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State Legislative Session Roundups: Oregon, Delaware & New Hampshire

State Legislative Session Roundups: Oregon, Delaware & New Hampshire

Thursday, August 20, 2009

PERMALINK: http://www.progressivestates.org/node/23386

Increasing-Democracy

By: CHRISTIAN SMITH-SOCARIS

Oregon Legislative Session Roundup

The over-riding theme of the legislative session this year was how to resolve a $4 billion budget deficit.  However, unlike many states, Oregon's legislators successfully avoided the worst cuts through fair revenue generators and spending cuts.  They also continued to push forward on key issues like the environment, worker's rights, and healthcare.  On several issues, such as climate change, the governor put forward an agenda to lead the nation and in other areas strong progressive legislators set out similarly ambitious goals.  In many instances compromises tempered the boldness of the final product, but in most cases some real progress was made.

Tax, Budget & Stimulus:  The budget gap was covered through a combination of  $2 billion in spending cuts, use of federal stimulus dollars and $733 million in new tax revenues.  While many decisions were contentious, the overall plan to balance the budget appears to be viewed by the public as fair and balanced with a recent poll showing 62 percent of of voters were in favor of the legislative actions, with 48 percent "strongly" in favor and only 26 percent opposed.  Still, Oregon is a state with a strong anti-tax, anti-government minority and members of this group are now trying to put repeal of this sessions tax increases on the ballot in January.  Referral is likely to involve multimillion dollar campaigns pitting an unprecedented coalition of business and allied groups against well-funded public employee unions determined to fight off further budget reductions should the tax increase referrals fail.

  • Fair Share Tax Reform:  The most significant new revenue comes from raising the states corporate income tax, a long-time progressive goal in a state where the minimum tax was unchanged from 1931 at $10 [HB 3405].  Lawmakers also increased the marginal tax rate for households making over $250,000 per year [HB 2649].  The final key revenue generator will be a 6-cent-per gallon increase in the gas tax to help fund transportation projects, but the additional levy won't begin until there are two quarters of job growth, of Jan. 2011.  And to make sure that targeted tax breaks are actually benefiting taxpayers, all tax loopholes will sunset after six years.
  • Stimulus and Transportation:  $300 million per year has been committed to transportation capital projects [HB 2001].  This is expected to create 4,600 jobs each year for five years, though the inclusion of some questionable highway projects lead environmental advocates to oppose that bill.  The state also implemented its own $175 million non-transportation stimulus to provide critical maintenance and energy efficiency projects at state-owned buildings, which is expected to create or save 3,200 jobs [SB 338].  The state has also completely allocated the entire $224 million in recovery dollars for road construction.

Worker's Rights:  With an increasingly labor-friendly legislature, solid gains were made for workers this session. 

  • Worker Freedom Act:  In a major victory for organized labor, SB 519 prohibits employers from discharging or disciplining employees who refuse to "attend or participate in an employer-sponsored meeting ... [with] the primary purpose ... [of communicating] the opinion of the employer about religious or political matters." This legislation responds to business union-busting efforts, as well as instances where employers try and coerce their workers into supporting political candidates favored by the employer.
  • Whistle Blower Protections:  HB 3162 expands the reach of Oregon's whistleblower protections applicable to private employers. Under existing law private employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who in good faith reports criminal activity by any person, cooperates with a law enforcement agency conducting a criminal investigation, causes a complaint to be filed against any person, brings a civil proceeding against an employer, or testifies at a civil proceeding or criminal trial. House Bill 3162 expands whistleblower protection to any employee who "in good faith reported information that the employee believes is evidence of a violation of a state or federal law, rule or regulation." An employee asserting a claim under the new legislation can do so with the Bureau of Labor and Industries or in court, subjecting the employer to potential civil liability on the employee's claims.
  • Contractor Accountability and Transparency:  Lawmakers introduced legislation that would have implemented model reforms for monitoring the activities of private contractors doing work for the state.  Unfortunately, the legislation, HB 2867 and HB 2500, was watered down substantially in committee.  Under the final bills there will be some new standards for government agencies that want to contract-out work that could be done in-house, and a one-stop website where the public can access general information about how state agencies are spending tax dollars will be created.

One good bill that didn't get through was H 2831, which would have added temp workers to public employee bargaining units, but failed by two votes in the Senate.

