Issue Updates

Issue Update: 50 State View of ACA Impact on Individuals & State Policy

The Supreme Court will soon decide the constitutionality of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This guide highlights the impact of the ACA in each state.

Issue Update: State Medicaid Reform Strategies: Improving Quality and Reducing Costs

State governments are facing mounting budgetary  pressures to cut Medicaid costs. Reducing eligibility or cutting covered services is the obvious, but short-sighted, cost-cutting strategy. Such cuts will leave already ill people more ill,  shift treatment costs to other payers (including small businesses, individual insurance policyholders, and medical providers), and forego significant federal funding that frequently exceeds any state budget savings.

Modernizing Voter Registration: Momentum in the States

This Brennan Center report looks at the various ways in which states began to move toward a system in which voters are automatically and permanently added to the rolls, with fail-safes in case of government mistakes.

State Immigration Project Update-Progressive Legislators Challenging Anti-Immigrant Movements

We have much to report in this Update from the State Immigration Project, and not only in response to Arizona’s recent anti-immigrant law (SB 1070) and its aftermath.
  • A broad network of elected officials, State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy (SLPIP), continues to grow and now includes legislators from twenty nine states;
  • Despite considerable mainstream media coverage of anti-immigrant proposals, state legislators are advancing pro-immigrant legislation and have largely blocked anti-immigrant bills being pushed in the wake of Arizona’s law;
  • A federal judge has blocked implementation of most provisions of SB 1070;
  • Based on state policy models, the federal DREAM Act to support a path to legalization and access to higher education for immigrant youth continues to gain support;
  • A wide range of policy and polling resources have been released that support pro-immigrant action from legislators and advocates.

Clean and Fair Elections Update: New Election Laws of Note

Washington became the fifth state to pass the national popular vote (NPV) compact when Gov. Gregoire signed the legislation on May 6th. 61 electoral votes, 23% of the 270 needed to achieve a national popular vote are now committed to the compact. Washington joins Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Illinois as members of the compact. This is the first state to pass NPV into law in 2009.

Session Roundups and Anti-immigrant Legislators Largely Marginalized

While immigration continued to be debated in states across the country this session, most anti-immigrant bills were defeated and more positive approaches to new immigrants were debated.  Even in sessions dominated by budget crises, positive policies were enacted in many states.

Dreaming of a Better Tomorrow: In-State Tuition at the Forefront

States across the country are proposing in-state college tuition rates for undocumented students, a move mirrored by Congress' proposed  DREAM Act, which was re-introduced at the federal level on March 25th. Currently ten states allow undocumented immigrants to enroll in state colleges and universities under the cheaper in-state tuition rate category: California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington.  In recent years, anti-immigrant legislators sought to modify or repeal laws providing access to in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, though they've failed each time.  This session, those efforts failed again in Utah and Nebraska. Kansas didn't even bring up repealing it.

Clean & Fair Elections Update - Election Reform: What's Moving in 2009

Only a month into most legislative sessions, and facing devastating budget crises, election bills are just starting to move around the country. Here are the notable legislative actions so far.