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Overcoming Racial Discrimination

Despite real progress over the last generation in overcoming discrimination in our society, the reality is that Americans are still regularly refused employment, housing or equal treatment under the law because of their nationality or the color of their skin.  The numbers highlighting this racial discrimination are stark:

In Health Care, 2007 May Be the Year of the Child

To little fanfare, the New York General Assembly and Governor Eliot Spitzer enacted a budget in early April that includes health care for essentially all children.  The budget increased SCHIP eligibility for children in families with incomes up to 400% of poverty ($80,000 for a family of four) and allows families above 400% without other options to purchase the SCHIP coverage at full-cost, which is still cheaper and likely more comprehensive than private options.  Premiums for families below 400% of poverty will be set at $20, $30 and $40 per child depending on income. 

An Agenda to Reduce Poverty

While the Bush Administration has reduced taxes on the wealthiest Americans and undermined social welfare programs over the past 6 years, 5 million more Americans have fallen into poverty, bringing the total to 37 million.  That means at least one in eight Americans are now living in poverty.  

Washington Poised to Be Second Paid Parental Leave State

 

This past week, the Washington State House voted to approve five weeks of paid leave for parents with a new born or adopted child, following earlier approval of a broader Senate measure, SB 5659, that would have also included paid leave to to take care of a seriously ill parent.  Another advantage of the law is that parents in employers with 25 or more employees would have their jobs protected while away, more job protection than under federal law which covers only employers with 50 or more employees.

Wringing Costs Out of the Health Care System

We spend more than twice on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, yet we don't have universal access and our outcomes are worse.  The reason we don't have universal access to quality health care is that too much of our health care spending -- our premiums, co-pays, prescriptions -- is wasted on profits, CEO bonuses and inefficient health care.

This Little Light of Mine: States Push Changing Light Bulbs for Energy Savings

What if we told you that you could save money, energy, and carbon dioxide emissions just by replacing your light bulbs?  Many states are pushing new policies to encourage or even require the replacement of traditional wasteful incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) as a key step to achieving energy independence.

Green Building: Energy Conservation from the Ground Up

A new United Nations report this week, backed by scientists around the world, confirms that not only is global warming real, but its effects are already here and getting worse.  And the hard fact is, the United States consumes far more energy than any other country, more than China and Russia combined.

Iowa Enacts Election Day Registration - EDR Moving Nationwide

On April 3rd, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law HF 653, which provides Iowans with the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. Governor Culver stated,

Here in Iowa , we want to make it as easy as possible for Iowans to be involved in the democratic process. This bill achieves this goal. I strongly believe getting more people to vote is good for democracy and good for the future of this state.

Universal Health Care's Next Steps - PA & IL Plans

Illinois gained headlines in 2005 for its first-in-the-nation plan to provide health care for all children in the state, called AllKids.  Pennsylvania followed suit in 2006 with its own Cover All Kids plan.  Now the Governors of each state have proposed comprehensive health care reform packages with the goal of universal access to health care.  The plans build on reforms in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, but go further in key areas of affordability and system reform.

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) Advance in the States

As we first highlighted in our Dispatch last December, renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS) are a great way to stimulate renewable energy development.  By requiring that a certain percentage of a state's electricity come from renewable energy, RPS jump starts economic development and job creation.