Madison, WI - Healthy Wisconsin, a legislative package that
would guarantee affordable health care to all Wisconsinites, is gaining
steam as a national model for state health care reform. As the revised
Healthy Wisconsin bill (SB 562) had its public hearing today before the
Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the Washington State
Legislature neared final passage of legislation authorizing a detailed
study of a proposal modeled after Healthy Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is righting a wrong that many state governments are complicit
in perpetrating, but is largely due to federal policy. As the New York Times
recently reported, child-support payments for children on welfare are
being used in almost every state to recoup state and federal welfare
expenses. When Congress created the child-support system 30 years ago,
recouping welfare costs by siphoning off collected child-support
payments was an explicit goal. Yet close to half the states pass along none
of the collected child-support while most others pay only $50 per
child, even when a non-custodial parent pays several hundred more. Research
and experience shows that the policy of withholding payments to recoup
state costs discourages non-custodial parents from paying child-support
and makes families more dependent on aid.
On April 3rd, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law HF 653, which provides
Iowans with the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. Governor
Here in Iowa , we want to make it as easy as possible for Iowans to be
involved in the democratic process. This bill achieves this goal. I strongly
believe getting more people to vote is good for democracy and good for the
future of this state.
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.
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania sued the Bush Administration
this week claiming they failed to adequately regulate emissions of
mercury and other pollutants at older cement plant kilns. Last
December, the EPA announced
new limits on mercury and hydrocarbon emissions from cement kilns built
after December 2, 2005, but left weak rules in place for kilns from
before that date. The states argue that the Clean Air Act requires the
EPA to limit mercury from all kilns, not just new ones.