses, to be out of service within the next nine months. Some members of Congress, however, are now seeking to block the mothballing of two of these vessels until all of the tests of the various and continually delayed mission modules for each variant are complete, which is still years away from happening.

The Navy provided the update on its plans to inactivate these Littoral Combat Ships in an official internal message dated June 20, 2020, which Defense Newswas first to report. The missive says that USS Freedom and USS Independence, both of which are the first ships in their subclasses, along with the Freedom class USS Fort Worth and Independence class USS Coronado, are set to be "Out of Commission, In Reserve," or OCIR, by March 2021.

The Navy first revealed its plans to retire these four LCSs, also known by their hull numbers, LCS 1 through LCS 4, in its budget request for the 2021 Fiscal Year, which it released in February 2020. The service had previously planned to assign these ships to a new surface warfare development unit, Surface Development Squadron One, where they would have joined the three Zumwalt class stealth destroyers, the last of which is still under construction, and the Sea Hunter unmanned surface vessel.

It was an unprecedented admission that the Navy did not feel that these vessels were even worth keeping around in a primarily test and evaluation role and as the seagoing force continues to struggle to find a pathway to reaching its long-standing goal of a total fleet size of 355 ships. These first four littoral combat ships were commissioned between 2008 and 2014, making them all relatively young vessels. However, the reflected early iterations of their respective designs and had already been relegated to test and training roles for years.

Those four test ships were instrumental to wringing out the crewing, the maintenance and all the other things we needed to learn from them, Navy Rear Admiral Randy Crites, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget, said a press briefing for the 2021 Fiscal Year budget request in February. But theyre not configured like the other LCS in the fleet, and they need significant upgrades. Everything from combat [systems], to structural, you name it. Theyre expensive to upgrade.

It's worth noting that the Navy does not appear to have ever publicly disclosed what it would cost to fully upgrade these four LCSs. The fact that these initial examples differ so significantly from later models is also a product of a process called concurrency, wherein the production of the ships began with the understanding that modifications and fixes would get inserted throughout the process. This was supposed to help reduce costs by allowing for construction to ramp up quicker than normal, but the amount of reworking necessary proved to be more extensive than initially expected.

The Navy is still continuing to take deliveries of new LCSs. Just this week, it accepted the delivery of the future USS Oakland, an Independence class vessel, which the service touted as being on track to bring its total fleet to 300 ships. It's not clear how long that milestone might last amid the planned retirements of the first four LCSs and other ships.

The Navy is also working to make the three different mission modules fully operational. There are presently three different packages, a mine countermeasures one, one focused on anti-submarine warfare, and another that provides additional anti-surface warfare capabilities.

The original plan had been that these modular packages would allow for the relatively rapid reconfiguration of individual LCSs from one mission set to another, making the multi-mission capable without having to lug around all of the different weapons and other relevant systems at once. This was a core component of the LCS program.

The Navy has since decided that this is not necessarily a viable operational model and it plans to effectively permanently mount certain modules on various ships in both subclasses, which will make them significantly less flexible. The service has begun creating new dedicated Mine Divisions within Littoral Combat Ship Squadrons in recent years, reflecting this change in the concept of operations.

Still, the capabilities the LCSs offer, even with the various mission modules installed, have long been underwhelming. There is an effort underway now to add launchers for the RGM-148A Naval Strike Missile (NSM) to at least some of the ships, giving them a sorely needed boost in firepower.

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Navy Will Mothball Its First Four Littoral Combat Ships In Nine Months If Congress Lets It - The Drive

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West Virginia Week in Review – July 4, 2020 – West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Posted: at 9:43 am

On Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice announced that, despite the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy, he and his administration have delivered another historic revenue surplus in West Virginia for Fiscal Year 2020.

That, in itself, may be the biggest accomplishment that weve ever pulled off, Gov. Justice said. For us to run across the finish line with a surplus, in the year of the God-awfullest pandemic of our lifetimes, its an absolute miracle.

After setting the all-time state record for revenue growth in the previous fiscal year, those surpluses were built into initial budget estimates for FY2020.

We were tracking right along with our best numbers ever and then, all of a sudden, this pandemic hit, Gov. Justice said. By April, I was told by our revenue experts that we were going to be $525 million short.

Of course, I never really fell into that because I knew that West Virginia really never shut down completely, Gov. Justice continued. All of the sudden, the numbers started looking a little bit better and better.

