In this week’s Research Roundup: Reports and resources from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, AFL-CIO, National Employment Law Project, Demos, Institute for Women's Policy Research, and Texas Legislative Study Group.
Around the country, 16 states, many with largest percentage of undocumented residents, have introduced or plan to introduce resolutions in support of immigration reform. Nevada, New Jersey and New Mexico have resolutions that passed at least one chamber and other states that have introduced resolutions are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas, according to the non-partisan, nonprofit Progressive States Network.
Progressive States Network, a leading national group of pro-immigrant state legislators, announced that state lawmakers from 16 different states have either introduced or plan to introduce resolutions in support of comprehensive immigration reform.
Three years ago this month, Arizona's SB1070 was enacted, setting off a wave of copycat anti-immigrant state bills despite the increasingly dubious constitutionality of such laws and an increasing consensus about their destructive economic consequences for states that adopted them.
Three years after Arizona passed the anti-immigrant SB1070, and as Congress is set to take on immigration reform, a growing number of resolutions being introduced in state legislatures is providing further evidence of just how far the debate on immigration in the states has shifted from just a few years ago. Today, a leading national group of pro-immigrant state legislators announced that state lawmakers from a total of 16 states have either introduced or plan to introduce resolutions or memorials to Congress in support of comprehensive immigration reform.
This week, President Obama traveled to Colorado to continue to press Congress to pass legislation on gun violence prevention. Next week, he is set to travel to Connecticut to do the same. Both are states that have witnessed horrific mass shootings over the past year, and both have since seen their legislatures act to pass bipartisan gun violence prevention bills. Connecticut's new law, passed and signed into law this week, strengthens a ban on assault weapons, limits magazine sizes, and creates the nation's first statewide dangerous weapon offender registry. Maryland also saw strong gun legislation pass their legislature this week, likely to be signed into law next week. All of this movement comes the same week that a new report was released showing that state gun laws likely do have a significant impact on levels of gun violence.
Not to be outdone by Arkansas or any of the record number of other states advancing restrictions on abortion in recent years, North Dakota this week passed anti-choice legislation so draconian it is alienating even self-described "pro-life" lawmakers. Legislatures in states including Texas and Kansas also tried to keep up in the race to be the most backward state on reproductive rights this week, passing legislation that would shut down clinics and endanger women's health. Texas Gov. Rick Perry told lawmakers back in December that his goal was to "make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past" in his state -- and it looks like lawmakers in other states have also set that as a key priority for legislative sessions this year:
Following a national debate over the Bush tax cuts that saw federal income tax rates go up on the wealthiest Americans this January, state legislatures continue to diverge sharply on their approach toward taxes in the first few months of 2013. Anti-tax conservatives in some states, looking to hold fast to a Norquistian vision of tax cuts for the wealthy, are running into opposition. Meanwhile, other states are moving in the opposite direction on revenue for the first time in years. Reports this week show this divergence continuing, even as new research revealed the inefficacy of personal income tax cuts as a strategy for economic growth: