DISPATCH: Big 2013 Wins on Immigration, Sneak Attacks on Women's Health, Upcoming PSN Events, and More

Stateside Dispatch
Thursday, July 4, 2013

Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's roundup of the latest state policy news. As state legislative sessions draw to a close, here is the latest PSN roundup and a look at what else happened in the states this week:

PSN 2013 Immigration Roundup: Big State Wins for Immigrants in a Year Focused on Federal Reform

This year, as the aftershock of an election decided by the emerging electorate settled in, the focus of immigration policy has been on the federal level, where the U.S. Senate succeeded in passing a bill aimed at simplifying our broken immigration system and creating a roadmap to citizenship for the estimated 11 million aspiring citizens currently in the country.

The national call for progress has also energized state fights for more inclusive immigration policy and, notably, stemmed the flow of anti-immigrant bills that seemed omnipresent just two short years ago. While the long-awaited federal package for immigration reform makes its way through the legislative process, here’s a recap of the action legislators took in states across the country. Read the full 2013 Immigration Session Roundup here. 

Sneak Attacks on Women's Health Stir a Movement Across State Lines

Attacks on women’s health in the states are not a new development. The last few years in particular have seen a wave of proposed and enacted restrictions on abortion rights, with a shocking 135 restrictions enacted in dozens of states in 2011 and 2012 sessions. 2013 began no differently, with the first three months of the new year seeing legislators in 14 states introduce bans, including 10 proposals that would ban nearly all abortions. But recently, from Texas to Ohio to North Carolina, the pace and intensity of these attacks has picked up even more, drawing local protests, national attention, and displays of solidarity from state lawmakers across the country. Read more from PSN here. 

Upcoming Events: PSN at NCSL 2013 in Atlanta, Health Care Webinar on Payment and Delivery System Reform

With enrollment in health insurance marketplaces set to begin in October, Progressive States Network and The Commonwealth Fund will be hosting a timely forum on Tuesday, August 13th at 5pm in Atlanta, GA on what all legislators need to know to make Obamacare a success. We'll dive deep on the timetable for states in the coming months, how legislators can help state marketplaces succeed, what states should consider when deciding whether or not to adopt a basic health plan, and much more. All legislators -- even those who don't work directly on health care issues -- are welcome. For more information, and to RSVP, click here.

PSN is also hosting the last in our series of health care webinars intended for state legislators next Monday, July 15th at 4pm ET. The topic is Improving Health Outcomes While Saving the State Budget: Legislative Strategies for Payment and Delivery System Reform. For more information, and to save your spot, register here.

(Events are supported by The Commonwealth Fund, a national, private foundation based in New York City that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy.) 


Map of the Week: The (Rapid) Evolution of State Laws on Marriage

Map: The (Rapid) Evolution of State Laws on Marriage

The state of marriage laws in the states following last week's Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8. Click through for an animated graphic showing the evolution of laws in the states from 1970 until today. [Atlantic Wire]

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Also This Week: States Rush to Make It Harder to Vote Following SCOTUS VRA Decision, Important Wins on Economic Security Bills, and More

At least six states are already moving forward on implementing restrictive voting measures following the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. [ThinkProgress]

"State lawmakers across the nation must do all within our power to expose and defeat partisan efforts to make it harder to vote." -- PSN Board Chair Sen. Joe Bolkcom (IA), reacting to the Supreme Court's decision. [PSN]

Alabama plans for their voter ID law to be used in 2014. []

Texas' voter ID law “will take effect immediately,” according to Attorney General Greg Abbott. [Dallas News]

North Carolina's legislature plans to move forward with their voter ID bill. [WRAL]

North Carolina conservatives also plan to push for an end to early voting and same-day registration. [LA Times]

In related news, 1,200 people turned out for the latest "Moral Monday" protest in North Carolina. [WFAE]

After passing the Pennsylvania Senate, a House committee killed Medicaid expansion in a party-line vote. [Politics PA]

Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie signed a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights into law, officially making his state the 2nd in the nation to enact such protections. [Star Adviser]

The New York City Council overrode Mayor Bloomberg's veto to pass a paid sick days law, officially making New York City the most populous place in the nation to enact such a policy. [AP]

Missouri Gov. Nixon vetoed an anti-union "paycheck deception" bill that had seen bipartisan opposition in the legislature. [Post-Dispatch]

California may ban employment discrimination against survivors of domestic violence. [ThinkProgress]

The Rhode Island House joined the Senate in passing paid family leave legislation. [AP]

A list of ten more victories for working families across the country in 2013. [National Partnership for Women and Families]

More states have been considering and passing immigrant driver's license bills this year. [NPR Code Switch]

How states including Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have dealt with parent trigger legislation this year. [Stateline]

Jeff Bryant on why it's time for a "reset" on corporate education reform in the states. [Washington Post]

Oregon's legislature passed a bill that aims to curb abuse of offshore tax havens. [OSPIRG]

Hours after the Supreme Court's decisions on DOMA and Prop. 8, same-sex marriages resumed in California! [LA Times]

Nevada is moving forward with an effort to remove their ban on same-sex marriage from the state Constitution. [Las Vegas Sun]

And Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims was blocked from speaking about same-sex marriage on the House floor because Rep. Daryl Metcalfe claimed his remarks were "against God's law." [TPM]

Follow @PSNwire on Twitter for the latest state policy news as it happens.

Research Roundup: A Pro-Taxpayer and Anti-Privatization Agenda, The Wage Theft Crisis in California, and ALEC vs. Kids

The Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda [In the Public Interest]
"Eager for quick cash, state and local governments across America are handing over control of critical public services and assets to corporations that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper. Unfortunately for taxpayers, not only has outsourcing these services failed to keep this promise, but too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition — the underpinnings of democracy itself. The Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda will help taxpayers reclaim control of our democracy. And state and local lawmakers who champion these proposals will stand on the side of taxpayers — and plain common sense."

Hollow Victories: The Crisis in Collecting Unpaid Wages for California's Workers [National Employment Law Project and UCLA Labor Center]
"This report exposes a surprising, but unfortunately common problem facing low-wage workers in California and nationwide. Workers whose employers have failed to pay them face serious challenges in recovering their hard-earned wages — even after state authorities have found in the workers’ favor and have issued a legally binding judgment ordering employers to pay.  To a worker who has lost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, winning a judgment is often at best a hollow victory. Non-payment or underpayment of wages, moreover, remains rampant  nationwide. As a landmark survey of low-wage workers found in 2008, 26 percent of low-wage workers were paid less than the minimum wage in the prior week; 76 percent of those who worked more than 40 hours were not paid the legally required overtime rate. More than two-thirds of low-wage workers have experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week — leading workers to lose an average of $2,634 annually due to workplace violations."

ALEC v. Kids: ALEC's Assault On Public Education [ProgressNow]
"The model legislation and policies promulgated by ALEC’s Education Task Force are often advanced and enacted in states across the nation with little or no alteration. With the advancement of ALEC’s cookie cutter bills, often come cookie cutter results. This report seeks to analyze of the effect of ALEC’s Education policy effects in selected states and to shed light on the conflicts of interest, coordinated efforts, and simply bad education policy ALEC disseminates."
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Quote of the Week

"At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?"

Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte in the closing moments of last week's filibuster against anti-abortion legislation in the Texas Senate led by Senator Wendy Davis.


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