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?

VT: Maybe Universal Health Care

Vermont cut a deal today for a plan promising universal health coverage, although the deal still leaves a few potential details up in the air for the future.

How About a Family-Friendly Workplace for Mothers Day?

Want a good Mothers Day present?

How about making our workplaces more family-friendly, so that a sick child doesn't mean a crisis for a parent having to beg for time off?

Ohio: ALEC Says, "It Wasn't Me!"

The Cleveland Free Times takes a long, hard look at the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) operating methods in Ohio. As usual, it ain't pretty. The right-wing, corporate-funded network of state legislators is exposed quite thoroughly.

Private Prisons Steer Money to Influence Sentencing Laws

The Institute on Money in State Politics, a tireless group of people who compile campaign finance data for all fifty states and regularly report national trends, have a new report "Policy Lock-Down: Prison Interests Court Political Players" looking at the $3.3 million private prison companies have donated to state-level actors in the last two election cycles.