Last week, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed the
Revenues and Expenditures Transparency Act, H
2972, to create a searchable, online database that details state
spending and revenue sources. Lawmakers also approved an amendment to
create greater taxpayer accountability by providing increased
transparency around some business tax credits. As House Chairman of the
Joint Committee on Revenue Rep. Jay Kauffman explains,
"[p]ublic access to the way we raise and spend money is essential,
enabling us to make more-informed decisions for the tax-paying
constituents who elect us to serve on their behalf."
Refuting right-wing attacks on state workers, a new report
by the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) and the
Council on State and Local Government Excellence (CSGE), Out
of Balance? Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation Over 20
Years, demonstrates that state and local employees earn an average
of 11 and 12 percent less, respectively, than comparable private sector
April has seen two major industrial accidents that have captured the national eye. Explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana claimed the lives of forty workers and injured thirty-eight. Much of the media attention
on these tragedies has focused on the culpability of employers and enforcement capacity at federal agencies responsible for regulating mine and offshore
drilling safety. However, there are proactive steps states can take to address occupational safety hazards and ensure people do not have to sacrifice their personal safety in exchange for a paycheck.
Recent laws in Nebraska and Oklahoma highlight how a number of right-wing state leaders are attacking women's reproductive freedom. These bills range from replacing the viability standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court, to forcing women to watch an ultrasound as their doctors explain the status of the fetus, to precluding women from suing their doctors if the latter misinforms women of the well-being of their fetuses.