Oklahoma State Legislature adjourned late Friday, May 23, a week
earlier than constitutionally-mandated. Lawmakers closed the session
with an agreement on a $7.1 billion state budget for the next fiscal
year. Overall the short 16 week session led to a mix bag of results.
Since the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) established the
requirement that first time voters present some form of identification
before voting in a federal election, voter identification requirements
of all sorts have been enacted across the country.Currently
26 states have laws that are more restrictive than the HAVA mandate,
and 21 states require ID from voters every time they vote.These laws have been passed by arguing they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, even though all evidence suggests that such fraud is extremely rare and poses no threat to the integrity of our voting systems.Instead, these fraud arguments have merely been a partisan tool, used for decades, to suppress turnout
among new groups entering the electorate in large numbers and
threatening the power of those currently in charge, whether they be
minorities, immigrants or students.
With only 10 dissenting votes, the New Jersey Legislature has made the state's hate crimes and anti-bullying laws two of the strongest in the country. S2975 is notable for its unequivocal inclusion of transgender people in the state's hate crimes law, becoming the 12th state to do so, and for stronger anti-bullying measures in its safe schools law.
The effects of the sub-prime lending disaster are
being felt as the stock market has been rocked in
recent weeks and many families find themselves locked out of the
mortgage market. As we
in the past, the subprime mortgage market was largely aimed at
economically-strapped families trying to find some way to afford
homes. For low-income renters who never had the money to
even be in the game, rising rents have increasingly priced them
out of their homes.
With new right-wing dominance of the state legislature, the Oklahoma session
was dominated by tax giveaways to business, extreme social legislation,
threats to consumer rights and one of the most anti-immigrant laws in the
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.
A unanimous order by Oklahoma's Supreme Court has knocked that state's proposed TABOR measure off the ballot. TABORs -- strict spending caps based on Colorado's disastrous Taxpayer's Bill of Rights -- have been advanced by the far-right in a number of states this year using a variety of shady tactics exposed by Progressive States and our allies across the country.
This move is a significant victory. It indicates that the anti-government forces knowingly broke the law in Oklahoma.