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WaPo: Advocates for immigrants turn to state legislatures to block Arizona-style law

Advocates demanding stricter rules against illegal immigration -- including those backing Arizona's new law clamping down on undocumented immigrants -- have long argued that state lawmakers have been forced to act because of Congress's reluctance to take the lead.

But with little sign that Congress will act on comprehensive immigration reform this year, advocates for immigrants are also taking matters into their own hands. Like their political opponents, they have turned to their state legislatures to fight back.

In states from Pennsylvania to Utah, a battle of bills has been taking place between those who want to reproduce the Arizona law, which hands police more power to detain anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, and those who want to extend further rights to immigrants.

Release: State Legislators Unite, Show Progressive Way Forward on Immigration

At a press briefing co-hosted by Progressive States Network and the National Immigration Law Center, members of State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy (SLPIP) -- a dynamic and rapidly growing group of 54 legislators representing 28 states -- unveiled legislation they are advancing in their states to promote the effective integration of immigrants as critical members of communities and state economies

Public Employees Earn Substantially Less than Private Sector Counterparts

Refuting right-wing attacks on state workers, a new report by the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) and the Council on State and Local Government Excellence (CSGE), Out of Balance? Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation Over 20 Years, demonstrates that state and local employees earn an average of 11 and 12 percent less, respectively, than comparable private sector workers.

Update: Options for Reining in Corporate Election Cash in Wake of Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) decision earlier this year gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as citizens with regard to advocating for or against political candidates, unleashing a flood of new corporate cash into state races and a range of new state policy initiatives that aim to protect the integrity of their elections.  In response, states are pursuing other reforms, such as requiring shareholder approval for corporations spending election cash, tighter public disclosure and attribution in ads, public financing of elections, and calling for a federal constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision.

Progressive Legislators Challenge Right-Wing Obstruction on Health Care

Even as right-wing state legislators and attorneys general from various states unleash a barrage of attacks in an attempt to halt federal health reform before it starts, progressive state legislators and officials have been pushing back, highlighting the benefits that states will receive and the increased provision of quality and affordable care for families through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.