On Friday, January 21st, in Washington D.C., the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices (NLARx) is hosting a meeting on drug pricing and affordability. The meeting will run from 9:30am - 3pm at the Washington College of Law at American University, and is only $25 for legislators and staff. The NLARx Winter Meeting will focus almost exclusively on prescription drug pricing and rebate issues, and changes in funding and rebates under the Affordable Care Act.
As the new year begins this week, inaugurations, speeches, and handovers of power are heralding the beginning of 2011 legislative sessions in state capitals across the nation. Yet if the first bills being proposed by some newly elected and empowered conservatives are any indication, job creation may very well end up on the back burner in favor of a radical social agenda and political gamesmanship.
In contrast, progressives are preparing to use the 2011 session to advance policies that will increase the economic security of families and communities, while highlighting the actions of conservatives bent on pursuing divisive social issues and ensuring their ability to continue lining the pockets of the super-rich at the expense of the middle class. These regressive policies are already proving to be much bigger priorities for the Right than creating jobs and promoting meaningful economic development.
As legislative sessions continue to kick off through the month of January, this Dispatch highlights some of the policies that Progressive States Network is focused on advancing this year -- as well as coordinated right-wing attacks at the state level that we are seeing on our radar screen.
But we also want to hear from you. Please let us know what you are seeing in your state -- the great policies that are or should be on your state’s agenda, the right-wing attacks you have heard might be coming down the pike, and other opportunities, feedback, or tips. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter, or post to our Facebook page. And if you find this Dispatch and others like it informative, please help grow the progressive network in the states by asking your colleagues and co-workers to subscribe.
As states confront collective shortfalls amounting to almost $140 billion in the coming year, progressive leaders face an enormous challenge in building support for necessary investments, even as the general public has grown skeptical of the ability of government to deliver on its promises. To counter this dynamic, progressives are championing several innovative and sound policies to protect taxpayers, promote economic security, support the interests of the middle class, and ensure sound investments in public structures and local communities.
On the heels of December’s tax-breaks-for-unemployment-insurance hostage crisis and news of record levels of profit-making failing to result in job creation, conservatives are planning a slew of attacks on workers’ rights and labor standards in 2011. This exploitation of anger about unemployment and economic insecurity must be exposed as an effort to ensure that everyone becomes a have-not and to guarantee that the Great Recession only ends for a select few.
The US Senate’s failure last year to pass comprehensive clean energy reform means that state legislation is our only chance to create sustainable, green jobs that remain in the United States. For the 2011 legislative session, progressive state legislators can incentivize the demand for clean energy investment and the creation of green jobs through innovative, varied, and comprehensive green energy policies.
With the failure of the DREAM Act in the US Senate in December 2010, it is likely that any and all developments in immigration policy will occur at the state level. As anti-immigrant efforts in the states become more and more extremist, an increasing number of members of state legislatures are focusing on common-sense, practical approaches to immigration policy.
The current crusade against “voter fraud” in the states is just a thinly-veiled right-wing excuse to suppress the votes of low-income, elderly, and minority constituencies. Voter registration modernization would prevent actual fraud more effectively than Voter ID bills, and would also boost the percentage of registrations coming from these historically disenfranchised communities.
At the end of 2010, the Federal Communications Commission approved rules intended to preserve open access to the Internet. The order provoked criticism from consumer groups and advocacy organizations who argued that the rules did not go far enough. With this discontent at the federal level, progressive state legislators can and should enact legislation that aims to achieve universal broadband access and adoption for their constituencies.
Making the Grade on Women’s Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card - This report card from the National Women’s Law Center is the fifth in a series assessing the overall health of women at the national and state levels and is designed to promote the health and well-being of women in the United States by providing a comprehensive assessment of women’s health, both nationally and state-by-state.
The Price of Repealing the Affordable Care Act - As the new leadership of Congress prepares to vote on repeal of the health care law, these fact sheets from Department of Health and Human Services' HealthCare.gov website calculate exactly what losing the critical industry reforms in the law would cost individual states.
EconomyTrack.org - This interactive look at the labor market in the fifty states from the Economic Policy Institute allows users to easily view and download data and graphs on the recession and continuing unemployment crisis as it has affected different states and demographic groups, while comparing the current economic downturn to previous recessions.
Enjoy the Dispatch? Find it useful? Help support PSN.
Progressive States Network works to build a network of progressive legislators, grassroots advocates, progressive policy
institutions, unions and community groups to move progressive policy and transform the political debate across the fifty