Working alongside state revenue experts to utilize money from reserve accounts, and with the federal governments move to raise the reimbursement rate on Medicaid, Gov. Justice and his administration were able to turn a shortfall of $255.8 million into another historic surplus for West Virginia, with the reserve funds used being replenished.

Today, Gov. Jim Justice released a video message wishing a Happy Independence Dayto all West Virginians.

Cathy and I want to wish you an absolutely terrific Fourth. We hope that youre going to go out and enjoy this beautiful state in some way or another. Please visit one of our State Parks and enjoy time with your family. What an incredible holiday this is our nations birthday. The day that so many gave so much so that we could have what we have right here in this incredible country our freedom."

Earlier in the week,Gov. Justice also warned West Virginians against participating in risky behavior during their holiday celebrations.

The Governor urged residents to wear a mask whenever in groups and warned high-risk individuals to avoid large crowds as much as possible. Gov. Justice is also recommending that those traveling out-of-state self-monitor and get tested upon returning to West Virginia.

With a resurgence of COVID-19 cases being seen in other states across the country in recent days, Gov. Justice urged all West Virginians on Thursday to remain on high alert and to be prepared for additional safety measures to be put in place to safeguard residents.

If, God forbid, this virus comes back at us, we need to be able to stop it, and one of the ways we can stop it is by wearing masks, Gov. Justice continued. And so, I want everyone to know that I am very, very seriously considering that, at the beginning of next week, we may very well have to go to mandatory masks inside buildings, other than your homes, where you are not able to social distance."

Gov. Justice added that he will consult with state health experts and members of his administration, looking at additional case numbers over the weekend before making a final decision. The Governor urged residents to wear a mask whenever in groups and warned high-risk individuals to avoid large crowds as much as possible. Gov. Justice is also recommending that those traveling out-of-state self-monitor and get tested upon returning to West Virginia.

An investigation, ordered by Gov. Justice last week after the number of active COVID-19 cases in Randolph County were found to be much lower than shown on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 dashboard, has found that the DHHR electronic case surveillance system was not updated with recovered case data from the local health departments and that DHHR did not follow up with local health departments to routinely verify recovered cases of COVID-19.

Recovered cases are determined by the local health departments as they follow individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The error in the numbers of recovered individuals on the COVID-19 dashboard was discovered by the West Virginia National Guard which contacted the Randolph County Health Department to verify the numbers. These cases, which had not been entered into the electronic case surveillance system as recovered, were cases from the Huttonsville Correctional Facility outbreak several weeks ago.

This week, DHHRs Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services and the West Virginia National Guard contacted each local health department to verify the numbers and have compared them to those in the electronic case surveillance system which is updated to the COVID-19 dashboard.

Gov. Justice reminded West Virginians that another round of reopenings officially went into effect Wednesday as part of the Governors West Virginia Strong The Comeback plan to restart the states economy.

Provided that all safety guidelines are being properly followed, approved activity reopenings on Wednesday, July 1, include:

Click here to view safety guidelines

As part of Gov. Justices initiative to increase COVID-19 testing opportunities, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced locations for testing on July 10 and 11, 2020. Free COVID-19 testing will be held in Marshall, Mercer, Monongalia, Preston, and Wayne counties with support from local health departments and state and community partners at the following times and locations. Marshall County July 10, 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. McMechen City Hall 325 Logan Street McMechen, WV July 11, 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Marshall County Health Department 513 6th Street Moundsville, WV Mercer County July 11, 9:30 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Mercer County Health Department 978 Blue Prince Road Bluefield, WV Monongalia County July 10, 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Morgantown Farmers Market (Downtown) 400 Spruce Street Morgantown, WV July 11, 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. 661 Green Bag Road Morgantown, WV Preston County July 10 and 11, 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Kingwood Elementary School 207 S. Price Street Kingwood, WV Wayne County July 10, 10:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Dunlow Community Center 1475 Left Fork Dunlow Bypass Road Dunlow, WV July 11, 10:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. Wayne Elementary School 80 McGinnis Drive Wayne, WV Attendees should bring identification, such as a drivers license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The testing is free and available to all residents in selected counties, including asymptomatic individuals.

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West Virginia Week in Review - July 4, 2020 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

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Controversial school immunization bill signed into law –

Posted: at 9:43 am

By Katie Harris

The Surveyor

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the controversial School Entry Immunization Bill, SB20-163, into law on Friday, creating more stringent vaccination requirements for children attending school.

The law, which aims to increase Colorados immunization rate, currently the lowest in the nation, was met with criticism from groups such as Colorado Health Choice Alliance, Colorado Freedom Force and Christian Home Educators of Colorado, as well as protests at the state capitol in recent months as it passed through the senate and house. As a result, homeschooled children received an exemption from the law just days before it was signed.

Nevertheless, a majority of lawmakers determined that the law was necessary for the vast majority of children, citing a proven track record of immunizations of saving lives and money, higher rates of vaccine-preventable diseases in states with lenient exemption policies, and a current potential for large numbers of students to be excluded from school due to non-vaccination in the case of a disease outbreak.

The goal of SB20-163 is to achieve 95 percent immunization coverage in schools in order to protect the health of students, staff, and others in the community, including people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or because they are too young to have received all recommended vaccines (Section 1(m)).

Lawmakers plan to achieve this through key changes to current immunization exemption requirements. Under the previous law, parents who wished to opt their children out of immunizations upon entering school could do so with either a certificate of medical exemption or by providing a statement of nonmedical exemption for religious or personal reasons.

Under the new law, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will be required to develop standardized forms and a submission process for parents who wish to opt their children out of or delay any immunizations required by law, as defined by CDPHE.

In accordance with the new law, in order to opt children out of an immunization, parents must provide:

While SB20-163 still allows families to opt-out of immunizations, opponents voiced concern that it would be difficult to find a physician willing to sign a nonmedical exemption form, as the new law leaves it up to physicians to decide whether or not to sign the form.

Opponents of the bill stated that the increased difficulty in obtaining immunization exemptions infringed upon families freedom to make their own medical decisions.

Stricter exemption requirements arent the only aspect of the new law that critics find concerning. With the passing of SB20-163, it will now be mandatory for physicians to submit immunization, medical and nonmedical exemption data to an immunization tracking system, including name, date of birth, sex, school name, parents names, immunization records, and any exemptions claimed.

Information collected will be used by CDPHE to evaluate and revise the states immunization practices and guidelines on an annual basis. In addition, schools will be required to publish their measles, mumps and rubella immunization rates and any additional immunization rates they choose to include on an annual basis and distribute to families of enrolled students.

The law does, however, include a requirement that the forms provided by CDPHE include a notice to parents that they have the option to exclude students exemptions from the tracking system.

While groups who opposed the bill argue that the government is stripping Coloradans of their freedom by putting children in a government database, giving more control of childrens health to a state department, and removing the distinction between religious and philosophical immunization exemptions, proponents of the law say it is necessary to prevent the spread of disease and to save tens of thousands in publicly funded disease investigation and prevention.

By creating a vaccinated-children standard and reporting and recording school immunization information, lawmakers say the bill will prevent dangerous, costly and sometimes deadly diseases (Section 1(g)).

Colorado lawmakers have appropriated $41,906 to CDPHE to implement the new law for the 2020-21 state fiscal year. The standardized immunization document, detailing vaccination and age requirements under SB20-163 will be made available by CDPHE no later than January 31, 2021.

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Higher gas taxes, other tax increases to greet Virginians on Wednesday – The Center Square

Posted: at 9:43 am

(The Center Square) Several Virginia tax increaseswill go into effect Wednesday after the Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed them in the previous legislative session.

Tax hikes to start the new fiscal year include a higher gasoline and diesel fuel tax, a higher cigarette tax and a tax on games of skill machines. Counties also will have more freedom to implement higher taxes on their residents because of legislation that eased state restrictions.

The statewide tax on gasoline will increase from 16.2 cents per gallon to 21.2 cents per gallon, which is a 31 percent increase before regional gas taxes are accounted for. The regional tax along the I-81 corridor, northern Virginia and Hampton Roads will now be a statewide tax. With this inclusion, taxes will increase to 28.8 cents per gallon, which is a 21 percent increase in areas that had the regional tax and a 78 percent increase in the areas that did not.

The fuel tax hikes will have the greatest economic impact, removing dollars from both family and business budgets that might be spent somewhere else, Stephen Haner, a senior fellow of state and local tax policy at the free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, told The Center Square. And, of course, the fuel taxes go up again next summer, and then every summer after that. In parts of Virginia, it goes up almost 13 cents per gallon [Wednesday] with another 5 cent increase next year.

