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Iowa

IA: Culver: end state film tax credit program

Radio Iowa:

Governor Chet Culver says once the existing state commitments are met, the state tax credit program for film and TV productions in Iowa should be shut down.

Department of Justice to States: Don’t Sue Polluters

In a blow to states’ leadership over clean energy, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that states cannot sue power plant operators that generate pollution. The Justice Department alleges that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency has already started to regulate greenhouse emissions; and (2) states lack standing to assert a federal nuisance claim.

IA: Culver: Give schools 4 percent more

The Des Moines Register:

The economy will rebound enough to support a 4 percent spending increase for schools in 2011-12, Gov. Chet Culver said Wednesday.

IA: Iowa tax collections lowest in 4 years

The Quad-City Times:

Net state tax collections for the 12-month period that ended Wednesday were the lowest in four years and further evidence Iowa struggled through “a really bad recession,” according to a fiscal analyst with the Legislative Services Agency.

WaPo: Advocates for immigrants turn to state legislatures to block Arizona-style law

Advocates demanding stricter rules against illegal immigration -- including those backing Arizona's new law clamping down on undocumented immigrants -- have long argued that state lawmakers have been forced to act because of Congress's reluctance to take the lead.

But with little sign that Congress will act on comprehensive immigration reform this year, advocates for immigrants are also taking matters into their own hands. Like their political opponents, they have turned to their state legislatures to fight back.

In states from Pennsylvania to Utah, a battle of bills has been taking place between those who want to reproduce the Arizona law, which hands police more power to detain anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, and those who want to extend further rights to immigrants.

Release: State Legislators Unite, Show Progressive Way Forward on Immigration

At a press briefing co-hosted by Progressive States Network and the National Immigration Law Center, members of State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy (SLPIP) -- a dynamic and rapidly growing group of 54 legislators representing 28 states -- unveiled legislation they are advancing in their states to promote the effective integration of immigrants as critical members of communities and state economies

Payday Lending Abuses Reined In, As Colorado Joins Other States in Reform

The payday lending trap has been shorting working families to the tune of nearly $5 billion per year ever since the industry exploded onto the scene in the 1990’s.  The number of payday lending institutions has jumped exponentially from 500 in 1990 to about 22,000 today (compared with 14,000 McDonald's), mainly targeting low-income African American and Latino communities. 

Budget Transparency Advances Across Country

Last week, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed the Revenues and Expenditures Transparency Act, H 2972, to create a searchable, online database that details state spending and revenue sources.  Lawmakers also approved an amendment to create greater taxpayer accountability by providing increased transparency around some business tax credits.  As House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue Rep. Jay Kauffman explains, "[p]ublic access to the way we raise and spend money is essential, enabling us to make more-informed decisions for the tax-paying constituents who elect us to serve on their behalf."

States Decide on High Risk Pools

The choice of whether or not to establish high-risk insurance pools represents the first major decision that states are facing with the March 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While twenty-nine governors -- 22 Democrats and 7 Republicans -- decided to create the pools themselves, most conservative governors failed to take advantage of the option to shape health care for their constituents and instead just kicked the issue back to the federal government, which will establish its own high-risk insurance pool in states that fail to take action.