Voter Identification Laws: The Specter of Fraud Helps the Right Wing Shape the Electorate

Since the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) established the requirement that first time voters present some form of identification before voting in a federal election, voter identification requirements of all sorts have been enacted across the country.  Currently 26 states have laws that are more restrictive than the HAVA mandate, and 21 states require ID from voters every time they vote.  These laws have been passed by arguing they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, even though all evidence suggests that such fraud is extremely rare and poses no threat to the integrity of our voting systems.  Instead, these fraud arguments have merely been a partisan tool, used for decades, to suppress turnout among new groups entering the electorate in large numbers and threatening the power of those currently in charge, whether they be minorities, immigrants or students.

2008 Session Roundups: Wisconsin

The biggest news coming out of Wisconsin this year may be the retirement of the Green Bay Packers' beloved quarterback, Brett Favre, but lawmakers were largely able to keep to the task at hand and pass a budget before the end of the shortened 2008 session.  However, they may find themselves back in Madison to deal with a worsening budget situation.  Despite leaving some key issues on the table due to partisan divisions, lawmakers laid a solid foundation for future success in 2009.

Comprehensive health care bill taken up by Wisconsin Senate

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. 

Using Child-Support Payments to Actually Support Children

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.

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? 

Healthy Wisconsin would generate $1 billion in new business activity, reports Families USA


In a report released today, Healthy Wisconsin: Good Medicine for Wisconsin's Economy, Families USA reports that Wisconsin would generate more than $1 billion in new business activity and create nearly 13,000 new jobs as a result of Healthy Wisconsin and a companion measure to increase state Medicaid for families and adults, called BadgerCare Plus.

Iowa Enacts Election Day Registration - EDR Moving Nationwide

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 Culver stated,

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.

The Predatory Lending Bubble and How the Feds Made it Worse

The trouble in the subprime lending market is sending ripples through Wall Street.  One of the biggest subprime lenders, New Century, has been de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange.

Ex-Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration

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.