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Report: US Joins Lesotho and Swaziland with Worst Policies for Families

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. 

WA: Evergreen State Aims for Clean Elections

Washington State legislators are doing a one-two-three punch to get big money out of election campaigns.  House Bill 1360, Senate Bill 5278  and Senate Bill 5226 were introduced in January to adopt public financing for campaigns. 

Protecting the Freedom to Form Labor Unions

The past thirty years have seen a marked decline in job quality for a substantial portion of the U.S. workforce: stagnant wages, shrinking health benefits and less job security. While a number of factors explain this decline, there is little question that the decline in the strength of labor unions in the US has played a major role.

Renewable Portfolio Standards Across the States

State governments are not waiting on D.C. to develop an energy independence policy for their states. Instead, almost half the states have taken the lead on promoting and utilizing renewable energy.

What States Can Do for Darfur

Since the Bush administration first recognized the genocide in Darfur, over 250,000 men, women, and children have died. This number does not count the countless women and children that have been raped or attacked as a result of the Sudanese government's campaign to kill and drive out Darfur's ethnic African populations. The violence and genocide is now spilling over into Chad and the Central African Republic. Yet, even with such horrifying statistics, the situation deteriorates day by day.

MD: Zoning a Path to Affordable Housing

The Baltimore City Council is considering a bill that would require developers to include affordable housing units in all of Baltimore's residential projects. Under the proposal, up to 20 percent of all housing units would be reserved for low to moderate income people. Baltimore is not the first city in Maryland to consider such a proposal. Montgomery County, MD, in an effort to combat the loss of affordable housing, requires between 12.5 and 15 percent of the total units in every new subdivision or high-rise building be sold or rented at specified, affordable prices.

Uninsured Children, NAFTA Job Losses, Local Economic Development, the Cost of Real ID, and Sexual Assault in Women's Prisons

The Economic Policy Institute reports that from 2004 to 2005, the number of uninsured children in America grew by 361,000, the first increase in seven years. The Campaign for Children's Health Care has released a report called No Shelter from the Storm: America's Uninsured Children, that lays out in detail the magnitude of the crisis of uninsured children in America.

A Convenient Truth: States Can Seize the Lead on Global Warming

In the groundbreaking film An Inconvenient Truth, Vice President Al Gore makes an impressive case that it is now essential that the world act to prevent the potentially catastrophic implications of global warming. The film could not come at a more critical time. While the planet warms, Washington dawdles. The nation's political elite remains mired in a debate manipulated by powerful energy interests.

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.

Illinois Joins Pre-School for All Movement

This past week, Illinois Governor Blagojevich signed the first law in the nation that establishes the goal of universally-available public preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds in that state.