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Ballot Initiatives 2008

This Dispatch is a roundup of what ballot initiatives will appear on state ballots across the country this November.  Whether it's workers rights, energy policy, education, transit, abortion or health care, ballot initiates give voters a chance to directly vote on an issue.

Bills that Made a Difference in 2008

Even with many states having short sessions, the 2008 state legislative sessions have already had some impressive milestone victories for families and communities across the country.  This Dispatch covers a few of the key issue victories this year -- and points out that states are still taking the lead on issue after issue.  Most of the bills highlighted became law, while a few, falling short of final passage, were innovative enough and showed enough movement to promise greater things for 2009.

2008 Session Roundups: Utah

While the session started with larger ambitions, a diminished budget surplus and political deadlock led to less dramatic results -- a good thing in the case of a proposed $100 million tax cut which was shelved. 

New Jersey Raises Standards for Hate Crimes and Safe Schools Laws

With only 10 dissenting votes, the New Jersey Legislature has made the state's hate crimes and anti-bullying laws two of the strongest in the country. S2975 is notable for its unequivocal inclusion of transgender people in the state's hate crimes law, becoming the 12th state to do so, and for stronger anti-bullying measures in its safe schools law. 

Bush Blocks SCHIP - States and Congressional Leaders Vow to Fight Back

http://www.progressivestates.org/dispatch

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bush Blocks SCHIP - States and Congressional Leaders Vow to Fight Back

Utah Mine Disaster Shows Flaws in Federal Oversight

Despite over two and a half weeks of rescue efforts, six coal miners still remain trapped in Utah in a tragedy that has also claimed the lives of three rescuers. The dangerous conditions apparent at the mine, as well as the treacherous rescue plan, call into question the quality of federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) procedures. MSHA approved the mine operation plan in June, just months after serious structural problems forced the operators to abandon work in an area that was only 900 feet from where the miners are trapped. 

Gay Adoption Gains, Children Win

This week, an Arkansas bill to ban gay adoption collapsed in the House, after passing the state Senate earlier this month.  In New Hampshire, the state House overwhelmingly passed a bill affirming the right of gay couples to jointly adopt children.  Earlier this month, the Colorado House approved a similar "second-parent adoption" bill in a bipartisan vote.

 

Defining Health Care Down

In states across the country, progressive leaders are stepping up to discuss how to achieve universal coverage for health care. At the same time, many on the Right are trying to define "health care coverage" to mean bare-bones care with often unaffordable cost-sharing for individuals and families.

UT: Moderation on Immigration a Political Strength

While some politicians express angst about sounding moderate on the immigration issue by eschewing xenophobic measures, a Utah primary election last week shows just how weak the hard-line anti-immigrant stance is with real voters.

UT: Moderation on Immigration is Politically Sound

While some politicians express angst about sounding moderate on the immigration issue by eschewing xenophobic measures, a Utah primary election last week shows just how weak the hard-line anti-immigrant stance is with real voters. The race turned almost entirely on the issue of immigration. The incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon faced a primary challenge from someone whose profile largely matched his -- conservative and a member of the LDS church.