LegAlert: Investing in Crumbling Infrastructure in the States Before It's Too Late
The recent tragedy in Minneapolis, along with the explosion of an underground steam pipe in New York City just weeks ago, has brought public attention to the problem of our country's crumbling infrastructure, a problem the Progressive States Network has been highlighting over the past year.
Last November, we saw voters taking the first steps to repudiate the
right-wing ideology and institutions that have long dominated much of the
political landscape in our states. For too long, we have seen right-wing
politicians, backed by corporate money and by conservative think tanks,
blocking communities from improving wages, impeding expansion of health care,
and auctioning off public assets and public contracts to big monied interests.
While Louisiana had a few gains, such as finally outlawing cockfighting, the
last state to do so, overall the session resulted in roll-backs in abortion
rights and big gains for business at the expense of the tax payer.
The presence of ALEC sponsorship on the
legislature's website is an
omen to the pro-business
tenure of Louisiana's legislature.
With a raucus
session that ended with Texas state House legislators trying to depose the
autocratic speaker, the legislature passed a range of bills, many reversing
extreme laws passed in past sessions:
The recent fashion for selling off highways at firesale prices took a big hit
this week. In
letter sent to governors, state legislators and state
transportation officials, key House leaders on transit issues warned states
not to rush into privatization deals involving national highways.
We continue this week with a roundup of some more legislative sessions that
recently wrapped up -- at least "sort of" in the cases of states like Georgia
which ended their sessions without a budget and will likely be coming back for
a special session.
1200 prisoners from Arizona, hire Indiana at $64 per day to house them, then
ship them 1500 miles from home and loved ones to a private prison in New
Castle, Indiana run by the GEO Group, a private prison company that has been
repeatedly cited for
substandard conditions. When a
among 500 prisoners broke out last week, with prisoners taking over
the facility for two hours, it was hardly surprising to observers.
Want the simplest way to expand voter turnout? Enact Election
Day Registration (EDR), which increases turnout by 10 to 12 percentage
points, according to a new report by Demos, which highlighted how widely successful EDR was in states that used it in the 2006 election.
Since we've condemned the recent spate of privatization proposals,
it's encouraging to see a debate in New Jersey on an innovative
proposal to manage state highways that doesn't involve a rip-off of the
taxpayer and the loss of democratic control over a public asset.