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Multi-state Advertising Campaign Targets Public Employees

For public employees in four states, this may have been a rough week. As if balancing typical duties of work and family is not enough, a front group for anonymous business interests this week began running ads in Michigan, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon accusing public employees of being lazy and overcompensated. The campaign is connected to the well-orchestrated rightwing attempt to impose TABOR-style spending limits in numerous states through ballot measures this fall.

MT: Attorney General Goes to Bat for Hard Working State Employees

Yesterday, we told you about lobbyist Rick Berman's operation Center for Union Facts (a misleading name, to say the least) putting television ads on the air in four states attacking public employees. Fortunately, not everyone is taking the attacks without responding in kind. In Montana, Attorney General Mike McGrath has come to the defense of the workers he

Montana AG Defends State Workers in Wake of Anti-Union Ads

Originally Published August 22, 2006 Associated Press by Susan Gallagher HELENA, Mont. - Montana's attorney general defended state employees Tuesday in the wake of an anti-union advertising campaign, and a pro-union group challenged claims that the ads are unrelated to upcoming ballot measures in several states. The advertising insults state employees and demeans their work, said Attorney General Mike McGrath, who heads the Montana Department of Justice.

Progressive States Leaders Denounce Misleading Anti-Public Union Campaign

Orwellian Named "Center for Union Facts" Trying to Fool the Public Missoula, MT - Former state senator Steve Doherty and author David Sirota, the Montana-based co-chairs of the Progressive States Network, today accused the inaccurately named "Center for Union Facts," of spreading lies in Montana.

Progressive Ballot Issues For Turnout and Framing

There are few more potent tools for impacting the outcomes of elections than changing what appears on the ballot. And there are no more direct paths from public outcry to passed legislation than through ballot issues. For years, the rightwing has been advancing policy goals, shaping message, and marshalling voters through ballot issues (we've already highlighted many of their current-year endeavors in this very newsletter). Progressives increasingly are fighting back using ballot issues -- which shouldn't be surprising, since initiatives and referedenda were originally a progressive reform.

Progress on the Minimum Wage

After years of stagnating wages for working Americans and inaction by Congress, legislators and activists across the country are taking the lead in securing higher minimum wages on a state by state basis. They are achieving some outstanding results. Here's where the minimum wage fight stands in a number of states:

Takings In Your State

As far-right funders like Howard Rich work across the country, dumping literally millions simply into qualifying these atrocious measures for ballots, progressives have experienced some good news and some bad news. Here's where the campaign stands in various states:

How Rich: The Man Behind the Takings Initiatives

Diving into the world of campaign finance and investigating the funders of the takings initiatives quickly reveals a number of organizations involved: Americans for Limited Government, America at Its Best, the Fund for Democracy, and Montanans in Action. What is odd, though, is that with more digging, they all appear to be funded and controlled by the same individual: New York Developer Howard Rich.

Property taxes emerge as election issue

by Pamela Prah Originally published by Stateline.org Monday, July 17, 2006
Property tax cuts are poised to play a major role in Montana elections this fall, but not in a way some might think. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), who doesn’t face re-election this year, is using a property tax rebate proposal to fight a “Stop Over Spending”?

MT: Clergy Come Out in Support of Minimum Wage Hike

The Montana minimum wage initiative got quite a boost yesterday when clergy from around the state made clear their endorsement of the measure -- citing the Bible as one basis for their argument that their faith requires them to support helping low-income workers.
Vernon Wright, a Helena minister, said people earning minimum wage -- a yearly income of $10,712 -- are "stranded on the road of this economy." Wright said that just as Jesus Christ taught his followers to care for their