The Rhode Island General Assembly adjourned after lawmakers reached agreement on a $6.9 billion state budget
which, among other things, closes a $422 million deficit for the next
fiscal year. Overall the Rhode Island legislative session ended in
mix results, with Governor Carcieri vetoing some important foreclosure
and environmental legislation. In fact, over a four-day period last
week the Republican Governor vetoed 49 of the bills
approved late last month before the Democrat-dominated Assembly
adjourned. The legislature may, if they choose, hold a special session
before January to rescue the swath of bills.
The Iowa Senate on Tuesday approved SF 2416,
a bill to sharply increase fines on employers violating Iowa state wage
laws, crack down on the practice of misclassifying employees as
"independent contractors" to evade those laws, and protect workers
reporting violations from retaliation.
Providence - Amidst the recent national uproar over lead in children’s toys, the
Rhode Island legislature joined statehouses across the country in
turning its attention to a new set of poisonous chemicals showing up in
children's toys: phthalates and bisphenol-A.
and conference call last week highlighted ways in which states can
fight toxic toys. In case you missed it, the audio of the call can
be found here. Within a few days, several states came forward with additional bills protecting the health of our children, including:
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.
We spend more than twice on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, yet we don't have universal access and our outcomes are worse. The reason we don't have universal access to quality health care is that too much of our health care spending -- our premiums, co-pays, prescriptions -- is wasted on profits, CEO bonuses and inefficient health care.
What if we told you that you could save money, energy, and carbon dioxide
emissions just by replacing your light bulbs? Many states are pushing
new policies to encourage or even require the replacement of traditional
wasteful incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) as a
key step to achieving energy independence.
Nations report this week, backed by scientists around the
world, confirms that not only is global warming real, but its effects are
already here and getting worse. And the hard fact is, the United States
far more energy than any other country, more than China and Russia
Nearly 650,000 people are released
from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers
reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those
released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole
violation or new crime within 3 years.