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States Limit Mercury Emissions While the Feds Fail to Act

Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania sued the Bush Administration this week claiming they failed to adequately regulate emissions of mercury and other pollutants at older cement plant kilns.  Last December, the EPA announced new limits on mercury and hydrocarbon emissions from cement kilns built after December 2, 2005, but left weak rules in place for kilns from before that date.  The states argue that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to limit mercury from all kilns, not just new ones.

 

Strengthening Home Rule on Revenue Powers

If states won't raise the revenue needed for local needs, the least they can do is let those cities and towns tax themselves.  At least that's the proposal by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who this week proposed eliminating some of the restrictions that prevent Boston and other towns from raising local revenue through sales taxes, meals taxes or many other fees that comparable cities use.  This proposal joins a slew of other proposals for expanding local revenue options:

Busloads of Protestors Head to D.C.

11Alive News January 26, 2007 Watch the Video
On Friday evening, two busloads of protestors began to make their way to Washington to call for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

Tax Cuts for Seniors That Don't Help Low-Income Seniors

Tax cuts for seniors?  Helping older voters on fixed incomes seems like a good idea to many legislators, but a number of states are passing tax cuts for taxpayers over age 65 regardless of whether the seniors need the help:

Shutting the Courtroom Door: How the Corporate Right Mobilized in the States

When an impeccably pro-business outfit like Business Week declares victory for the business lobby in shutting the courtroom door to victims of corporate negligence, you know injured consumers and workers have been losing badly. But this week's cover story, How Business Trounced The Trial Lawyers, illustrates how the corporate right leveraged campaign contributions in the last decade to hijack state policy on civil justice.

Election Day Registration

One of the biggest challenges in raising voter turnout is address the rate of voter registration. The vast majority of states have registration deadlines weeks before Election Day. The schedule poses problems for busy Americans who simply forget to register or re-register and find themselves unable to vote on Election Day. During the 2000 Presidential election alone, nearly 3 million voters were disenfranchised due to registration problems. Luckily, a simple solution is available: Election Day Registration (EDR).

GA: Perdue Buddy Helps Him Have a "Happy Accident"

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue must be a very happy man. Just two weeks ago, one friend helped him secure land at a very favorable price near the happiest place on Earth -- Disney Land. The Governor's explanation for why he bought the Florida land? He likes land and he wanted to avoid buying in Georgia because it would look like a conflict of interest. That makes sense, except he did buy land in Georgia a few years ago. The deal was also pretty lucrative, thanks in part to Perdue's power to sign bills into law.

GA: Perdue Buddy Helps Him Find the Magic Kingdom

Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia is no stranger to Progressive States readers (Perdue made our list of the nation's worst Governors). Now, he's dabbling in that most political of arts: corruption.

Illinois Joins Pre-School for All Movement

This past week, Illinois Governor Blagojevich signed the first law in the nation that establishes the goal of universally-available public preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds in that state.

IN: Rushed Social Services Privatization Condemned

In Indiana, critics are condemning a rushed $1 billion privatization of the states' social services work -- despite the fact that the companies bidding on the contract have mismanaged similar contracts in other states and, more tellingly, no one even bothered to determine whether the companies could do the job cheaper than current state employees: