DISPATCH: 2013 Session Roundups: Health Care and the War on Women, Wins and Losses on Voting Rights, and More

Stateside Dispatch
Saturday, June 22, 2013

Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's roundup of the latest state policy news. As state legislative sessions draw to a close, here are the first two PSN roundups and a look at what else happened in the states this week:

PSN 2013 Election Reform Roundup: Wins and Losses in the Fight for Democracy

Following last year’s devastating attacks on voters’ access to democracy, conservatives have held true to their mission to make voting harder in a number of states. Thankfully, in response to previous threats, progressive advocates and legislators came together this year to support a proactive, positive agenda for reform. As a result of coordinated campaigns, many states were successful in passing legislation that protects the right of eligible citizens to register and vote.

Here are some of the highlights of 2013 state legislative sessions, including both positive legislation that expanded voting rights and could serve as models for other states, as well as attacks on voters that will set states back in the fight for an inclusive and representative democracy. Read the full 2013 Election Reform Session Roundup here.


PSN 2013 Health Care Roundup: Getting Ready for the ACA, Fighting Back Against the War on Women

For the past four years, the focus of progressive state lawmakers has largely been on implementing and securing the very survival of the Affordable Care Act. Following last year’s historic U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the law, the focus shifted to implementation -- a focus made more urgent by the Court’s decision to leave the question of Medicaid expansion up to the states.

At the same time, and despite the political consequences, conservatives continued to ramp up their War on Women in statehouses across the nation, attacking abortion rights and making it more difficult for women to receive much needed care. Read the full 2013 Health Care Session Roundup here.

For real time updates on Election Reform and Health Care policy in the states, follow @ElectionsPSN and @HealthPSN on Twitter.


Map of the Week

Map: States Where You Have to Wait For: A. Abortions B. Guns

The states where you are required to wait if you: (a) want to purchase a gun, or (b) want to have an abortion. [Huffington Post via Feministing]

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Also this Week: Congress Tries to Make it Easier for States to Cut Food Stamps, Conservatives Target Protesters in North Carolina

A big win for voters as the Supreme Court resoundingly struck down an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. [PSN]

The U.S. House approved an extreme amendment this week to the farm bill that would actually give states a financial incentive to cut families off from food stamps. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

A new report on D.C.'s paid sick days law shows that, despite predictions, the law has caused virtually no harm to businesses. [National Partnership for Women and Families]

Amanda Marcotte on how state capitals are increasingly the places where the conservative war on women is being waged. [The Daily Beast]

At least three states -- Massachusetts, New York and Vermont -- are considering offering additional subsidies for enrollees in health insurance exchanges under the ACA. [Governing]

Michigan's Senate adjourned without voting on Medicaid expansion, infuriating Gov. Rick Snyder who urged lawmakers to "take a vote, not a vacation" [Lansing State Journal]

Pennsylvania's Senate may vote on Medicaid expansion next week. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Maine Gov. LePage vetoed compromise Medicaid expansion legislation that had won bipartisan support in the legislature. [Bangor Daily News]

Iowa reached a compromise on Medicaid expansion which was signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad this week. [AP]

Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have prevented wage discrimination against women. [Huffington Post]

An effort to raise the minimum wage kicked off in Idaho last week. [AP]

A push for campaign finance reform including public financing in New York failed in the conservative-controlled state Senate. [Huffington Post]

A race to the bottom: Dave Johnson on how low-wage, low-tax policies harm state economies. [Our Future]

Nevada voters will be asked to approve tax increases to fund education at the ballot box in 2014. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

Idaho, Texas, and Mississippi have all cut ties with a controversial private prison company over the past few weeks. [ThinkProgress]

Over eighty people were arrested in the latest weekly protest against the right-wing agenda in North Carolina. [News & Observer]

A right-wing North Carolina think tank has reacted by publishing a database targeting the protesters. [Facing South]

Only 20% of North Carolina voters approve of the performance of their state legislature this year. [Public Policy Polling]

How conservatives in North Carolina are stepping up their war on public education. [Diane Ravitch]

The latest city to see massive state cuts to education -- and massive resistance: Philadelphia. [MSNBC]

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

Research Roundup: The Minimum Wage and Communities of Color, $64 Billion in Megadeals, the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform, and More

Realizing the Dream: How the Minimum Wage Impacts Racial Equity in the Restaurant Industry and in America [Restaurant Opportunity Center]
This report looks at the impacts of the full and tipped minimum wage on communities of color and concludes that "nearly six million workers would be lifted out of poverty if the minimum wage were raised to $10.10 as has been proposed in Congress, of which 60%, or over three and a half million would be people of color. Over 500,000 of these would be restaurant workers, and nearly 300,000 of these would be workers of color. "

Megadeals: The Largest Economic Development Subsidy Packages Ever Awarded by State and Local Governments in the United States [Good Jobs First]
"In recent years, state and local governments have been awarding giant economic development subsidy packages to corporations more frequently than ever before. The packages frequently reach nine and even ten figures, and the cost per job averages $456,000 and often exceeds $1 million."

States Should React Cautiously to Recent Income Tax Growth [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]
"Recent tax collections are considerably higher than last year in most states and, in many cases, exceed states’ projections when they adopted their current budgets in the spring of 2012. In 32 states for which data are available, state tax collections in the first ten months of fiscal year 2013 were 5.7 percent higher than in the same period last year, on average... States should proceed with caution as they consider how to use these surplus revenues."

The Power of Reform: CBO Report Quantifies the Economic Benefits of the Senate Immigration Bill [Immigration Policy Center]
"On June 18, 2013, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation issued two reports on S. 744. The first one analyzes (or “scores”) the fiscal impact of the bill over the next 20 years and the second one focuses on the impact some aspects of the bill would have on the U.S. economy. According to these reports, the expected fiscal and economic effects of the bill are overwhelmingly positive. All in all, S. 744 will help reduce the federal budget deficit by $1.1 trillion over 20 years, will boost the economy, and will not negatively affect U.S. workers."

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Quote of the Week

"This was the right thing to do for Arizona."

-- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, after winning a legislative battle with her own party, signing Medicaid expansion into law earlier this week. [via Twitter]


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