In a blow to states’ leadership over clean energy, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that states cannot sue power plant operators that generate pollution. The Justice Department alleges that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency has already started to regulate greenhouse emissions; and (2) states lack standing to assert a federal nuisance claim.
Net state tax collections for the 12-month period
that ended Wednesday were the lowest in four years and further
evidence Iowa struggled through “a really bad recession,” according
to a fiscal analyst with the Legislative Services Agency.
Advocates demanding stricter rules against illegal immigration -- including those backing Arizona's new law clamping down on undocumented immigrants -- have long argued that state lawmakers have been forced to act because of Congress's reluctance to take the lead.
But with little sign that Congress will act on comprehensive immigration reform this year, advocates for immigrants are also taking matters into their own hands. Like their political opponents, they have turned to their state legislatures to fight back.
In states from Pennsylvania to Utah, a battle of bills has been taking place between those who want to reproduce the Arizona law, which hands police more power to detain anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, and those who want to extend further rights to immigrants.
At a press briefing co-hosted by Progressive States
Network and the National Immigration Law Center, members of State Legislators
for Progressive Immigration Policy (SLPIP)-- a dynamic and
rapidly growing group of 54 legislators representing 28 states --
unveiled legislation they are advancing in their states to promote the
effective integration of immigrants as critical members of communities
and state economies
The payday lending trap has been shorting working families to the tune
of nearly $5 billion
per year ever since the industry exploded onto the scene in the
1990’s. The number of payday lending institutions has jumped
exponentially from 500 in 1990 to about 22,000 today (compared
with 14,000 McDonald's), mainly targeting low-income African
American and Latino communities.
Last week, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed the
Revenues and Expenditures Transparency Act, H
2972, to create a searchable, online database that details state
spending and revenue sources. Lawmakers also approved an amendment to
create greater taxpayer accountability by providing increased
transparency around some business tax credits. As House Chairman of the
Joint Committee on Revenue Rep. Jay Kauffman explains,
"[p]ublic access to the way we raise and spend money is essential,
enabling us to make more-informed decisions for the tax-paying
constituents who elect us to serve on their behalf."
The choice of whether or not to establish
high-risk insurance pools represents the first major decision that
states are facing with the March 2010 passage of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While twenty-nine
governors -- 22 Democrats and 7 Republicans -- decided to create the
pools themselves, most conservative governors failed to take advantage
of the option to shape health care for their constituents and instead
just kicked the issue back to the federal government, which will
establish its own high-risk insurance pool in states that fail to take