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North Carolina Voting Rights Victory

In late July, a federal appeals court struck down most of North Carolina’s voting law that was challenged by RFF grantee Democracy North Carolina and a coalition of other organizations, for imposing illegal barriers that prevented African Americans and other citizens from exercising their right to vote.  On August 31st, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that ruling to stand. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that “because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” noting that the legislature received data prior to adoption of the law showing that African Americans would be most adversely affected.  

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Just Transition Fund Leads Clean Energy Efforts in Coal Communities

Created by the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Appalachia Funders Network in April 2015, the Just Transition Fund is designed to allow national foundations to quickly deploy resources and strategically invest in local efforts. While the original goal was to help coal-impacted communities access federal POWER grants, the broader mandate is to support frontline coalfield and power plant communities as they transition to a sustainable, clean energy economy. In July 2016, the Fund completed its second round of grantmaking, providing $460,000 in catalytic funding.

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RFF's Decision to Divest

The Rockefeller Family Fund is proud to announce its intent to divest from fossil fuels. While the global community works to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, it makes little sense—financially or ethically—to continue holding investments in these companies. The science and intent enunciated by the Paris agreement cannot be more clear: far from finding additional sources of fossil fuels, we must keep most of the already discovered reserves in the ground if there is any hope for human and natural ecosystems to survive and thrive in the decades ahead. Read the complete statement here.

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Moratorium on Federal Coal Leases

In January, the Obama Administration announced that it will place a moratorium on issuance of coal leases on federal land.  This move comes in response to investigations into the leasing program prompted by a 2012 IEEFA report that showed how coal companies have received $30 billion in federal subsidies since the 1980s. 

Updates

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Vermont Passes Statewide Earned Sick Leave Bill:

In March, Vermont's Governor signed the legislation which will guarantee the right to earned sick leave to more than 60,000 residents.  It joins Connecticut, California, Massachussetts, and Oregon, as well as 24 cities that have passed paid sick days laws.

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NY Coal Plant Closures:

Governor Cuomo announced that all of New York State’s coal plants will shut down by 2020 and that government assistance will be provided to workers who lose their jobs as a result of plant retirements and to the Upstate communities that depend on revenue from these plants to fund their schools and other important local services. RFF grantees, the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), have been at the heart of this major development. Read RFF Associate Director Larry Shapiro's op-ed in the Albany Times Union.

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Two RFF Grantees Win MacArthur Awards:

RFF's grantees have won two of the nine awards for Creative and Effective Institutions announced by the MacArthur Foundation for 2015. The Campus Network program of the Roosevelt Institute, with more than 120 chapters in 38 states, strives to train and engage the next generation of leaders to identify and participate in national policy debates, and advocate for just and sustainable solutions. And the...

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...Nat'l Inst on Money in State Politics:

...also chosen by the MacArthur Foundation, tracks campaign contributions across 50 states to reveal trends in political giving, show how contributions drive public policy debates, and document how special interests fund candidates across state lines.