Health Care:  Especially given the budget crisis, the state made very strong gains in reforming healthcare.  Two major reform bills passed, H 2009 streamlines state health functions and implements reforms to promote electronic health records, develop an end-of-life-care registry, establish evidence-based clinical guidelines, and plan for workforce needs. It also creates the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Health Policy Board, the Health Care Workforce Strategic Fund and the Oregon Health Authority Fund.  H 2116 funds medical coverage for 80,000 children and an additional 35,000 low-income adults.  Another victory was protecting, and increasing, funding for Oregon Project Independence, allowing seniors to stay in their homes by providing in-home care services [SB 5529].

Broadband:  HB 3158 establishes the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council (OBAC) and the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council Fund.  The OBAC will focus on encouraging and supporting the deployment of broadband infrastructure as well as broadband supported applications.  The OBAC will focus on encouraging and supporting the deployment of broadband infrastructure as well as the use of broadband supported applications. The OBAC will consist of representatives from the education, health care, public safety, eGovernment, telecommunications, and local government sectors and will  report on the affordability and accessibility of broadband and the extent of broadband technology use in energy management, education, government and the telehealth industry.

Environment & Energy:  A united effort on the part of advocates and strong leadership from legislators made this another historic session for environmental protection.

  • Water Management:  Considered one of the most significant environmental bills in a generation, the state will now have a comprehensive, pro-environment water policy [HB 3369].  Highlights of the bill: protects streamflows in the Columbia River for migrating fish; requires environmentally appropriate standards and eligibility requirements for use of state monies on new water storage projects; and for the first time, place statutory protections on peak and ecological river flows, a key determinant of river health.
  • Habitat Conservation:  Three bills will protect Oregon from the costly damage of invasive species with increased fines, mobile check stations and emergency response funds [SB 571, HB 2020, HB 2220].  The state will also designate and develop the first two pilot marine reserves and guide the study of four others along Oregon’s coast (HB 3013).
  • Climate & Energy:  While none of the energy legislation passed in the form environmental advocates or the governor would have preferred, the state continued to improve its response to the climate crisis with three bills. SB 79 improves building codes for energy-efficient homes and buildings. SB 101 requires that new power plants are at least as clean as combined-cycle natural gas plants, essentially prohibiting the development of coal-fired power generation in the state, and prohibiting utilities from purchasing long-term contracts for importing such power into Oregon.  Another important step came with the introduction of a low-carbon fuel mandate.  The total life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of gasoline will be reduced 10% by 2020, which will exclude big carbon generators like liquified coal and rainforest-grown biofuels [HB 2186].  HB 2626 sets up energy efficiency programs, including in low-income communities.  Unfortunately, the governor's signature cap-and-trade legislation, SB 80, was killed by lobbyists for large pollutors.
  • Other Victories:  The toxic, and potentially carcinogenic, flame retardant decaBDE will be phased out of household products such as mattresses and computers [SB 596]. In addition, fines for environmental pollution were increased for the first time in more than 30 years, and phosphorous will be banned in automatic dishwasher soap, protecting watersheds.  SB 637 requires that schools adopt integrated pest management plans, helping to reduce children's exposure to pesticides. And, lastly, SB 676 permits the production, trade and possession of industrial hemp commodities and products.  The new law sets up a state-regulated program for farmers to grow industrial hemp which is used in a wide variety of products, including foods, cosmetics, body care, clothing, tree-free paper, auto parts, building materials, and fuels.

Education:

  • Budgets:  With a huge deficit to fill education was poised for serious cuts of up to 30%, however, in the end lawmakers were able to significantly reduce though not eliminate the pain. Particularly hard hit were operating budgets for universities and community colleges, which were cut by nearly 10 percent while tuition increases were capped at 9 percent for the large universities and 6.5 percent for the small universities. One reprieve came in 27 percent more money for building projects.  In the K-12 budget the legislature overrode the governor's veto to provide a $6.0 billion biennial budget that provides more even funding for schools by setting aside only $200 million in reserve for the second year, instead of the $400 million the governor wanted to hedge against falling revenues.
  • Virtual Schools:  SB 767, establishes increased transparency and financial accountability from virtual or online charter schools. The bill also calls for a two year moratorium on approval of new virtual schools and limits the expansion of existing schools to allow time to evaluate the educational quality, accessibility, and financial accountability of these institutions.
  • Anti-Bullying:  In a major victory for LGBT youth and other students who find themselves harassed and persecuted at school, protected-class language was added to the state's bullying law [HB 2599].

