Dispatch: Happy Holidays!

Stateside Dispatch

Readers, the next Stateside Dispatch will return to your inboxes after the holidays in January. If you need to reach us, please note that our Washington, DC office has a new main phone number: (202) 802-9384. 

In the meantime, here's the latest on the news and developments worth knowing. Happy holidays!

Spotlight On Progressive Leaders

Virginia Attorney General

In Virginia, State Sen. Mark Herring cemented his election win to become the state's next Attorney General after news broke today of State Sen. Obenshain's (R) decision to concede the race. The announcement would bring an end to the closest statewide election in state history, which led to Sen. Obenshain's demand for a recount. The state now faces a special election for Sen. Herring's seat, with majority control of the Virginia Senate hanging in the balance.

Medicaid Expansion Gap

As more Americans discover to their dismay that they fall into the Medicaid expansion gap created by their states, lawmakers are ramping up the pressure for their states to accept the Medicaid funding. Among the legislators leading on the issue are Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Hughes, North Carolina Sen. Floyd McKissick, Nebraska State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, and South Dakota House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff. Expect Medicaid expansion to continue being a flashpoint for state leaders in 2014.

An Eye On Texas                  

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis is the top trending woman politician of the year, according to the 2013 Google Zeitgist list of the most popular searches in 72 countries. Although Sen. Davis launched into the national spotlight after a heroic filibuster of a radical bill to shut down women's health services, she was on the radar long before then as a legislative leader to watch. Commentators are increasingly turning their focus to Texas as a key state for progressives to watch as well.

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Pulse Of The Community

Scrooged. A few days after Christmas, 1.3 million Americans still pounding the pavement for a job will be cut off from the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program; here is an interactive map of the state-by-state breakdown. Over the next 12 months, nearly 5 million Americans will be cut off if Congress fails to extend the emergency program. Every single state will see thousands of its residents suffer and sustain massive layoffs as a result, except in one state that already cut off those emergency benefits earlier this year. The outcomes in North Carolina are proving to be deeply troubling: the worst labor-force contraction the state has experienced, growing financial distress among families and private charities, and a collapse of the numbers of North Carolinians served by the state's unemployment program. 

Paid Family Leave. This week, the FAMILY Act was introduced in Congress to ensure that Americans in all 50 states will have access to paid family and medical leave insurance -- a win-win policy for families and businesses. Supported by a coalition of more than 415 organizations, including PSN, the legislation would build on the momentum in the states, like Rhode Island, to make workplace policies fit the needs of our country in the 21st century. Be sure to also check out these short videos on why paid family leave matters to today's families.  

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