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Colorado and Indiana Legislatures Pass Internet Voter Registration Bills

In the final week of their legislative sessions, the Colorado and Indiana legislatures gave final approval to bills allowing residents to register to vote online.  Colorado Senators passed HB 1160 and Indiana House Members passed HB 1346; both bills allow residents with driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards to register to vote online.  The legislation has been sent to the governor in both states.  In Colorado the governor is expected to sign the bill, while Indiana's governor has not indicated support or opposition.

PSN Profiles: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)

PSN's Austin Guest interviews Kyrsten Sinema, Democratic Representative from Arizona and PSN Board Member, who discusses her work on immigration and LGBT rights, fashioning a more inclusive and optimistic progressive movement, and the importance of building a collaborative multi-state coalition to bring about progressive change in cooperation with the new Obama Administration.

Obama Allows California to Adopt Car Emission Standards - New Day for State Regulatory Authority

In a positive step forward for federal respect of state regulatory powers, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a previously denied waiver to allow California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law.  In a statement by the White House, President Obama said "the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."  The directive represents not only greater respect for state authority, but also a sharp break from the climate policies of President Obama's predecessor. 

Indexing Minimum Wage to Inflation Critical for Low-Income Working Families

Washington State minimum wage workers got a raise January 1st to $8.55 per hour -- now the highest minimum wage in the country.   Like nine other states, Washington automatically increases its minimum wage each year at the rate of inflation to make sure families don't face a de facto pay cut as rising costs eat into family budgets.  Because the federal minimum wage is not indexed to inflation in this way, we have seen a decline in its value from $9.34 in inflation-adjusted dollars down to just $6.55 per hour this past year.  This trend highlights why state efforts to index the minimum wage to keep up with inflation are so critical.

Maine Religious Leaders Mobilize Around Gay Marriage - On Both Sides of the Issue

Soon after the November elections and the dispiriting setbacks for gay marriage equality in California, Arizona, and Florida, a group of religious leaders in Maine formed a coalition to advocate for gay marriage rights and actively seek equal treatment for gay and lesbian couples within Maine law.  The group, Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine, includes 120 clergy from across the state and 14 different faith traditions, including United Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist, Congregational, and the United Church of Christ.