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Public Policy

The government has other impacts on astronomy besides the obvious one of providing funds for research and research facilities. Policies on education, such as stipend levels allowed under research grants, or student loan tax credits are both set by the government. Policies regarding land use can have an obvious impact on astronomy. Governmental panels can make decisions about how many federal agencies should fund astronomy. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) manages spectrum use and can have both helpful and harmful impacts on astronomy. At the local level, lighting policies can have both harmful and helpful outcomes for astronomy. In education, school boards can pass regulations preventing certain scientific ideas from being taught in local schools or printed in textbooks. The possibilities for both good and bad actions by government at all levels are tremendous.