Housing and Consumer Protection:  Consumers scored a variety of victories this session.  Housing reforms were also achieved, but usually after bills were substantially watered down.

  • Housing Opportunity Bill:  Creates a dedicated revenue source for affordable housing with an estimated $15 million in funding for the 2009-2011 biennium [HB 2436].
  • Bonds to Preserve Existing Affordable Housing:  SB 5535 provides $19.4 million, $16.3 for multi-family housing with federal rent assistance, and $3.1 million for manufactured home parks.
  • Foreclosure Reform:  Unfortunately gutted before passage, the bill does require that lenders meet with borrowers and try to agree on loan modifications before foreclosure [SB 628].
  • Mortgage Loan OriginatorsHB 2189 requires originators to be licensed by the state and have a federal ID number, and HB 2191 creates a registry of debt managers.
  • Group FacilitiesSB 287, HB 2138 and HB 2442 establish new rights for residents of nursing homes, adult foster homes and residential care facilities, and provide the Department of Human Services with the authority to take strong actions against facilities that are failing to prevent abuse.

Elections:  A few significant reforms to the elections process made it into law.

  • Ballot Initiative Reform:  Importantly for a state that has faced significant problems with ballot initiatives being driven by right-wing zealots who have used fraud to get their pet policies on the ballot, the initiative system will be better protected from fraud and forgery by giving the Secretary of State more time and more tools to help crackdown on fraud [HB 2005]. 
  • Ballot Access:  The state will introduce fusion voting, where a candidate can be the nominee of multiple political parties, and decreasing the burdens on independent and third-party candidates trying to petition onto the ballot [SB 326]. 
  • Internet Voter Registration:  With efforts to overhaul voter registration practices sidelined by budget constraints, lawmakers still managed to pass internet voter registration [HB 2386], a low-cost measure that will be especially helpful in registering young voters.
  • Youth Voting:  Plans for encouraging students to register and vote will now be required of high schools, and voter registration and voting education will be incorporated into the state's essential learning skills curriculum [HB 3473].
  • National Popular Vote:  Passed in the House, but failed to get a vote in the Senate [HB 2588].

Criminal Justice:  Facing spiraling costs for prison construction, the state had to look for savings in its correctional budget.  However, the District Attorney's Association was dead set against reform.  Another challenge was implementing the new mandatory minimum sentences that voters approved for drug and property crimes (Measure 57), a regressive policy toward addiction-driven crimes that is going to needlessly drive prison costs in the state.  However, advocates and leading progressive legislators were able to build super-majority consensus around HB 3508, the criminal justice omnibus bill.  The legislation institutes several important reforms, and continues the implementation of Measure 57 until February 15, 2010 and then it will be suspended until January 1, 2012, resulting in an estimated $25 million in savings. Increased sanctions will still apply to those committing fraud on the elderly, delivering a controlled substance to a minor and selling significant amounts of a controlled substance.  Other provisions:

  • Merit Time:  Increases the maximum eligible earned time from 20% to 30% for non-violent offenders.  This provision applies retroactively and is expected to save $6 million.
  • Probation Violations:  Changes the maximum amount of time a judge can sentence a person to spend in jail on a technical probation violation from 180 to 60 days, unless the person has committed a new crime, yielding a savings of $10 million.
  • Probation Merit Time:  Sets a minimum amount of time a person must serve on probation and allows for up to a 50% reduction in the length of probationary period if the person complies with the terms of probation; estimated savings is $1 million.
  • Inactive Supervision:  A person on post-prison supervision may be transitioned to inactive supervision after six months for crimes in categories 1 to 3, and after 12 months for crimes in categories 4 to 10; estimated savings is $5 million.

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Increasing-Democracy

By: CAROLINE FAN

Delaware Legislative Session Roundup

Like most states, Delaware was plagued with budget difficulties that found legislators and Governor Markell taking drastic steps to fill the hole, including enacting a sports lottery bill that legalizes single-game betting. It becomes the only state other than Nevada to do so. Fortunately, the stimulus pumped $1.2 billion into the state coffers.

Budget, Tax and Stimulus:  To balance the largest budget deficit in state history (over $800 million,) the state cobbled together a mix of tax increases, pay cuts and state employee attrition that totaled more than $200 million dollars in tax and fee increases. The budget was a contentious issue that dragged into special session. Ultimately HB 290 was enacted. It appropriated over $3 billion for 2010. A notable cut was a 2.5% salary decrease for various state employees, including state legislators.