The cigarette tax will increase 100 percent Wednesday, from $3 to $6 per carton. The tax on other tobacco products, such as snuff and pipe tobacco, also will increase by 100 percent, from a 10 percent tax to a 20 percent tax. The commonwealth also will impose a new6.6 cents per milliliter tax on liquid nicotine products used for vaping.

Although lawmakers initially sought to ban gambling skill machines earlier in the session, they decided to instead impose a $1,200 monthly tax on businesses that use the machines. The shift was designed to help raise additional state revenue amid COVID-19 losses.

County governments will have more freedom Wednesday to implement taxes, which will bring their authority closer to that of cities. County governments will be allowed to impose a meal tax up to 6 percent and begin to impose local taxes on admission to concerts, movies and other types of amusement.

The ability of so many Virginia counties to now impose a meals tax would normally come second in terms of impact on individuals, and given their revenue problems, the counties probably love to do that now, Haner said. But with their restaurants struggling so badly, such a move now would be insane.

Several new gun laws, including expanded background checks, red-flag laws and a limit to purchasing one handgun per month all go into effect Wednesday. The background check legislation and the one-handgun-per-month legislation are both facing a legal challenge.

Virginians no longer will need photo identification to vote, but still will need to provide documentation that shows their name and address.

Also as of Wednesday, a person found with only one ounce of marijuana now will face only a $25 civil penalty.

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Higher gas taxes, other tax increases to greet Virginians on Wednesday - The Center Square

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Defunding The Police Has Traction In Dallas, But What’s On The Table? – KERA News

Posted: at 9:43 am

Calls to defund the police may have started in the streets, but the outcries of protesters seeking an end to police brutality have made it to Dallas City Hall and the city's leaders are listening.

"Let's go through the budget with a fine-tooth comb," Dallas City Council Member Casey Thomas said. "Let's look at where we're allocating funds to Public Safety that we can reallocate to address the root causes of poverty in Black and Brown communities."

So, what's on the table? Both activists and members of the Dallas City Council are weighing in on ways they'd like to consider using the Dallas Police Department's $514 million budget.

Since the killing of George Floyd, there have been a lot Dallasites wanting to speak at the City Council's virtual meetings. Many have the same idea.

"I'm calling to demand the city reevaluate, divest and defund the DPD," Kellie Barrett said via the city's not-so-well-received video conferencing platform.

"We refuse to fund the murder, incarceration, detention and deportation of our brothers, sons and fathers any longer," Jennifer Cortez said.

"We cannot keep funding a police department that has been proven ineffective and insufficient," Jennifer Ybarra said.

Those three women are just a few of the dozens and dozens of voices that have spoken out during council meetings over the past 30 days.

Their statements were made during the public comment period of a council meeting on June 17 about the city's budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Activist Mercedes Fulbright has said the city council should be reducing the size of the Dallas Police Department's budget every year.

"The budget should be built around the people, the communities and the things that they actually need to keep themselves safe."

Fulbright has been organizing in Dallas for years. She's a leader in the local chapter of a group called BYP100. They're a member-based organization of Black 18- to 35-year-olds that are "dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people."

The local chapter organized a week-long plan of action after Floyd's death in May, which included a vigil at Freedman's Memorial Cemetery that garnered a crowd of 2,000 within less than 24 hours, she said.

Fulbright said BYP100's main area of focus is defunding Dallas police to "a point of no existence." They're attempting to reach their goal through community organizing.

The group is part of a coalition called In Defense of Black Lives. It has an online petition with 22,000 signatures, she said, calling on Dallas leaders to "end the war on Black people, depopulate jails and prisons, and to divest from DPD."

"I can't believe they're still paying for tactical gear or tear gas or those rubber bullets that they used against us in the streets," Fulbright said. "Like, that could have gone to the kids who are at home right now who don't have food in their pantries. Right?"

Fulbright wants the city's next budget to spend less on policing and more things like education, medical care and housing.

The Response From City Leadership

The new budget for the City of Dallas is supposed to go into effect in October. The city council will get a peak at a draft of the budget in August. But last month, 10 of the city's 14 council members sent a memo to City Manager T.C. Broadnax, requesting he draft a budget that shifts money allocated for the DPD to departments providing social services.

Mayor Eric Johnson seemed open to moving some money around, too.

"That's a conversation that I'm not only willing to have, but fully expected to have," he told local FOX affiliate KDFW. "That's what we do around the horseshoe every year, we talk about the budget."

