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Maryland

Cleaning up Election Day Disasters

Even with the good news that came last Tuesday, all too much evidence exists that the basic machinery of democracy in America is broken. Election Day is like Groundhog Day and the first stories of problems with voting machines, long lines, or voter intimidation hit the wires in the early A.M. Fortunately, with progressives in control in more states than ever before, we have an opportunity to get the machinery working, so that the engine of democracy starts humming again.

Wal-Mart Guts Health Care Options for Workers

Prices are going up at Wal-Mart, for employees that is.

Conservative Candidates Promote Progressive Policies

One sign of progressive strength is when progressive candidates win elections. But another sign is when conservative candidates begin adopting progressive programs for fear of losing office. And across the country, many GOP gubernatorial candidates have begun embracing progressive causes as a way to court the voters:

A Convenient Truth: States Can Seize the Lead on Global Warming

In the groundbreaking film An Inconvenient Truth, Vice President Al Gore makes an impressive case that it is now essential that the world act to prevent the potentially catastrophic implications of global warming. The film could not come at a more critical time. While the planet warms, Washington dawdles. The nation's political elite remains mired in a debate manipulated by powerful energy interests.

2006: Debate on Health Care for All Gets Real

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to create a health care plan to provide health care coverage for the 85,000 uninsured residents of that city. While there are additional votes needed to finalize the bill, with a unanimous vote and the endorsement of the mayor, the proposed ordinance is expected to become law with no problem.

Progress on the Minimum Wage

After years of stagnating wages for working Americans and inaction by Congress, legislators and activists across the country are taking the lead in securing higher minimum wages on a state by state basis. They are achieving some outstanding results. Here's where the minimum wage fight stands in a number of states:

Next Steps After Court Strikes Down Maryland Health Care Law

Yesterday, a federal judge overturned Maryland's Fair Share Health Care law, which had required large employers such as Wal-Mart to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health care for employees or pay the equivalent in fees to the state.  The judge in his decision argued that the federal ERISA (Employment Retirement Security Act) law preempted the Maryland law.

Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

The Success of State Venture Funds

Hawaii is the latest state moving in that direction with a proposed Hawaii Innovations Fund which could grow to $200 million in government funds over four years to invest in Hawaii's renewable energy, life science and technology companies.

State Action on Global Warming, MD Acts as CA Wavers

Last week, the state of Maryland joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of states -- now eight with Maryland's membership -- that have committed to reduce emissions on four pollutants and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2019.