  • SB 190, a bond bill, passed with near unanimous support.
  • HB 295 was a grants-in-aid bill to nonprofit organizations.
  • Cigarette tax: HB 211 increased the cigarette tax from $1.15 to $1.60 per pack.
  • Liquor license tax: HB 210 raised liquor license fees, prohibits liquor sales between 1 AM and 9 AM, and requires a special license to sell alcohol on Sundays. It required and met a 3/5th majority to pass.
  • Estate tax: HB 291, which was enacted with more than a 3/5ths majority, amends the estate tax and calculates the state estate tax using the rate schedule for state tax credits available under federal law in 2001. Another bill (HB 212) to increase the tax on alcoholic beverages failed to meet the 3/5th bar.
  • Unemployment insurance: SB 156 extends UI benefits and HB 170 added the alternative base period to qualify for federal stimulus funding of unemployment benefits.

Energy and Environment:  A number of bills to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency passed this session:

  • SB 106 requires Delaware’s utilities to reduce their energy consumption 15 percent for electricity and 10 percent for natural gas by 2015, one of the most aggressive targets in the country. Delaware joins nineteen other states with similar Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS).
  • SB 59 updates Delaware’s building codes to increase energy efficiency requirements for new buildings and promotes the construction of “zero net energy” homes and office buildings, which consume less energy than they generate.
  • S.B 85 will encourage energy efficiency by allowing customers who produce more energy than they use to receive credits on future energy bills.
  • SB 49 and HB 70 encourage the use of renewable energy by removing restrictions on solar roof panels and wind turbines.
  • HB 15 is a plastic bag recycling bill that creates an in-store plastic bag recycling program and also requires stores to make reusable bags, available to customers for purchase.

Labor:  To crack down on abuse of workers misclassified as independent contractors, House Substitute Bill 1 for House Bill 230 regulates employers who falsely classify employees as independent contractors with fines up to $20,000 and debarment from state contracts as sanctions.  State and federal government agencies, sole proprietors and single member corporate or business entities are exempt from the legislation.

A number of bills (HB 110, HB 141, HB 145, HB 153 that would have reduced or redefined the state prevailing wage thankfully failed.

Consumer Safety:  A bill to oversee licensing of manufactured home installation was enacted, as was SB 108, which requires conspicuous disclosure of significant terms of short term loans, provides a right of rescission, and limits the duration of an extension of a loan that a consumer can receive, thereby ensuring that consumers do not mistakenly attempt to use these loans for long-term borrowing. HB 149 limits compensation that may be received by mortgage loan brokers and licensed lenders who engage in mortgage loan modification for homeowners. Meanwhile,  HB 269 requires tobacco vendors to ask for ID if a customer looks younger than 27 years of age.

Education:  SB 68 removes the requirement for the state standardized test and replaces it with a test to be administered at least twice a year from grades 2-10. The student's progress is then assessed from his or her best results from the multiple assessments performed during the year. Another bill allowing Teach for America and similar teacher residency programs to operate throughout the state was also enacted. And SB 151 was also signed, to award additional stimulus funds to schools that significantly close the achievement gap.

Elections:  The Governor signed HB 132 which will allow military and overseas citizens to receive and send absentee ballot applications, absentee ballots and related forms online. The House passed HB 198 to approve the national popular vote, which unfortunately did not advance further. The bill would have allowed the state to award its electoral votes to the Presidential and vice presidential candidates that receive the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Another bill that made it past the House (HB 117) would have moved school board elections to coincide with the general election, and to redefine term lengths to align each term with a general election, reducing the cost of holding these elections.

Public SafetyHB 253 establishes the Victims’ Compensation Assistance Program Appeals Board and increases compensation for innocent victims of crimes while HB 160 makes it illegal to present fradulent documents including drivers licenses.

Health:  The state took several measures to improve the health of its citizens and reduce burdensome costs.

  • HB 86 will include HIV testing in the standard battery of tests administered for all pregnant women, on an opt-out basis, which will remove the stigma of requesting HIV tests and reduce neonatal HIV infection rates.
  • SB 35 grants the Delaware Insurance Department the authority to review and approve health insurance rates so that rates are not excessive.
  • HB 112 requires hospitals to honor advance health-care directives and to allow patients to admit desired visitors.
  • SB 120 which would have provided Delaware citizens and out-of-state residents working at least 20 hours a week a government-run single payer health care system, sadly did not pass.

