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New Mexico

Washington House Passes Public Financing for Local Offices

In the wake of a bitter 2004 Governor's election and state Supreme Court races that took in more money from third-party groups than any other high court campaign in the country, Washington State's House took the first step toward public financing by passing HB 1551. Introduced by Senator Joe McDermott, HB 1551 allows cities, counties, and other jurisdictions to provide local candidates with government financing.  The bill only allows local taxes to be tapped for the public campaign accounts and the public funds cannot be used for campaigns for state offices or school boards.

Individual Health Care Mandates and the Problem of Affordability

Is an individual mandate to purchase health care insurance the solution to America's growing health insurance crisis? 

The Fight Against Global Warming: Another Way States Can Rein in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared this year's Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, recently released a report detailing the negative environmental changes that will result from climate change, including higher temperatures leading to increased deaths from more severe heat waves, increased incidence of infectious diseases, and severe damage to ecosystems. The IPCC report warned that there were only eight years left to act to prevent the worst effects of global warming. 

States Make Single-Payer the Standard for Reform

The California legislature is again on the verge of passing universal single-payer health care. SB 840, the California Universal Healthcare Act, sponsored by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, was recently approved by the State Senate and is now before the Assembly, where it too is expected to pass. The legislation, which is often compared to a Medicare-for-all system, would provide comprehensive and seamless health care for all residents. Everyone - individuals, employers and government - would share responsibility for funding the program. Importantly, consumers would have complete freedom to choose their providers who would be paid according to actuarially-sound reimbursement.

Right Wing Lobbying Strategies in the States

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 propaganda. 

Cracking Down on Wal-Mart's Favorite Tax Loopholes

At the beginning of February, we reported on an expose of special loopholes used by Wal-Mart to slash its state taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars per year.  The scam involves Wal-Mart and other companies dividing themselves into separate subsidiaries, buying land and buildings, then deducting the rent paid to itself as a business expense.  But states are moving to eliminate the loophole and reclaim the lost revenue:

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) Advance in the States

As we first highlighted in our Dispatch last December, renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS) are a great way to stimulate renewable energy development.  By requiring that a certain percentage of a state's electricity come from renewable energy, RPS jump starts economic development and job creation.

WA: Evergreen State Aims for Clean Elections

Washington State legislators are doing a one-two-three punch to get big money out of election campaigns.  House Bill 1360, Senate Bill 5278  and Senate Bill 5226 were introduced in January to adopt public financing for campaigns. 

Health Care in 2007

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.