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:
little fanfare, the New York General Assembly and Governor
Eliot Spitzer enacted a budget in early April that includes
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.
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
This past week, the Washington State House voted to
five weeks of paid leave for parents with a new born or adopted child,
following earlier approval of a broader Senate measure,
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.
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.
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.
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
far more energy than any other country, more than China and Russia
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
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.
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.
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.