Giving into corporate efforts to protect banking interests, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed SF 3396,
which would have put a temporary hold on foreclosures while still
requiring borrowers to make payments on their loans. The bill would
have required homeowners with a sub-prime or negative amortization
loan to pay either 65 percent of the payment owed when the loan
defaulted, or the minimum monthly payment when the mortgage was first
created, whichever is less, for a one-year foreclosure deferment
period. The bill passed both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature with a wide margin, only to be vetoed (part of Pawlenty's record number of vetoes for a single session). In the meantime, home foreclosures are projected to increase
39 percent this year in Minnesota, with one out of every 31 Minnesota
households experiencing a foreclosure between 2005 and the end of this
Voter suppression is growing rapidly in America today.Over half of states now have voter ID requirements more stringent than that required for first time voters in federal elections.Several states are clamping down on voter registration drives or are considering proof of citizenship requirements.
In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the US health care system 37th in the world despite spending more than any other country. In 2007, according to the US Census Bureau, the US ranked 42nd in life expectancy.
If you are a person of color, a low-wage worker, non-English speaking,
or live in a low-income community, the picture is much worse. For
instance, the life expectancy for African-Americans
is 73.3 years, five years shorter than it is for whites. For
African-American men, it is 69.8 years, just above averages in Iran and
Syria, but below Nicaragua and Morocco.
Legislatorsin both Tennessee and Louisiana have heavily promoted statewide videofranchising legislation this session. Just this past week the Tennessee House approved HB 1421, the "Competitive Cable and Video Services Act," while Louisiana legislators have introduced multiple statewide franchising bills, with SB 807 having the most momentum. The common thread between each Louisiana bill is that they are all bad for consumers.
The Iowa Senate on Tuesday approved SF 2416,
a bill to sharply increase fines on employers violating Iowa state wage
laws, crack down on the practice of misclassifying employees as
"independent contractors" to evade those laws, and protect workers
reporting violations from retaliation.
Maintaining accurate voter rolls and ensuring that all eligible voters who register to vote actually make it onto voting rolls are two of the most important functions of election administration.If an eligible voter cannot vote because his name doesn't appear on the voter roll used in an election, the problem will not be addressed by the federal guarantee of a provisional ballot. Such a ballot cannot register a person to vote, it can only preserve a ballot in the case the voter rolls at the precinct are mistaken or the
$287 billion -- that is how much the U.S. spent
on pharmaceuticals in 2007, representing a significant driver of health
care costs. While spending on hospital and physician care surpass
spending on prescriptions, drugs still account for 14% of all health care expenditures. Combine this with polls that show 70% of Americans believe the drug industry puts profits ahead of people, and it's no wonder that in 2008, at least 540 bills
and resolutions are being considered by states across the country to
reduce prescription drug prices, ensure the quality of medications
covered by public and private health plans, and reduce the undue
influence of pharmaceutical industry marketing - which itself tops out
at $30 billion each year.
As we detailed in a
last Friday, the Minnesota bridge collapse tragedy highlights the more general
failure of states to invest in infrastructure maintenance. Most state
legislatures have failed to muster the political will to vote for the revenues
needed to maintain the transit infrastructure across the country.