Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's weekly newsletter! Here is the latest on the news and developments worth knowing.
Important Update: Our Washington, DC office has a new main phone number: (202) 802-9384. If you would like to reach PSN staff directly, please call us at our new direct phone numbers as our previous phone lines no longer work.
Spotlight On Progressive Leaders
Medicaid: Going On Offense Nebraska State Senator Jeremy Nordquist, who is also the Chair of PSN's Economic Security Working Group, has launched an online petition at http://healthcarefairness.com to build support for Medicaid expansion in Nebraska. Governor Dave Heineman and some state lawmakers are resisting the call to do so, raising concerns about the financial impact on Nebraska's working families, rural hospitals, and local economy. Approximately 54,000 Nebraskans could be covered if the state accepts the money for expanding Medicaid.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin legislators, including State SenateMajority Leader Chris Larson, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, and Sen. Lena Taylor, are calling out Gov. Scott Walker's controversial decision to refuse money for Medicaid expansion and instead postpone the deadline for kicking residents off Badgercare. As they noted, Gov. Walker's decision means rejecting $120 million dollars in savings for Wisconsin taxpayers and 10,000 jobs in the state -- more fallout from efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
Transportation Infrastructure Iowa State Senator Tod Bowman, who is the chairman of the Transportation Committee in the Iowa Senate, is out with a new opinion piece, "Paving The Road to Iowa’s future." Sen. Bowman notes the financial challenge facing Iowa in maintaining an incredible 114,000 miles of roads and 25,000 bridges in the state, but that there are different financing ideas in the mix. He also notes the importance of the public's input in the process, encouraging constituents to share their thoughts with him.
High Cost of Low Wages With the wave of worker protests against low wages spreading across the country, Texas Representative Ruth Jones McClendon writes in a special column in the Star-Telegram that "it's time to stand up for underemployed workers." Underemployment and unfair wages cost all of us, she notes, undermining workers, families, and our economy. These issues will only heat up as we head into the 2014 legislative sessions; to get ahead of the curve and find out what PSN's Economic Security Working Group is planning for next year, please contact us at email@example.com.
Don't Miss It
PISA Scores. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results for 2012 were released this week, sparking a flurry of often-misleading commentary about the state of public education in America. As noted by educationleaders and media figures like MSNBC's Chris Hayes, what the PISA scores end up measuring are America's dismal child poverty rates, which are among the worst in the developed world. In contrast, previous PISA results show that when we compare socioeconomic apples to apples, America's most affluent students outperform the world. The lessons going forward include the importance of investing in children with the greatest needs, as well as the teaching professionals who educate them.
For more in Progressive States Action's messaging toolkit on this issue, legislators and staff should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fast Food Strikes. On December 5, workers and supporters in hundreds of cities across the country are protesting unfair wages. In the fast food industry, the high cost of low wages includes $7 billion a year that American taxpayers are forced to pay into fast food corporate profits. More information about the #FastFoodStrikes movement and local rallies is available at http://bit.ly/FastFoodStrikes.
Trickle Down Fail. A new study by the Center for Effective Government reports that the American corporate tax system is badly broken -- but not in the way that corporate lobbyists want the public to believe. Corporate tax cuts do not create jobs, the research found; in fact, 30 profitable corporations that paid little or no taxes over the past three years collectively cut 51,000 jobs.
The Center for American Progress issued a new report further condemning trickle-down economics as a stunning failure. Despite right-wing marketing attempts to convince the American people otherwise, making the wealthiest few even wealthier makes them better off, not everyone else. Trickle-down has instead made America's soaring inequality problems even worse.
Pulse Of The Community
ALEC. The community is abuzz with news that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is facing a funding crisis from a donor exodus, according to a new major investigative reporting scoop. According to the Guardian, ALEC has identified 40 departed corporate members it's trying to recruit back, including corporate giants such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald's and Walmart. These members had left ALEC under pressure after the killing of the unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin, which raised a furor over ALEC's involvement in Shoot First legislation (also known as "Stand Your Ground"). Expect more on the ALEC fallout to come.
That's a wrap! As always, if you have any feedback or suggestions, please contact us at email@example.com.