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FL: Leaving the Injured without Justice

The corporate lobby scored a big victory in Florida last week, as the Sun Sentinel detailed:

The Florida Senate gave final approval Thursday to a measure toppling a centuries-old principle of civil law that will make it harder for people to collect damages when they're injured in an accident.

 

Anti-TABOR Forces Get Boost From Maine Court

In states across the country, the far-right is pushing "TABOR" measures based on Colorado's now infamous spending cap. The Colorado model that capped spending increases at a rate equal to population growth plus inflation and that ratcheted down spending in recession years, is now being largely eschewed by the right following voter rescindment of the awful legislation in Colorado.

Clean Power Alternatives for Energy Independence

The public is fed up. They know that every barrel of oil we import from the Middle East helps regimes who don't share America's interest. Every gallon of gas burned on America's roadways contributes to asthma for children. And every time we import our energy, we're creating jobs abroad instead of here at home. There are alternatives to America's current dependence on foreign energy supplies. But don't look to the federal government to solve them. Their response to America's energy crisis is to give tax breaks to multinational energy companies raking in record profits -- a solution that is as short-sighted as it is unhelpful.

Global Trade Negotiations Threaten State Powers

Every state and local official should be paying more attention to the global trade talks at the World Trade Organization, since local power to regulate services such as health care, mass transit and a range of other public services are on the chopping block.

Fighting Predatory Lending

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is hinting interest in signing legislation to deregulate the rent-to-own industry. The bill passed Wisconsin's conservative legislature and is now awaiting the signature of Doyle, who as Attorney General opposed similar bills.

Rethinking the Ways We Vote

The 2000 election sparked an interest in electoral reform. Paired with a rising tendency among voters toward self-declared independence from the two major parties and a new wave of reforms have started growing in popularity across the country. In statehouses and in voting booths, reforms are moving forward to give Americans more real options at the polls.

The Right Targets San Diego

While conservative organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have coordinated takeovers of state legislative agendas across the country�a reality documented in our report, Governing the Nation from the Statehouses � they are usually helped locally by a range of organizations and political networks that the rightwing have been funding for years.

Wyoming: A Case Study in ALEC

Wyoming faces an ongoing saga of attemps by ALEC to steer legislation
while pretending that all of their actions are homegrown. Local
businessman Brett Glass became dismayed when a telecom "deregulation"
bill was introduced that would destroy his business but would be a
major help to Qwest.

Researching the Corporate Right Wing in Your State

A good place to start in researching your local corporate-backed policy outfits is the State Policy Network;
pick your state on the linked map and you'll be able to see a list of
"free market" think tanks in your local area. While there is a lot of
overlap, you can also check out the map of state groups listed by Americans for Tax Reform.

Correction

Last Thursday's Dispatch incorrectly stated that the minimum wage ballot initiative in Michigan
would raise the minimum wage to $7.40. In reality, the $7.40 figure
appears in the bill being pushed by rightwing legislators. Rightwing
legislators are attempting to undercut the initiative that ties the
minimum wage to cost-of-living adjustments. The Republican bill would
provide a higher minimum wage than the initiative for a period of
several years. In the long term, the initiative would be a better deal
for workers.