Miscellaneous:

  • False Claims Act:   SB 115 allows for a private individual or labor union to file a private right of action, the state to receive a 10% increase above the state share in all Medicaid fraud recoveries and requires all employers to post a summary of the False Claims Act.
  • LGBT Issues:  SB 121 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations, and insurance. The bill also establishes the Superior Court's ability to hear and adjudicate such cases of discrimination.
  • Good Government:  HB 1 allows the public to have access to meetings and records of the Delaware General Assembly except for caucuses. 

Resources:
Recovery Delaware
Delaware Online - Taking important steps for environment

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Increasing-Democracy

By: ADAM THOMPSON

New Hampshire Legislative Session Roundup

The state made solid reforms this session, tapping some new revenue to address the budget crisis, making needed reforms in health care, and notably becoming another state to approve gay marriage legislation.

Budget:  Lawmakers made some tough decisions to fill a $500 million deficit and pass an $11.6 billion budget.  Budget cuts include $25 million pulled from the state workforce, resulting in 250 lost jobs and 18 mandatory furlough days for the unionized state workforce, $27 million in retirement system contributions and $50.4 million in state/municipal revenue sharing. To raise revenue, lawmakers increased the state cigarette tax by 45-cents, which has an added benefit of reducing smoking rates,and raised various other fees and taxes on tolls, rooms and meals, auto registration, and a 10% tax on gambling winnings exceeding $600.  Another part of the deficit fix was tapping $110 million from a state created medical malpractice insurance pool that is funded from doctor's premiums.  A Superior Court judge, however, ruled this was not allowed and returned the funds to the pool.  Governor Lynch has indicated he will appeal the decision to the State Supreme Court, but if it holds lawmakers will need to find the funds elsewhere.

Health Care:

  • Public Option for Young Adults:  In a small but notable step to improve access to health care, lawmakers approved SB115 to allow uninsured young adults from ages 19 to 25 and with incomes below 400% of poverty to purchase coverage through the state's CHIP program.  The option, a form of public option, will soon be available to 21,000 young adults, who will need to pay the full premium.
  • Hospital Errors:  Joining a growing trend across states, lawmakers passed HB592 to require hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to report to the state any of 28 avoidable adverse medical events, and include analysis of the cause of the error and a corrective action plan.  Similarly, HB433 was enacted allowing the state to assess hospitals a fee to fund the hospital-acquired infection reporting program.  HB40 was also enacted to require the state to create rules listing requirements for reporting infections.  Lawmakers originally passed legislation requiring hospitals to report infections three years ago.
  • Uninsured Data:  To improve understanding of the uninsured, lawmakers passed SB147 to require hospitals and community health centers to submit data to the state on care provided to uninsured patients.  Lawmakers hope the new reporting law will inform them and providers about the needs of the uninsured, the ability of the existing safety net to meet their needs, and the impact of the uninsured on 
  • Billing:  Lawmakers passed SB188 to create a commission to study the billing practices of hospitals and hospital-owned facilities. 
  • TelemedicineSB138 was enacted to require insurers to reimburse providers for consultation provided through telemedicine, as long as the service would have been covered by the insurer if it was provided in person.
  • Medical Records and Privacy:  New Hampshire has been a leader in patient privacy.  This year lawmakers passed HB542 to to advance the creation of a Health Information Exchange to allow for the secure sharing of medical records among providers. The legislation will enable the state to access a share of the federal stimulus' $20 billion set aside to promote health information technology.  The bill includes important privacy protections, such as allowing individuals to opt-out of the Exchange and preventing the use of medical records for non-medical purposes, such as marketing and other commercial purposes.  Additionally, lawmakers passed HB619 to give patients greater control over the use of their medical information for non-medical uses, such as marketing.  The bill will require marketing entities to seek consumers' opt-out of marketing restrictions before material is disseminated.

Gay Marriage:  Notably, New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the third to do so by legislative action, rather than court decree, following Vermont and Maine.  The law includes certain exceptions for religious institutions.

Environment:  Lawmakers passed a number of bills, including two water ecosystem billsHB350 bans the use of phosphorus in all household cleaning products, including dishwashing detergent where it is abundant.  Phosporus is a leading water contaminant and encourages the growth of algae and invasive plant species.  SB134 amends the Comprehensive Shore Land Protection Act to make it more efficient and effective. Some of the changes include lessening the approval time and amount of paperwork required for small projects and creating a single inventory list of all of New Hampshire's water bodies so people don't have to consult several sources.

