A year of Trump: What has he actually achieved?

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Just over a year ago, the idea of Donald Trump being the president of the US was almost laughable to some people.

It seemed impossible that a reality TV personality with no political experience would pip Hillary Clinton to the post in the 2016 election.

A year later, his tenure has been peppered with staff resignations, “fake news” has been named the Word of the Year, and allegations that Russia tried to sway the election in his favour have continued to dog the administration.

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It’s easy, then, to miss the laws that the president has passed so far. As a result, we’ve rounded up some of the lesser known legislation Trump has introduced.

Ditching the Stream Protection Rule

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, introduced this initiative to create a buffer area between mines and waterways to protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of American forest.

It was created to prevent pollution and preserve the natural landscape. In recent years, water contamination has become a serious issue for those living in Flint, Michigan, while protesters have rallied against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In 16 February, Trump signed a piece of legislation which undid this regulation, which he labelled a “terrible job-killing rule”.

Requiring unemployed people to have drug tests before receiving state benefits

On 31 March Trump enabled the Department of Labour to test those who apply for unemployment benefits for drug use. Previously, officials could only test those seeking jobs that required regular drug screenings.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted: “Drug testing as a condition of eligibility for receiving necessary benefits is scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound.” It added that such testing could violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution: the right to be protected form unlawful searches and seizures.

Relaxing internet privacy laws

On 3 April, Trump signed a bill that could enable internet providers to pass on information about their customers’ browsing habits.

By getting rid of the Federal Communications Commission online privacy law, which was set to enable customers to decide how firms share their information, communications businesses could have access to users’ internet history.

According to federal law, internet service providers must protect customer information. But the privacy law opens up a grey area meaning companies could dip into the data and pass it to arms of their businesses associated with advertising.

Axing a law that regulates bear hunting

Trump also changed legislation on hunting on 3 April. The president scrapped a rule that banned certain hunting tactics in Alaska, aimed at protecting hibernating bears.

The Fish and Wildlife Service had banned methods that target “predator” animals such as bears and wolves inside the state’s national preserves, including hunting via aeroplanes. State officials wanted to change the rules in order to protect deer populations, according to The Hill.

Scrapping health insurance subsidies

On 12 October, Trump cut subsidies to health insurance companies that pay the out-of-pocket costs of citizens with low incomes. This was the President’s latest attempt at dismantling Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Enabling religious institutions to stop providing contraception

Religious organisations that are against birth control are now able to opt-out of providing coverage for the medication to their staff and students, even if a third-party insurer pays rather than the institution itself.

The legislation introduced on 6 October rolls back the Obamacare mandate that requires organisations, from charities, to colleges and other employers, to stop offering contraception through healthcare plans if they have a “sincerely held religious or moral objection”. -IBTimes

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