OLYMPIA - With Gov. Gregoire's signature, Washington State today became the fifth state in the nation to enact theNational Popular Vote bill, joining Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii andIllinois. The state's 11 electoral votes combine with 50 from the otherfour states to bring the total number of electoral votes to 61 — 22% ofthe 270 needed to implement a National Popular Vote. In addition totoday's victory, legislative chambers in Arkansas, Colorado, NewMexico, Oregon and Vermont have passed popular vote legislation so farthis year.
Following votes in the Washington House and Senate,
National Popular Vote now goes to the Governor Chris Gregoire. The Nevada Assembly on April 21st became the 27th state legislative chamber overall to approve NPV.
This week, the Washington State Senate's health committee approved a
bill to achieve health-care-for-all by 2012. Sponsored by committee
Chair Sen. Karen Keiser, SB 5945 as amended
combines immediate steps to expand access to coverage and cut
administrative costs with a planning process to refine proposals for
comprehensive reform by 2012. This action came as the Seattle City Council and Seattle Post-Intelligencerendorsed national single-payer health care, emphasizing the continuing efforts in states to move forward health care reform.
In a positive step forward for federal respect of state regulatory powers, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a previously denied waiver to allow California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law. In a statement by the White House, President Obama said "the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The directive represents not only greater respect for state authority, but also a sharp break from the climate policies of President Obama's predecessor.
Olympia, WA — At a hearing today of the Washington State Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee, the actuarial firm Mathematica Policy Research will present a new study showing that Washington state could cut health care costs from $300 million to $800 million and boost economic activity anywhere between $370 million to $1.6 billion from a range of comprehensive health care reform initiatives proposed last year by state lawmakers.
Set against the backdrop of devastating budget shortfalls in states and households across the country, the report bolsters the case for national and state health care reform playing a central role in ongoing economic recovery efforts.