LUDDEN: Nathan Newman(ph) is with the Progressive States Network which supports immigrant-friendly legislation. He points out that in 2006 a number of Congressional candidates who ran on a hard line anti-immigration platform lost. The same thing happened in the Republican presidential primaries. And Newman says states which have past immigration crackdowns have had mixed results. That may explain why for all the immigration bills considered by state legislators in recent years few have actually passed.
Mr. NEWMAN: There's been a message that this wasn't going to be the magic wedge issue that some political opportunists on the conservative side had hoped for. I think that meant that both the money and volunteer time to try to support new ballot initiatives just wasn't there in these states.
A handful of conservative states with a recent influx of immigrantshave drawn national attention for passing "punitive" immigration laws,but the reality is most state legislatures are quietly welcomingnewcomers, according to a new report released Thursday.
As families in Iowa struggle to make ends meet, they are justified in feeling threatened when they see what were once good jobs turned into low-wage, sweatshop labor.
In industries across the country, workers are not receiving the wages owed them under minimum-wage and overtime laws. Earlier this decade, a U.S. Department of Labor report found that 60 percent of U.S. nursing homes routinely violated overtime, minimum-wage or child-labor laws. Other studies have found similar levels of violations in the garment and restaurant industries.
In Iowa, the minimum-wage and overtime laws have some of the weakest enforcement provisions of any state in the country. Penalties usually amount to no more than telling employers to pay what they originally owed their workers. Because legal action is so expensive and so likely to produce meager returns, few employees can afford to pursue claims. Because civil fines are so low, the state doesn't collect enough for strong, ongoing enforcement.
With toxic toys flooding American markets and with corporate and
federal leaders doing little to address the crisis, it's time for
Connecticut to stand up with other states and say enough is enough. The
General Assembly will get a chance to do just that when the Act Banning
Children's Products Containing Lead, Phthalates, or Bisphenol-A comes
up for a vote. It should jump on the chance.
Everyone knows that individuals and small employers face crushing
health insurance costs when they try to buy coverage on their own. But
state legislators in Hartford are about to take a simple yet
far-reaching step to address the problem.
By allowing municipalities and small businesses to buy into the
group plan currently provided to state employees, the recently
introduced Connecticut Healthcare Partnership would give working
families the clout they need to negotiate a better deal for health
Democratic activists and state lawmakers are working fast to make sure that illegal immigration is not an issue that can be used against them in elections next year, but the debate already is dogging some presidential candidates.
The Progressive States Network, a liberal advocacy and research group, released a strategy memorandum Thursday that outlines how Democrats can fight the outcry over illegal immigration in 2008. The paper urges Democratic candidates to emphasize the political and economic costs of aggressive anti-immigration proposals and to challenge attempts by Republicans to lump together the issues of illegal immigration and terrorism. The memo is part of the network's ongoing project to shape the immigration debate at the state level next year.
Progressive States Outreach Coordinator Marisol Thomer
talks about the states and immigration
on The Progressive News with John Scott on the Bay Area's Green 960.
The section with Marisol is just past halfway through the hour.
With health care ranking near the top of voters' concerns nationally,
state politicians around the country have been taking action to provide
better health insurance coverage. Some states have expanded existing
plans, such as Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance
Program (SCHIP), despite the Bush administration's resistance to both.
Others, like Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, have recently launched
plans that combine both requiring and subsidizing insurance.