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Massachusetts

Mass Health Care Plan Proves Costly to Individual Citizens

“Affordable”? Health Care Plan Could Cost Some Bay Staters as Much as a Third of Their Income New York, NY ”“ The Massachusetts Health Care Plan, negotiated by former Governor Mitt Romney and the legislature, is proving to be expensive, just as critics warned, with the lowest cost plan costing state residents as much as $9,560 per year in out-of-pocket expenses if they suffer a serious illness.

National Popular Vote Moves Forward in North Dakota and Nation

Legislators in North Dakota are promoting the radical idea that the candidate who wins the most votes for President should actually be President.  The legislature introduced a bill last week to award its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationally.  A national popular vote initiative was passed by both chambers in California last year, only to be vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.  For the upcoming legislative sessions, twenty-nine states have also already lined up sponsors to introduce "National Popular Vote" bills.

Protecting the Freedom to Form Labor Unions

The past thirty years have seen a marked decline in job quality for a substantial portion of the U.S. workforce: stagnant wages, shrinking health benefits and less job security. While a number of factors explain this decline, there is little question that the decline in the strength of labor unions in the US has played a major role.

Renewable Portfolio Standards Across the States

State governments are not waiting on D.C. to develop an energy independence policy for their states. Instead, almost half the states have taken the lead on promoting and utilizing renewable energy.

What States Can Do for Darfur

Since the Bush administration first recognized the genocide in Darfur, over 250,000 men, women, and children have died. This number does not count the countless women and children that have been raped or attacked as a result of the Sudanese government's campaign to kill and drive out Darfur's ethnic African populations. The violence and genocide is now spilling over into Chad and the Central African Republic. Yet, even with such horrifying statistics, the situation deteriorates day by day.

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).

MD: Zoning a Path to Affordable Housing

The Baltimore City Council is considering a bill that would require developers to include affordable housing units in all of Baltimore's residential projects. Under the proposal, up to 20 percent of all housing units would be reserved for low to moderate income people. Baltimore is not the first city in Maryland to consider such a proposal. Montgomery County, MD, in an effort to combat the loss of affordable housing, requires between 12.5 and 15 percent of the total units in every new subdivision or high-rise building be sold or rented at specified, affordable prices.

Defining Health Care Down

In states across the country, progressive leaders are stepping up to discuss how to achieve universal coverage for health care. At the same time, many on the Right are trying to define "health care coverage" to mean bare-bones care with often unaffordable cost-sharing for individuals and families.

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.

One Eye on the Ballot

It's a big year for ballot issues. Mid-term elections, when no President is being elected, typically see less activity on the ballot issue front than Presidential years, but 2006 is proving to be an exception. Eighteen states will consider 76 ballot issues this fall, as high as its been since 1914 for a non-Presidential year.