Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's weekly newsletter! Here is the latest on the news and developments worth knowing.
Spotlight On Progressive Leaders
2014 New Legislative Sessions
As of today, the legislatures of 20 states and the District of Columbia have already started their 2014 legislative sessions . Here's a round-up: CA, CO, DC, ID, IN, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NH, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, VA, and WV. Given the packed agenda of priorities to pursue, progressive state legislators are encouraged to join a PSN Working Group today . If you share our mission to support these legislators' efforts and to advance the progressive agenda across the states , please also consider chipping in to Progressive States Network .
Introducing America's Rising Stars To The World
Wisconsin State Rep. Mandela Barnes recently traveled to the Philippines as part of the U.S. delegation sponsored by the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a nonpartisan organization that introduces rising political and policy professionals around the world to international affairs and to each other. Recommended for the trip by Progressive States Network, Rep. Barnes reported back that the trip was an experience of a lifetime.
Virginia Senate Special Election
Majority control of the Virginia Senate will be determined by two special elections, both precipitated by the wins of State Sen. Ralph Northam and Sen. Mark Herring to statewide office. As of last night , Virginia Del. Lynwood Lewis Jr. (D) led the Republican candidate for Northam's 6th District seat by 22 votes -- a margin of victory that would allow the losing candidate to seek a recount.
Stories Of ACA Success
Three months after the initial rollout of healthcare.gov, more stories of Americans -- from among the as many as 10 million people covered in 2013 -- benefiting from the Affordable Care Act are emerging -- like the constituents represented by Florida State Sen. Lori Berman and Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer . More stories are available from Enroll America , OFA , PPFA , SEIU , MoveOn , MomsRising , Families USA , and @ACAstories .
Don't Miss It
Gun Violence & 2nd Amendment. On the third anniversary of the Tucson massacre that nearly took her life, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords urged persistence on gun violence prevention efforts. At an event tomorrow , which will be livestreamed, former California State Assembly Member Mike Feuer will be joined by Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the nation's leading constitutional law scholars, and the head of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to discuss how strong gun laws fall within the scope of the Second Amendment and how the fight for reform is very much alive in legislatures and courts in the states and cities nationwide.
Pulse Of The Community
The War On Poverty... From think tanks to journalists , a wide range of stakeholders are weighing in on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's declaration of an "unconditional War on Poverty" -- particularly its successes , the work that remains, and how to approach the issue in the 21st century. The Center for American Progress' Half in Ten Project, for instance, has released a toolkit on the anniversary, including a new polling report . One key finding is that nearly 9 in 10 Americans, regardless of political alignment, agreed that the government has a responsibility to take care of people in poverty. Another shows that the American people overwhelmingly support priorities like making access to pre-kindergarten universally available so that more children can be ready to learn on their first day of school.
...vs. The War On The Poor. Determined not to let their War on Poverty messaging attempts undermine their actual policy War on the Poor, numerous right-wing leaders continued to attack the extension of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program that's pending in Congress. For a look at the devastating impact on the states should the extension not be approved, check out our new blog post . The 90-day extension passed an initial procedural vote in the U.S. Senate yesterday, with most Republican senators voting no; it must still clear the Senate before it can be sent to the House of Representatives for approval.
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