But, he also said he's not "at all" in favor of getting rid of the Dallas Police Department. A sentiment echoed by Council Member Chad West.

"Frankly, I find it a little disingenuous for folks to say, 'We don't need to have as many police officers,'" said the council member from North Oak Cliff. "You got to look at what we did during the last budget cycle, which was supported unanimously by council, and that is to increase the public safety budget to provide salaries starting at $60,000 and use that to draw in more officers."

West said it's time to step back, not get swept up by the moment and look at realistic cuts.

North Dallas Council Member Lee Kleinman doesn't want to see the city's police force shrink either, but he thinks the Dallas Police Academy is one big place for cuts.

"I would propose that we don't even have an academy," he said. The move could save the city $24 million.

Kleinman said police unions have always claimed Dallas needs an academy to train cadets "the Dallas way." He argues that's not working. Instead, he believes recruits could be trained through existing law enforcement programs at Eastfield College or Tarrant County College.

"Those are professional academic institutions that are accredited with instructors," Kleinman said. "So now, you don't get that bias that's built into our system, institutionalized from the first year that they come on."

He has other ideas too, like ditching the department's Mounted Unit that rides on horseback.

"We need to listen to what people in the city of Dallas are saying," said Thomas, who represents Southwest Dallas. "We need to listen to this worldwide cry and call for changes to police policy."

Thomas points out that in some Dallas neighborhoods, people don't feel safe with police around. He thinks now is the time to reimagine public safety. For example, he wants to vastly expand the city's RIGHT Care program, which sends a police officer, a paramedic and a behavioral health specialist from Parkland Hospital to calls involving mental health emergencies.

"The medical professional is trained in knowing how to deal with the mental health episode and can provide ways to deescalate that situation," he said.

Thomas also wants to put more money into programs that can provide professional development to those without jobs, and he thinks the city ought to grant more power to the Community Police Oversight Board.

But BYP100's Mercedes Fulbright said police unions in Dallas are too strong for an oversight board to have any real impact.

"It's not preventing the violence and terror and murder and kidnappings that are happening from that institution," she said. "That's where we're at. We're like, 'Y'all, this isn't working,' and we got to stop lying and gaslighting our people on this thought that we can make it better."

For now, while the city's budget is still being discussed, many in the council want protesters and activists to review the current budget, to find items they want eliminated and then to push for that. Because, they've said, screaming to "defund the police" won't do enough to make a real change.

Got a tip? Email Hady Mawajdeh at You can follow Hady on Twitter @hadysauce.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

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Ready, set, go! Early voting starts this week – East Valley Tribune

Posted: at 9:43 am

Starting this week, Mesa voters can either endorse the aggressive pro-growth, pro-downtown redevelopment policies of Mesa Mayor John Giles or choose an anti-Giles ticket recommended by his constitutionalist opponent.

Early voting by mail starts July 8 in a city election that has exposed a deep divide on City Council that has been apparent since a split decision in 2018 to approve Giles hallmark project, Arizona State University@mesacitycenter.

The ASU project has been billed as a stimulus for reawakening long slumbering downtown Mesa and creating an innovation district that will spawn high paying, high-technology jobs.

Councilman Jeremy Whittaker and mayoral candidate Verl Farnsworth have continued to attack the project even as construction progresses, while Giles, Vice Mayor Mark Freeman and council members Jen Duff, Dave Luna and Francisco Heredia have continued to defend it as a vital part of Mesas recovery from the pandemic-fueled recession.

The rift also is showing up in the election, with Farnsworth distributing a flier endorsing an anti-Giles ticket that includes himself, Whittaker and Danny Ray, who is challenging Freeman in District 1 in north Mesa.

Heredia essentially was re-elected without a vote being cast because Christopher Bown, another opponent of Giles, withdrew from the race, conceding he erred in the collection of his signatures after they were challenged in court.

Giles, Luna, Duff, Freeman and Heredia have retaliated against Whittaker by endorsing his opponent Julie Spilsbury in District Two, east central Mesa.

Spilsbury, a political novice, was recruited by Giles to run against Whittaker. She said she did not know Giles previously.

Im definitely not a puppet. I am opinionated, but I do it with respect, Spilsbury said. I think I was asked to run because I am easy to work with.

A long list of community leaders in Mesa has endorsed Giles, along with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the United Mesa Firefighters Association.

Former council member Dennis Kavanaugh also endorsed Giles and disavowed any connection with Farnsworth despite being pictured and quoted in Farnsworths election flier.

The flier used quotes from a March 2019 East Valley Tribune story about the controversial auction of city land near Red Mountain Ranch.

Farnsworths campaign flier also quotes two former presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with Irish statesman Edmund Burke, George Washington, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.

Kavanaugh said Farnsworth never called him for permission to use his photo or quote. He said he disagreed with Giles on the auction but greatly respects him as a man and a leader.

I want to make sure people who know me, know I am not supporting Verl Farnsworth. I would not support Verl Farnsworth in a million years, Kavanaugh said.

Farnsworth is a retired contractor from New Mexico and a constitutionalist who lost to Luna in 2018 in District 5, northeast Mesa.

He also ran for President of the United States in 2012 as part of Americans Elect, a novel but ill-fated effort to nominate a presidential candidate through a non-partisan online poll.

Farnsworth said he is proud he got thousands of votes but could not remember an exact number. He said in his flier that he would be guided by the Constitution and by God, not by special interests, if he wins election.

If he had been mayor, Farnsworth said, he also would have never issued a proclamation requiring Mesa residents to wear face coverings, as Giles did as COVID-19 cases soared in Arizona.

Weve always been risk-takers. Thats how we found our freedom, Farnsworth said. For me, I think its optional. I think were smart enough.

Farnsworth said he never would have voted for the ASU building and disagrees with giving developers incentives by selling city land at a price lower than the appraised value.

I think our message is a very timely one, Farnsworth said. Im feeling like we have a great shot at getting the peoples confidence and votes.

Giles said being mayor of his hometown is a dream job for him.

He has amassed a $272,000 war chest in a year which includes many contributions from developers but he said part of his job is to sell Mesa and that he is proud of support from the business community.

Pro-growth policies are necessary in Mesa because of its lack of a property tax and heavy reliance on the sales tax and utility revenues, he said.

The City of Mesa is a shining star on the national stage in job growth and affordability, Giles said. Im proud of what the city council has accomplished. The economic development accomplishments of Mesa are very impressive. I hope to be back on track very quickly, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Giles said he takes his job seriously and will spend whatever is necessary on his campaign, donating the rest to non-profits. He said he has no aspirations for higher office.

Im proud of the job Ive done, Giles said. I think I can make a strong case for re-election.

He said Mesa not only is weathering COVID-19 thanks to $90 million in federal aid, but because its conservative fiscal management allowed the accumulation of $90 million in operating reserves.

But Whittaker said Mesa and other governments are based on a corrupt system he described as crony capitalism on his web site, in which special interests contribute to the campaigns of politicians with the expectation of access and favorable votes in return on zoning cases and other city business.

My job is to represent the people of Mesa, not special interest groups, Whittaker said.

I take it with great pride, he said, when asked about five out of seven council members endorsing Spilsbury, his opponent. In 2016, the entire council endorsed my opponent.

Whittaker has responded with another in a series of attacks on his fellow council members, accusing them in the past of embezzlement and being more corrupt than Washington, D.C., based upon campaign donations from developers that he no longer accepts. He also has criticized some members use of a council expense account to buy gift cards.

Whos Buying Your Mayor and City Council? Ever Wonder Why? Whittaker writes in a blog on his website, which includes a spread sheet he compiled charting campaign contributions during the last two election cycles.

Politicians are bought by special interest groups, he said.

But Giles said Whittaker conveniently left out the contributions he received in the 2016 election.

He accepted donations from the very same people he is attacking, Giles said.

Whittaker said he was a political novice during his first election and he did not fully understand how the system worked. He said he personally financed both of his campaigns, in 2016 and 2020, but money from developers was donated after he won election.

I think its fraud, Whittaker said.

But Luna said he is not bought and paid for by anyone and he resents Whittakers accusations that he is corrupt.

What he is trying to illustrate is that we are corrupt, we are bound by special interests. That is not the case, Luna said. It doesnt mean they are going to get what they want.

Spilsbury said that Craig Cardon, a developer and an old friend of hers, contributed to her campaign, as did several members of his firm. She said she hasnt promised him any favorable votes in return.

I could not tell you what they do in Mesa, Spilsbury said. There are zero strings attached.

Maricopa County will begin mailing early ballots on July 8 for the Aug. 4.

