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From the Dispatch

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?

Helping Kids in State Foster Care Programs

As a new profile in Stateline.org details, states are struggling to provide foster care for neglected and abandoned children, increasingly turning to grandparents and other relatives to care for them. 4 million children now live with relatives other than their parents.

Defining Down Decent Health Care

Some politicians have a simple way to deal with the challenge of providing health care to the uninsured: cut the funding for those currently receiving care and deliver half-rate care to more people. West Virgina and Kentucky legislatures both voted recently to cut benefits for existing Medicaid recipients, taking advantage of a new federal law that allows states to selectively cut benefits for different populations.

US: Young Workers Left Behind, Uninsured

Young Americans, leaving their parents house and entering the workforce, are increasingly likely to lack health insurance according to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund.

Voting by Mail: Ending Long Lines, Hanging Chads, & Paperless Elections

In a Nation article right after the 2004 election, scholar James Galbraith denounced the long lines in Ohio that prevented so many people from voting. "It is an injustice, an outrage and a scandal--a crime, really--that American citizens should have to wait for hours in the November rain in order to exercise the simple right to vote."

IN: Rushed Social Services Privatization Condemned

In Indiana, critics are condemning a rushed $1 billion privatization of the states' social services work -- despite the fact that the companies bidding on the contract have mismanaged similar contracts in other states and, more tellingly, no one even bothered to determine whether the companies could do the job cheaper than current state employees:

NY: Protecting Domestic Workers From Abuse

The New York Times has an excellent story that encapsulates the American dream and a legislator helping fight to make it more achievable.

David Mejias' parents are immigrants. His parents' hard work paid off. He grew up to become an attorney and now serves on the Nassau County legislature.

Feds Fail on Immigration...Again

The Bush Administration's latest move on immigration reform is yet another attempt likely to fail, at least in part because it ignored input from the people most impacted. Stateline reports that a number of Governors from both parties are upset both by the continued federal dependence on the Guard and by the lack of consultation from the White House before Bush proposed using National Guard forces as a stop-gap measure:

Cleaning Up Our Statehouses

Americans are fed up with big money dominating and corrupting the political process. Voters are fed up; community organizations are fed up; even most politicians locked in the endless fundraising chase are fed up. As Joel Barkin, our Executive Director, wrote last week for New Hampshire's Union Leader, "Now is the Time to Tackle Corruption in Government."

US: Protecting State Health Care Standards

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) has a truly bad idea. He wants the U.S. Senate to adopt a bill (S. 1955) that would gut state insurance mandates and allow for price discrimination by insurance companies -- all under the guise of lowering the cost of health care (note -- it will not actually lower the cost over the long-term). More importantly, the bill punts on the fundamental question: how do we achieve health care for all Americans?