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Vermont

Health Care in 2007

As the first month of the 2007 legislative session comes to a close, expanding access to health care is clearly a top priority for governors and legislative leaders across the country. From comprehensive health care for all in California and Pennsylvania to incremental cover all kids in North Carolina and to targeted program expansions in New Mexico, the proposals represent an unprecedented focus in states to address the health care crisis that grips our families and businesses.

What States Can Do for Darfur

Since the Bush administration first recognized the genocide in Darfur, over 250,000 men, women, and children have died. This number does not count the countless women and children that have been raped or attacked as a result of the Sudanese government's campaign to kill and drive out Darfur's ethnic African populations. The violence and genocide is now spilling over into Chad and the Central African Republic. Yet, even with such horrifying statistics, the situation deteriorates day by day.

Election Day Registration

One of the biggest challenges in raising voter turnout is address the rate of voter registration. The vast majority of states have registration deadlines weeks before Election Day. The schedule poses problems for busy Americans who simply forget to register or re-register and find themselves unable to vote on Election Day. During the 2000 Presidential election alone, nearly 3 million voters were disenfranchised due to registration problems. Luckily, a simple solution is available: Election Day Registration (EDR).

VT: State and Feds Battle in Court Over Privacy and Federalism

When reporters exposed a massive wiretapping program and phone call database orchestrated by the National Security Agency with apparent help from a number of phone companies, many consumers felt rightfully that their privacy rights had been violated.

VT: State Hauled to Court While Defending Consumer Rights

The State of Vermont realized that Verizon and AT&T may be violating state consumer protection laws by handing over massive amounts of data to the federal government. Now their investigation into the privacy violations is being held up by a lawsuit filed by the federal government accusing the state of overstepping its bounds. The information that Verizon and AT&T made consumer records available to the federal government was reported widely upon earlier this year.

CA: Legislature Votes for Single-Payer Health System to Cover Uninsured

Yesterday, the California Assembly voted for a bill, SB 840, that would provide health care to all state residents under a government-run universal health insurance system, joining the state Senate which enacted a similar bill last year.

A Convenient Truth: States Can Seize the Lead on Global Warming

In the groundbreaking film An Inconvenient Truth, Vice President Al Gore makes an impressive case that it is now essential that the world act to prevent the potentially catastrophic implications of global warming. The film could not come at a more critical time. While the planet warms, Washington dawdles. The nation's political elite remains mired in a debate manipulated by powerful energy interests.

2006: Debate on Health Care for All Gets Real

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to create a health care plan to provide health care coverage for the 85,000 uninsured residents of that city. While there are additional votes needed to finalize the bill, with a unanimous vote and the endorsement of the mayor, the proposed ordinance is expected to become law with no problem.

CT: The Political Strength of Health Care for All

Both Democratic candidates for Governor, federal candidates, and legislative candidates from both parties have either released their own plans for Health Care for All in Connecticut or expressed their support for the concept.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Campaign Finance Laws; Public Financing Strongest Constitutional Option

This week, the Supreme Court struck down Vermont's strict limits on campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates.  In a set of fractured opinions in Randall v. Sorrell, the Court did not put an end to all campaign finance limits but did put a roadblock in the way of anything much more restrictive than most present laws.  So if there is going to be more serious reform to lessen the power of special interest money in politics, the only real remaining route to reform are systems of public financing of elections like Maine and Arizona.