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Ballot Initiatives 2008

This Dispatch is a roundup of what ballot initiatives will appear on state ballots across the country this November.  Whether it's workers rights, energy policy, education, transit, abortion or health care, ballot initiates give voters a chance to directly vote on an issue.

New PSN Report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed

Today, the Progressive States Network is releasing a new report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed: Positive Integration Policies by States Still Far Outweigh Punitive Policies Aimed at New Immigrants.   The Executive Summary is available online, as well as the full report in PDF and HTML format.

Conservativism and the Wrecking of Government as We Know It

This Wednesday, PSN Executive Director Joel Barkin sat down for a phone interview with Thomas Frank, author of the new best selling book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.  Their conversation touched on a number of issues surrounding how conservatives have worked over the last decade to dismantle government as we know it in Washington D.C. and throughout the country.

Building a Progressive Majority in the States, 2008

On Monday, July 22nd, over one hundred and fifty state legislators, labor leaders, and advocates participated in "Building a Progressive Majority in the States," a joint annual meeting of the Progressive States Network and the National Labor Caucus.  Taking a cue from the opening plenary on progressive policies for an economic downturn, the conference focused on strategies for confronting the most important issues facing America's working families, including affordable health care, smart immigration policy, workers' rights, green jobs, clean energy, and tax and budget reform.  To address these issues in more depth, PSN policy experts joined state legislative leaders in smaller workshops that gave participants a chance to share best practices and model legislation while developinglegislative priorities and winning strategies for 2009.

Supreme Court and the States: Business Wins, Voting Rights Lose, and a Mixed Bag on Criminal Justice

As the Supreme Court marches to the Right, corporate interests continue to thrive at the expense of state regulatory powers.  "This has been a very successful year for the business community," said Miguel Estrada, a Washington appellate lawyer who represents many key corporate interests before courts in Washington, D.C."  This session at the U.S. Supreme Court, as this Dispatch will highlight, had an almost uniform tilt towards business versus state regulatory authority.  In other areas like election law, the tilt was against poor voters who faced restrictions on their right to vote, though the term was a more mixed bag on criminal justice and other issues before the Court.

Inside PSN: The 2008 Progressive States Network Annual Gala

Last Wednesday, the Progressive States Network played host to national luminaries and state leaders from all over the country to celebrate the many victories achieved by the organization and its allies in the most recent  legislative session, and to build momentum for new victories in the coming year.

Why States Matter

Conventional wisdom inside the D.C. Beltway holds that on major issues like health care or energy independence, it's fine for state legislators to play with their legislative toys in local sandboxes, but that it's really up to the "grown-ups" in the federal government to fix big problems. In national policy debates, state governments are usually treated as a tiny sideshow to the top billing of national legislation.

Public Opinion Supports Bold Progressive Leadership

With new leadership in state legislatures across the country, we are seeing impressive new progressive legislation, from environmental to voting rights to family leave to budget reform laws.