Even as progressives are making major headway in this session on issues
ranging from renewable energy to the minimum wage to voting reform, the
corporate Right, led by the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) and its associated "research" front groups, is still out
there in the states pushing their model bills and corporate-funded
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania sued the Bush Administration
this week claiming they failed to adequately regulate emissions of
mercury and other pollutants at older cement plant kilns. Last
December, the EPA announced
new limits on mercury and hydrocarbon emissions from cement kilns built
after December 2, 2005, but left weak rules in place for kilns from
before that date. The states argue that the Clean Air Act requires the
EPA to limit mercury from all kilns, not just new ones.
If states won't raise the revenue needed for local needs, the least
they can do is let those cities and towns tax themselves. At least
that's the proposal by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who this week proposed eliminating some of the restrictions
that prevent Boston and other towns from raising local revenue through
sales taxes, meals taxes or many other fees that comparable cities
use. This proposal joins a slew of other proposals for expanding local
Tax cuts for seniors? Helping older voters on fixed incomes seems like
a good idea to many legislators, but a number of states are passing tax
cuts for taxpayers over age 65 regardless of whether the seniors need
When an impeccably pro-business outfit like Business Week declares victory for the business lobby in shutting the courtroom door to victims of corporate negligence, you know injured consumers and workers have been losing badly. But this week's cover story, How Business Trounced The Trial Lawyers, illustrates how the corporate right leveraged campaign contributions in the last decade to hijack state policy on civil justice.
One of the biggest challenges in raising voter turnout is address the
rate of voter registration. The vast majority of states have
registration deadlines weeks before Election Day. The schedule poses
problems for busy Americans who simply forget to register or
re-register and find themselves unable to vote on Election Day. During
the 2000 Presidential election alone, nearly 3 million voters were disenfranchised due to registration problems. Luckily, a simple solution is available: Election Day Registration (EDR).
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue must be a very happy man. Just two weeks ago, one friend helped him secure land at a very favorable price near the happiest place on Earth -- Disney Land. The Governor's explanation for why he bought the Florida land? He likes land and he wanted to avoid buying in Georgia because it would look like a conflict of interest.
That makes sense, except he did buy land in Georgia a few years ago. The deal was also pretty lucrative, thanks in part to Perdue's power to sign bills into law.