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Update on Regulatory Takings Initiatives

As we detailed a few weeks ago, rightwing developers are using the cover of "fixing" eminent domain to push radical anti-environment initiatives on ballots across the country. Opponents ranging from outdoor sports organizations to labor unions have been mobilizing in response.

CA: Major Boost for National Popular Vote Plan

California's State Senate has approved a plan for the union's largest state to join an interstate compact that would effectively end the electoral college and allow the victor of the popular vote to become the President. The plan is simple, members of the compact award their electors not to the candidate who won their own state, but to the candidate who won the national vote. The compact only goes into effect once enough states have signed on to constitute an electoral majority.

Accountability and Efficiency in Medical Services

In a system where profits, not patient health, is the top priority of many health care providers, states are beginning to develop "pay for performance" incentives and promoting other innovations to hold providers more broadly accountable.

 

Progressive Ballot Issues For Turnout and Framing

There are few more potent tools for impacting the outcomes of elections than changing what appears on the ballot. And there are no more direct paths from public outcry to passed legislation than through ballot issues. For years, the rightwing has been advancing policy goals, shaping message, and marshalling voters through ballot issues (we've already highlighted many of their current-year endeavors in this very newsletter). Progressives increasingly are fighting back using ballot issues -- which shouldn't be surprising, since initiatives and referedenda were originally a progressive reform.

Illinois Joins Pre-School for All Movement

This past week, Illinois Governor Blagojevich signed the first law in the nation that establishes the goal of universally-available public preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds in that state.

CA: State Rules FedEx Drivers Employees, Not Contractors

For years, the delivery company FedEx has claimed that its ground drivers are not employees but independent contractors-- meaning the company didn't have to pay for workers compensation, unemployment insurance or extend a range of other worker protections.

2006: Debate on Health Care for All Gets Real

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to create a health care plan to provide health care coverage for the 85,000 uninsured residents of that city. While there are additional votes needed to finalize the bill, with a unanimous vote and the endorsement of the mayor, the proposed ordinance is expected to become law with no problem.

Progress on the Minimum Wage

After years of stagnating wages for working Americans and inaction by Congress, legislators and activists across the country are taking the lead in securing higher minimum wages on a state by state basis. They are achieving some outstanding results. Here's where the minimum wage fight stands in a number of states:

How Rich: The Man Behind the Takings Initiatives

Diving into the world of campaign finance and investigating the funders of the takings initiatives quickly reveals a number of organizations involved: Americans for Limited Government, America at Its Best, the Fund for Democracy, and Montanans in Action. What is odd, though, is that with more digging, they all appear to be funded and controlled by the same individual: New York Developer Howard Rich.

Takings In Your State

As far-right funders like Howard Rich work across the country, dumping literally millions simply into qualifying these atrocious measures for ballots, progressives have experienced some good news and some bad news. Here's where the campaign stands in various states: