Washington State minimum wage workers got a raise January 1st to $8.55
per hour -- now the highest minimum wage in the country. Like nine
other states, Washington automatically increases its minimum wage each
year at the rate of inflation to make sure families don't face a de facto pay
cut as rising costs eat into family budgets. Because the federal
minimum wage is not indexed to inflation in this way, we have seen a
decline in its value from $9.34 in inflation-adjusted dollars down to
just $6.55 per hour this past year. This trend highlights why state
efforts to index the minimum wage to keep up with inflation are so
Fallout from Montana Voter Challenge Plan Continues: Last week we highlighted the tremendous job that Forward Montana
and other local advocates did in bringing a massive attempt to
challenge voters in Montana to a stop. In just a few days the plan was
abandoned amid serious public backlash. This week there has been
additional fallout as the executive director of the state GOP has stepped down. Clearly trying to keep people like deployed soldiers from voting wasn't a popular activity in the big sky state.
A couple of weeks ago, we outlined the rash of voter suppression
activities cropping up, like clockwork, around the nation. This week we
cover the new suppression efforts that have come to light since.
This Dispatch is a roundup of what ballot initiatives will
appear on state ballots across the country this November. Whether it's
workers rights, energy policy, education, transit, abortion or health
care, ballot initiates give voters a chance to directly vote on an
This November Coloradans will have a chance to vote on a simple proposition:
Should employers have to provide a legitimate reason before they fire an employee?
Virtually all states already prohibit firings on the basis of race,
gender, age or religion and many other criteria; Colorado's Ballot Amendment 55 would
merely boil employer responsibility down to a simple requirement that
they provide a "just cause" reason for terminating any employee.
On April 3rd, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law HF 653, which provides
Iowans with the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. Governor
Here in Iowa , we want to make it as easy as possible for Iowans to be
involved in the democratic process. This bill achieves this goal. I strongly
believe getting more people to vote is good for democracy and good for the
future of this state.
When the Montana State Senate voted overwhelmingly two weeks ago to oppose approval of reauthorization of "Fast Track" Trade Promotion authority for new trade deals, it sent a powerful message that the American people and state governments are tiring of misguided trade deals.