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In the States, Voices of Determination on Implementing Obamacare

Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), local and national attention has once again focused on the states as the arenas where implementation of – and opposition to – the law will play out. For uninsured individuals and families who hope to gain from the expanded coverage provided for under the law starting in 2014, the initial response in many states may not have been encouraging. But in the face of this predictable response from opponents, responsible state legislative leaders from around the nation have also been speaking out.

California Senate Passes "Anti-Arizona" TRUST Act, Moves Conversation on Smart Immigration Enforcement Forward

Yesterday afternoon, the California State Senate affirmed their state’s commitment to smart and cost-effective immigration enforcement by passing the TRUST Act (AB 1081) by a 21-13 vote. The bill’s focus on maintaining trust with community members statewide by prioritizing violent and serious criminals instead of casting a wide, expensive, and counter-productive dragnet has spurred many to call it the “anti-Arizona.” Introduced by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, a member of PSN’s affiliated State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy, the legislation seeks to clarify the relationship between local jurisdictions and the federal Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities (S-Comm) program.

Infographic: What’s at Stake for States that Refuse to Expand Medicaid?

The initial news last week was that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And though that remains true, discussion has increasingly focused on the one limitation the Court put on the law. While the ACA required all states to expand Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) – about $30,000 for a family of four – in order to receive any federal Medicaid funds, the Court ruled that only funds for the expansion itself could be withheld. The practical effect of the limitation was to make it optional for states to expand Medicaid to all Americans at or below 133% FPL.

Mixed Bag for Voters as Supreme Court Rules on Elections Cases

In addition to the historic Supreme Court decisions on health care and immigration handed down last week, the Court also ruled recently on several important, elections-related cases as well – decisions which constitute a mixed bag for the health of America’s democracy.

What the Supreme Court’s SB 1070 Decision Means for Other States

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its decision on SB 1070, Arizona’s economically devastating anti-immigrant law. The Court struck down three of SB 1070’s four provisions and issued strong guidelines to limit the scope of Section 2(b), the only piece of the law that was upheld. Section 2(b), the racial profiling provision popularly known as “papers please,” continues to expose immigrants and communities of color to discrimination at the hands of law enforcement. Today’s decision assures future challenges to the provision and virtually ensures that it will not survive in the real world. As this decision gets returned to the lower courts to define the contours of the guidelines around the “papers please” section, other states should be increasingly wary of following Arizona’s economically destructive and divisive path.

Map: Are You Protected From Insurer Abuses No Matter How SCOTUS Rules on Health Care?

Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have separately adopted at least one of the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act as state law. No matter what the Supreme Court decides about the federal law, consumers in those 48 states continue to have at least some protection from the abusive practices of health insurance companies.

PSN at Netroots Nation 2012

How have progressives been fighting back against the right-wing onslaught in statehouses in 2012? How can legislators, organizations, and activists work together to advance a positive vision in the states in 2013 and beyond? What can we all learn from policy battles this year going forward? Those are just some of the questions on the agenda for Netroots Nation, taking place this weekend in Providence, RI. Progressive States Network (along with our partner Progressive States Action) will be at Netroots Nation this year - if you see us, stop by and say hi! On Saturday June 9th at 10:30am, PSN's Suman Raghunathan will be moderating a panel on progressive legislative caucuses at the state and local level.

Wage Theft: A Crime You Can Get Away With

This week, we authored a report grading states on how well they protect a fundamental workplace right: getting paid what you are legally owed. This right is so basic and common-sense that most people are still unaware of how commonly it is violated. Wage theft, or the illegal underpayment of workers, has become so widespread, it affects millions of workers across the country and is nearly ubiquitous in certain industries: retail, restaurants, hospitality, day-labor, warehousing, child care, and construction. That’s a lot of people – already not getting paid enough – whose bosses illegally make their paychecks even lighter.

States Fight ALEC-Inspired Deregulation of Internet Services

A spate of destructive broadband bills has been sweeping across the country, spurred on by the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Unbelievably, just as broadband Internet becomes an essential tool for millions of Americans, these states, following the pattern of the model ALEC bill, are making moves toward depriving states of any power to ensure reliable, competitive, and affordable service that serves all state residents — from small businesses to those on the other side of the digital divide. The companies behind these bills want the ability to choose to serve only the locations and the individuals that yield the greatest profits. It is simply not smart governance to leave state authorities without the power to ensure everyone can use such a critical asset.

Sunshine State Again a Flashpoint for Voting Rights

Florida last week marked two victories that will help protect the integrity of the state’s elections, becoming the latest state where conservative efforts to suppress voter participation have stalled. As Progressive States Network has noted previously, conservatives emboldened by recent successful efforts to make it harder for people to vote should not count their chickens before they hatch in 2012.