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.
Every wonder which corporations are dodging your state corporate income
tax? Unfortunately, you usually can't find out since corporations have
maneuvered to keep their tax returns secret from the public-- including
from state legislators who have to write tax policy without knowing
which companies are abusing loopholes to evade paying their fair share
Early this week, the Montana State Senate took a shot at out-of-control U.S. trade policies when it overwhelmingly passed (44-6) a resolution calling on Congress not to renew the President's "Fast Track" trade promotion authority. That fast track power gives the President the ability to negotiate trade deals with no amendments allowed by elected officials, leading to a history of bad trade deals that limit opportunity for workers and state legislatures' ability to govern.
Over a dozen groups have
filed protests against a plan by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to
open up the top of Colorado's Roan Plateau to leases for drilling,
which could be put up for bid as early as November. Oil and gas drilling already takes place on the plateau, but federal land managers have chosen to open the top
of the Roan Plateau for drilling without waiting until resources at the
bottom of the plateau are tapped. Oil in the undeveloped plateau could supply the U.S. with all of 5.8 hours worth
of its oil needs. Gas in the undeveloped Plateau could supply the U.S.
demand for a little over a month. All this in exchange for permanently
scarring the unique landscape and rendering it unfit for hunting and
recreation. And, more unsettling, is that the BLM recognizes the
ecological and recreational importance of the area. A recent BLM study found that
streams on the Plateau would meet the requirements to be designated as
part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System by Congress. The BLM Draft Management Plan recognizes that several areas within the Plateau met the criteria to be designated as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
If states won't raise the revenue needed for local needs, the least
they can do is let those cities and towns tax themselves. At least
that's the proposal by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who this week proposed eliminating some of the restrictions
that prevent Boston and other towns from raising local revenue through
sales taxes, meals taxes or many other fees that comparable cities
use. This proposal joins a slew of other proposals for expanding local
To the embarassment of a country with leaders that bill themselves as
supporting "family values," a new report by the
Project on Global Working Families finds that US federal policies are some
of the least supportive of families in the world.