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NY: Increasing Funds for Legal Services for the Poor

 

New York Governor Elliott Spitzer announced new regulations that will increase fourfold state spending on civil legal services, critical help in protecting the working poor's legal rights regarding housing, protection from domestic abuse, child support and essential heath care.

Overcoming Racial Discrimination

Despite real progress over the last generation in overcoming discrimination in our society, the reality is that Americans are still regularly refused employment, housing or equal treatment under the law because of their nationality or the color of their skin.  The numbers highlighting this racial discrimination are stark:

Gay Adoption Gains, Children Win

This week, an Arkansas bill to ban gay adoption collapsed in the House, after passing the state Senate earlier this month.  In New Hampshire, the state House overwhelmingly passed a bill affirming the right of gay couples to jointly adopt children.  Earlier this month, the Colorado House approved a similar "second-parent adoption" bill in a bipartisan vote.

 

Protecting the Freedom to Form Labor Unions

The past thirty years have seen a marked decline in job quality for a substantial portion of the U.S. workforce: stagnant wages, shrinking health benefits and less job security. While a number of factors explain this decline, there is little question that the decline in the strength of labor unions in the US has played a major role.

Workers Protest Anti-Family Scheduling Policies by Wal-Mart

Nearly 200 Wal-Mart workers spontaneously walked off the job in Florida this week in response to new rules that even two department managers leading the walkout deemed "inhuman." Not only were hours cut for all full-time workers -- from 40 hours a week down to 32 hours, but employees were required to be available for any shift around the clock.

Wildcatting Wal-Mart

Nearly 200 Wal-Mart workers apparently spontaneously walked off the job in Florida in response to new rules that even two department managers leading the walkout deemed "inhuman" (two managers organized this action, at least thirteen others joined in it).

Anti-Tobacco Efforts Gain Steam

At the same time that a new study out of Massachusetts reveals that tobacco companies are steadily increasing nicotine levels in cigarettes, the fight to limit the health impacts of tobacco is gaining new steam. Ballot measures will be considered in eight states this fall regarding tobacco. And in Virginia, where tobacco is king, Governor Tim Kaine is considering a ban on smoking in state buildings.

FL: What the People Really Want -- A Progressive Agenda

A conservative leader in Florida's legislature hit upon a novel idea -- ask the people for ideas for better public policy. They got ideas, but the press may now want to follow-up to find out whether the leaders will actually move on the progressive agenda the people are petitioning for. Rep. Marco Rubio came upon the idea with two colleagues and set up a website called 100ideas.org to solicit ideas from the public and use the "best" to write a book called 100 Ideas.

Illinois Joins Pre-School for All Movement

This past week, Illinois Governor Blagojevich signed the first law in the nation that establishes the goal of universally-available public preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds in that state.