Progressive States Network is at Netroots Nation 2011 this week, the 6th annual gathering of progressive activists, bloggers, policymakers, elected officials, and advocates taking place this year in Minneapolis, MN. Be sure to say hi if you see us here, or follow along at home via livestreams of selected panels or on Twitter by following the hashtag #NN11 (we'll be tweeting some of the highlights at @PSNwire). Here are some of the highlights of a great schedule of panels and sessions featuring a focus on state policy:
As another round of state legislatures begin to wrap up their 2011 sessions and a flurry of positive action on immigration continues to gain momentum, it is becoming increasingly clear that anti-immigrant bills have failed to gain much traction at all in state legislatures across the nation. Even Arizona, which led the anti-immigrant charge by passing the now-infamous SB 1070 last year, is now reconsidering the wisdom of its actions and surveying the resulting destruction of its economy. Arizona’s legislature killed numerous additional anti-immigrant proposals earlier this session after a group of sixty CEOs of companies sent a letter to State President Russell Pearce outlining the devastating effect SB 1070 and the resulting boycotts have had on the state, including over 3,000 lost jobs in the tourism industry alone.
On Tuesday, President Obama reiterated his hope for comprehensive immigration reform in a speech delivered in El Paso, Texas. Yet while federal reform remains stalled, many states have continued to push forward with advancing common sense approaches to immigration policy. In just the last few days alone, there has been a flurry of positive activity as states reject the destructive politics of scapegoating and division exemplified by Arizona’s SB1070 in favor of pragmatic solutions that will grow their economies and keep their communities safe.
The growing participation of Latino voters shows a heightened responsibility and a need to continue voter reform efforts to further boost Latino voter participation. That’s the message the Progressive States Network is taking from new Pew Hispanic Center data.
Yesterday, a Colorado bill that would have allowed undocumented
immigrant students to pay in-state tuition to attend the state's
colleges and universities died in committee on a partisan vote. Despite its failure this year, tuition equity still enjoys strong support from
Colorado's business and educator communities.
Several states — including Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon and Rhode Island — may still pass similar laws to Maryland’s this year, said Suman Raghunathan, an immigration policy specialist for the Progressive States Network, a group that supports tuition-equity laws.
Nineteen state legislatures have considered Arizona-style proposals this year, according to Suman Raghunathan at Progressive States Network. Ten of these proposals have been defeated, but they remain alive in several states, including South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma.