With a Supreme Court decision and a presidential election now come and gone, conservatives in many states seem to be having second thoughts about their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, progressive lawmakers in Iowa and Michigan signaled they were set to introduce legislation on Medicaid expansion:
Governors and lawmakers who call themselves "anti-tax" are kicking off new state legislative sessions by proposing drastic cuts or even the elimination of state income taxes — offset by increases in sales taxes that would hit the middle class and low-income families and which would do nothing to boost state economies:
A spate of destructive broadband bills has been sweeping across the country, spurred on by the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Unbelievably, just as broadband Internet becomes an essential tool for millions of Americans, these states, following the pattern of the model ALEC bill, are making moves toward depriving states of any power to ensure reliable, competitive, and affordable service that serves all state residents — from small businesses to those on the other side of the digital divide. The companies behind these bills want the ability to choose to serve only the locations and the individuals that yield the greatest profits. It is simply not smart governance to leave state authorities without the power to ensure everyone can use such a critical asset.
A rash of backward thinking appears to be taking hold in a number of states that might be better spending their time considering how to create modern technology jobs and skills at home. Some states are considering how best to deploy modern high-speed Internet to ensure their local economies and residents are ready to compete in the global marketplace. But in other states, legislators are debating whether telephone service should be offered at all - leaving many observers wondering whether they would prefer to live in the 19th century, before Alexander Graham Bell's invention became ubiquitous.
Should the phone company be required to offer basic phone service to a state’s rural residents? That’s the question currently being considered by a committee in Kentucky’s State Senate. The National Rural Assembly released a letter this week expressing concerns about the bill, SB 135, arguing that it “threatens access to what most consider a basic lifeline, including 911-emergency service, for Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens.”
Although the General Assembly met this year in regular session from
January-April, the session was overshadowed by negotiations over how to
resolve a $1.5 billion budget gap in 2011 and 2012. Governor Steve
Beshear’s initial proposal to close the shortfall relied heavily on new
revenue from the expansion of gaming. The House agreed to support the
increase in gaming revenue, but Senate leadership refused to consider