In a blow to states’ leadership over clean energy, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that states cannot sue power plant operators that generate pollution. The Justice Department alleges that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency has already started to regulate greenhouse emissions; and (2) states lack standing to assert a federal nuisance claim.
As this Dispatch will detail, after considerable media hype about Arizona-style bills sweeping across the nation, the reality is that from from Nevada to Arkansas to Massachusetts to Kansas and Rhode Island,
anti-immigrant bills and ballot initiatives largely didn't move or
failed to make this fall's ballot. A key reason: most state leaders
and police chiefs recognize that requiring local governments to assume
immigration enforcement responsibilities from the federal government
will distract them from fighting violent crime and undermine trust with
local residents that are essential to successful community policing.
Rhode Island’s HB 7407, now Public
Law No. 2010-203, creates the Green Economy Roundtable to advise
and assist the Governor and General Assembly in advancing Rhode Island’s
green energy economy by developing a statewide action plan.
Immigrant and workers' rights advocates celebrated a victory in Rhode Island this week with the announcement that State Rep. Peter Palumbo's anti-immigrant bill, closely based on Arizona's widely
criticized SB 1070, would not get a hearing. Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox came out in opposition to Palumbo's bill, and decided to table it -- the proposal was drafted roughly ten days ago, just before the end of the state's legislative session.
Last fall, Rhode Island Health Department Director David Gifford missed a key press briefing about the state’s effort to combat the H1N1 flu pandemic. He wasn’t shirking his duty — in fact, Rhode Island received national praise for its H1N1 response, and ranked first among states in the rate of vaccination. On the contrary, Dr. Gifford was doing what he advised all Rhode Islanders to do: he stayed home that day because he was feeling sick.
The choice of whether or not to establish
high-risk insurance pools represents the first major decision that
states are facing with the March 2010 passage of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While twenty-nine
governors -- 22 Democrats and 7 Republicans -- decided to create the
pools themselves, most conservative governors failed to take advantage
of the option to shape health care for their constituents and instead
just kicked the issue back to the federal government, which will
establish its own high-risk insurance pool in states that fail to take
States and local governments may now use federal E-rate funds to
provide the general public access to schools’ and public libraries’
Internet facilities, according to a recent Federal Communications Commission order.
Schools receiving funding under the E-rate program may extend their
services to the general public during non-operating hours, that is,
after school, weekends, holidays, and summer vacation.