Like many other states, Michigan is struggling with how to build a
technology infrastructure that can grow the state's economy and educate
its children. Unfortunately, meeting in a lame-duck session, the
Michigan's State Senate is considering an industry-backed bill, HB 6456,
to create statewide franchises for video services by cable and
telephone companies that will just increase company profits at the
expense of consumers, low-income families, and technological
innovation. Opponents of the bill range from the Michigan Municipal
League protesting the destruction of community control to groups, led
by Free Press, demanding Net Neutrality in access to Internet services.
In the final days leading up to the election, there is an ugly trend of
dishonesty running through state ballot initiatives. Deceptively titled
initiatives are confusing voters and masking their true nature: "property rights protection"
would actually result in a huge burden to tax payers and severly hinder
environmental protection and in Michigan you have a "Civil Rights
Initiative", Proposition 2, which is anything but a civil rights initiative.
It's a big year for ballot issues. Mid-term elections, when no
President is being elected, typically see less activity on the ballot
issue front than Presidential years, but 2006 is proving to be an exception. Eighteen states will consider 76 ballot issues this fall, as high as its been since 1914 for a non-Presidential year.
A bipartisan group of Michigan legislators have made a bold move
to fight cancer by announcing new legislation to require a cervical
cancer vaccination in students entering the 6th grade. 70% of cervical
cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually
transmitted infection that can now be prevented through vaccination,
although the vaccine is ideally administered at a young age.
For public employees in four states, this may have been a rough week.
As if balancing typical duties of work and family is not enough, a
front group for anonymous business interests this week began running
ads in Michigan, Montana, Nevada, and Oregonaccusing
public employees of being lazy and overcompensated. The campaign is
connected to the well-orchestrated rightwing attempt to impose
TABOR-style spending limits in numerous states through ballot measures
After years of stagnating wages for working Americans and inaction by
Congress, legislators and activists across the country are taking the
lead in securing higher minimum wages on a state by state basis. They
are achieving some outstanding results. Here's where the minimum wage
fight stands in a number of states:
As far-right funders like Howard Rich work across the country, dumping
literally millions simply into qualifying these atrocious measures for
ballots, progressives have experienced some good news and some bad
news. Here's where the campaign stands in various states: