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As Obama Touts National Immigration Reform, Flurry of Positive Action in the States

On Tuesday, President Obama reiterated his hope for comprehensive immigration reform in a speech delivered in El Paso, Texas. Yet while federal reform remains stalled, many states have continued to push forward with advancing common sense approaches to immigration policy. In just the last few days alone, there has been a flurry of positive activity as states reject the destructive politics of scapegoating and division exemplified by Arizona’s SB1070 in favor of pragmatic solutions that will grow their economies and keep their communities safe.

 

New York: One Signature Away from Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering

Legislation to end the practice of prison-based gerrymandering in New York, included within the 2011 state budget, passed both the Senate and Assembly last week. Once Gov. Patterson approves the budget package, the bill will go into effect in time for next year's redistricting efforts.

MD: State to Save $829 Million Under National Health Care Reform: Number of Uninsured in State to Be Reduced by Half

National health care reform is expected to save Maryland $829 million over the next decade and provide coverage to nearly 350,000 people — reducing the number of uninsured in the state by half, according to a report released by state officials Monday.

DE: Special Report - Drinking Water at Risk

Special Report: Delaware Drinking Water at Risk: What you haven't been told about chemicals polluting the aquifer that serves Del., Md., N.J.

Tainted groundwater is spreading across thousands of acres in northern Delaware and has reached the Potomac Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to people across much of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey.

Delaware Becomes 2nd State to End Prison-Based Gerrymandering

Last week, Delaware became the second state in the country to pass legislation that would adjust US Census data to count incarcerated people as residents of their home addresses for redistricting purposes.  It is currently waiting for Gov. Jack Markell’s signature.

Wage Law Enforcement State Trend: Illinois Becomes Most Recent State to Crack Down on Wage Theft

A crime wave has been sweeping Illinois, with surveys of low-wage workers in the Chicago area showing an average of 146,300 cases of wage theft each week -- resulting in about $7.3 million each week in unpaid wages, or $380 million stolen from workers each year.  In order to crack down on this criminal wage theft, the Illinois General Assembly on May 3 nearly unanimously (56-0 in the Senate and 112-1 in the House) passed SB 3568, which will strengthen the state’s ability to enforce violations of the Wage Payment and Collection Act.

2010 Legislative Session Roundup: Maryland

In spite of the recession, the Maryland Legislature maintained a balanced budget of $32 billion for fiscal year 2011.  During its 90-day session, the Maryland government focused on funding vital issues such as education as well as ensuring that more Marylanders gain access to health care.  As significant as these accomplishments are, several good bills did not pass the legislative threshold because of time wasted on less relevant matters.

2010 Legislative Session Roundups: Connecticut, Florida, and Maryland