State Unemployment Insurance Systems Being Modernized in Anticipation of Federal Recovery Program Funds

When Governor O'Malley (D-MD) announced his legislative agenda for the session, one centerpiece was an expansion of unemployment insurance to part-time workers currently excluded.  Other states, including  CaliforniaHawaii, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa,Utah, and Texas are passing that and other reforms to modernize antiquated systems that leave many unemployed without help.  In fact, due to state rules, only 17 percent of low-wage unemployed workers and 37 percent of higher-wage unemployed workers are receiving benefits.

Obama Allows California to Adopt Car Emission Standards - New Day for State Regulatory Authority

In a positive step forward for federal respect of state regulatory powers, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a previously denied waiver to allow California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law.  In a statement by the White House, President Obama said "the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."  The directive represents not only greater respect for state authority, but also a sharp break from the climate policies of President Obama's predecessor. 

Policy Checklist for the New State Legislative Sessions

With legislative sessions getting underway around the country, this Dispatch provides a list of key bills and policies that we encourage legislators to consider introducing.  While not exhaustive of the range of needed reforms in states, they emphasize initiatives of strategic importance that are being considered in multiple states.  Working with our various partners, Progressive States Network is providing staff support for these policies and will work to use movement in multiple states to generate national media and attention.  This in turn will create greater momentum to assist individual states in pushing bills to passage.  The following is a quick checklist of key policies with links to model legislation and policy summaries.