After a year that started off with a wave of efforts to suppress the vote - many of which continue - more and more states are now looking at enacting significant reforms to modernize voter registration and protect and expand voting rights. Here's a roundup of recent developments:
From Missouri to Pennsylvania to D.C., anti-union "right-to-work" laws are still being proposed and debated. Michigan workers continue to fight their law in the courts weeks before it is set to take effect, while workers in nearby states remain prepared for similar legislation to emerge. Meanwhile, an "anti-right-to-work" bill moved forward in Vermont — legislation that would require all workers who receive benefits thanks to a union to pay their fair share.
Virginia's Senate leadership chose the occasion of Martin Luther King Day on Monday to push through a partisan redistricting bill, taking advantage of the absence of a legislator attending President Obama's inauguration. A separate effort in Virginia to change the way the state awards electoral votes in presidential elections ran into bipartisan opposition, even as lawmakers in other states were considering doing the same:
Yesterday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law controversial so-called “right-to-work” legislation intended to weaken unions and which studies have shown depresses wages and lowers quality of life for all. The signing followed the rapid passage of the bill in a lame duck legislative session, and came on the same day that massive protests took place in Michigan's state Capitol. Across the nation, state lawmakers and others spoke out against the legislation, proclaiming their solidarity with workers in Michigan and promising to continue to fight against similar efforts in their states.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is holding its 2012 Bill of Rights Dinner, to be presented this year on October 10 at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. We are seeking an individual very experienced in events management to assist with planning and execution. The event is an annual awards banquet, this year recognizing Rep. Babette Josephs and Dechert LLP for contributions to protecting civil liberties. We expect about 275 people. The evening includes reception, silent auction, dinner and program.
You heard it first on the Rick Smith show! Last night, while guest hosting Rick's show, I used the need for rules in water polo--to prevent players from ripping off each other's swim suits and speedos underwater--as a metaphor for the fact that we need regulations and government policy to achieve "good" competition in our economy (based on productivity, quality, service, and innnovation).
Stealing hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of dollars is, generally speaking, a risky proposition. Take it from a wallet, or a private house, or a bank — and get caught — and chances are good that criminal prosecution awaits. There’s an exception to this rule though, a loophole that’s especially gaping in Philadelphia: Steal from your employees, do it openly and flagrantly, and your worst-case scenario is generally just a civil lawsuit. Best-case — and most likely — scenario: You get away scot-free.
The ACLU of PA is looking for a couple of lawyers – young, old or “in transition”, as they say – willing to work FOR FREE at least half time in the ACLU’s Philadelphia office. The remuneration consists of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, popsicles, and eloquent recommendation letters, plus great camaraderie and exciting work on civil rights cases ranging from First Amendment to Fourteenth Amendment and everything in between.
General Fund collections totaled $1.84 billion, with $1.81 billion coming from taxes. This is the largest amount of tax collected in July since before the recession and $119 million, or 7.0%, higher than July 2011 tax receipts. This starts the 2012-13 fiscal year off on a positive note, at least in terms of the revenue side of the spending plan.
With one exception, all major category of General Fund revenue collections in July 2012 exceeded those in the prior year.
Here are the details (in $ thousands):