As we noted in the Dispatch a couple weeks ago, despite a dearth of recent successes and mounting fiscal crises in most states, rightwing voter ID legislation designed to suppress voter turnout continues to be pressed around the country. So far this year at least 17 states have seen bills introduced to institute or enhance ID requirements for voting or registration (AL, CO, GA, IN, MD, MN, MS, MO, NY, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WY). It appears we now know enough to predict the landscape of the voter ID battles in this legislative session.
Last night, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 2,
an expansion of SCHIP, a federal program that provides medical
insurance to lower income children, across strong bipartisan lines (289-139)
with forty Republicans voting in favor of the bill. SCHIP currently
covers 6.7 million kids and expansion will allow an additional 4
The benefits of a post-secondary degree are plentiful. For example, an employee with a four year college degree earns 60 percent more than a worker with only a high school diploma. Paying for college, however, has become a daunting task and strain for many American students and families. The cost of higher education across the country is rapidly increasing, at almost double the rate of inflation, outpacing increases in financial aid and many families ability to pay. The combination of these factors result in too many students being unable to earn or complete their degrees due to financial constraints.
South Carolina's legislative session was marked
by a failure to pass major pieces of legislation such as healthcare and
payday-lending reforms, the passage of a regressive immigration bill,
and significant time spent on small, controversial measures such as
posting the ten commandments in public buildings, “I Believe”? license plates, and outlawing pants worn below the hips. Fixing budget deficits
and hiring much needed additional judges were two other important
issues that could not get resolved while less consequential legislation
was debated. In the end, lawmakers showed how important those small
measures were by overriding vetoes of bills like S 577, which increased penalties for attacking a coach in a sports league.
Many states have suffered from public officials being involved in
ethics scandals. While sometimes there is talk of reform and other
overtures, comprehensive reform is most often elusive. However, some
states have managed, either in response to one particularly egregious
event or a history of problems being overturned in a wave of
dissatisfaction, to truly make a fundamental change. This year
Connecticut once again moved forward with a multi-year ethics reform
initiative, and Louisiana enacted one of the most far-reaching ethics
overhauls any state has in generations.