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.
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
$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.
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.
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:
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.
In the age of Google, citizens expect to be able to find core
information on the Internet about government operations, but as a major
new report being released today highlights, most states are failing on
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.
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.
The effects of the sub-prime lending disaster are
being felt as the stock market has been rocked in
recent weeks and many families find themselves locked out of the
mortgage market. As we
in the past, the subprime mortgage market was largely aimed at
economically-strapped families trying to find some way to afford
homes. For low-income renters who never had the money to
even be in the game, rising rents have increasingly priced them
out of their homes.