As the first month of the 2007 legislative session comes to a close,
expanding access to health care is clearly a top priority for governors
and legislative leaders across the country. From comprehensive health care for all in California and Pennsylvania to incremental cover all kids
in North Carolina and to targeted program expansions in New Mexico, the
proposals represent an unprecedented focus in states to address the
health care crisis that grips our families and businesses.
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).
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.
The Blues have joined the health care for all bandwagon in Minnesota. The state's Blue Cross Blue Shield is endorsing a bill based on the Massachusetts
model of achieving health care for all through compelling the purchase
of insurance, highlighting both a key strength and a key weakness of
the model. The mandatory nature of the law builds bridges to new
interested parties: insurance firms well positioned to benefit from a
law requiring that the public purchase their product.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a top-notch Minnesota-based outfit, is proudly declaring victory following Governor Pawlenty's signature of a bill that passed both chambers unanimously. The legislation requires that the state purchase "plug-in hybrids on a preferred basis when they become available." H.F.