DISPATCH: 16 States Introduce Immigration Resolutions, Right-Wing Tax Plans Fail, and More

Stateside Dispatch
Saturday, April 13, 2013

Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's roundup of the latest state policy news. Here's what happened in the states this week:

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Reserve your spot now! Progressive States Network will be hosting a series of webinars in the coming weeks and months on the challenges and opportunities facing state legislators on health care. The webinar series is designed for legislators and legislative staff and supported by The Commonwealth Fund, a national, private foundation based in New York City that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy. The first webinar is set for next Monday, April 22nd at 4pm ET, and will focus on expanding Medicaid through the state budget process. Future topics will include health insurance marketplaces, what lawmakers need to know about the ACA before 2014, and improving health outcomes while saving state budgets.

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State legislatures this week continued to debate proposals to expand Medicaid:

A Medicaid expansion bill was sent to the governor this week in North Dakota. [Inforum]

Ohio House conservatives stripped a Medicaid expansion proposal backed by Gov. John Kasich out of their state budget this week. [Plain Dealer]

Michigan legislative committees rejected Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal to expand Medicaid this week, but "left open the possibility of reversing course in coming months." [AP]

A Montana Senate committee pushed through an alternative proposal that one state official said would "result in the poorest people with the least likelihood of gaining access to health care coverage." [Missoulian]

The most health-challenged states -- largely in the South -- are still resisting Medicaid expansion. [McClatchy]

The Dramatic Shift on Immigration in the States

Three years after SB1070, the debate over immigration policy in the states has shifted dramatically. That shift can be seen in the number of states that have adopted pro-immigrant policies, but it can also be seen in the number of states where resolutions have been introduced this session urging Congress to pass a comprehensive reform package that includes an accessible and realistic path to citizenship. This week, members of PSN's National Immigration Working Group announced that they plan to introduce a number of state resolutions supporting federal reform that would bring the total number of such resolutions introduced in statehouses this year up to at least sixteen. As the U.S. Senate prepared to introduce legislative language, rallies took place across the nation this week in favor of federal legislation that includes an accessible path to citizenship:

States where plans to introduce resolutions were announced this week include Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, and North Dakota. [PSN]

Resolutions in Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico have already passed with bipartisan support. [PSN]

Nevada's resolution, which passed the state Senate unanimously last week, calls for "a realistic pathway to citizenship for all hardworking and taxpaying aspiring citizens who live in this country and meet reasonable requirements." [America's Voice]

"Congress needs to listen to what's going on out here in the states. The American people are ready for this." -- State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-NV) on the Nevada resolution. [PSN]

State legislatures across the nation have been getting involved in immigration issues. [Danbury News-Times]

Huge rallies took place on April 10th both in D.C. and across 30 states telling Congress "the time is now" to pass immigration reform. [America's Voice]

"Many legislators have your back, are standing with you, not only for federal immigration reform but for state as well." -- State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-MA) to a rally in Massachusetts. [Wicked Local]

The emerging language in the U.S. Senate looks likely to put some arduous barriers on the path to citizenship. [MSNBC]

A new analysis was released this week showing how immigration is changing the political landscape in key states: California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Virginia, and -- in the future -- Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas. [Center for American Progress]

Interested in seeing a resolution introduced in your state? Join the National Immigration Working Group, or contact Alvin Melathe at for more information.


Radical Right-Wing Tax Plans Run Into Trouble

Taxes are on the minds of many this week as April 15th approaches. They're also on the minds of many conservative governors -- in states such as Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Nebraska -- who have seen their radical tax proposals to further enrich corporations and the wealthy run into major resistance from voters, businesses, and even conservative lawmakers. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who this week withdrew his regressive plan that would have eliminated the state income tax while raising the sales tax, has seen his standing drop sharply in the polls. In the run up to Tax Day, increasing attention is being focused on how tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations increase burdens on the middle class -- a fact being highlighted by events on Monday in a slew of states, as well as by a new and addictive video game that casts tax-evading corporations as 8-bit supervillains:

Conservative governors have produced state tax proposals "straight out of the ALEC fiscal policy playbook" and have seen them run into heavy opposition this session. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

The short version of what killed Gov. Jindal's tax plan: "the public hated the idea, legislators balked, and Jindal was forced to kill his own plan before the legislature did it for him." [MSNBC]

An overview of how the debate over taxes may now play out in Louisiana. [Times-Picayune]

Events asking "Who Pays?" on Tax Day are taking place Monday in states including Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia. [Americans For Tax Fairness]

A new video game called "Tax Evaders" was released this week, and you may end up playing it for hours. [Tax Evaders]

