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Oregon

Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

Rethinking the Ways We Vote

The 2000 election sparked an interest in electoral reform. Paired with a rising tendency among voters toward self-declared independence from the two major parties and a new wave of reforms have started growing in popularity across the country. In statehouses and in voting booths, reforms are moving forward to give Americans more real options at the polls.

Fighting Predatory Lending

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is hinting interest in signing legislation to deregulate the rent-to-own industry. The bill passed Wisconsin's conservative legislature and is now awaiting the signature of Doyle, who as Attorney General opposed similar bills.

OR: Former Gov. Kitzhaber Set to Launch Health Reform Movement

Former Oregon Governor (and emergency room physician) John Kitzhaber was toying earlier this year with running again for Governor. He has now moved on to launching the Archimedes Movement, an organization that seeks to start by reforming Oregon's health care system significantly.

OR: Looking For New Ideas

Our friends at Blue Oregon recently started a discussion about ideas for new policy changes. One idea for changing leadership elections has now been front-paged and is drawing some lively discussion. If you've got another idea worth considering, give it to them or post it here in comments.

Universal Vote by Mail

Following the 2000 election, everyone saw just how flawed an election could be. In 2004, even without the same closeness, America witnessed other problems including extremely long waiting times to vote: a sign that America was no longer even preparing for moderately high turnout elections. Meanwhile, one state was chugging along, doing just fine.

Smart Growth to Protect Rural America

After winning the Governor's seat in New Jersey, Jon Corzine decided to keep a Republican in the position of Agriculture Secretary. It was a good move. Charlie Kuperus has held the position in 2002 and has won broad support from both parties for his support of a number of measures in support of rural New Jersey.

OR: Measure 37 Approved by the Courts

Oregon's land use planning system has now fallen apart. This morning, when we published Nathan's report, Measure 37 was suspended by the courts. Measure 37 requires local governments to pay land owners for the right to enact land use planning regulations. In other words, anti-sprawl measures will now be rendered nearly impossible.