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The Labor Vote

Union workers voting for progressives isn't news. Even as Democrats have lost white, working class voters over the years, union members and their households have voted reliably Democratic. But 2006 was still a banner year in terms of turnout and the sheer margin by which union members voted for Democrats. According to the AFL-CIO, union members voted for union-endorsed candidates by a margin of three-to-one -- an absolutely huge measure.

Cleaning up Election Day Disasters

Even with the good news that came last Tuesday, all too much evidence exists that the basic machinery of democracy in America is broken. Election Day is like Groundhog Day and the first stories of problems with voting machines, long lines, or voter intimidation hit the wires in the early A.M. Fortunately, with progressives in control in more states than ever before, we have an opportunity to get the machinery working, so that the engine of democracy starts humming again.

A Good Day for Progressives

Tuesday's election saw a nationwide repudiation of the rightwing agenda-- and the emergence of new progressive leaders and ideas across the country, from Congress down to the statehouses. Change in control of the US House and Senate is dominating the headlines, but sweeping change is also coming to our statehouses due to the election.

Michigan Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative Opposed by Broad Bipartisan Coalition

In the final days leading up to the election, there is an ugly trend of dishonesty running through state ballot initiatives. Deceptively titled initiatives are confusing voters and masking their true nature: "property rights protection" would actually result in a huge burden to tax payers and severly hinder environmental protection and in Michigan you have a "Civil Rights Initiative", Proposition 2, which is anything but a civil rights initiative.

OR: Universal Health Care Proposal Takes Shape

An Oregon State Senate commission has approved a framework to provide universal health care in the state and to control costs. State Senator Alan Bates, who co-chairs the Commission on Health Care Access and Affordability, called the agreement "the first step on a very, very long journey." While the Commission has broadly described the proposal, important details are unclear and questions remain.

One Eye on the Ballot

It's a big year for ballot issues. Mid-term elections, when no President is being elected, typically see less activity on the ballot issue front than Presidential years, but 2006 is proving to be an exception. Eighteen states will consider 76 ballot issues this fall, as high as its been since 1914 for a non-Presidential year.

Onerous ID Laws Come Under Fire

Someday soon, we will all be experts in Ohio election law. The state's rules are under fire yet again. This time, a labor union and an advocacy organization for the homeless have teamed up to file suit regarding the state's new ID rules, which the plaintiffs say are being enforced differently county by county.

Voters in Oregon No Longer Fooled by Measure 37

Two years ago, Oregon voters were sold Measure 37 as a property rights issue. The measure, they were told, would close loopholes governments used to regulate homeowners and prevent unnecessary regulation. Backers downplayed other ramifications that are now coming to light, ramifications that other states will face if voters in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, or Washington approve initiatives modeled after Measure 37.

Free Health Care? Hospitals Look to Contain Long-Term Costs

A 2005 Families USA report estimated that uncompensated care, or bad debt and charity care, cost the US health care system $43 billion, resulting in an average increase of $922 in family health insurance policies through the year. A New York Times report discusses how some hospitals, in an effort to reduce their uncompensated care costs, are providing free primary care to uninsured patients with costly chronic conditions, recognizing that preventing emergencies that arise from untreated chronic conditions saves money and yields better health outcomes. Some patients involved have seen their costs reduced by half.

CA & WA: Breaking the Oil Addiction

By voting for Proposition 87, California voters have the opportunity to join a growing number of states in investing in clean energy. Backing the proposition are more than just environmental groups. Unions, civil rights organizations, health workers, and many others have joined in the fight for clean energy. The proposition would tax companies drilling for oil in California and set aside the money collected in a fund for loans, grants and subsides to promote alternative fuels and more energy-efficient vehicles. In addition to the environmental benefits, it will decrease dependence on foreign oil.