Even as progressives are making major headway in this session on issues
ranging from renewable energy to the minimum wage to voting reform, the
corporate Right, led by the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) and its associated "research" front groups, is still out
there in the states pushing their model bills and corporate-funded
Nearly 650,000 people are released
from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers
reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those
released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole
violation or new crime within 3 years.
Concerns that new voter identification rules are discouraging voter
turnout, especially by voters in communities of color, is proving
justified, new research shows. A report prepared for the federal
Election Assistance Commission finds that in states with voter ID
requirements, such as forcing people to present utility bills or other
If you want to know how cuts in education and social programs proposed
in President Bush's budget are likely to effect your state, check out this state-by-state analysis prepared by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
One of the most politically challenging, and politically assailable,
decisions a legislator can make is a vote increasing legislative pay.
Yet, with legislative pay a mere pittance in most states, increasing it
is necessary to prevent wealth from becoming a prerequisite to
hold public office.
When you hear the term "smart growth" what comes to mind?
Anti-sprawl? Open-space preservation? Often overlooked in discussions of smart growth policies is the need
for affordable housing as a key component of growth planning.
To the embarassment of a country with leaders that bill themselves as
supporting "family values," a new report by the
Project on Global Working Families finds that US federal policies are some
of the least supportive of families in the world.
Well, the feds have done it again. They've stepped in
where states are doing good work and messed things up. In an effort
to prevent illegal immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid, new federal citizenship
are instead causing US citizens
to lose coverage and increasing state Medicaid administrative costs. Children are
the biggest losers.
In a breaking story today, the Wall
Street Journal ($) reports that Wal-Mart has been setting up shell companies
to purchase property through a REIT investment vehicle, then renting those
buildings to Wal-Mart stores-- allowing the company to deduct the cost of the
rent from state taxes in twenty-five states.