Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's weekly newsletter! Here is the latest roundup of news and developments worth knowing.
Spotlight On Progressive Leaders
In Ohio, Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Clifton) introduced legislation to establish a Tax Expenditure Review Board to assess the tax expenditures costing the state billions of dollars each year. What real value are the citizens of Ohio getting for the tax incentives granted to various entities by the legislature? Are the tax expenditures serving their intended purpose? The Review Board will work to answer these questions and then make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor.
In Kentucky, the Kentucky Retirement System is coming under renewed attention as lawmakers consider further legislative proposals to the state pension system. Earlier this year, Kentucky General Assembly lawmakers circulated a letter to colleagues warning them of legislative proposals financed and backed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; read the letter here.
The votes are in. Last night in Virginia, State Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudoun and Fairfax) was declared the winner in the Attorney General race against State Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg). There are no automatic recounts in Virginia, but due to the razor-thin margin, commentators are expecting a recount request.
Don't Miss It
Stink Tanks. Today, a coalition of organizations and stakeholders are unveiling a major new exposé of the State Policy Network, a network of right-wing, supposedly "independent" think tanks across the country. With deep ties to the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity, and the Koch brothers, these member think tanks have become an essential part of the national right-wing infrastructure and major advocates of the right-wing agenda in the states. More information is available at http://www.stinktanks.org.
Save the date! From February 10-11 in Washington, D.C., the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation will hold the 2014 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference. Join elected officials, leaders in the business, labor, and environmental communities, and other stakeholders to discuss strategies for creating good jobs while tackling climate change and building a clean energy economy. Visit http://www.greenjobsconference.org/.
Pulse Of The Community
Armed Activists vs. Unarmed Moms. When four mothers in Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America showed up at a Dallas eatery to meet over lunch, they weren't expecting heavily armed members of Open Carry Texas to show up as well and terrify them. Images of the menacing display quickly spread across social media, catching the attention of nationalmedia and creating a furor over the gun activists' intimidation tactics. However, the Arlington, Texas authorities are refusing to take action.
Medicaid. Sign-ups in Medicaid are emerging as one of the successes in the ongoing implementation of Affordable Care Act. Exceeding expectations in the states that have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs, the enrollment news have been serving as a bright spot for stakeholders working to implement the law. In contrast, the states that have refused to expand their Medicaid continue to face renewed concerns about the financial harm to their safety net hospitals, local economies, and constituents who will fall through the coverage gap. Working with community leaders and organizations, the White House recently embarked on a stepped-up effort to get the remaining 24 states onboard with Medicaid expansion.