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From the Dispatch

Bipartisan State Legislator Coalition Opposes NAFTA-style deal with Korea

 

As the U.S. Congress gears up to make decisions on the Korea free trade agreement, state legislators are urging Congress to consider the repercussions of another NAFTA-style agreement for states. The Korea agreement is anticipated as the first in a bevvy of bad trade agreements to come before Conress this year, with similar Colombia and Panama FTAs to follow. A bipartisan coalition of state legislators is asking fellow lawmakers from all 50 states to join them in sending a message to Congress. More information on the Korea FTA and how it will affect your state is available from Global Trade Watch.

 

Midway Through Session, Anti-immigrant Bills Continue to Fail Nationwide

 

 

While a few states (notably South Carolina) are coming perilously close to passing proposals based on Arizona’s now-infamous anti-immigrant SB 1070, a growing number have shifted gears in 2011 toward a more measured, practical, and progressive approach to state immigration policy. These states are reconsidering the wisdom of entertaining, let alone enacting, anti-immigrant bills that will only increase costs for cash-strapped states at a time when they are confronting historic budget deficits and painful decisions on how to trim -- not expand -- their state budgets.

Federal Decision Encourages States To Build CLEAN, Green Economy

A new opportunity has arrived for states to take charge of America’s green economy. After the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave states the green light in 2010 to authorize contracts securing investment in renewable energy, progressive legislators have taken swift action to accelerate the production of renewable energy, consequently spurring economic growth, creating jobs, and lessening our dependence on foreign fossil fuels.

Cost Savings Win Bipartisan Support for Online Voter Registration

 

During a press conference on Monday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted unveiled a wish list of election reforms, one of which was an online voter registration system. Husted, a Republican, noted that permitting Ohioans to register to vote or update their registrations online would reduce the number of provisional ballots cast at the polls, which can prove costly and time-consuming to process. Indeed, records show that voters who had moved but had not updated their addresses were responsible for about half of the 105,000 provisional ballots cast during the midterm elections.

 

Not A Prank: Koch Brothers A Real Threat to Wisconsin’s Green Economy

As we have noted, even more than attacking the rights of Wisconsin workers, Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal threatens the economic security of Wisconsin families. Among the many damaging proposals that Walker is attempting to unilaterally force through in the budget “fix” bill is Provision 16.896, which would allow the sale of the state’s heating, cooling, and power plants to private corporations without the solicitation of bids.

Health Care A Stealth Target in Wisconsin Budget Fight

The health care debate continues to boil in the states – all the more evident in Wisconsin, where a newly elected conservative majority in the state legislature is joining with Gov. Walker to eye draconian cuts to Medicaid.  As part of Gov.

Economic Security Across the Border: Illinois Chooses a Better Path

State legislators from Wisconsinand Indianawho have recently sought out-of-state refuge to block votes on major anti-labor bills have all made their way to one neighboring state: Illinois.

Blueprint: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Middle Class

At a time when almost one out of every ten Americans is unemployed, progressives have the opportunity to take the lead on Job Creation policy. This Dispatch will address Job Creation policy options featured in Progressive State Network’s 2011 Blueprint for Economic Security.  Now is the time for progressive to contrast the empty rhetoric of the right.  After sweeping to power in many states, conservative efforts at job creation are nowhere to be seen, at the same time that they refuse to even consider the critical investments needed to help put Americans back to work and rebuild prosperity in our states.

Blueprint: Advancing Health Security by Ensuring Strong Exchanges

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been the topic of heated political debate since becoming the law of the land almost one year ago. As right-wing calls for repeal continue to make headlines, many positive and popular provisions of the law are already benefiting families across the nation. Working-class and middle- class families have seen their health security increased by provisions that rein in insurance industry abuses and expand coverage, making it less likely that they will lose their savings due to an illness or injury, or be unable to afford needed treatments. But as the curtain draws on the first year of the life of the Affordable Care Act, what happens in the second year at the state level may prove to be even more critical to its ultimate fate.