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Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat

New York Assemblyman (and Progressive States board member) Adriano Espaillat has been doing more than his fair share to stake out a clear progressive agenda on economic issues this year. From passing legislation to extend union protections to home day care workers to sponsoring a bill to hold management accountable for actions that force illegal strikes.

Rep. Morgan Carroll

Morgan Carroll quickly gained a reputation with both legislators and lobbyists when she won election to the Colorado House. Fighting for health care reform left her with a passion for lobbying ethics rules, resulting in her recent aggressive push for new legislation and for an audit of current lobbying records.

Rep. Garnet Coleman of Texas

When progressives have control of a legislative chamber, the measure of their leadership is how they improve the lives of the residents of their states. But when they are in opposition, the measure of leadership is how they stand up for principle and highlight the abuses of rightwing power.

Backwards Conservatism: Feds Routinely Move to Limit State Power

A new Congressional report by minority staff in the House found that the House and the Senate have voted 57 times in the last five years to preempt state laws and regulations. These votes, the authors declare, make clear "that there exists a wide gulf between the pro-states rhetoric...and the actual legislative record."

OH: Spending Cap Shuffle May Indicate Weakening of a Wedge

What political observer is not interested in changes in Ohio's political landscape? The state has a tendency to be decisive in Presidential elections and is gripped by high-profile races for Governor and Senator this year. So it is very interesting that conservatives appear to be edging away from a radical Constitutional spending cap modeled on Colorado's failed TABOR law.

CO: Aggressive Lobbying Disclosure Bill Becomes Law

As voters grow increasingly fed up with corruption in public office, a number of courageous legislators are taking the lead on issues like voter-owned elections and lobbying reform. In Colorado, the forces of reform just landed a major victory.

Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

Welfare Doesn't Breed Poverty

One of the stated defenses of cutbacks in aid to poor families in the last decade in the US was the idea that welfare spending traps families in poverty from generation to generation. But new studies, as detailed in this week's Economist magazine (subscription) show that countries with MORE spending on the poor have LESS persistent poverty than in the US.

Wal-Mart Increases Poverty

Paying terrible wages was never likely to be a route to economic growth, so it's hardly surprising that research continues to show that Wal-Mart's growth undermines local economies. The most recent study is in the June 2006 issue of Social Science Quarterly (subscription).

Drilling for Oil in New York City

Instead of looking in Alaska for a massive source of energy, look at New York City.