In a blow to voting rights, Indiana's strict voter ID law, which requires government-issued photo identification every time a person votes, has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court. This deeply disappointing decision will undoubtedly give new momentum to efforts to expand voter ID laws in many states (Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and possibly Illinois appear likely to pass new voter ID laws in the immediate future). However, progressive legislators and advocates can take the offense in broadening the debate over the real sources of fraud and intimidation in our elections.
The Iowa Senate on Tuesday approved SF 2416,
a bill to sharply increase fines on employers violating Iowa state wage
laws, crack down on the practice of misclassifying employees as
"independent contractors" to evade those laws, and protect workers
reporting violations from retaliation.
Since the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) established the
requirement that first time voters present some form of identification
before voting in a federal election, voter identification requirements
of all sorts have been enacted across the country.Currently
26 states have laws that are more restrictive than the HAVA mandate,
and 21 states require ID from voters every time they vote.These laws have been passed by arguing they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, even though all evidence suggests that such fraud is extremely rare and poses no threat to the integrity of our voting systems.Instead, these fraud arguments have merely been a partisan tool, used for decades, to suppress turnout
among new groups entering the electorate in large numbers and
threatening the power of those currently in charge, whether they be
minorities, immigrants or students.
After discussing the possibility of privatizing major state highways last year, New Jersey Governor John Corzine instead made a proposal
earlier this month that called for significant increases in tolls that
would provide nearly $30 billion to decrease state debt and invest in
state transit projects. Unlike rhetorical promises around privatization
money in other states, this plan actually laid out how money would get
In the age of Google, citizens expect to be able to find core
information on the Internet about government operations, but as a major
new report being released today highlights, most states are failing on
Despite over two and a half weeks of rescue efforts, six coal miners
remain trapped in Utah in a tragedy
that has also claimed the lives of three rescuers. The
conditions apparent at the mine, as well as the treacherous rescue
into question the quality of federal Mine Safety and Health Administration
(MSHA) procedures. MSHA approved the mine operation plan in June, just months
after serious structural problems forced the operators to abandon work in an
area that was only 900 feet from where the miners are trapped.
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:
1200 prisoners from Arizona, hire Indiana at $64 per day to house them, then
ship them 1500 miles from home and loved ones to a private prison in New
Castle, Indiana run by the GEO Group, a private prison company that has been
repeatedly cited for
substandard conditions. When a
among 500 prisoners broke out last week, with prisoners taking over
the facility for two hours, it was hardly surprising to observers.
On April 3rd, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law HF 653, which provides
Iowans with the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. Governor
Here in Iowa , we want to make it as easy as possible for Iowans to be
involved in the democratic process. This bill achieves this goal. I strongly
believe getting more people to vote is good for democracy and good for the
future of this state.