Virginia's Senate leadership chose the occasion of Martin Luther King Day on Monday to push through a partisan redistricting bill, taking advantage of the absence of a legislator attending President Obama's inauguration. A separate effort in Virginia to change the way the state awards electoral votes in presidential elections ran into bipartisan opposition, even as lawmakers in other states were considering doing the same:
As the world marks the 101st International Women’s Day, more and more American women are finding their own health under rhetorical and legislative attack in the halls of Congress, on radio airwaves, and in state after state. From attempts to defund organizations providing women with basic health services, to placing intrusive and often humiliating obstacles before women exercising the right to choose, to retricting access to contraception, the past few weeks have seen a range of attacks on women in the states – and a growing movement of progressive state lawmakers standing up and fighting back.
As conservative state Attorneys General prepare to take their efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act all the way to Supreme Court arguments this spring, an outpouring of support for the health law from state legislators last week made it clear that those seeking to scuttle health reform are not the only ones speaking for the states. Over 500 state legislators representing all 50 states signed on to an Amicus Brief backing the constitutionality of the mimimum coverage provision of the law that was submitted to the Supreme Court last week, a broad show of support for the ACA coming at the beginning of both a pivotal election year and new legislative sessions which will see many lawmakers address the implementation of state exchanges provided for under the law. In addition to the filing of the Amicus Brief, legislators in a number of states held press conferences last week to highlight why they are standing up for the health law. Here are some state-by-state highlights of the coverage of both the brief and of the events held in state capitals across the nation last week.
This year marked another contentious legislative session for Minnesota, marked
by gubernatorial vetoes and tough negotiations over the budget and
healthcare. In the end, Gov. Pawlenty vetoed twenty bills, bringing his
eight-year total to 96. This year's vetoes included a wide range of
measures, from a bill enabling same-sex partners to make end-of-life
decisions, to a medical marijuana bill, to a bill that would have
supported local government and non-profit innovation efforts. Painful
budget cuts and cost deferrals left the state's financial picture for
2012 and beyond uncertain, but legislators did manage to move important
measures on broadband, energy conservation, and consumer protection, as
well as a billion-dollar bonding measure that will create some jobs to
cushion losses in other areas.
Star Tribune: A new political organization, backed by two of the state's most
powerful business interests and led by one of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top
deputies, could result in a powerful wave of corporate cash in this
year's state elections.