Since the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) established the
requirement that first time voters present some form of identification
before voting in a federal election, voter identification requirements
of all sorts have been enacted across the country.Currently
26 states have laws that are more restrictive than the HAVA mandate,
and 21 states require ID from voters every time they vote.These laws have been passed by arguing they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, even though all evidence suggests that such fraud is extremely rare and poses no threat to the integrity of our voting systems.Instead, these fraud arguments have merely been a partisan tool, used for decades, to suppress turnout
among new groups entering the electorate in large numbers and
threatening the power of those currently in charge, whether they be
minorities, immigrants or students.
The Illinois legislature recently
the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to prohibit employers from enrolling
in the federal
Eligibility Verification System (E-Verify), a voluntary program
to supposedly identify the employment eligibility of new hires and verify
Social Security numbers. The problem is that the system has
error rates between 5% and 10% and does not detect identity fraud or
theft, inevitably leading to discrimination and unfair treatment
of employees misidentified as lacking proper
The effects of the sub-prime lending disaster are
being felt as the stock market has been rocked in
recent weeks and many families find themselves locked out of the
mortgage market. As we
in the past, the subprime mortgage market was largely aimed at
economically-strapped families trying to find some way to afford
homes. For low-income renters who never had the money to
even be in the game, rising rents have increasingly priced them
out of their homes.
Nearly 650,000 people are released
from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers
reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those
released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole
violation or new crime within 3 years.
Well, the feds have done it again. They've stepped in
where states are doing good work and messed things up. In an effort
to prevent illegal immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid, new federal citizenship
are instead causing US citizens
to lose coverage and increasing state Medicaid administrative costs. Children are
the biggest losers.
Taking the lead in Northern Virginia on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Arlington County announced yesterday that it will buy more wind-generated electricity, give tax breaks for hybrid cars, require green certification for new public buildings and hand out energy-efficient light bulbs to residents. In total, the county aims for a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within the next five years.
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.
At the same time that a new study out of Massachusetts
reveals that tobacco companies are steadily increasing nicotine levels
in cigarettes, the fight to limit the health impacts of tobacco is
gaining new steam. Ballot measures will be considered in eight states this fall regarding tobacco. And in Virginia, where tobacco is king, Governor Tim Kaine is considering a ban on smoking in state buildings.