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Connecticut

Toxic Toys: Game Over — State Must Act Where Feds Won't

With toxic toys flooding American markets and with corporate and federal leaders doing little to address the crisis, it's time for Connecticut to stand up with other states and say enough is enough. The General Assembly will get a chance to do just that when the Act Banning Children's Products Containing Lead, Phthalates, or Bisphenol-A comes up for a vote. It should jump on the chance.

A chance to level the playing field

Everyone knows that individuals and small employers face crushing health insurance costs when they try to buy coverage on their own. But state legislators in Hartford are about to take a simple yet far-reaching step to address the problem.

By allowing municipalities and small businesses to buy into the group plan currently provided to state employees, the recently introduced Connecticut Healthcare Partnership would give working families the clout they need to negotiate a better deal for health insurance.

Focus on Prescription Drug Reform

$287 billion -- that is how much the U.S. spent on pharmaceuticals in 2007, representing a significant driver of health care costs.  While spending on hospital and physician care surpass spending on prescriptions, drugs still account for 14% of all health care expenditures. Combine this with polls that show 70% of Americans believe the drug industry puts profits ahead of people, and it's no wonder that in 2008, at least 540 bills and resolutions are being considered by states across the country to reduce prescription drug prices, ensure the quality of medications covered by public and private health plans, and reduce the undue influence of pharmaceutical industry marketing - which itself tops out at $30 billion each year.

Progressive States Network Joins With Connecticut to Push Forward in Battle Against Toxic Toys

Hartford, CT - This Wednesday, Progressive States Network joined with the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut to promote legislation designed to stem the flow of toxic toys into the hands of the state’s children.

Toxic Toys Update

Our Dispatch and conference call last week highlighted ways in which states can fight toxic toys.    In case you missed it, the audio of the call can be found here.  Within a few days, several  states came forward with additional bills protecting the health of our children, including:

California Upholds Free Speech Access to Malls for Labor Boycotts

On December 24th, the California Supreme Court gave a major Christmas present for labor rights, affirming that under California law, union members in a mall could distribute handbills calling for a consumer boycott of one of the mall's tenants. The decision, Fashion Valley Mall v. NLRB, built on an earlier state high court decision in 1980 that deemed malls to be a "public forum" where the public had free speech rights. The recent decision extended that principle to active labor boycotts -- a critical tool for labor to get its message out to consumers.

The Fight Against Global Warming: Another Way States Can Rein in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared this year's Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, recently released a report detailing the negative environmental changes that will result from climate change, including higher temperatures leading to increased deaths from more severe heat waves, increased incidence of infectious diseases, and severe damage to ecosystems. The IPCC report warned that there were only eight years left to act to prevent the worst effects of global warming. 

Tired of Waiting, States Sue EPA to Allow Tougher Emission Rules

California's attorney general is planning to file suit in federal court against the EPA for stalling on a decision about whether California and 11 other states can implement rules requiring car makers to produce cleaner cars. Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington also plan to join the suit against the EPA. The suit was to be filed this week, but has been postponed due to the wildfires raging in Southern California.