All registered voters will have the opportunity to cast ballots. Voters registered with a specific political party will also be able to vote in their partys state legislative and Congressional primaries.

Mesa voters who are not affiliated with a political party and are on the early voting list will not automatically receive a ballot by mail.

In order to receive a ballot, those voters must contact the Maricopa County Recorders Office to request a political partys ballot or a Mesa-only ballot. They can call 602-506-1511 or go to

The deadline to register for the primary is July 6 and the deadline to request a mail-in ballot is July 24. The last day to mail back a mail-in ballot is July 29.

Vote Centers for people to vote in person or drop off ballots will open in phases with five locations beginning Wednesday and 90-100 locations on Election Day. For a list of Vote Centers and hours of operations, go to Locations.Maricopa.Vote.

Voters will not have assigned polling locations on Election Day. Because of COVID-19, the county is moving to a vote-anywhere model instead.

The county expects up to 600,000 ballots to be cast in the primary, a potentially historic voter turnout.

While the council and mayoral races are nonpartisan, there is one hot partisan race in Mesa and plenty of fireworks mainly among Republicans in county and legislative races.

Two Republicans are battling each other in the races for North Mesa justice of the peace and for constable. Incumbent Kyre Jones is facing a challenge from current constable Ed Malles while Jon Curtis and Robin Carlos Beach are duking it out for the constable position.

County races

For the Maricopa County races, the only primary contest involving a member of the Board of Supervisors is in Mesa, where incumbent Republic Steve Chuchri is facing a challenge from Kyle Cloud.

In the county assessor primary, former Gilbert Councilman Cook is squaring off against fellow Republican Rodney Glassman for their partys nomination. The victor will battle unopposed Democrat Aaron Connor.

In the County Attorneys race, incumbent Republican Allister Adel has no opponent while Democrats Julie Gunnigle, Will Knight and Bob McWhirter are vying for their partys nomination.

The county recorder race has Republicans Stephen Richer and perennial candidate Clair Van Steenwyk seeing the nomination and the Democrat and incumbent Adrian Fontes is unopposed until November.

County Treasurer Royce Flora is facing a challenge from fellow Republican John Allen in the primary while Democrat Daniel Toporek skates free until November.

The county sheriffs race is highly contested with former lawman Joe Arpaio battling against Lehland Burton, Mike Crawford and Jerry Sheridan for the Republican nomination. The winner faces Democratic Sheriff Paul Penzone, who is unopposed in his primary.

Legislative races

In the three main legislative districts covering most of Mesa, most of the action is among Republicans.

In LD 16, where incumbent Rep. Kelly Townsend has no opposition in her bid to take over the Senate seat from retiring Dave Farnsworth, theres a four-way struggle for two House nominations. Incumbent John Fillmore is running again.Opponents are Forrest John Moriarty, owner of an advertising firm; attorney Jacqueline Parker, legal policy advisor to the state Corporation Commission; and respiratory therapist Lisa Godzich, former president of Mesa Republican Women.

A three-way scramble for the two House seats in LD 25 is pitting incumbents House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Michelle Udall against Kathy Pearce, who is aiming for Udalls seat.

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NSWC Dahlgren Division mathematician wins three awards for innovation impacting high performance computing –

Posted: at 9:43 am

From NSWC Dahlgren:

A mathematician from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) was named as the winner of three awards.

Dr. Evan Coleman won the Dr. Charles J. Cohen Award of Excellence for Science and Technology for his exemplary efforts in advancing the science of parallel computing, specifically in the area of developing fault tolerant methods to be executed on high performance computing clusters. NSWCDD leaders also recognized Coleman with the fiscal year 2019 In-House Laboratory Independent Research (ILIR) Project of the Year Award for his investigation of the robustness of the parallel iterative algorithms.

These algorithms are what drive many large-scale simulations with respect to the expected increase in the rate at which faults will occur on high performance computing clusters. Moreover, the scientist won the 2020 Warfare Center Innovation Award in recognition of his efforts in the advancement in the area of developing fault tolerant methods to be executed on high performance computing clusters. I hope that the research that led to this award can eventually be used in a practical way to help increase the productivity on high performance computing platforms, said Coleman, especially when used on large-scale, high-fidelity simulations that can directly lead to an improved product for the warfighter.

