After a year that started off with a wave of efforts to suppress the vote - many of which continue - more and more states are now looking at enacting significant reforms to modernize voter registration and protect and expand voting rights. Here's a roundup of recent developments:
Eight years ago, progressives were recovering from an Election Day that saw a full 11 states ban same-sex marriage at the polls. The environment in early 2013 could not be more different. Coming off of historic successes at the polls in four states in November, momentum behind marriage equality efforts continues to grow in state after state in advance of what is likely to be a landmark Supreme Court decision on the issue this term:
As we approach the middle of the legislative session in many statehouses across the country, it’s clear that state legislators are continuing to abandon the unconstitutional, anti-immigrant approach modeled off of Arizona and Alabama’s economically disastrous laws. Legislators, responding to changing demographics and politics, have instead started to focus on plausible and inclusive strategies aimed at broadening prosperity and increasing opportunities for all – regardless of immigration status.
Since state legislatures around the country have started their sessions in 2012, legislators and governors alike have been recognizing the importance of broadband (or high speed Internet) to growing state economies. Governors in states as diverse as Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, and Wyoming highlighted broadband initiatives in their state of the state speeches, as more and more of our leaders are realizing that without broadband, the U.S. economy is not going to produce jobs or the highly-skilled workers needed to compete in a global marketplace.
PSA submitted testimony in February 2011 for HI HB 343, a bill that would allow same day voter registration. Our testimony highlights the success of the reform in other states as well as offers the perspectives of legislators in other states regarding the value of SDR.
Last week, the state of Hawaii approved its first roll-out of Feed-in Tariffs (FIT), a reward program that allows homes and businesses to get paid for building renewable energy systems such as rooftop solar panels and feeding that energy into the electric grid. To implement the plan, companies that install and maintain a renewable source device receive a Power Purchase Agreement from a utility, while the state government regulates the electricity tariff rate. The Hawaii FIT program roll-out will take place on all of the state's grids within six weeks. Hawaii joins Vermont, Washington, California, and Oregon in introducing statewide feed-in-tariffs.
As pundits attempt to digest what Colorado's primary on Tuesday night means for incumbents and insurgents alike, there is one thing everyone can agree on: voting by mail saved counties much-needed money while boosting turnout.