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More Progressive Victories in Colorado

It wasn't so long ago that Colorado was considered a hotspot for ascendant conservative national movements, from the religious right to an anti-tax revolt to anti-immigrant extremism. But times (and demographics) are clearly changing, and quickly. With progressives empowered by recent elections, this session has seen Colorado's legislature advance, pass, and enact progressive legislation across a range of issue areas. And with the state's session drawing to a close in a matter of days, the wins are piling up. From voting rights to welcoming immigrants to enacting sensible gun laws and civil unions, the multiple progressive victories in Colorado this year provide a hopeful model and counter-example to the destructive agendas advanced by conservatives in statehouses across the nation in recent years. Here's how their session is finishing up:

Activists Protest North Carolina's Turn to Right-Wing Extremism

No state is seeing a bigger and more devastating deluge of right-wing legislation move this year than North Carolina, where a tea-party-controlled legislature has been advancing bills alternatively dangerous and absurd -- and sometimes both. A voter ID proposal is just the latest to gain national attention, as residents of all fifty states get a glimpse of what an unfettered conservative movement in a state actually looks like, and activists in North Carolina raise the temperature in protest:

Congress Acts to Help Frequent Fliers, Leaves States in Lurch

Late this week, the U.S. Senate approved legislation by unanimous consent that would give the Federal Aviation Administration the ability to end furloughs of air traffic controllers, hoping to end a week of delays at airports across the nation that resulted from the automatic budget cuts in sequestration. These kinds of impacts were the intentional purpose of the blunt and painful automatic cuts of sequestration, which were originally intended to be so frightening that the possibility of their enactment would force an alternative federal budget compromise. Yet while business travellers might be breathing a sigh of relief as they fly home this weekend, the intentionally painful cuts to other critical programs are still being felt by states, kids, students, seniors, and other victims of sequestration -- and the pain they are feeling may soon get worse:

Research Roundup 4/20: Eliminating State Income Taxes, Skyrocketing CEO Pay, Immigration and Labor Rights, and More

In this week’s Research Roundup: Reports and resources from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, AFL-CIO, National Employment Law Project, Demos, Institute for Women's Policy Research, and Texas Legislative Study Group.

Tampa Bay Times: Union reps protest wage-theft bill in Tampa

"The practice of wage theft has reached epidemic proportions and it's imperative that it be stopped," Beckner said. He cited the Progressive States Network in saying that Florida has "zero" laws on the books to prevent wage theft, ranking it only with Alabama and Mississippi in that regard.

Map of the Week: Upward Mobility, State-by-State

Map: Relative Upward Mobility, State-by-State

Of the 15 states whose residents have less upward mobility than the national average, 14 are so-called "right-to-work" states

One Million New Yorkers Set to Benefit from Paid Sick Leave

After years of debate and delay, paid sick days may soon become a reality for approximately one million New Yorkers who do not currently have access to them.

Amid Calls for Austerity, a Progressive and Pro-Growth Budget Vision

It's already March, but it felt a bit like Groundhog Day this week as U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled — for the third straight year — a conservative House budget proposal steeped in austerity, divorced from reality, and as unpopular as ever. But another budget proposal was released this week that actually does redirect the debate away from austerity and toward job creation.

Spotlight on: Minnesota and Colorado

In contrast to the conservative policies we've seen move in the states over the past two years, 2013 has so far seen at least a handful of states where progressive policies are being introduced and enacted across a range of issue areas. With legislative sessions about midway through, here's a roundup of the policies moving in a couple of those states -- Minnesota and Colorado:

ALEC's "Refocus" on Economy is Bad News for Economy

Last year, the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) came under fire for their support of voter suppression and "shoot first" laws. In response, ALEC claimed they would "redouble their efforts on the economic front" this year. But, in fact, ALEC has long focused on policies that weaken wage standards and otherwise endanger working families — and a new report released this week by the National Employment Law Project (with research support from PSN) shows just how. At the same time, efforts to combat the ALEC economic agenda advanced in states including Maryland and Washington as polls and research continue to show that policies like raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, and paid sick days are popular and good for the economy: