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Iowa

Promoting Affordable Housing through State Policy

The effects of the sub-prime lending disaster are still being felt as the stock market has been rocked in recent weeks and many families find themselves locked out of the mortgage market.  As we highlighted in the past, the subprime mortgage market was largely aimed at economically-strapped families trying to find some way to afford homes.  For low-income renters who never had the money to even be in the game, rising rents have increasingly priced them out of their homes. 

Extending Civil Rights to Gay Citizens

This session, the Iowa legislature broke a long standing stalemate and added sexual orientation to its civil rights laws. SF 427 makes it illegal to discriminate in employment, public accomodation, credit, housing and education based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.  In passing the bill, the Iowa legislature simply extended the protections they offer to everyone else to gay and transgender citizens.  As House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy said, "This was not some sort of liberal social agenda.  This is just saying that under housing and employment, people shouldn't be discriminated against because of their real or perceived sexual orientation." 

This Little Light of Mine: States Push Changing Light Bulbs for Energy Savings

What if we told you that you could save money, energy, and carbon dioxide emissions just by replacing your light bulbs?  Many states are pushing new policies to encourage or even require the replacement of traditional wasteful incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) as a key step to achieving energy independence.

Iowa Enacts Election Day Registration - EDR Moving Nationwide

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 Culver stated,

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.

Iowa Enacts Election Day Registration - EDR Moving Nationwide

http://www.progressivestates.org/dispatch

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Iowa Enacts Election Day Registration - EDR Moving Nationwide

Election Day Registration Bills Advance Nationwide

Last week saw big advances in the movement to make registering to vote easier, as multiple chambers around the country approved Election Day Registration (EDR) bills:
  • On March 13rd, the Washington Senate approved SB 5561
  • On March 14th, the Hawaii House approved HB 1133
  • And on March 20th, the Iowa House approved HSB 204

Cracking Down on Wal-Mart's Favorite Tax Loopholes

At the beginning of February, we reported on an expose of special loopholes used by Wal-Mart to slash its state taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars per year.  The scam involves Wal-Mart and other companies dividing themselves into separate subsidiaries, buying land and buildings, then deducting the rent paid to itself as a business expense.  But states are moving to eliminate the loophole and reclaim the lost revenue:

Kids are collateral damage in immigration witch hunt

Well, the feds have done it again.  They've stepped in where states are doing good work and messed things up.  In an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid, new federal citizenship identification requirements are instead causing US citizens to lose coverage and increasing state Medicaid administrative costs.  Children are the biggest losers.

Renewable Portfolio Standards Across the States

State governments are not waiting on D.C. to develop an energy independence policy for their states. Instead, almost half the states have taken the lead on promoting and utilizing renewable energy.

What States Can Do for Darfur

Since the Bush administration first recognized the genocide in Darfur, over 250,000 men, women, and children have died. This number does not count the countless women and children that have been raped or attacked as a result of the Sudanese government's campaign to kill and drive out Darfur's ethnic African populations. The violence and genocide is now spilling over into Chad and the Central African Republic. Yet, even with such horrifying statistics, the situation deteriorates day by day.