Protecting the Unemployed from Abusive Credit Inquiries

As the economic downturn progresses, American workers are facing a disturbing rise in employers using credit ratings to determine job worthiness.  According to a 2006 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, the number of firms using credit histories to screen applicants rose from 25% in 1998 to 43% despite such inquiries often being discriminatory and even illegal. 

Missouri Session Roundup

The Missouri legislature adjourned after delivering approximately 160 bills to Governor Nixon.  

Budget:  The Missouri legislature passed a $23 billion operating budget  for the fiscal year beginning July 1, plus a two-year $600 million capital improvements budget that includes various projects funded with federal stimulus money. Governor Nixon used the line-item veto to cut $22.8 million from the operating budget and $82.2 million from the capital improvement budget.  For specific initiatives vetoed click here.  The Governor also placed on hold an additional $325 million of expenditures since the state faces declining revenues. 

Low-Income Voters Added to the Voting Rolls through Improved NVRA Implementation

Perhaps the most impressive recent success story in expanding political participation has been the dramatic turnaround in public agency voter registrations in some states.  With the prodding of Demos, Project Vote, and others under the umbrella of the NVRA Project, several states have reinvigorated compliance with this federal law that requires that certain state agencies offer voter registration to the individuals they serve.  The most well known agencies are motor vehicle departments, but public assistance agencies are also included and it is they that can have the greatest impact on bringing low-income and marginalized citizens into the political process.

Judge Ruling in Favor of Big Contributor Ruled Illegal by U.S. Supreme Court

When a coal company spent $3 million to help elect the Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court and that Chief Justice turned around and overturned a $50 million jury judgment against the company, many commentators thought it stunk of corruption and that the judge should have recused himself from the case.

Nutty, Dangerous "Fair Tax" Approved in Missouri House - Reports Highlight Likely Tax Increases for Working Families If Enacted

If most state legislatures are considering reasonable revenue increases this year, a few, like Missouri's House, have been captured by rightwing anti-tax fundamentalists.  One of the pet ideas of the far right in recent years has been eliminating the income tax for both individuals and corporations and replacing it with a sales tax applied to every transaction.  The rightwing call it the "fair tax" and the Missouri House became the first legislative chamber in the country to vote for a constitutional amendment, HJR 36, that would put the issue to voters in 2010.