Third and State is taking a break for the holiday. We will return on December 2. Happy Thanksgiving.
In recent weeks, we blogged about a new report on the jobs impact of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formation. We also had the latest on Pennsylvania jobs, a report on a day of action in support of expanding Medicaid, and a letter to the editor setting the record straight about school funding in Pennsylvania. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT AT THIRD AND STATE:
Some states have developed effective policies to address the challenges faced by some seniors and working families in paying their property taxes. What can Pennsylvania learn from them?
Watch the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's latest webinar for a closer look at proven strategies to provide property tax relief to those who most need it — while protecting critical investments in public education. Get more resources from the webinar, including a PDF of the presentation.
Natural gas drilling in the six states spanning the Marcellus Shale is highly sensitive to price fluctuations. High prices fueled shale development from 2000 to 2008. As prices have declined, gas drilling activity has slowed while development of higher-priced oil has accelerated.
As students headed back to school this fall, state legislators across the country took part in the National Week of Action on Public Education, sponsored by Progressive States. Pennsylvania's lawmakers were among the state leaders who used the National Week of Action to highlight education funding inequities harming Pennsylvania's students and to call for solutions.
After a year that started off with a wave of efforts to suppress the vote - many of which continue - more and more states are now looking at enacting significant reforms to modernize voter registration and protect and expand voting rights. Here's a roundup of recent developments:
From Missouri to Pennsylvania to D.C., anti-union "right-to-work" laws are still being proposed and debated. Michigan workers continue to fight their law in the courts weeks before it is set to take effect, while workers in nearby states remain prepared for similar legislation to emerge. Meanwhile, an "anti-right-to-work" bill moved forward in Vermont — legislation that would require all workers who receive benefits thanks to a union to pay their fair share.
Virginia's Senate leadership chose the occasion of Martin Luther King Day on Monday to push through a partisan redistricting bill, taking advantage of the absence of a legislator attending President Obama's inauguration. A separate effort in Virginia to change the way the state awards electoral votes in presidential elections ran into bipartisan opposition, even as lawmakers in other states were considering doing the same: