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COVID-19 and the unfunded Black Belt commission

April 10, 2020 - The Southeast Crescent Regional Commission was created in 2008 to provide economic development assistance to Black Belt states but has never received its full appropriation from Congress — even while its counterpart covering whiter, richer Northern states has. With Black Belt communities being ravaged by the pandemic, it's past time for action.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Taking the census in a pandemic

April 9, 2020 - The decennial U.S. population count is underway and will be used for everything from drawing new congressional districts to deciding where to allocate federal resources — including any potential coronavirus vaccine. But the pandemic is complicating the process and raising concerns about potential undercounts, which would inflict more pain on suffering communities.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Rethinking the South's electric utility monopolies

January 28, 2020 - With Southern states' monopoly electric utilities clinging to a business model that's worsening the climate crisis, polluting the environment, and costing consumers dearly, there's growing interest in opening markets to competition. While a ballot initiative to end Florida's electricity monopoly was recently rejected by the state Supreme Court, there are efforts underway to end Virginia's monopoly system and to study the question in the Carolinas.

Big Energy front group launches push for troubled Atlantic Coast Pipeline

December 6, 2019 - An industry lobby fronting as a pro-consumer group is undertaking a public advocacy campaign for a proposed pipeline stretching from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina. The Consumer Energy Alliance was created by an oil industry lobbyist who now chairs the N.C. Republican Party — and its members include major gas companies as well as Dominion Energy, the pipeline's lead partner.

Southern states take up fight for bold democracy reforms

December 6, 2019 - With reform blocked in Washington, voting rights advocates are shifting their attention to the states and are proposing far-reaching, pro-democracy agendas across the South. While the plans face an uphill battle, advocates see their efforts as a chance to be proactive after years of playing legal and political defense.