Some updated messaging resources on communicating effectively about taxes and "aspiring to a government that works for us all." [Public Works]

More and more states are receiving much-needed revenue by collecting sales taxes from online retailers. [Stateline]

A Minnesota study rebuts the notion that tax increases prompt high-income households to move out of state. [Minnesota Budget Project]

A roundup of other news on state taxes this week from Idaho, Nevada, Texas, and Massachusetts. [Citizens for Tax Justice]

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Also this week:

Progressive States Network's 2012 report on wage theft was cited by opponents of the effort underway in Florida to preempt local governments from enacting wage theft laws. [Tampa Bay Tribune]

Missouri workers -- under attack from a number of directions in the legislature this year -- are telling their own stories on a new Tumblr launched this week. [We Are Missouri]

In a defeat for corporate education "reformers," an effort to make changes to teacher tenure and evaluations was rejected by a bipartisan majority in the Missouri House. [AP]

A strong pro-working family legislative agenda continues to advance in Minnesota. [AFL-CIO Now]

Minnesota State Rep. Jason Mesta has been living on the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as the legislature considers an increase. [Working America]

Conservatives in Washington state introduced a second bill to repeal family and medical leave insurance. [Washington Policy Watch]

An effort to override Mayor Michael Nutter's veto of a paid sick days bill fell one vote short in Philadelphia. [NBC10]

Recall efforts are being threatened by extremist gun activists against legislators who voted to pass gun legislation in Colorado. [Denver Post]

An effort to ban employer discrimination based on credit checks is advancing in New York City. [Demos]

Oregon may become the first state to implement automatic voter registration. [Governing]

Online voter registration is becoming more and more of a trend. [Nonprofit VOTE]

Campaign finance reform is gaining momentum in New York state. [Buffalo News]

The dark side of so-called "parent trigger" laws. [Miami Herald]

The "Preschool For All" initiative in President Obama's budget may skip some states. [Huffington Post]

Video: How one 8-year-old girl helped get a 44-year-old state senator to drop his effort to tie welfare benefits to kids' school grades. [Tennessean]

Jon Stewart summarizes conservative priorities in the states in three words: "Sodomy! Zygotes! Welfare!" [The Daily Show]

Follow @PSNwire on Twitter for the latest state policy news.


Good Jobs Green Jobs 2013: April 16-18

Progressive States Network is proud to be a convener of this year's Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference, taking place next week, April 16-18 in Washington, D.C. The conference will bring labor union members, environmentalists, business owners, community leaders and elected officials from across the country together in one place for the country’s largest dialogue on how to build a cleaner, more efficient American economy. Register here.

Research Roundup

Competing Visions: President Obama, Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Patty Murray, and House Progressives Release Budget Proposals [National Priorities Project]
"National Priorities Project has released an updated Competing Visions, a side-by-side comparison of the Ryan, Murray and CPC budgets to include highlights of the Obama blueprint."

An Immigration Stimulus: The Economic Benefits of a Legalization Program [Immigration Policy Center]
"As the legislative debate over immigration reform heats up, a central point of contention will be whether or not to create a pathway to legal status for all or most of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants now living in the United States. In evaluating the pros and cons of a legalization program, it is important to keep in mind that legalization is not only a humanitarian act; it is also a form of economic stimulus."

Who Pays Taxes in America in 2013? [Citizens for Tax Justice]
"Despite claims that the rich pay too much in taxes and that the poor pay little or nothing, the share of total federal, state and local taxes paid by Americans in each income group is very similar to the share of total income received by that group."

Interactive Map: The Preschool-Access Gap [Center for American Progress]
"Across the country, states are leading the charge on early childhood education by making significant commitments to expand access to preschool. But no state is doing enough. Too many 3- and 4-year-olds are left out of state-funded pre-K programs. In fact, some states have no program at all. Among states with programs, the quality varies greatly, with many states failing to meet high-quality benchmarks."

Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: Trends in the First Quarter of 2013 [Guttmacher Institute]
"In 2013, as in recent years, state legislatures are devoting significant attention to issues related to reproductive health and rights. During the first three months of the year, legislators have introduced 694 provisions on these issues, and 93 have been approved by at least one legislative body."

Email us at with research roundup suggestions.

Quote of the Week

"The fact that state lawmakers are now standing up should send a message to Congress: Americans support a path to citizenship for all 11 million aspiring citizens currently living in the shadows that is as inclusive and accessible as possible."
-- State Senator Angela Giron (D-CO), Chair of the National Immigration Working Group, on the changed political landscape on immigration in the states and the message being sent by state lawmakers across the nation who are introducing resolutions backing immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

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