The Dr. Charles J. Cohen Award of Excellence for Science and Technology Award recognizes those who have either fundamentally impacted science or technology with patented awarded work, made significant contributions to one or more projects that transitioned to a program of record, contributed with their research briefings or published research papers, or has collaborated with external partners. The nominee is selected for their accomplishments that are relevant to the NSWCDD mission that also measurably impacts capability. The Warfare Center Innovation Award was originated from the Warfare Centers Award. The Warfare Centers Award was established in 2005 to recognize cross-Warfare Center collaborative efforts. Eventually, the award expanded into the following five categories: collaboration, innovation, knowledge sharing, technical support services, and talent management. -more-

The In-house Laboratory Independent Research Excellence Award recognizes an individual or group whose research contributions show outstanding technical or scientific merit and are relevant to the mission of NSWCDD. These awards also recognize Coleman for his creativity and innovation for his work with the science of parallel computing and for developing novel variants of linear algebra routines and the tools designed to aid in the numerical simulation of computing faults. His published research will continue to contribute to the advancement in the science of solving computationally complex problems.

Coleman started with NSWCDD about eight years ago, eventually becoming involved with the research programs via the ILIR research program, where he has worked for the past four years. There are lots of people Id like to thank, said Coleman, my wife, Sara, for tolerating me spending more time than I probably should working and always being incredibly supportive, all of my immediate supervisors for being very encouraging and allowing me a lot of freedom in balancing my research endeavors with program specific work, and the ILIR committee at NSWC Dahlgren. Coleman continued: I also want to thank Dr. Jeff Solka, for believing in me and my research, and giving me the funding and support I needed to execute research, and my collaborators at Old Dominion University, especially Dr. Masha Sosonkina, for all the cooperation and help along the way. Naval Surface and Undersea Warfare Centers Commander Rear Adm. Kevin Byrne said of the awardees:

Each year winners are selected by the Warfare Centers Board of Directors, based on recommendations from a panel of representatives including division commanding officers, technical directors and other personnel. Bravo Zulu to our 2020 winners!

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Iceland Reopening With Its Economic Freedom Largely Intact – Daily Signal

Posted: June 24, 2020 at 6:09 am

Iceland, a small Nordic country, has successfully flattened the COVID-19 curve and is ready to move ahead. Life in the country seems to be almost back to normal. Curfews and social-distancing mandates have been lifted, and gyms, swimming pools, and restaurants are reopened. The country opened its airports to tourism on June 15.

There had been no official lockdown as there was in other countries. However, the small and open economy did take swift action that resulted in a speedy decline in new virus infections and helped to avoid a strict lockdown of the economy while containing the pandemic.

As a result, Iceland has been able to retain much of its policy space for preserving economic freedom. As noted by the latest Fitch Ratings assessment, broad political consensus among political parties on macroeconomic and fiscal policy has underpinned the rebuilding of fiscal and external buffers over the last decade, providing Iceland with fiscal and monetary space to respond to the current shock.

>>> Whats the best way for America to reopen and return to business? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, assembled Americas top thinkers to figure that out. So far, it has made more than 260 recommendations. Learn more here.

Indeed, bringing down government spending through a range of deficit-cutting efforts, the country had been able to create momentum for economic recovery, which had been bolstered by a dependable commitment to regulatory efficiency and open-market policies.

According to The Heritage Foundations 2020 Index of Economic Freedom, Iceland is one of the worlds 15 freest economies, with high degrees of flexibility, openness, and efficiency firmly established.

The Icelandic economy has been climbing the ranks of the mostly free in the index for the past decade. Prior to the current pandemic, its rising growth domestic product had been expanding at a healthy rate, recovering much of its loss from the collapse of its banking sector in 2008 that sparked a currency crisis and a substantial contraction of the economy.

The troubled banking sector has now been recapitalized. Capital controls have been lifted since 2017, and the Scandinavian island economy has returned to global bond markets and charted a remarkable post-banking crisis comeback.

Icelands unique achievements have not emerged from a vacuum. The small country possesses a number of particular societal features that influence its economic policies and attitudeshonesty, openness, efficiency, and trust, among many others.

The combination of those specific attributes is certainly one of the factors behind how this small Nordic free-market democracy has been successful in the past and continues to be resilient today.

For the United States, as The Heritage Foundations National Coronavirus Recovery Commission recommends, empowering economic freedom and partnerships in free markets, along with maintaining key partnerships, must be an integral element of rebooting our economic livelihoods and accelerating the global economic recovery.

Iceland is well-positioned to be just such a partner.

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