Public Education:  In the mid-90's, the State Supreme Court ruled that the state's school funding and administrative practices were not providing adequate public education across the state and were therefore unconstitutional.  The ruling resulted in a 15 year process to define an adequate education, determine and fund the cost, and create accountability measures.  SB180, dubbed the accountability bill, is the fourth step in this multi-year process and requires schools to prove they are providing an equal and adequate education to students in 12 specific areas, including math, science, and language.  The bill includes accountability methods for school districts and measures for the state Department of Education to determine if schools are providing an adequate education.  Schools can show adequacy in two ways, by meeting specific standards or by showing students are meeting academic goals based on various performance measures.  Elsewhere, lawmakers voted to extend a moratorium on new state-authorized charter schools.

Unemployment:  Taking advantage of $21 million in federal stimulus funds, lawmakers extended unemployment benefits and worked to shore up the state's unemployment trust fund which was set to become insolvent in early 2010.  Lawmakers also raised employer contributions to the trust fund over the next three years.  In related action, lawmakers passed a bill requiring firms with 75 or more full-time employees to give workers and the state 60 days notice of an impending layoff or closure

Missed Opportunities:

  • Death Penalty:  The Senate failed to follow the House and did not vote on a bill to abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire.
  • Medical Marijuana:  Legislators passed, but the Governor vetoed, a law that would have made New Hampshire the 14th state to offer some form of medical marijuana.  The bill, the result of bipartisan compromise, created a narrowly defined distribution system for small amounts to alleviate pain for patients with acute or terminal medical conditions.  Despite not allowing home-grown marijuana, as other state medical marijuana laws allow, Governor Lynch vetoed the bill saying it lacked sufficient oversight of what would have been three "compassion centers", staffed by workers who passed background checks, to grow and dispense marijuana to registered patients.  Advocates say the law would have been the strictest in the country.

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Research Roundup

The Recovery Package in Action - Six months after passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), this Economic Policy Institute report argues that it was crucial to reducing the effects of the recession, saving between 500,000 and 750,000 jobs during the latest quarter.  And with only 14% of the stimulus package injected into the economy so far, there is still stimulus in the pipeline to help communities continue to recover.

Budget Woes Take Toll on Views of State Governments - With the economy undermining state budgets, the favorability ratings of state governments have declined from a year ago based on this Pew Research Center study. Overall, 50% of the public now holds a favorable opinion of their state government, down from 59% in April 2008, although views of local government remain favorable and stable.

Why a Public Insurance Plan Is Essential for Health Reform - This Economic Policy Institute memo argues that lack of competition in the U.S. health care market is the major source of the uniquely high and rising health costs in our country. A public plan option would inject badly needed competition into the system and could result in windfall savings for employers and their workers.

Lenders Couldn't Buy Laws - Looking at the failure of the payday lending industry in pushing ballot propositions to overturn state restrictions on their industry, this Institute on Money in State Politics report examines their campaign contributions to Arizona’s Proposition 200 and Ohio’s Issue 5.  Despite spending more than 22 times as much as their opponents, the payday lending industry was defeated by groups like the Coalition for Homeless & Housing in Ohio, who spent far less.

Many Low-Income Working Families Turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Help - This Urban Institute fact sheet examines how states have implemented the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program (formerly food stamps).  It highlights how all states allow recipients of have more assets than under federal base rules, along with other improvements in the program under recent federal laws, including the federal recovery act.  Many states have adopted these new rules and by implemented electronic application systems that allow families to apply over the Internet.

Secret Recipes Revealed: Demystifying the Title I, Part A Funding Formulas and Interactive Map: State by State Education Funding Statistics - This report and resource by the Center for American Progress highlights that funding formulas under the federal program fail to live up to the law's goal of enhancing educational opportunities for children living in concentrated poverty. The formulas favor wealthier states, give disproportionate funds to states with smaller populations, and favor large school districts regardless of the poverty in those districts.  The report highlights the technical considerations that should inform a smarter, fairer approach to funding grants

The New Orleans Index Anniversary Edition: Four Years after Katrina - While rebuilding from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina has cushioned New Orleans from the effects of recession, this report by the Brookings Institution blight, the high cost of housing and other remaining effects of the disaster still create major challenges for the metro area. The city has taken steps to put teeth in its master plan for redevelopment but new partnerships with federal and state governments are essential according to the report for long-term economic revitalization.


Please email us leads on good research at research@progressivestates.org

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The Stateside Dispatch is written and edited by:

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