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SCOTUS Strikes Down Campaign Finance Laws; Public Financing Strongest Constitutional Option

This week, the Supreme Court struck down Vermont's strict limits on campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates.  In a set of fractured opinions in Randall v. Sorrell, the Court did not put an end to all campaign finance limits but did put a roadblock in the way of anything much more restrictive than most present laws.  So if there is going to be more serious reform to lessen the power of special interest money in politics, the only real remaining route to reform are systems of public financing of elections like Maine and Arizona.

CA: San Francisco Proposes Universal Health Care

The City of San Francisco is taking steps to provide health care to all of its 82,000 uninsured residents, paid for by a combination of public money and assessments on employers that do not provide health care for their employees:

Western Governors Demand Action on Global Warming

The Western Governors Association on Sunday acknowledged an inconvenient truth. The bipartisan group of Governors from West Coast, Rocky Mountain, and Great Plains states came together to unanimously pass a resolution (PDF) that says that global warming is real, at least partially human-caused, and that now is a time for action.

CA: Keeping the Retirement System Honest

California's teacher retirement fund is considering a number of potential moves to prevent the appearance of impropriety through increased disclosure, recusal, or prohibition of donations from those who work with the fund.
Moving to beef up ethics standards, trustees of the California State Teachers' Retirement System will consider tightening rules governing campaign contributions, including a ban on donations from money managers doing business with the giant fund. Trustees also agreed Thursday

Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

CA: National Popular Vote Advances

In states across the country, a simple idea is building momentum. Rather than amending the Constitution to guarantee that the winner of the national popular vote wins the Presidency, why not simply amend state law?

CA: National Popular Vote Advances

In states across the country, a simple idea is building momentum. Rather than amending the Constitution to guarantee that the winner of the national popular vote wins the Presidency, why not simply amend state law? The gist is this: states enter into an agreement.

New Latino Voters May Change Political Map

"Today we march, tomorrow we vote!" - the chant at the recent immigration rights rallies -- may translate into a changed electoral landscape in many states across the country.

CA: Windfall Oil Profits Bill Advances

The California Assembly is moving forward a bill to tax the windfall profits of the oil industry, as gas prices surge past $3 across the country. The proposal, which applies a 2% tax on oil company profits over $10 million, would fund prescription drug assistance.

The Success of State Venture Funds

Hawaii is the latest state moving in that direction with a proposed Hawaii Innovations Fund which could grow to $200 million in government funds over four years to invest in Hawaii's renewable energy, life science and technology companies.